The Beatles Arrive In America!

Before I start this article, I would like to say that I have never really been much of a fan of the kind of music which is commonly known as "rock and roll" or popular music yet I do find some of it along with its stories fascinating. It being with this in mind that I wish to share this particular story about The Beatles's first trip to the United States.

It was in 1964 that The Beatles first arrived in America, landing in New York's international airport which had recently had its name changed from Idlewild Airport to John F. Kennedy. It being upon arrival that the four members of the Beatles were met with literally thousands of screaming fans who simply could not get enough of their rock and roll idols yet I; for my part when I saw the video many years later asked one question. How did all those fans manage to find out the exact time and flight on which the Beatles would be arriving? It giving the appearance that they must have had some connection to the Beatles themselves or some sort of inside information as to their schedule; which told them at which gate at the airport to wait at.

It was however many years later while working in a brokerage firm in New York that I found out that the chaotic scene at the airport caused by the arrival of the Beatles arrival had not been an accident of any kind. It in fact having been a radio station which was responsible. It being a particular radio station (not mentioned by the person who told me the story) which made an announcement which went along the following lines.

"The rock group the Beatles will be arriving today at Kennedy airport but we urge all Beatle fans not to go to Kennedy airport to receive the Beatles. The airport will be very crowded and this will create problems for not only the Beatles but for other travelers therefore please avoid Kennedy airport at (they gave the time of arrival) and please above all avoid gate (they gave the gate number) if you must go to Kennedy airport. The Beatles are arriving on Panam flight number (they gave the flight number) but please do not go wait for them because this will only crowd up the airport."

This of course being a message which more then encouraged people to go to JFK airport and wait for the Beatles though it was presented in a way that perhaps playfully tried to get the opposite result. The radio announcer clearly using what could be hailed as reserve psychology which apparently worked as thousands went to JFK to greet the Beatles in what become a historical day in rock and roll music.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book "New York's Opera Society". My works also include the books "What Should Not Matter", "Love Your Sister" and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.
By Gianni Truvianni

Great Moments In Opera, Conclusion To Puccini's "Tosca"

The conclusion to Puccini's Tosca is one of the most dramatic ever in the history of opera. It is after Mario Cavaradossi finishes singing "E Lucevan Le Stelle" that Floria Tosca comes to see him to tell him the wonderful news. Tosca telling her lover, Mario Cavaradossi that she has struck a deal with Scarpia in which his execution will be but a simulation to give the impression that he has been killed. This so Scarpia can save face but the truth is that they will only pretend to execute him. After which he is free to go with her to the boarder where the document she has received from Scarpia will guarantee her and the one who accompanies her a safe passage.

Mario, naturally rejoices at the offer which has been made as he shows his joy yet Tosca tells him that it would best if he did not smile and put on the face of somebody who is about to be executed. Mario accepts as he makes his best effort to look the part yet Tosca is feeling the elation of triumph which she unlike Mario does not have to hide or at least not to the same extent. Tosca after all has not only secured a deal which should save the love of her life but has even killed the man who was feared by practically the whole of Rome.

It had been Tosca, herself who with steak knife had stabbed Scarpia to death. After which she had the pleasure of seeing him plead for help as he looked in to her eyes which declared all too clearly that it was she and nobody else who was killing him. This was Tosca's moment as Mario is about to be executed which is her victory as she has not only been able to safe her beloved but has done away with the dreaded Scarpia. Tosca showing all the joy of those who are about to emerge triumphant yet for my part I see this as being Angela Gheorghiu. Gheorghiu best capturing the sensual passionate woman of strength; who is but one of fiction yet comes to life when interpreted by Angela Gheorghiu.

Mario Cavaradossi is taken to where a firing squad will fire upon him yet all the while we see and hear Floria Tosca as she describes the scene while the music is one of victory mixed with drama and suspense. Tosca calls it a comedy yet one which they must go through if they are to be free. This as she finds it almost too difficult to control her emotions of joy yet she must await for the ceremony to be completed before she and Mario can be off. All in the fashion of a child who is forced to look at presents, he or she can not open till Christmas and is very much aware of the fact that they will be taken away if he or she even attempts to open them prior to the day of Christmas.

