28 March 2007

Missed opportunity

Here's why I think David Fielding's Met Helena production failed. One only has to think back to the magical Herbert Wernicke Die Frau ohne Schatten, a wildly successful new production at the Met five seasons ago. The Helena music may be a tad more problematic than the FroSch, but both have hyperchromatic shock-and-awe orchestral and vocal writing, and involve hysterically fantastic narratives. What Wernicke put together for the FroSch was a materialization of Strauss's intricate music: mirrored walls that scatter the light into bursts of color, moving sets to signify story transitions, landscapes that evoke tasteful otherworlds, and grand stage direction choreographed to respect the score. (Vivid in memory is the Emperor ensconced in a mirror cloak, with the entire mirrored stage, massive and bare, moving forward in an awesome fashion in Act III.) That production identified and strengthened the emotional, musical, and narrative landmarks in the libretto and score by creating appropriate stage magic to highlight them. We, the audience, were all assisted in tackling the thick Strauss by what we saw on stage.

I've now seen the Met Helena four times (yes, I did go last night too) and have become quite familiar with the basic architecture of the music. The Strauss score may seem amorphous, banging, and relentlessly chaotic at first blush, but there are points of clarity and accessible brilliance amidst the richness, and musical cues that push the mood of the opera in other directions. What a shame that the production team ignored them, and of those they chose to accentuate saw silly self-absorbed symbolism meant to induce either a chuckle or a "WTF?" (oh how witty ... etc., etc..). Three immediately come to mind: the entrance of a transformed Helena on a hard bed; the quick battle between Da-ud and Menelaus, marked with red arrows projected on the walls and attended by sophomoric choreography of Aithra's coterie; and the ending sequence, beginning with Poseidon's return, and wrapping up with the arrival of the Love Boat. Strauss imbued these scenes with majestic music, but instead of immersing in the celestial grandeur, the production gave us a coloring book with ridiculous characters and microscopic symbolism. There are plenty of ravishing orchestral moments that the production gave little thought to: Aithra conjuring a storm, Helana and Menelaus's arrival, Da-ud's entrancing solo (recalling Jochanaan's music in Salome), the scenes with Altair's horsemen and servants, and Hermione's entrance. These scenes, and many others, were marked only by the singers either shuffling from one side of the stage to the other, carrying bottles of potion or shells or swords of different makes and sizes, or by awkward arm gestures and facial expressions that look too stupid from afar. All missed opportunities.

Yes, the story is nuts, but one could either take it for what it is and make the most of the richness of the score (Wernicke's FroSch), or mock the genius of Strauss by removing such "clutter", substituting with inside-joke backdrops, and poking cynical fun at every element of the narrative (Fielding's Helena). If this production took its cues from the music instead of suspect "wit" and personal "humor", a truly beautiful thing could have been created.

27 March 2007

Another day, another Helena

Should I do another one, is today's fifteen-dollar question.

25 March 2007

Angela Gheorghiu is Violetta

Verdi LA TRAVIATA, Met 24.III.2007; c. Armiliato; Gheorghiu, Kaufmann, Croft.

La Gheorghiu drops by New York for a single Traviata this season, to deliver perhaps most complete Violetta she can ever offer, vocally and dramatically, exceeding any of her performances at the Met last season without debate. Confetti greeted her final curtain call, and the entire house was in a delirious ecstacy. Her voice, scintillating and ablaze, was in that elusive zone, able to do whatever she wished, the pathetic diminuendos, the overwrought crescendos, the lachrymose shading, ravishing fermata, resonant chest, and a complete command of dynamics. People who reflexively complain about matters of size (and I can count myself among them) ought to have been there last night: she twirled all across the vast Zeffirelli in midphrase, and at times faced away from the audience (lost in the drama of the intense duets), but her sound remained entirely present, remarkably without any discernible loss in volume. Her supple and multitextured voice, a well-known quantity, was elevated to newer heights in this performance because there were just no technical issues to overcome. This single evening, the voice was showroom brilliant, Violetta its brand name.

