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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was listening to the local classickal station on the way home this evening when the deejay put in a plug for an upcoming production at one of the local venues of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.  Even though it’s Mozart, it’s an opera Ol’ Robbo does not really know at all.  (I won’t go into my general dislike of all but a few pre-Romantic operas and absolutely all Romantic and Post-Romantic ones.  Suffice to say that my taste in Mozart’s contributions to the genre is confined to his three great collaborations with Lorenzo Da Ponte, as well as his earlier Die Entführung aus dem Serail. )

I do know, however, that La Clemenza is set during the reign of the Roman Emperor Titus (reigned 79-81 A.D.), and that it has to do with high-level politickal intrigue during his reign.

Anyhoo, what grabbed my attention was the deejay’s pronunciation of the name “Titus” when she said basically the same thing regarding the plot that I’m writing here.  She said, “TEE-tus”.  I’ve always thought the English pronunciation is “TIE-tus”.

There are several possibilities here.  One, the deejay simply is ignorant.  Two, that the deejay was trying to show off her Latin creds.  Three, that there is more than one acceptable Anglicized pronunciations of the name.  Four, that she was just reading copy rayther hurridly and didn’t have time to recognize the name before she spoke it.

I dismiss the first possibility out of hand.  I happen to know that this deejay is well educated and well travelled, and that she speaks at least French fluently.

I also dismiss the second possibility because if she was going for the Latin she would have said “TEE-TOOS” instead of “TEE-tus”.

I bring up the third possibility because of a memory of watching a program somewhere on the Byzantine Empire.  I’ve always pronounced Byzantine as “BIZZ-un-teen”, but the program narrator, a Brit, kept saying, “BYE-ZAN-teen”.  If “TEE-tus” is a Brit thing (and I honestly don’t know), it’s possible the deejay picked that up somewhere and was using it.

As to the fourth possibility? I’m guessing that’s the real answer.  This particular deejay has time-management issues, and frequently has to stomp on the end of a piece she’s playing because she’s run up against the top of the hour and has to cut out for the Nihilist Propaganda Nooz update.

The world wonders.

(Actually, the world probably doesn’t give a pair of dingo’s kidneys, but this kind of thing always grabs Ol’ Robbo’s attention.)




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November 2017