The music increases in its bombastic effects as Mario is fired upon yet Tosca admires and even praises him for his acting ability which allows him to fall to the ground so convincingly when he is shot. Tosca words being "Ecco un artista!" (there is an artist) with a hint of pride that perhaps he has been influenced by seeing her on stage on so many occasions while her eyes sparkle with all their beauty as does the rest of her with the radiance which is really Angela Gheorghiu's. Angela Gheorghiu being the one to bring vigor to this character by not only providing her with a grand voice but making her come to life; as if she were transforming herself in to Floria Tosca.

The tension in the music builds as Mario is about to be fired upon while Tosca thrills in ecstasy and it is precisely at the moment that the shots finally come that there is a moment of relief. As if all is but a distant memory and Tosca and Cavaradossi are free at last. Tosca as if passing on instructions to Mario not to move which he of course can not hear yet they are perhaps more for herself. This as Spoletta goes over to check if Mario is really dead which he does with a touch upon Mario's throat; after which he turns to Tosca and smiles with a wink. This as if passing on a secrete message that their deal is completed and she and he are free to go in peace.

Tosca awaits the moment for all the guards to leave the place so she can rush over to her Mario and be on their way. Tosca seeming like a child who is waiting for that moment on Christmas in which she can open her presents yet knows that it will arrive any minute. This as Tosca continues to sing out instructions to Mario that he must not move. Tosca acting much like an air traffic controller when guiding an airplane on to a runaway which is about to land. Tosca trying so hard to control both the elation she is feeling along with Mario's.

The moment does arrive when all the soldiers have gone and there is a silence which is relief that all is over. This prompting Tosca to run to Mario like that child to her Christmas presents with all her desires and hopes being as apparent as the beauty which radiates from her. Tosca runs and kneels to Mario, whom she urges to get up so they can escape yet it is at that moment that she sees that all those lovely Christmas presents were but beautifully decorated boxes which in fact are empty. This being the cruel joke which had been played upon her by Scarpia. As the truth is that Mario is truly dead and the execution had been real.

Tosca crying out "morto,morto" (dead) in despair as all her optimism has been dashed. Tosca now seeing that all had been but a trick to fool her in to making love to Scarpia; who had been no more honest in keeping his end of the bargain than she had been in keeping hers. Tosca's bitter tears are clear as she feels the rage of having her beloved lie dead at her feet yet just as she is going through the anxiety of Mario's death; she hears voices and the firing squad returning. It is apparent that Scarpia's body has been found and that this time they are coming for her.

All of which sending Floria Tosca in to a frantic run to where she might be able to jump off the top of Saint Angelo's castle which is the place where they find themselves. This being a fall which is sure to kill her yet she is Tosca, who will slay herself; for her life is hers and hers alone to end. This as the music reaches dramatic heights as Tosca runs with the freedom of those who are still in a position to decide their own fate for themselves. Tosca standing on top of the parapet as she screams "Scarpia will answer to God!" just before jumping to her demise. Thus bringing Puccini's opera Tosca to its grand conclusion which grants neither defeat nor victory to any of its main characters; as to a certain extent they have all died with a taste of both.

In conclusion, I would say there is grandness in Puccini's "Tosca" as it allows us to feel all the emotions of victory while it demonstrates the political turmoil of the time. As for the role of Tosca though many have played this particular role; I would say that there is something about Angela Gheorghiu's perhaps passion along with her perhaps at times capricious ways which make her the ideal Tosca. Angela Gheorghiu being one whose gestures and strength of personality seem ideally suited to play this woman, who adores with all of herself; in ways that do not exclude those of jealousy and possessiveness. Naturally, it also being the power of her voice which allows us to feel the pain of Floria Tosca; whose ways include not only those of a woman of strength but at times those of a delightful child.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book "New York's Opera Society". My works also include the books "What Should Not Matter", "Love Your Sister" and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.
By Gianni Truvianni

The Best Defense Is Not To Offend!

