Sunday, October 08, 2006

In the New York Times

"The New Met--Experience a new era of heightened theatricality." This is accompanied by a lovely photograph of Juan Diego Florez dressed for Count Almaviva. I think this is the path to public interest in opera in the twenty-first century, The Germans have realized this for a while, but we're not sure we like where it has led them. There is one thing I can say unambiguously--opera singers must improve their acting. When we see a well acted opera, it is a revelation.

There is a photograph of Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. This building is right across the street from the Dorothy Chandler Pavalion, the LA Opera venue, and we went there to see Mahler 3 between the operas. It has a set of organ pipes in front just like Davies, but these pipes look like there has been some kind of accident. The shape of the space is very strange, but the acoustics appear to be excellent, at least from where I was sitting.

Merce Cunningham is still around and performing in New York this week. His current production involves Ipods. If you don't have one, some will be on loan. There are pictures of the costumes which resemble "dress becomes body, body becomes dress" at the LA County museum.

I went to see Cunningham when I was still at Sacramento State and was extremely puzzled. We kept looking for the plot, when, of course, there isn't one. They were forced to dance on a steeply raked stage and managed not to fall off. John Cage and David Tudor accompanied on two pianos. They would reach inside every now and then and play the strings directly. A professor said, "you kids just don't understand." Like he did. It was a very long time ago.

I told the La Gioconda (currently in NY) joke to the opera tour members but did not get a laugh. In the old days we had no idea what was going on in this opera and just listened to the beautiful singing, Renata Tebaldi, e.g., but now there are translations of this very humorous plot showing above the stage. Eva Marton was singing Gioconda in San Francisco, and the words would flash on the screen, and the audience would laugh. Finally she could take no more. "It's not funny!" she said. The only inviolable rule for supertitles is that the audience shouldn't laugh at them.

You can learn to play guitar from tablature on line ( This is called a "revolution" but looks like regular guitar tablature to me. If you've never heard of it, I guess it's a revolution to you, but tablature is as old as regular notation.

Arvo Pärt is on the classical charts, as is Paul McCartney. Is there a magazine or free website that shows these charts?

New York is still the center of the universe, but I've been around too long. I've seen all these things before.

No comments: