Simon’s Interview with Joyce

Simon’s Interview with Joyce

Simon’s Interview with Joyce, Live from the Met, Saturday 22 October 2016

 

SK        Hello, Joyce

JDD      Simon…

SK        Hello, love – good to see you…

JDD      Simon – my gosh, lovely to see you…catching your breath. It’s so good to have you back at the Met. So good…

SK        It’s nice to be here. It’s nice with these discussions of freedom. You know, I was just noting that six months, eight months before this was first performed – “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are born equal, with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  Isn’t that what every Mozart opera is about? About the sexual freedoms of men and women to be as bad or as good as each other. Of Nozze di Figaro – class, rights and responsibilities. Don Giovanni with the sort of tearing of the fabric of man against his… against the culture, against the church, against the power, even, as you’ll see later in this, of God, isn’t it? These wonderful discourses of freedom and rights and responsibilities. And then, of course, you’ve got Flute after this, which is the greatest freedom of all, to be that which you wish to be but at no-one else’s expense. I love these discourses of freedom and just now when we were singing ‘viva la liberta’ I get a shiver of pleasure ..of almost an agressivity..that we demand freedom, that we live on it…

JDD      And that’s in the music…

SK        Yeah….and  it’s in the words

JDD      That insistence…

SK        He brings the peasants into the palace – couldn’t be anything more revolutionary than that. I mean and then the next couple of years later we’ve got the French Revolution, you know. There’s another little revolution that occurs to me in this piece, and that’s – I mean, I hope I’m not stretching a point – but I think that the beginnings of evolutionary theory, and Darwin and ‘The Origin of Species’ – I mean he sat on that bombshell for something like 30 or 40 years before he published it, because it was so radical..

JDD      Yeah…

SK        And that, I think, in this piece you see something of that discourse – man as an animal…

JDD      Mmmm..

SK        The animal nature – whether you can judge a tiger for being a tiger, whether you can judge a man because of his base nature…

JDD      Ah, yes….

SK        You know, I think that’s very much a part of it…

JDD      Let me ask you a question then in terms with Don Giovanni and everything that you’re talking about. Of course, the idea of relevancy comes into the fact that we get to revisit these themes right now..

SK        Right

JDD      in 2016 – it’s thrilling

SK        Yeah…

JDD      That idea of man as animal, and not judging him, but viewing him as he is, as Da Ponte also saw and Mozart also felt. Do you think there’s a moment where Giovanni’s choosing to be doomed – choosing this path – is it just his nature, it’s his fate?

SK        I think he chooses – I mean he’s done everything on this earth that he can do and there’s one more adventure, with his God, which he has at the end, of course. I mean I..I..I shudder to remember that only a month ago we had another mad bomber trying to destabilise our western democracies and I dare say that in his skewed way he was believing that his freedoms were being impinged upon. Unless we, in these western democracies, embrace multi-culturalism, which is wonderful and which has made this country and our democracies, we have to decide how much of that culture we allow into our own, before it starts to impinge upon those very precepts that made us in the first place. That’s a really thorny issue, isn’t it? And those are decisions that we all have to make whether we are a culture or as a people.

JDD      Simon, this is one of the reasons that you’re a beloved artist…

SK        “Beloved artist?”

JDD      That you bring..

SK        Does that mean it’s all over now?

JDD      No! It means we love you!

SK        Once you get gongs -all over….

JDD      Thank you, thank you for being an artist….

SK        One more thing I must say…

JDD      Yes….

SK        Because my teachers, those decades ago, at Cambridge University – they have an anniversary now – 150 years of the Zoology Department at Cambridge. When they kick-started my little 50cc second class brain, little did they know that I occupy myself day in, day out, with the very same things that they taught me. So, I don’t know if any of them are watching, but happy birthday to the Zoology Department at Cambridge University!

JDD      Amazing…

SK        Bless you..

JDD      Simon, thank you for that..

SK        I’ve taken too much of your time…. Bye, bye, love…..

 

 

 

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