Michel Leiris—What I Find in Opera


Esthetic pleasure in its pure state, in an ambience of celebration—a real dilettante's pleasure.

That I expect this unadulterated pleasure from opera (an appreciation of beauty alone, outside of any philosophical or moral considerations) may explain why a light work—a comic opera, for example—can move me more than a tragic work: I know that this light work offers me opera in all its purity, hence an emotional quality much finer than when sentimental or intellectual elements are mixed with it. It is, in sum, as if I needed a frivolous opera (a work of celebration and pleasure) to unveil for me the exact nature of opera, and if this unveiling (and not the content of the work) were the motive for the emotion.