Twenty-four years ago,in 1996, in ‘Glyndebourne Festival Opera’, an oratorio by George Frideric Handel was performed.
Glyndebourne is an English country house near Lewes, in East Sussex in England.
The name of the oratorio was ‘Theodora’. It was composed by Handel at the age of 64, in 1749, while his health and eyesight were beginning to fail.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the only music that is recognisable and liked by almost all the people of our planet is the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus of Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
‘Theodora’ and ‘Messiah’ are the only Christian oratorios that Handel ever composed. In contrast to the ‘Messiah’, “Theodora was a complete failure. Various reasons have been advanced for this, among them the earthquake shocks that drove the richer classes out of London in the spring of 1750 (they began in February) and the fact that the story could not be found in the Bible.” [Winton Dean, ‘Handel’s Dramatic Oratorios and Masques’, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1959, page 572]. However, Handel himself had the opposite opinion. When Thomas Morell (see below) asked Handel “whether he did not look on the Grand Chorus in the Messiah as his Masterpiece, Handel’s answer was: “No, I think the Chorus at the end of the second part in Theodora [is} far beyond it.”
In 1687, that is 62 years before Handel had composed ‘Theodora’, published anonymously had been a text with the title The Martyrdom of Theodora and of Didymus, written by Robert Boyle (1627-1691), a noble Englishman, the fourteenth child of the first Earl of Cork,………………………. [at this point I stopped writing, walked to my bedroom, sat on a chair and turned on a TV to watch, on a DVD the Turkish serial “Karadayi”, which I ‘use’ as a medium to relax from the stress of the pandemic, the thought that Aspasia, my companion, is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s,, etc. It was only a few minutes later that I felt the quake that hit the Greek island of Samos and the Turkish coastal city of Izmir (Smyrna in Greek. The word ‘smyrna’ refers to the gum of an Arabian tree used for embalming the dead). The quake lasted for about 20 seconds. My first inner reaction was to rush out of the house.I did not.]
Back to Robert Boyle. Boyle a Physicist and natural philosopher, is the Boyle that we are taught in high school as the “Boyle’s law’: The pressure times the volume of an enclosed gas is constant if the temperature and mass be kept constant. Boyle also was a fervent Christian and claimed that the study of nature was a religious duty!
[Puzzlement Note: It is not only Boyle that puzzles us. In the drawer of Isaac Newton, after his death, was found a very serious treatise … on the Christian Trinity of God, the Son, and The Holy Spirit! Was this due to an anomaly in their personalities or was this due to the influence by the societies in which they were born? End of Note]
The text (libretto) of ‘Theodora’ was written by Thomas Morell and was based on the text of Robert Boyle. The story narrates the events that happened in Antioch about 304 A.D under the occupation of Antioch by the Romans..
In my ZNet Commentary of December 25, 2012 with the title “The Turkey of Asi and of Demir”, it is mentioned: “And when he [Barnabas] found him [Paul], he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” [‘The “Acts”, 11:26. The Bible: King James’ Version, emphasis added.]
The persons of the story are:
Valens, the Roman prefect of Antioch ( Valens is a Latin word which means: strong one)
Theodora: A Christian young woman (Theodora is a Greek word which means: gift of God)
Irene: Companion to Theodora (Irene is a Greek word which means: peace)
Didymus; A Roman junior officer (Didymus is a Greek word which means: twin)
Septmus: A Roman officer, senor in rank to Didymus (Didymus is a Latin word which means: seventh)
The Glyndebourne “Theodora” is a bold creation of Peter Sellars, the director of the Oratorio. Sellars moves the story from Antioch to America As Noam Chomsky says the prophets of the Bible were the intellectuals of that time. Also he says that they were persecuted by their fellow men.
So Sellars, 24 years ago at Glyndebourne, ‘prophesied’ that Valens of ‘Theodora” is going to be a person named Donald Trump and he would be the ‘strong one’, that is the President of America.
The transition from Antioch to America is quite easy. The Romans of ‘Theodora’ can easily be replaced by the supporters of Donald. Included, therefore, are the Evanggelikee (Evangelicans spelled correctly). The suffering Christians are ‘we the people’, that is ‘the unwashed masses’.
The actor chosen for the role of Valens is Frode Olsen, the epitome of white supremacy. He is a little taller than Donald, really blonde, much more trim than Donald, and his head is almost a copy of the head of the statue that Hitler used to present as the apotheosis of the white race.
The Reader of the present text is urged to get the Glyndebourne DVD of ‘Theodora’ and pay attention and enjoy the First Scene of the First Act! Handel himself has written on the score, the word Pomposo, that is pompous, as a direction for the manner the music should be performed!
Olsen as Donald is superb. The expression on his face is the ultimate interpretation of the Nazi or crypto-Nazi soul. Getting the DVD is a must!
Quake and Antioch
A necessary repetition: “On May 20 of the year 526 AD…a big earthquake razed Antioch.There were 250.000 (two hundred fifty thousand) dead….There is a scene in one of these narrow streets… with Asi leaning on one of those masonry walls of a house and Demir facing her….again in one of those narrow streets [of Antioch] with the masonry walls of the houses…a lady architect [is] listening to a guide mentioning the quakes that have hit Antioch, even kind of joking about it.” [My ZNet Commentary of December 25, 2012, with the title: ‘The Turkey of Asi And of Demir’.”
Yesterday, in the evening news in Athens, on the TV screen there was the picture of a narrow street on the island of Samos of about 8 feet wide. On the left side of the picture there was a heap of stones, like a pyramid, of about 5 feet high. Walking on this narrow street about two hours after the hit of the Quake, there were a boy and a girl,17 and 15 years old. They were at the bottom of the heap of stones crushed to death by the stones of the masonry wall of one of the houses of the narrow street.
About 60 to 80 percent of the houses on our planet are built with masonry walls, Exceptying the wooden structures of the US.
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