Sunday, July 25, 2010

Danton's Death

A dark comedy about how the Revolution consumes its own children.
Many of the early Bolshevik leaders went the way of the Tsar and his doomed family.
The same was true in revolutionary France where the men who toppled Louis XVI were soon bundling one another into the tumbrils.

One of those Jacobins was Georges Danton. It is hard to feel particularly sorry for him in Georg Buchner’s play because all the time you know that he helped to start the bloodshed which has led to the Reign of Terror. Serves you right, chum. Read More.


May said...

I can never think of Danton without being reminded of a favorite villain of mine, Paul-Henri Spaak. Spaak, who was similar to Danton in physique and booming rhetoric, proudly appealed to the legacy of the French revolutionaries to justify his relentless efforts to break his own King, Leopold III of Belgium. "I am with Danton against Louis XVI!" he infamously proclaimed, claiming he wasn't afraid of unleashing revolution in Belgium. Perhaps, Spaak should have meditated more closely upon Danton's ultimate doom, before so eagerly volunteering to follow in his footsteps. But, as fate would have it, unlike his illustrious forebear in the arts of sedition, Spaak lived to a comfortable old age.

R J said...

I have no idea whether this opera based on DANTON'S DEATH is of genuine musical significance (nor do I know anything about the composer of it, Gottfried von Einem), but I mention it for whatever it might be worth.

It brings to at least two the number of operas based on a Georg Büchner play, the other opera being Alban Berg's WOZZECK.

tubbs said...

There are always stories circulating that Danton found religion shortly before his death. Regardless, he at least went to the blade bravely (unlike most of the revolutionary cowards).
Robespierre attempted suicide before they came for him, and was hustled up the scaffold in exquisite agony with his shot-off jaw tied back on his head.
Then there was that famous hack, J.L.David, boldly condemning monarchs and aristos to death, but weeping wimpering and pissing himself on the witness stand when the Machine turned on him. Sadly for Art History, he was spared and lived on to produce Stalinesque propaganda for some Corsican mobster.
Most pathetically repulsive tho, was the pamphleteer who gleefully described the murder of Marie Antoinette, (in a broadsheet so weighted down with F-bombs that it hinted at a writer suffering from Tourette's). When his time came, it took several men to haul him up the scaffold steps while he screamed,and bawled, cluthing anything he could get his hands on.

lara77 said...

Tubbs, I had to laugh at your comments. The bullies all behave like cowards when it is their turn to meet Mr. Guillotine. King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette went with grace and dignity to their deaths because of their faith and their upbringing. The cowards like Danton and others had to be dragged. So very ironic. I guess breeding and class are something the revolutionaries really never knew!