This weekend’s treat is Edita Gruberova singing Elizabeth in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. Roberto Devereux and I go back a ways, but I haven’t listened to this opera in ages – rather looking forward to it. It’s one of those ones that I really wish I could see live sometime, just for the hell of it, but I’ve never run across a staging of it that I had any reasonable way of getting to. (It doesn’t seem to be performed as often as Anna Bolena or Maria Stuarda, which is kind of a shame, I think. Although musically I like Anna Bolena better.)
I think I am getting used to the students here. So many of them have this bizarre mixture of genuine brightness and complete ignorance. They can read a primary source and say really insightful things about it, but if you ask them a direct question like “tell me about the Protestant Reformation” or “when was the printing press invented in Europe?” you often get very vague and/or confused answers. I had one kid get confused because I said that the Spanish in the New World were trying to convert the Native Americans to Christianity – he raised his hand and said “but wait, I thought the Spanish were Catholics?” So, I had to explain that Catholicism is in fact a form of Christianity. But I’m glad he asked, at least. Also, there was the student who said in class that Roger Williams had “invented one of the world’s major religions.” The wording of this pretty much required me to ask – which one? Answer: “Presbyterianism.”
So yes. Bright kids who are occasionally missing various important concepts and/or pieces of information. I wonder what they’d make of Roberto Devereux?