Many people travel outside their own country and when some of them do, they might believe that they can speak ill of anybody and that that person (or persons) will not be able to understand them because they are speaking in a language which is not that of the country they happen to be in. For instance, a group of people from Spain might travel to China and believe that because Spanish is not the language of China that they can say what ever they wish in front of the local population with the presumed safety that their perhaps words of malice will not be understand. I however, for my part have seen many examples in my life where this is perhaps one of the worst assumptions one can make along with thinking that a heterosexual can not become infected with the HIV virus.

My first encounter with something of the sort actually occurred in Spain when I was on a train and speaking to a fellow American in English. It was in the middle of the night that two men and a woman got on the train and upon hearing us speaking English started making comments about us in Spanish. These comments ranging from the way we looked to other matters yet definitely in what could be described as a derogatory fashion. I, for my part understood everything they said perfectly as I happen to speak not only Spanish but 5 other languages yet despite understanding them; I neither said or did anything to give away the fact that I was understanding every word which was being said in their conversation. I being one who believes that words and comments do not have any more meaning than the one we choose to give them and if we ignore them; they will be as harmless on to us as the air which passes by. I did however wonder what their reaction would have been had I made it clear to them that I did speak Spanish but I just figured that I would not bother with such people.

Of course, if had been a friend of theirs I would have advised them not to speak in such a way about anybody who is in hearing range because they just might understand and take serious offence. I, for my part did not but then again I am not naïve enough to believe that everybody would have reacted as I did. This being the reason that I avoid making the same kind of presumptions about people's ability to understand a foreign language.

I also experienced something similar once when I was in Poland speaking Spanish to a friend of mine. It happened when a group of men entered the place where we were at speaking German and I said in Spanish that one of them was wearing an ear-ring. Of course, I just mentioned it as a fact and left it at that however one of them turned around and asked me in Spanish if I did not like the ear-ring which did surprise me at the time. It being a case that though they were German, they studied in Barcelona which explained why their Spanish was more than fluent enough to understand what I had said. I however had not said anything insulting apart from pointing out a fact yet if I had been less cautious perhaps I might have offended which is the last thing one should ever look to do. It being like I once heard Chuck Norris say in a deodorant commercial. Chuck Norris claiming the following fragment of definite wisdom "sometimes the best defense is not to offend!".

As additional examples of this I can mention the following. A Polish man, whom I once met told me how on a trip to New York, he encountered a black taxi driver (did not mention if he was American or not) who upon hearing him speak Polish to his friend; made it clear that he too spoke Polish. This taxi driver having learnt the Polish language due to having had a Polish girlfriend. Another case of the same was the one which was presented to me by a woman from Barcelona, who told me that once she and a friend of hers were walking down the streets of Warsaw speaking; not even Spanish but Catalan. This being a language which is rarely if ever spoken outside of Spain yet strangely enough a young Polish girl started following them and eventually approached them and in Catalan told them that she studied this language in the university of Warsaw.

In conclusion, I would say to those who travel outside their own country or see foreigners in their own country that it might be preferable not to make comments which are insulting about those around them; as they just might be capable of understanding. This being a lesson which a woman from Holland learnt the hard way when she found out the meaning of the Polish word "kurwa" from a friend of hers. This particular word not being the kind one should say to a woman which is sort of like the Polish equivalent of "slut" or "bitch". This woman however chose to go around Amsterdam saying this word to other women with the foolish confidence that they would not understand. This woman however got a very rude awaking when she said it to a Polish woman. It being this particular Polish woman who in contrast to myself did not turn the other cheek when insulted but turned her cheek by slapping her across the face as hard as she could.

As an after thought I would suggest to those who feel the need to make such comments of the kind which may insult, that they wait till they are out of hearing distance from those they speak ill of. As not all will be so friendly as I was to ignore what was said about me.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book "New York's Opera Society". My works also include the books "What Should Not Matter", "Love Your Sister" and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.
By Gianni Truvianni

CNN's War On Modern Day Slavery, A Noble Failure Or Self Promotion?

