31 August 2006
28 August 2006
24 August 2006
Today, I can't decide which is more shocking: that Pluto is no longer a planet; or that my Met seats have actually become cheaper.
In related news, yet another fast-falling celestial object: Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, whose death a month ago reignited the debate about the relationship between an artist's art and her character. In a Guardian article, Michael H. Kater outlines Schwarzkopf's extensive activities during the time of her membership in the Nazi party. It's quite damning. (I best rearrange my fave VLL list, fast.)
at 11:04 AM
22 August 2006
The day after the Boston Massacre Redux, the Yanks are secure in first place. Fall almost emergent, there's a softness in the morning air, shadows are growing longer, air fares are settling back to earth. In discussing Roger Federer's brilliance in the New York Times, David Foster Wallace remarks: "the truth is that TV tennis is to live tennis pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love." I've stewed in recordings the past few months, and apart from the thunderous Elektra at Tanglewood, have not been witness to live opera in so long: so permit me to extend the comparison, and say that pirate recordings may be able to catch fleeting, fluttering moments of ecstasy and set them to material memory in magical sound bits, but nothing can come close to recreating the ultimate porn of being there, live, a hundred feet away from a mouth that bears the power to rearrange the molecules in the air at will, with a resonant terror that rouses all the hair on the body. Human love may be its only known measure, indeed.
I shall be planning my Met season this week, and buying the bulk of the potentially sold-out events, as funds permit. I count the days till the curtain rises for the first time this season, and I'm sick, sick, pukey sick of seeing images from that Butterfly production pasted all over every Met literature. (Peter Gelb, veteran of commercial megamarketing, enforces the cardinal rule of advertising: choose a schtick, and stick with it. Numb the brain with the brand. I haven't seen the ENO-imported Minghella production, supposedly fresh and creative, but really, I'm sick of the schtick already.)
at 10:44 AM
16 August 2006
04 August 2006
Counting the weeks till the fall season. ITEM ONE. Sieglinde's first ticket purchase: Salome prima at the Chicago Lyric. DAME ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF. I find the divergence between the obit of the London Times and New York Times quite striking, specifically the treatment of her connection to the Nazi Party and her activities during the war. Whereas Tommasini brought forth the sensitive topic in the third paragraph, with the (intended) effect of coloring the lengthy discussion of her career and successes with a tinge of "ick", the Times went by it quite fleetingly, and only in a chronological account of her early biography, characterizing those activities as "moves (that) were purely pragmatic." Surely she must have known something, and if she did, such pragmatism is all the more frightening. In any case, her recording of Vier Letzte Lieder, my first VLL ever, remains, to me, the most heartrending and personal; her Mahler, Wolf, and Strauss lieder are all works that cleanse the palate, and hold a delicate place in the iPod of my mind. BREAKING NEWS. Schwarzkopf, coloratura? The Washington Post: "As a coloratura soprano, she mastered the very highest octaves with remarkable precision and breath control." (Hidden past, indeed.) BACK TO DEBBIE. The Lyric Opera is out looking for a few good belly dancers to decorate Francesca Zambello's sure to be skin-ny Salome production. (But why no similar casting call for buff boys?) LATE GAY NEWS. Speaking of lesbians, Lance Bass of 'N Sync is gay. (Boy band boy, a fag? Scandal.) He has a boyfriend.
at 9:10 AM