30 July 2007

Trieste currently, + 8 lbs.

Was: Vienna, Udine, Cormons, Grado.
Next: Torino, Paris.
Eating so well.

20 July 2007

off to EWR


19 July 2007

(not so) breaking news: bait and switch at the Met

Now that gazillion dollars worth of tickets have been sold by the Met's aggressive subscription campaign, we're getting some major revisions to the casting of some operas. Our intrepid investigator Leyla, who apparently spends lunch breaks trolling the Met website (love ya Leyla!), has uncovered a number of weird changes, including possibly the biggest insult cutie Matthew Polenzani will get in his lifetime:

Who better to portray the world’s most famous lovers than opera’s ultimate charismatic duo, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón? Gounod’s ultra-sensual interpretation of Shakespeare is an ideal vehicle for their unique and incandescent appeal. Matthew Polenzani takes on the role of Roméo for two performances, including the Met's New Year's Eve gala. The irresistible Nathan Gunn is Mercutio and Plácido Domingo presides on the podium.
Ouch. [Yeah, sorry to those who were hoping to usher in the new year with those pricey Netrebazon tickets. Looks like Netrebzani shall have to do, unless she drops out too, and you're left with ... uhm ... Swenzani or O'Flynnzani.]

Other changes: Papian gets some of Guleghina's Normas; Griffey in, Shicoff out of Peter Grimes; Bayrakdarian cedes some Susannas to Siurina; Guleghina grabs some Lady Macbeths from Gruber; TBA now singing Lady Macbeth in the movieplex simulcast. More to follow, we're sure.

[P.S. Miraculously, the Alagna-Gheorghiu schedules remain intact. Good news to Sieglinde, bad news to many of you.]

midsummer drift

Final score (7/18/07): Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1.
Yanks now just 7 games behind the Red Sox.

[Programming note: in the next few weeks: Paris, a (mostly food) tour of northern Italy, and some Austria. Blogging may or may not happen: anyone's guess, really.]

17 July 2007

13 July 2007

have you ever felt so large and so small at the same time

in the gulf there is the closing sun and as the fire tip dissolves into the far water line i drift with the small waves far from hard digits and all lovely sound suddenly thousands of tiny fish cross my path or i cross theirs some start reaching up out into the air liquid silver bursting from the wide blue green a couple hit my face i start screaming but it is a clear fight for life and i'm in their only way and j dear j laughs at this scene even as other fish bang up eyeless against him too oh we are happy in the small ungoogled places in the world we know the slow step of time touches with some gentleness ours on this day at this minor minute just as the smooth coral sky joins another bowl of night and becomes others' the next forming morning

Plan years ahead, or win the lotto, or else get pregnant in November

Last year there were nine applicants for each of the 53,900 seats available for the Bayreuth Festival (www.bayreuther-festspiele.de). The festival ticket office keeps a waiting list for people who apply by mail before October of the previous year. Every consecutive year someone applies, that person moves up the list. “From what I've seen, after five to seven years, you get the jackpot,” said Harry L. Wagner, the publisher for the Wagner Society of New York. Applications: Bayreuther Festspiele, Kartenbüro, Postfach 100262, D-95402, Bayreuth, Germany.

Wagner Societies get tickets, usually not enough for all members. “Generally speaking, a new member will have to wait two to three years to get tickets,” said Mr. Wagner of the Wagner Society of New York (212-749-4561; www.wagnersocietyny.org), where regular memberships start at $50 a year.

Several tour groups offer travel packages. Value Holidays (800-558-6850; www.valhol.com) offers an 11-day trip to Bayreuth including airfare, hotels, sightseeing and tickets for $5,998 plus taxes.

The truly desperate can line up at the Festspielhaus on the morning of a performance in hopes of an unwanted ticket's becoming available. “When I was nine months pregnant I stood in front of the Festspielhaus ticket office with a sign saying ‘We Need Tickets,' ” said Eva Graf-Handel, who owns a hotel in Bayreuth. “It worked.”

12 July 2007

a flash thunderstorm
La Guardia, main terminal
stopped time felt endless

Opera is about voices, not bodies. It is an art of long-distance perceptions: only a small portion of the audience is close to the stage, and TV or film distorts the medium entirely. Yet some opera house directors and managers (who cannot tell a good voice from a mediocre one) focus instead on an easier criterion—namely, who looks fat onstage and who looks thin.

The Met soprano Ruth Ann Swenson recently complained that she is underemployed because she is not “skinny enough” for Met general director Peter Gelb, who in his previous job as head of Sony Classical was guilty of promoting the ghastly, shrieking British “crossover” singer Charlotte Church.
Read the rest of Benjamin Ivry's short comment, titled "Size Doesn't Matter," in Commentary magazine's blog, contentions. Sieglinde's glad other so-called 'traditionalists' in the net are giving thought to similar issues.

11 July 2007

NYC, mini-heatwave.

10 July 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy n'a pas laissé passer l'occasion de saluer la mémoire de l'artiste Régine Crespin, qui vient de disparaître. Dans un communiqué, le chef de l'Etat soulignr que, "avec sa disparition, une grande voix française s'éteint. Régine Crespin avait lié son histoire à celle des plus grands opéras, du palais Garnier à Bayreuth en passant par Londres, Vienne et New York. Par sa voix, son talent mais aussi son humour et sa générosité, Régine Crespin a été une grande ambassadrice de la culture française. Elle nous quitte aujourd'hui mais nous nous rappellerons toujours ses interprétations impérissables, la Maréchale du chevalier à la Rose, Sieglinde, la Tosca, Didon."
[We're still awaiting word from the White House on the death of America's beloved soprano Beverly Sills.]

09 July 2007

08 July 2007

Atlantic City (foreground), Atlantic Ocean (background)