The voice in such a miraculous state gave her the confidence to throw herself in the drama entirely. From tip to tip: that delirious gaze, some tubercular coughing (so masterfully integrated into Violetta's lines), the halted breathing of falling in love, the physical pain of separation, gasps that break the line, the final break of death. Perhaps the lack of a real rehearsal, the awareness that this was only one night, and the absence of the level of pressure that attended her Violettas last year (the presence of critics; the first performances in New York of the role she's built a reputation on; Volpe's suspicious eye; the added risk of a radio broadcast) gave her license to do as she wished. And that she did, altering the standard blocking and stage direction to build a more organic and spontaneous setting. She moved instinctively, possessed, in a kind of trance that we won't ever see in hypercalculated performances of our hypermanaged divas today. Both her co-stars, Jonas Kaufmann and Dwayne Croft, exceeded themselves vocally and dramatically, feeding off her formidable animus. Kudos to Maestro Marco Armiliato, who kept the orchestra pit as close to the diva's designs as possible, which is a laudable achievement if the diva thinks tempo is a personal variable that she can manipulate, mid-performance, at will.

Oh La Gheorghiu: a synergistic summation of vocal perfection, dramatic intelligence, and an old-school self-abandonment, that created perhaps the surprise highlight of my Met opera season. Brava, diva! You have conquered utterly. With this singular performance (which may never be matched, ever, even by you), you have ascended to Sieglinde's rarefied pantheon, and henceforth in these Diaries you shall never do wrong.

23 March 2007

It ain't over till the splat lady sings

(via Leyla, Lara Logan to Sieglinde's Katie Couric) New York, don't think your opera season will end with things like Orfeo ed Euridice or Il trittico. Pop star Anna Netrebko, joined by compatriot Dmitri Hvorostovsky, has cobbled together a program of juicy operatic bits for Carnegie Hall (remember that other hall in midtown?), scheduled for May 30. (Did this listing just escape our collective radar, or is this an entirely new addition to the schedule? More likely the latter, judging from the start date for ticket sale, April 5.) In addition to insisting on her bel canto creds via the lovely first act aria from Lucia, she intends to upstage Renay's phenomenal Met Tanya by leaving New York with her version of the Onegin final scene, also with Dmitri. She'll be all like, "at least I sing it in the correct language" I'm sure. Stay tuned for Renay's response immediately after the concert.

The old "yes, but no"

Giordano ANDREA CHENIER, Met 22.III.2007; c. Armiliato; Urmana, Heppner, Delavan, Mishura, Zifchak, Taylor.

Ben Heppner's molten tenor is beautiful to its core, but at times it lacks the size to rouse the crust off my ears. His top notes are thrilling, but are just so reliably unreliable. A Heppner evening is filled with excitement, but some of it is about muttering to one's self "oh sh*t, are there treacherous phrases in this role, is he going to survive." Yes, he can reach those notes when the line ascends stepwise, but if it's even a small leap of a few notes (as was the last sung note in the opera, which he cracked in typical Heppner fashion), it's about even money. There's a unique expressiveness in the voice, a generous mixture of heroism and sensitivity, but it is lacking in subhuman passion and seething verismo blood. I enjoy hearing Heppner in a number of roles, but unfortunately not in Chenier.

Violeta Urmana came out to dazzle us as Maddalena, but not before being announced as suffering from a cold (so please be gentle in judgement, etc. etc.). Her voice has matured into a fine Italianate spinto, but in its evolution lost some of the thickness and volume that she once possessed (as a mezzo). There were absolutely ravishing moments, in particular the second act duet with Chenier, but her "Mamma morta" didn't register a level of pathos to challenge the multitude of interpretations of this verismo jewel. Still, she's an artist that I've resolved to hear again and again, but not with this kind of supporting cast.

As Gerard, Mark Delavan commanded the house with a booming baritone, but at times a tad brusque and abrupt. His fundamental sound is appropriate to this kind of role (along with many great Verdi baritone roles), but it has difficulty sustaining (a) legato, (b) a consistent power, and (c) the kind of singular purpose and intensity (my attention kept wandering when he's singing). Irina Mishura made a strong impression, but why didn't Giordano write more music for Madelon, it's the age-old question. Maestro Marco Armiliato has become a favorite of mine, but this Andrea Chenier may be his first subpar outing. He conducted with an abundance of energy, but his exuberance permitted his orchestra to cover the less-than-large voices laboring on stage. He led (once again) without an orchestral score, but there were moments when he seemed to struggle in establishing a natural pulse to accomodate the drama, at times barrelling through highlights without lingering in their verismo splendour. The isolated phrases were indeed brilliantly constructed (I saw nuances in orchestral texture I've never noticed before), but somehow an effortless ebb and flow failed to materialize overall.

