April 2012

Meet the POSA: Caitlin Mathes

Our final POSA recital of the year, featuring mezzo-soprano Caitlin Mathes, takes place tomorrow, April 10, at 7 PM in Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10. You can reserve your ticket here.


Caitlin's recital is a program of "degenerate" music (German: entartete musik); that is, music that was condemned, and eventually banned, by the Nazis as being harmful to the regime. Music could be considered degenerate if it opposed the Nazi regime in its content, or if the composer's political views were themselves considered degenerate. Any work by Jewish or Jewish-origin composers, any work featuring Jewish or African characters, any work by a Marxist -- all were considered degenerate. Any artist who had shown sympathy for Nazi opposition was condemned. Modernist music was judged inferior to classical music, as was jazz, and so both forms also were classified as degenerate.

Once the Nazi regime came into power, composers of this music found it increasingly difficult, or impossible, to get their works performed, and many retreated into exile (or were interred in concentration camps). Degenerate composers included Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, Webern, Hindemith, Mahler, Weill, Korngold, Stravinsky, and Hanns Eisler.

Below, Caitlin answers the Proust questionnaire. I have seen her squirrel paws.


What is your current state of mind?
Doodle doodle doodle ta ta taaa tuh ta ta taa… Kukuk, Nachtigall, Mond… clean bathroom for parents… taxes? Um, busy.


What is your chief characteristic?
I make squirrel paws with my hands a lot.


What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Easy conversation.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Temperance. How can I be a singer and not devalue temperance. Where would the great opera characters be if they had any temperance? Boring.


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am a worry wart. Worry wort? Now I’m worried.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
5 o’clock, July, seated in the shade, some sort of Aperol/grapefruit drink, with my loved ones, and Django Reinhardt is playing in the background.


Where would you like to live?
I would love to live half the year in some small Tuscan stone cottage with an old iron fence and beautiful grass. And the other half? Doesn’t matter much.


Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?
Walter Burns (Cary Grant’s character from His Girl Friday)


Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?
The little red hen (of the Little Red Hen Saga)


What is the quality you most like in a woman? A man?
Self love, and self belief.


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
I think I might come back as a boatman, I feel I have some lessons that need to be learned on the open water.


If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
An alpine mountain goat would be fun. Named SureFoos.


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to make my freckles more pronounced.


What is your most treasured possession?
I have some crochet/filet of my grandmother’s that I think is absolutely beautiful. No matter where I am, if I bring one of these, it can feel a little like family and home.


What are your favorite names?
The name Guy has always been a favorite.


What do you hate most of all?
Haters, or “Hatahs”


What natural talent would you most like to have?
I have, in general, a horrible mind for information in the short term. I would love to be able to remember an address, or what time I work without having to check and recheck and write it down before I show up half an hour early.


How do you wish to die?
How do YOU wish to DIE!? fa


What is your favorite motto?
This is a sort of motto, and it is by far my most favorite quote. Buckminster Fuller “…I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process…”


Lindsay & Caitlin
[Lindsay Ohse & Caitlin Mathes, broken doll arm pose]