Calumny

Chicago Boyz has put up a post about calumny, which is a word you don’t hear much these days but appears to have been in common use historically.  According to the Webster’s, calumny is:

1:  a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation

2:  the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation

The Chicago Boyz post was brought to my attention by Samizdata commenter DOuglas2, who mentioned it in the context of the recent (but seemingly temporary) banning of Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit from Twitter.  I can think of numerous examples – the hounding of Tim Hunt being the one that immediately springs to mind – of calumny being alive and well in the modern world, assuming it ever went away.

I’ve known this word, and what it means, since I was about 20 purely because I was, and am, a fan of Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville.  Act I Scene II provides probably the best description of calumny there is in an aria – La Calunnia – sung in bass.  It’s worth a listen.

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5 thoughts on “Calumny

  1. Was it sung in Italian? I saw it performed in the Paris Opera House (the new one) a year ago, by the Geneva Opera Company. It was a modern production, but absolutely brilliant. It was the first time I’d seen it, and I loved it. The tickets cost a fortune but I got them half-price through work, but the place was absolutely rammed anyway. Yeah, it was superb.

  2. Funny you should mention this, I was at Covent Garden the other day watching Ferruccio Furlanetto sing this aria in the ROH production of Barber. Despite being not much younger than me, he still manages to stand on the arms of a chair while haranguing Dr Bartolo.

    For me, the funniest bit of this is when Bartolo, having been badgered by Basilio for five minutes, shrugs and says, “Nah. We haven’t got time. We’ll do it my way.”

    Perhaps there might be a lesson for us all in that response. Don’t fight the calumnies of the left with calumnies from the right, just ignore the SJWs and vote Trump.

  3. Well, no-one around me was harrumphing at the singer’s Italian or the grammar of the surtitles, (though the surtitles at Covent Garden are usually not too bad).

    Anyway, I went on Wednesday, not the weekend.

    I have to say that although the production is not quite my cup of tea, it does make for plenty of laughter from the audience, (including me), and the singers were excellent, however Daniella Mack, who plays Rosina, seems to have only two sound levels: p and ff, though that may have been down to the conductor or the director.

    All in all a great night at the theatre.

    If you’re into Opera, but don’t want to pay the prices, it’s worth checking your local cinema for live relays from ROH or the Met. On Monday 26th ROH are relaying Norma live so if you like a bit of Bel Canto pop along to your local Vue or whatever. I’ve seen it live and although the production is controversial, (I liked it but many didn’t), it’s worth it just to hear Sonia Yoncheva sing the title role.

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