The English heiress Daphne Guinness (she divides her time between New York, London, and Paris) is renowned for her couture, but less often recognized is the fact of her early operatic training, and in a few short videos created in collaboration with London’s Showstudio she interprets some passages from the traditional corpus – “L’ho perduta, me meschina” and “Ebben! Ne andrò lontana,” for instance, and, memorably, the first stanzas of the second Canto in Longfellow’s version of the Inferno – in a striking manner, as one might expect she would. The woman has a presence that borders on the forbidding, to be sure, but it serves her as some sort of defense, as though it were a suit of armor, as she herself has remarked.
These short films by themselves probably would not have moved me to put them in a playlist, but her role in the video made for Wise Blood (see yesterday’s post) did incline me to create one – and her readiness to assist others in their work extends further: earlier this year, rather spontaneously, evidently, she responded to a request from the New York band Element 4 and joined them at one of their gigs on the Lower East Side. Some of the numbers she sang were captured on video, and I’ve included her impressive version of “Because the Night” in the playlist (the occasional faltering, and the roughness and truncation of the video itself, matter little). She herself may or may not regard it with diffidence, but it ought to circulate.