Most people don’t like to think too much. It’s such a bother.

The other day, I overheard this conversation in a music store (I’m not making this up):

Q: “You’re familiar with Beethoven?”

A: “All I know is someone told me he was black.”

Q: “You know his music?”

A: “I didn’t know who he was, just heard that he was black and important.”

I had a conversation with a German soprano who had something of a reputation for the role of Leonora in Fidelio. She told me that she felt that the most important thing to her in her interpretation of the role came simply from understanding that the name Fidelio came from the word for “happy go lucky”.

I assume she was confusing it with felicity, but disabusing her of her misunderstanding seemed too much like stealing her lucky charm. When I saw her in the opera in the disguise of Fidelio, the realization kept coming to mind that she thinks Fidelio means “happy go lucky”. It may have given her a sense of confidence and conviction that in turn somehow made her convincing (nice coincidence that felicity comes from the Latin for “success”). But knowing this made her seem like Sandy Duncan as Peter Pan.

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