When I looked at my phone after I woke up yesterday, I was horrified to read that it said 9:27 am! Thinking back, however, I have to remember that Indiana time is five hours earlier than Hawaii time, so my body thought it was only 4:27 am!“You must go to the Lilly Library,” I was told the previous night at dinner. The Lilly Library was founded in 1960 with the collection of Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., owner of Lilly Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolis. The Lilly Library is a collection of rare books and manuscripts, and what is unique, is that you are encouraged to touch everything—with a few exceptions. In their permanent collection is a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, one of few things you cannot touch. The library also has the original manuscript for the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In the permanent collection there were several portraits of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, along with an original signed Emancipation Proclamation.
Since I will be playing some early English keyboard music next weekend at the Early Music Hawaii concert, I thought it might be fun to look for some. Alas, they didn’t have any, but the librarian brought me something very fascinating — a treatise (in French) on keyboard accompaniment with a number of musical examples: in other words, how to play figured bass (a musical shorthand which is about half my pieces next week). I don’t know how old this book was, but I indeed leafed through its parchment pages… sure seemed old to me, maybe several hundred years old.
Across the street I found an art gallery where there was a special exhibition on tattooing in Indiana, with many images of fully tattooed people from the 1920s who were photographed totally nude with strategically placed fig leaves. I was interested to learn that until recently tattoo parlors were illegal as they were considered as practicing medicine without a license, akin to surgery!
Then I found the museum next door where there was a special exhibition on Vik Muñiz. One of the most innovative and creative artists of our time, Vik Muniz (born 1961, São Paulo, Brazil) is renowned for creating what he calls “photographic delusions.” Working with a dizzying array of unconventional materials—including sugar, tomato sauce, diamonds, magazine clippings, chocolate syrup, dust, and junk—he painstakingly constructs 3-D pictures before recording them with his camera.
One picture especially caught my eye, as it was the image of Frankenstein, created with caviar! Boy, that must have cost a fortune!I met my host, Dana Marsh, for a quick but delicious dinner at a Japanese restaurant near the theatre which we walked to in time for the pre-program talk. The production of Handel’s opera, Rodelinda, was every bit as elaborate as I’ve ever seen, and the amazing thing was, outside of the directors, everyone else: all the singers, the orchestra, and the dancers, were all students! —Meaning that they were all volunteers and unpaid. In Handel’s day, of course there were no supertitles but even though the English-speaking audience did not understand the Italian libretto, they came for the singing and the orchestral playing.
What is astounding is that Indiana University puts on 7 operas and/or ballets per season. Other productions this year include Daughters of the Regiment, Florencia en el Amazonas, Madama Butterfly, Nutcracker, Peter Grimes, fall and spring ballet and The Music Man.
Now, on to New Haven!