20 March 2007

Legs and teeth

Thomas Quasthoff recently asked his Carnegie Hall audience:

“What has 83 legs and three teeth?” singer Thomas Quasthoff slyly asked the audience at his recent Discovery Concert in Zankel Hall. After a pause for effect, the answer: “The first row of a concert in Vienna.”
Well, riddle me this. What has three legs and 83 teeth? (Pause for effect.) The answer? Sieglinde having a real, uhm, growing thing for the music of Die Aegyptische Helena. Oh what glorious hotness! It's a largely unfamiliar work, obscured by the libretto and sidelined by the difficulty in finding a willing and, more importantly, able dramatic soprano who can survive the above-the-staff torture of the score. Voice change or no, Deborah Voigt is now impressing me in a different way. I wonder who else in the current roster of singers can essay this badass role with such consistency in pitch, volume, and musicality. The confidence she exudes is a show in itself, alone worth the $15 ticket. There may be other singers who possess a more alluring sound (accounting for personal taste), but a purely technical mano a mano will surely crown Voigt as this generation's Voice That Can Launch a Thousand Ships Without Need of a Bullhorn. The impending Isolde next season shall be masterful, but I look forward to the Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde, and the Elektra (which you just have to do, Debbie, JFL and I agree). A friend e-mailed me, upon reading my most recent entries here, to inquire if I was on the hunt for a new hochdramatische sopran to worship (and my Catholic upbringing demands that I worship only one "Mary"). The answer: a confident not yet, though there are quite a few deserving alternatives, including Christine Brewer, Lisa Gasteen, Katarina Dalayman, and Adrienne Pieczonka. (Private to their agents: gifts appreciated, send e-mail for postal address.)

But back to the main point of Strauss's music. (Sorry to unload another Voigt drama, but in case you have yet to notice, this is nothing if not an obsession.) I've tried listening to entire recordings (the studio and live Jones, the Voigt, the Rysanek) but always end up lost (and bloated) in the Willy Wonka Strauss Factory. Attending a performance, and again (and again), always gives a work a more palpable form in one's mind, in this case assisted in large part by a sure hand at the pit, Maestro Fabio Luisi, who reveals the opera's intricate architecture in an open and balanced way. (I wonder how Christian Thielemann, originally tapped for this Met production, could have improved on it.) This, despite the poor stage business, which is now happily dissolving away in urgency and importance to me. There are moments of sonic grandeur and of repose, but with little space between. And recognizable phrases from FroSch, familiar attacks from Ariadne, the mystical exchange between Salome and Jochanaan is there, and the Elektra is rampant. In short, an elaborate Strauss salad, tossed with little care, pleasurable because it is rich and predictable in its unpredictability. A second evening with the opera certainly helped to wash away the insulting silliness of the production and the oddness of the narrative conceit, leaving more psychic space to accomodate the glory of the music and the impressive voices that rightly honor it.

See it at least twice! (I'm scheduled for at least four.)

19 March 2007

Hocus Focus #2

In an article on the new Helena production in this month's Met Playbill, we find this quote:

"If the production is presented in a manner that's faithful to the stage directions in the original libretto, it becomes cluttered with all sorts of curious details and local color," (production designer David) Fielding explains. "I wanted to strip that away, because I think the piece is really about the conflict between two marriages."
Say what? Truthfully I had to read the passage a number of times before believing my eyes, which by the way will be mostly shut during tonight's second helping. That's probably as good a description of Eurotrash productions as any: strip libretto's clutter away, then replace with own clutter. Brilliant.

18 March 2007

Hocus Focus

This morning's Meet the Press featured the following exchange:

TIM RUSSERT: The war in Iraq, four years old. Let me show you some numbers. After the first four years, US troops killed: 3,192; US troops wounded: 24,042; the cost is $351 billion, and if you include budget requests, it'd be about $500 billion; and the Iraqi civilian deaths, some 54,000. Congressman DeLay, is the war in Iraq worth the cost in life and treasure?

TOM DELAY: You said it yourself, Tim. It's been four years since America has been attacked by these terrorists. We seem to forget that we are at war ...
OK, second graders. Let's do some math. We were attacked, when? And the current year is, 2007? So, how many years has it been? And for bonus points, tell me again what happened four years ago?

17 March 2007

Cruel Trade-off?

