We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The visually stunning, dreamlike new production at the Met last night knocked our socks off. The lacy ninjas running around and the traditional Japanese puppetry were, I felt, very cool. I don't get to opera too often these days - maybe twice or three times a year. It's always fun for me to realize that Butterfly was the pop, commercial music of 1904 despite being a sort of soul music with nary a hummable tune. Wagnerian touches, but lyrical and conversational, lush and still subtle. Butterfly was like avant-garde rock, or maybe the REM of the time.
'Twas my Christmas treat for some of my kids (Yes, K - you are one of mine now). One more Big Apple Treat tomorrow for the lucky bambinos before regular life resumes.
I suppose we are Puccini fans, but who isn't? Genius, with a musical complexity beyond my comprehension but fully within the ability to touch me. We visited his house in old Lucca, and his home church where he learned keyboard, two years ago but it feels like yesterday. Carpe diem...
This is not the diva we saw last night. We had the charming Canadian Liping Zhang, not Patricia Racette. It's a tough role, on stage non-stop and singing for three hours. Willing suspension of disbelief - Racette does not look 15 years old but it is Butterfly's youth and innocence which explains the tragic story. Nowadays, it might be considered a story about pedophilia and a dirty old man, but 15 used to be considered marriageable and still is, most places on the planet. Maybe a good idea...
Mrs. BD comments "Can you imagine Leontyne Price playing Butterfly?" No, and yes. (She did.) I always study an opera in advance, and then listen more afterwards. Listened to this bit at least 10 times today, between cleaning-up-Christmas tasks - takes me a long time to get a piece of music because, much as I love it and as much as it can reach my soul, I am musically-retarded (it's a Learning Disability! Where's my free money and goodies for that Disability?)
Can you hear the "waves of grain" with the American naval officer horny rascal Pinkerton, here?:
A few pics below the fold - but not of the production itself. I would not violate their rule because I love what they do for those of us who save our pennies for such wonderful experiences, and pass them on to the next generation as precious gifts.
Our little group had supper at The Grand Tier. We like to do that, with dessert and coffee at the first intermission. Lots of mink coats, and lots of parents with youth too (including us):
I never cared much for the concept of Lincoln Center (I think the cool things should be spread around town organically instead of centrally-planned), and I am not crazy about the architecture either - but it's the content that matters. View off the balcony towards Broadway, New York State Theater on the right (home of the NYC Ballet), and Avery Fisher Hall (home of the NY Philharmonic) on the left:
Beautiful setting for a beautiful opera. I remember a charming moment in the movie Victor, Victoria, where Jim Garner and Julie Andrews are trying out each other's lives. And Julie does exactly what I always do -- bursts into tears at 'Un bel di'. And Jim Garner looks uncomfortable, like most men do.
That's a great movie, by the way -- Victor Victoria. I cherish it because it's the last film Julie ever made as a singer, with her three octaves intact. Plus I've always loved Robert Preston.
I have never been there, but the pics are spectacular.
Only one opera in my history. It was an enourmous production of Il turco in Italia (The Turk in Italy) which was in theory a comic opera written by Rossini. The Hartford Civic Center was the venue and it was pretty cool I must say.
Couldn't understand a word of it, but the staging was very cool.
BD, it sounds like you had a wonderful time. Someday I'd like to attend the Met in person too.
You probably already know this, but one of the jewels in entertainment these days are the Met's live broadcasts (in High-Def) to theaters all over the country. They put you right on stage with the performers, and the sound is wonderful. Two rebroadcasts are coming in the next couple of weeks: Don Giovanni (Jan 9) and Handel’s Rodelinda (Jan 4), and several live broadcasts in the next few months, including La Traviata with Natalie Dessay. In my area it costs about $20, but it's worth every cent.
List of the Met's HD broadcasts: http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/liveinhd/LiveinHD.aspx