vivere est cogitare

Tag: pagliacci

stopping by woods on a snowy evening

The lack of awareness or respect for the arts amongst youth of our day is rather staggering and terribly depressing. Last night, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall was nearly full of mostly affluent, mostly white, and mostly middle-aged or older patrons of Seattle Opera. Yet while Nuccia Focile and Antonello Palombi related Leoncavallo’s tragic tale of Canio and Nedda (and her lover Silvio), thousands of young Seattleites sat no more than a few hundred yards away, packed into Key Arena to watch a terrible basketball team (owned by a terrible businessman from Oklahoma) lose another terrible game.

And even in Vermont’s Middlebury, home to one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges and a tremendously prestigious writers’ conference, and a region inexorably tied to the poet Robert Frost, things like this happen.

Finally, through the state police barracks, where Sergeant Hodsden had more than two dozen young people photographed, fingerprinted and cited for unlawful trespass, with a few also cited for unlawful mischief. He cannot shake the indifference of one youth in particular, who asked whether he could use his mug shot on his Facebook page.

In conveying his disgust over this communal breach, the police sergeant employed the Frostian technique of repetition.

“They should have known,” he said. “They should have known.”

That’s pretty sick. Seriously, kids these days….


commedia dell’arte

I found a great article examining the issue of whether Tonio or Canio should give the final line of Pagliacci, “La commedia è finita.” I like the fact that the Seattle Opera production (properly) appropriated the line to Tonio, not only because of the reasons cited by the Italica paper but simply because it seems like the natural choice.

Without question the most fun waltz to play is the fabulous Masquerade waltz by Aram Khachaturian. It’s probably not the “best” but it’s easily the most interesting and exciting one to play.

The snow is a lie.


While Antonello Palombi delivered a wonderful Canio, it has become rather apparent to me that there is a reason why the legendary tenors are so well known. As emotional and powerful of a performance as Palombi gave, there is no voice like Caruso’s. Domingo’s Canio ranks up there, along with possibly Lanza or Di Stefano, but I still maintain that Caruso’s performance was the best.

Palombi was good though.

Also, annoyingly enough, Bagley, et al (2007) report that “adult-generated neurons express markers of all major subtypes of neurons in the GLL and GCL.” Great. Oh and NeuN doesn’t mark all neurons in the GLL. I’ve never even heard of Neurotrace.


Note: this post is obsolete; it referred originally to my old blog.

Søren Kierkegaard’s doctoral thesis, Om Begrebet Ironi med stadigt Hensyn til Socrates, was the inspiration behind the title.

I hope to capture something of art, science, and life. I’m actually not entirely sure what that statement even means, but nevertheless I will probably fail miserably (and with any luck, spectacularly).

Regarding the URL. There is overwhelming evidence that neurogenesis occurs in two areas of the adult mammalian brain – the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone; neurons produced in the latter region reach the olfactory bulb via the rostral migratory stream. Evidence of adult neurogenesis in other regions of the brain is not as clear. “Neurogenesis” was taken so I had to settle for “neurogenetic.”

Two solid review articles (the titles are self-explanatory):

Abrous et al. Adult neurogenesis: from precursors to network and physiology. Physiol Rev (2005) vol. 85 (2) pp. 523-69

Ehninger et al. Neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus. Cell Tissue Res (2008) vol. 331 (1) pp. 243-50

Tonight the Seattle Opera closes its production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. The two-act opera is best known (and to some, only known) for the aria Vesti la giubba. Enrico Caruso does the best Canio, particularly when it comes to this aria. There is no substitute. However, his No! Pagliaccio non son is not as good as the former. Something about Vesti la giubba is just so well suited to his voice.

It’s not snowing.