Among the Aegyptische Helena reviews now out in print, I found only one that resonated with my thoughts on Deborah Voigt's evolving sound. Justin Davidson of Newsday wrote:

She is a wonder, a self-challenging singer with gentle intensity and a lustrous voice who has learned to be comfortable in a body that is half the size it was before her gastric bypass surgery.

It's hard to square her freshly svelte presence with the hulking image of a few years ago, just as it's hard to compare this one night's sound with an aural memory of her voice. To my ear, her voice has lost some of its buttery depth and sheen, yet her singing has gained in sinuous musicality. It's a cruel trade-off.
I e-mailed him about this particular quote, which I agree with entirely, and he responded with the following (quoted with permission):
I have to say I find this whole before-and-after comparison perplexing. When you're talking about something as changeable as a voice singing, how do you compare an experience with a memory of an experience of the same person's singing. I don't feel that recordings help much. And it's like when you meet someone you haven't seen in a long time: at first you're struck by the difference between what you remember and what you see. But within a minute or two, the contrast has faded, and you're just left with the person you have before you. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not particularly confident of my judgment in this case - among other things, she could just be getting older. And I certainly wouldn't mean my comments to be interpreted as disapproval of her surgery - that is entirely her affair.
Memory is the frailest evidence, but when clouded by passion, the most dangerous. I've attempted to buttress my current impression of Voigt's sound with a list of memories, organized chronologically, as if arguing for a hypothesis in science (my home base). Perhaps my thesis is nudged further because my memories, I'm finding, are shared by others, now including Davidson. Certainly no evidentiary threshold will ever be met by fans nodding at one another in agreement, but the larger point may that there is a growing number of ears tending the same direction. (The alternative explanation, age, which also crossed my mind but had to reject for a few reasons, is more tragic.)

I'm pleased that (basing on the Helena prima) Voigt has successfully managed the complications of dramatic weight loss, as far as technique and vocal fitness are concerned. She appears to be leading a healthier life, and she looks Fabulous (though to me she looked equally Fabulous when she was large) and vibrant and more comfortable in her new sensual glamour. But to this selfish fan, whose perception erupts from the unknowable intercourse between the senses and shadows of memory, it is essentially a "cruel trade-off". I'm still trying to get used to it.

16 March 2007

Voigt as Helena

Strauss DIE AEGYPTISCHE HELENA, Met 15.III.2007; c. Luisi; Voigt, Damrau, Kerl/Hendrick, Grove, Sorenson, Brendel.

The Voigt sound has changed indeed, but the good news is that she has once again regained the kind of technical security she's known for. Gone forever is the 'fat' sound, that creamy wonderment full to the seams, replaced by an edgier cutting sound that pierces the ear in a different way. The top register is once again complete, high Cs and thereabouts flawlessly spun. The entire evening I thought the Elektra would be a much better fit at this stage of her development than, say, the timid sister Chrysothemis (which she perfected) or the seductress Salome. Throughout the opera, Voigt held a remarkable stamina and dynamic consistency that few could match. To me, such an impressive display gives an indication that she has found a path to Bruennhilde. (I now think she can pull it all together in time for the new Ring staging at the Met scheduled for the 2010-11 season.) Her powerful shreiks, which were once thick, femme-muscular and candy-pleasurable, are now sharpened spears that come in fearsome waves. In some way, the new voice is more 3D than what she had pre-bypass, with a wider expressive spectrum, and a greater sense for words. I'd still trade it in for that old simple-but-celestial sound any day, but such is life, things have resettled nicely, and I guess we move on.

Diana Damrau is truly an impressive show of natural talent and intelligent deportment. Among the singers on stage, she was alone in transcending the utterly stupid production by David Fielding. Clearly Strauss and Hofmannsthal were on some kind of 'potion' while collaborating on this strange work (and not the potion of forgetting or remembrance either). I would wish, however, to take some of the potion of forgetting as an antidote to the thoroughly vacuous and insipid stage design and direction. David Fielding and his cohorts must have also been on some kind of 'potion' while creating this mess, it is clear. If not for Strauss's relentlessly distracting beautiful noise, and Maestro Fabio Luisi's admirable insistence (plus Damrau's physical charm and Voigt's alluring blonde), I would have pulled my eyes out of the sockets just to not see their next 'witty' bit. The production will henceforth be known as "The Love Boat Rescues Helena/Menelas And All Is Still Well In The Surrealist Toilet." I just giggled and snickered to maintain sanity and decorum. If there was anything more to do besides booing their curtain call, I would have also done it. (And yes, Ms. Linda Dobell, sticking your tongue out to the booing audience is as classy as your inane choreography.) There were screams of "Eurotrash! Eurotrash!", and I thought, c'mon guys, if you're gonna give us Eurotrash, at least arrange for a platoon of naked muscular men to parade around Aithra's island. What a magnificent waste.

