Enter the Seraglio

Saturday night my wife and I went to the symphony. One of the pieces we heard was Symphony no. 4 by Sergei Prokofiev. In the program notes, one of the things we were informed about this symphony was that it borrowed heavily from an earlier work a ballet entitled The Prodigal Son. Furthermore we were informed that the third movement borrowed from a section of the ballet which introduced (for sex appeal) a seductive dance by a female dancer/love interest, added to the story to increase popularity apparently. So when the the third movement came around, I was expecting seductive or melodic patterns that would fit a seductive dance. Yet I got a surprise. The third movement, to my ears, was quirky humorous and, well, goofy. To my minds eye, the exotic dance would feature a grinning minx with strident makeup, mismatched pigtails, a flouncy dress, and a puckish grin and attitude.

Here’s my point. While this is on occasion what I might find captivating and perhaps seductive … I think of myself unusual in this regard. I’ll freely admit, for example, in the Magic Flute, I’m more interested in the Popageno/Popagena love story than Tamino/Pamina story. What do you think of humor and puckish elements as part of seduction?

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