For the last month or so CNN has been on a campaign to try to eradicate what it considers to be "modern day slavery" in what they have to come to call a war. This being very similar to what the Bush administration started back in the late 80s when it declared a war on drugs. It being George Bush who was convinced that he could win a war against drug dealers, and above all drugs, in order that they might either be kept out of the United States or at least have their amounts reduced. Of course the United States with its vast resources was able to go after drug dealers and even have several of them arrested as well as stop tons of drugs from entering the United States. This so called war on drugs even capturing among its many trophies the then President of Panama, Manuel Noriega; who was brought back to the United States after an American invasion removed him from power.

The United States being convinced that the arrest of Manuel Noriega along with many other drug lords or what ever they are called; would lead to a reduction in the amount of drugs entering the United States which it did not. It being a case that not only did drugs not stop entering the United States but their amount was not even diminished in the very least. The United States quickly learning that for every kilo of cocaine they managed to confiscate, 50 or so got by them and for drug dealer they arrested and managed to convict; another one or perhaps even more took his or her place. It naturally, being a loosing battle in which the United States was trying to cure the symptoms and not the illness which was not that there was too much cocaine entering the United States but that the demand in the United States was too high. There being an overwhelming number of people who were not only willing but able to spend hundreds of dollars a week or even a day to support their cocaine habits.

All of which making the drug trade most lucrative and worth risking a long prison sentence and that was if one was caught which was not even the case of most. The USA's war on drugs eventually went down as being a complete failure as will CNN's war on modern day slavery. It being a case that CNN is committing the same error as the United States did in not going after the source of the problem they were trying to solve.

In the case of "modern day slavery" which basically involves human trafficking, child pornography, forced child labor and sweat shops; the problem goes way beyond that of law and in to one which humanity is as far as can be from solving. This in spite of all its modern day technology and this being the desperate poverty that causes the above mentioned problems. It being the desperate poverty in some countries such as Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan along with many other countries which forces many to have to resort to desperate measures to try to stay alive. Of course and added to the desperate poverty which not only causes hunger but malnutrition to the point of putting some of the verge of starvation; there is also civil wars and genocide which practically forces some to have to flee their homes to travel to other countries.

All of which creating a situation so dire for some that they will do anything to get out of their own country and travel to any country; where they might find food and the money they need to survive as well as a chance to escape the dangers back home. Naturally, the developed countries will not accept these people nor do these people have the means to get to those countries even if they did permit them to enter with legal visas. It is this precise set of circumstances which I have mentioned which leads to human trafficking. As these people will then willingly sell themselves to human traffickers just so they might at least have food to not only feed themselves but their children. It being these human traffickers, who in fact to a certain extent are helping these people escape the hardships of their own countries.

This naturally, at the cost of loosing their own freedom yet to these people, almost any hardship is preferable to the one which they faced in their own country. Most people in the developed world could not imagine what something of the sort is like to have so few options in life that working as a sex slave or in a factory 7 days a week, almost without pay; is preferable to going back to their own countries yet for many all over the world this is their everyday reality. Some of these so called slaves considering such lives as luxurious compared to the ones they left behind in their countries of origin.

From another point of view the war on modern day slavery will be even more difficult because to a certain extent, it is even harder to determine what exactly qualifies as "modern day slavery". As it was just the other day that I saw on CNN that a boy, ten years old or so and his brothers were being made to work in a factory in Afghanistan in order to pay off a loan their father had taken. It not being clear if the boys were working to pay off just the loan or perhaps added interest on the loan yet it was a case that the boys' father had taken this loan and was using his children's labor to pay back the money he had borrowed which was used for medical expenses. As for the factory, they to a certain extent had taken a risk in lending somebody money without any collateral yet such was apparently the case though I ask how does this qualify as "modern day slavery"? After all, nobody forced this man to take out a loan from this factory, who all things considered; did lend money which saved somebody's life and only wanted to get it back in a legal way which did not require anybody to be sold in to prostitution or anything of the sort. Naturally, one could always mention the age of the children in question yet this is more a product of a nation's desperate poverty than a matter which can simply be solved by pointing the finger of blame at a factory for lending out money and wanting it repaid.