15 March 2007

Aegyptische Helena Prima Day

1. Deborah Voigt is back at the Met, looking slimmer than ever. But how is her voice? It continues to (d)evolve as she sheds poundage, and it is a cause for concern to me. I approach tonight's prima with unaccustomed suspicion, a little nostalgia, but also some amount of hope.

2. I was a staunch admirer of the pre-gastric bypass Voigt sound: a classic sonic mass that flowed generously, and without strain reached to fill every crack and crevice of my metaphysical being. A generous portion of lard. Or an echoing chorus in church. Or a high cliff singing if it could. Less about what the voice did with words, it was its sheer physical presence, the pleasurable superfeminine bulk, that charmed me into toxic submission. Her Sieglinde, Die Kaiserin, Chrysothemis, and Ariadne thrilled me beyond words. (I regret missing her Elsa.) I had found my comfort food at the opera house.

3. Then, the gastric bypass heard 'round the world. After the operation (June 7, 2004), her first outing at the Met (as Elisabeth) on November 18 of the same year (!) was a remarkable success. She was minus 80 lbs., but the glory of her voice, save for very minor glitches, seemed to have survived the brutal change. Then, there was a run of Ballo Amelias in April, 2005 that didn't make unusual news, and a concert of German operatic works (with Ben Heppner) at Avery Fisher in November the same year, at which point it seemed the sonic architecture of the voice was still largely intact. All the while, her weight continued to drop. In the spring of 2006, she continued her Italian campaign at the Met with a reprise of her Forza Leonora and then the unveiling of her first Met Tosca. During this two-month span was when I noticed first real signs of trouble: inconsistency in power and pitch, tentativeness, frayed edges, which (with a measure of fan-pardon) can be worked to a dramatic advantage in Tosca but can never fly in the Verdi. At that point, the voice, precarious, could have gone either way. Meanwhile, a tentatively scheduled Bruennhilde for the 2008-09 Met Ring cycle was dropped. Which I of course took as further evidence of distress.

4. In the fall of 2006, the Salome at Chicago's Lyric Opera: Voigt was unanimously praised by the print press and the internet public, echoing to one another the conventional wisdom that the drastic weight loss had not (thank heavens, hallelujah) altered the sonic velvet at all. I'm not a singer (though I possess a solid high B-flat in falsetto, I swear), I don't claim to know the fine aspects of vocal anatomy and production, but speaking purely from the realm of bio-physics, it would surely be a stunning feat if shedding nearly half one's mass does not affect the sound that resonates in, and emanates from, the complex musculature of the neck, chest, and diaphragm. I had held on to the hope of such a miracle. Till Chicago. To my ears, things have indeed changed, perhaps irreversibly. Voigt's Salome did not impress me as much as I had hoped. It may have been the poor acoustics at the upper reaches of the Lyric, an unfamiliar vantage point, or the rage of Karita Mattila still echoing in the empty chambers of my skull. But more likely it was the rich sound of Voigt pre-bypass, the sound I could ID half-drunk, blindfolded, and tied upside down in a Polish prison, that haunted my evening. To me, that sound was no longer there, and Voigt was nowhere in its vicinity. She acted well, she threw herself into the drama and words with an admirable intensity, but alas without the thing that mattered (to me) most.

5. (Not?) coincidentally, I temporarily suspended blogging around that time of the Chicago Salome. My partner saw it was my reluctance to face the disappointment in such a public venue. I was also busy hammering together a "career," but now I recognize a bit of truth in my partner's acute analysis.

6. Which brings me to tonight's Die Aegyptische Helena.

14 March 2007

Checking back in with Meistersinger

Wagner DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NURNBERG, Met 13.III.2007; c. Keenan; Morris, Hong, Botha, Polenzani, Ketelsen, Nikitin, Zifchak.

