All posts by UCTV

San Diego Opera Spotlight: Verdi’s Falstaff

“And here I stand. Judge, my masters.” – Falstaff, Henry IV Part 1

8232Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff, grew out the composer’s desire to write a comic opera (his first in 50 years) and his reverence for Shakespeare, upon whose work Verdi had previously based two of his operas, Macbeth and Otello. When Verdi expressed his interest in composing a lighthearted piece librettist Arrigo Boito turned to The Merry Wives of Windsor as the source, with bits of Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 added to the mix.

The collaborators initially kept their work secret, since Verdi was still somewhat uncomfortable with comic opera and wanted the option of cancelling the production if dissatisfied with the result. In the event the premiere at Teatro alla Scalla on February 9, 1893 was a triumph, but true to form Verdi continued to “tweak” the score for subsequent premieres in Rome and Paris.

Falstaff is an unusual opera, one that is widely considered to be Verdi’s most innovative work. It breaks with earlier operatic conventions, including those found in Verdi’s earlier efforts. It is through-composed, in the style of Wagner (though Verdi would deny the influence), has only one formal aria, relies more on brief themes and motifs than sustained melodies, features several a cappella passages, occasionally employs the use of differing meters simultaneously to suggest controlled chaos, and concludes with a fugue. The music’s seeming harmonic simplicity is deceptive; to present as Verdi intended the score requires tremendous suppleness and nuance, and preparation of a large ensemble cast combined with chorus makes serious demands upon limited rehearsal time. (This may explain why Falstaff is performed less often than Verdi’s other operas.)

Part of Falstaff’s success may be attributed to the fact that after a long and productive career Verdi, nearing 80, was no longer concerned with pleasing audiences, critics, or posterity, but was writing to please himself. Whether it was his intention or not, at the time of the opera’s premiere many critics wrote that Verdi was composing “the music of the future,” and history has borne out that assessment. After a period of neglect following Verdi’s death, Falstaff is now rightly regarded as one of opera’s greatest masterworks and the beloved composer’s crowning achievement.

Contributed by arts and humanities producer John Menier

Watch Falstaff (2017) – San Diego Opera Spotlight/a>

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Finding Common Ground – Facts and Shared Values

8232One thing most can agree on right now – people are paying attention to politics. Whether it’s marching or writing or donating (or all 3!), Americans are engaged in ways not seen in decades. But as opposing sides become more combative, what is the path to a consensus on solutions?
Messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio explains there that it’s not about alarming people first – people are already suffering from alarm fatigue – but instead, it’s identifying shared values. Start there, she says, and work together to protect them.
And then, of course, support real journalism! As Garance Burke, investigative reporter for the Associated Press demonstrates, a vibrant free press is critical to preserving democracy – the ultimate shared value in these United States. Hear more from both on In the Arena with Jonathan Stein, presented by the UC Public Policy Channel on UCTV.

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Influence of Early Experience on Adult Brain Organization and Function

8232With the explosion in techniques to explore the human brain at every scale has come a deeper understanding of fundamental human characteristics. We are also able to see impairments and dysfunction as well as pathways by which we may ultimately be able to treat and cure such conditions.

This series explores the latest from the foremost researchers in neuroscience who are looking at how processes in the developing brain ultimately influence how the mature brain will function throughout life.

Highlighting language acquisition, parenting, the survival of our species, overcoming genetic and environmental challenges, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and more – this series from The Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind will fascinate, inform and inspire you.

Watch Influence of Early Experience on Adult Brain Organization and Function – Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind Symposium

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LGBT Health and Transgender Surgery

8232People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are diverse, but they also have a common need for access to culturally-sensitive health care that recognizes and responds to their needs. One half of this series addresses the current health status of the LGBT population, the impact of discrimination and violence on the LGBT community, and the individual experience of LGBT individuals at UCSF. The other half of the series focuses on transgender health/surgery, including an overview of health issues affecting
the transgender community, preparation for and perspectives on transgender surgery, and a review of current surgical techniques.

Watch LGBT Health and Transgender Surgery

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Diagnosing and Treating Autism – New Interviews on the Brain Channel

8232Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disorders that has a wide range of impacts. William Mobley, PhD interviews clinicians and researchers to find out what we know and what we have yet to learn about autism.

Diagnosing and Treating Autism with Doris Trauner

New Genetic Tools to Treat Autism and Pediatric Neurological Disorders with Joseph Gleeson

Understanding the Genome and the Future of Autism Therapies with Jonathan Sebat

Watch the complete series here

Visit the Brain Channel for more on current topics in neuroscience.

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