The man sitting beside me at the opera was reading Gone With the Wind. Not during the opera, that is, and presumably not during interval since he was with companions. But he had it with him, which made me think he had a train ride ahead of him. It was an interesting choice, although that thought involves reading way more into the matter than is perhaps warranted.
One the one hand we have a beautiful, youthful heroine, fascinating to men. Single-minded, smart, ruthless and in some ways amoral, but ultimately sympathetic. She sees the world around her change in what is, historically speaking, the twinkling of an eye. Scarlett O’Hara lives only in the moment. “I’ll think of it all tomorrow…After all, tomorrow is another day.”
On the other hand we have a beautiful, seemingly youthful heroine, fascinating to men. Single-minded, smart, ruthless and in some ways amoral, but ultimately sympathetic. She lives an unbearable three centuries and sees the world around her change as her many lovers die. She carries the weight of years past and a future indefinite is a terrible thing. Emilia Marty won’t be sorting out her problems tomorrow. “Pater hemon…”
Janáček cannot show us all E.M.’s relationships over her lifetime. But I found it interesting that, of the relationships and interactions we do see, the only two men for whom she reveals any genuine affection are both quite mad. Pepi, who is reported to be have been eccentric if not insane, and the marvellous and irrepressibly crazy Count Hauk-Šendorf (Maxi).