It also not being the case of an indentured servant, who spent his whole life trying to pay off not only a debt but interest on a debt which accumulated at a rate which was much higher than the amount of money he or she earned. This basically meaning that the debt would never be paid off and that even his or her children would have to work to pay off the loan. Of course, in all this we can also mention how in America some people are so desperate to go to college that they will take out loans which will take them several years to pay back. These loans being made at very high interest rates which means that a person just out of college will spend his or her first years after completing his or her studies; basically working just to pay off his or her education.

In all this, I do not wish it to be understood that I am in favor of modern day slavery anymore than I am in favor of old day slavery yet if one thinks about it carefully; one will in my opinion come to the conclusion that this is just the byproduct of the desperate poverty which is to be found in some countries. It being this poverty along with the civil wars, famine and violence which are the real culprits for the above mentioned ills of society. All of which meaning that some form of modern day slavery such as the selling of children, women and men, sex slaves, sweat shops, etc will always exist as long as there are conditions such as the ones listed above. It being these conditions which are the ones which must be addressed first but then again; they are the ones which are the most difficult of all to eliminate.

In all this CNN might be able to close down a sweat shop here or there or have a group of human traffickers arrested here or there but at the end of the day; this will not make a bit of difference as long as the cause of the problem is not taken care off. This however being where CNN is powerless to stop modern day slavery which makes me think that they are either very naïve to think they can or perhaps just looking for a noble failure which will allow them to be seen as those who at least tried. As was the case when the United States declared the war on drugs which it undoubtedly lost as will CNN loose theirs on modern day slavery.

In conclusion, I would say that though I am against modern day slavery, the facts are that while conditions of extreme poverty along with civil wars prevail in some countries; there will always be people who are willing to do anything to leave those countries. Thus creating a market for those who are to a certain are helping these people even if it is by offering them a life which most of us would never want but to those who are truly desperate; it is even a step up and way to find something better.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book "New York's Opera Society". My works also include the books "What Should Not Matter", "Love Your Sister" and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.

Great Moments In Opera, "Via, Resti Servita, Madama Brillante" From Mozart's "Figaro"

The aria "Via, Resti Servita, Madama Brillante" is basically two good women in love with the same man yet one older (Marcellina) and one younger (Susana); arguing over which one of them should go through the door first. Both trying to convince the other with what could be labeled as polite insults which could also be taken as compliments that it is their place to yield the right of way to the other.

Susana (the younger of the two and Figaro's fiancé) saying things like "madame of honor", "the love of Spain", "your habit" and "your age". It being this last comment which really seems to annoy Marcellina, (the older of the two) the lady of nobility; who responds in kind or perhaps in unkind by saying "the new wife, the belle of the count, your merits and your place. This as all the while they both repeat that they know their place in society and what is required of them. As they exchange offers for the other to go first by claiming "non primo le toca, (you first) non toca lei (no it should be you to go first).

As for the music during this witty exchange between these two ladies, who latter on would be friends though have clearly not arrived at that point; it is typical of Mozart's style in this opera. It being light and airy in a way that seems to be floating and constantly moving back and forth as if going from right to left and back again. This while Susana and Marcellina sing in perfect harmony with Marcellina starting the line to be continued by Susana as they create a lovely melody. It in a way being strange how Susana and Marcellina manage to sing in such a fashion that shows complete co-operation with each other. This in spite of the fact that they are trying to tear each other down with elegant verbal abuse.

In conclusion, I would say that it is a shame that "Via, Resti Servita, Madama Brillante" is often ignored when the best arias from Figaro are mentioned. I, being of the opinion that it really captures the brilliance of Mozart along with the wit and humor in this; one of the most popular operas ever written. I for my part, would also say that though many mezzo-sopranos have sung the role of Susana; it is Alison Hagley's interpretation which is definitely among the best I have ever heard. Alison Hagley's voice not only capturing the role of Susana to perfection but it even seeming that her joyful personality and looks had been created by nature to play the part of the scheming maid. This being how Mozart, himself describes the character of Susana or at least; the way he does in the film "Amadeus".

My name is Gianni Truvianni, author of many an article to be found on the internet along with the book "New York's Opera Society". My works also include the books "What Should Not Matter", "Love Your Sister" and several others which still remain unpublished though I am presently looking to change this.

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