It is a feat, for both sides of the footlights, to endure this work. Performance begins in full afternoon light, ending, after a 2-hour last act, after midnight. Thus, to have an engaging ensemble of singers is paramount. Equally, a conductor with a clear map and a good battle plan. It is difficult to judge Maestro John Keenan's work based on this single assignment, under the long shadow of James Levine (who'd been the sole Meistersinger conductor at the Met since 1993 till last evening), in a work possibly the most challenging of Wagner's to take in. But, I'll go ahead and venture that perhaps some of the brilliance of the opera's intricate weave was lost in Keenan's thoroughly brusque reading. As for the singers, James Morris has the whole Hans Sachs thing down. A voice of natural elegance and considerable size, sensitive to the words, mature in disposition. And his so-called "bark", which upsets a sizeable proportion of fans but has never offended me, is a quirk that works well in the character. As Eva, Hei-Kyung Hong labored during her dialogues with Sachs, which sit in a tessitura just below her comfort zone. But as soon as Wagner launches her line upwards in lyrical legato heaven, Hong is just perfect, youthful and simple. Johan Botha continues to improve as the Met's rising heldentenor, this time with a more secure "bigness" to the already attractive voice. Matthew Polenzani makes a sweet David, and Hans-Joachim Ketelsen a complete (remarkably not too caricaturish) Beckmesser. The only casting misstep may have been Evgeny Nikitin, whose voice lacked the stentorian presence to establish Pogner as a considerable ballast of the Guild. It hurts him more that the memory of Rene Pape's Pogner is surprisingly fresh in my mind.

Next in line: Aegyptische Helena and my complicated relationship with Deborah Voigt's ever changing voice.

09 March 2007

Met at the multiplex

We live for detail. An interesting article in a trade publication sheds light on the behind-the-scenes meganetwork that attends the now historic transmission of live opera from the Met stage. It includes tidbits from the box office:

"The Magic Flute" sold 91 percent of the available seats and its January encore sold 67 percent of capacity, according to Borchard-Young. "I Puritani" sold 68 percent of its seats, which totaled 16,000 seats in one day. "The First Emperor" sold 64 percent of capacity, but with 111 theaters, the total was the highest at 25,000 seats. "Our house capacity at the Met is only 4,000 seats ... so that's like selling out six productions at once."
(cf. the live Onegin, which sold 50,000 tickets) to the painful minutiae of bits:
The Met transmits HD video at 1080i/29.97, 1080i/25, and 720p/59.94 with PCM, MPEG Layer 2, and AC-3 audio coding at different data rates. Video data rates vary such as uncompressed video at 1.5 Gbps over Verizon HD circuits for the PBS stations, to 57 Mbps, 52 Mbps and 19.8 Mbps for some theaters. Live performances are satcast to the cinema network and the Franco-German Arte HD network over transponders on the AMC-5, Nimiq-2, AB-1, W-3, Sirius-2 European, and Sirius-2 Nordic satellites.

Within the Met ... the productions are shot in 1080i/29.97 with up to 14 Sony HDC-950/1000/1500 cameras. The same video goes out to all of the theaters, but the recorded video going to PBS stations has more close-ups inserted for the smaller home screen.
(I didn't know that the live simulcast and the subsequent PBS broadcast don't have identical content. Bizarre that I would care about such detail, but can all this explain what happened to me in Florida.) Which brings us to today's trivia question: Do you think the more-than-solid multiplex box office receipts (50,000 x $18 = $900,000 ... + ...) are contributing to the Met's bottom line? ... Seems the answer may be a curious "not yet."
Q: How does the money get apportioned? How much (percentage) goes to the movie houses, Fathom Events, Fandango, production and finally, to the Met itself?
A. We don't disclose finances on the initiative.
Q: Is the Met making money on these theatercasts?
A. The Met has a financial arrangement with the participating cinema partners.
Q: (next question)
(Q: Do you know how to answer a simple yes or no question? A: Yes and no.) WTF it's 4:30am, I'm going to bed. (Now back to our regularly scheduled "hiatus.")

02 March 2007

If it's Friday ...

... it must be chickenblogging day.

Last night I had the Sirius on for the Meistersinger broadcast while straightening up around the house, and then during dinner, after dinner, while reading work, up till I settled in and kissed the edge of sleep. But by the last hour I returned to full awareness, saying "wow this thing is long" and "wow this thing is really really good, I forgot how good it was."

I'm back to the opera house for this season's last Meistersinger; in the interim, I may have to duck out of sight for a bit, to sort a few life issues out.