01. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

It was absolutely no problem getting parking downtown. As I suspected. The only time there really is a problem is when we haven’t been forewarned. Funny how that happens!

After the rehearsal there was a good amount of traffic, and the parking garage was full. So there’s that. And no, I didn’t stick around to see and hear Hillary Clinton. After a rehearsal I’m fairly fried, and home is all I can think of.

Well, home and food!

Verdi makes me smile. Even when it’s a darn sad opera. There’s just something about Verdi ….

In other news … I just found a site called In C Major which provides concert information for a whole lot of things, and covers California, Washington and Oregon. Impressive! Opera San José is included in their SF South Bay listings. For some reason Symphony Silicon Valley is missing. Hmmm. Wonder why.

Anyway, it’s worth a look-see! Check it out.

01. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I just read this article on Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Will it be a hit on Broadway? The writer says …

My guess: It won’t happen. Though an accomplished, entertaining, musically sophisticated and dramatically uncompromising look at American culture at its freakiest, the opera (and it is an opera, more than Les Miserables) is the victim of its own ambition and passing fads.

Its real-life subject peaked years ago. Though opera is rarely concerned with being current, this one needs marketing momentum to override the risk that comes with a large, 33-member cast and the static that’s bound to greet this gleefully irreverent tour of America’s dark heart. It’s a white elephant, though an elephant, indeed, as opposed to a cheap-shot parody.

Okay … so why is it an opera? I haven’t seen nor heard it, aside from the little YouTube clips that I tried to watch. (Not my cuppa … not even close.) But when a writer says something is an opera but doesn’t give any clue as to why I want to scream. Well. Sort of. (I’m not a screamer, actually.)

I’ve often wondered what makes an opera an opera and a musical a musical. Some say it has to do with microphones (I heard that said on an NPR show once; that was the only difference the scholar who was speaking gave, and he was adamant about it. He was from the opera world. He came across as a snob. I was bugged.). But the microphone explanation is just silly, if you ask me. (He was saying this because of Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme which was coming out at the time. He was clearly mightily opposed to it.) Some say it has to do with spoken dialogue (a musical has it, an opera doesn’t), but then you have to put The Magic Flute and Carmen into musical territory, among others, and Les Mis, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar into opera. I prefer not to do that. Is it more about the singers? Style? Tons of vibrato and size of singers? (Well, that’s changing, isn’t it?) Is it about where it’s performed (meaning Sweeney Todd is a musical when done on Broadway and an opera when done in an opera hall?). Is it whatever the composer deems it?

I really do puzzle over this. Although, in all honesty, it probably doesn’t matter at all. But better to puzzle over things that don’t matter, I guess. Then if I get it wrong, who cares? ;-)

Ah, the splendid and humble Diva!

”I am big,” she insists, dark eyes widening. “I am big!” At the age of 36, Anna Netrebko is certainly as substantial a star as any in the new operatic firmament.

Oh, but wait! … is she just talking about her physical size? Later she says,

“I love to eat. If you let me, I’ll never stop. This is almost my biggest passion. And here it’s big, and it’s getting bigger because of the singing.” She presses the heels of her palms into the lats under her armpits. “Because of the breaths. All my dresses are getting small for me. I have to give them to my girlfriends – my pretty designer clothes. Before, I didn’t have any problem. After thirtysomething, I started to put on weight. I like it. Men like it. My boyfriend says, ‘Never lose it!’ But we’ll see. I don’t want to be fat, because I want to fit the beautiful clothes. This is most important.”

Too funny. You have to read the whole article … she really does crack me up.

What is it about some of these opera stars? They say the funniest things. I guess it’s just because they can.

We oboists? Well, we only talk about reeds and oboes and that sort of thing. And there is no oboe work that calls for nudity. Whew.

01. February 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I just received an email that says that Opera can’t provide parking for us today, and that there will probably be an extra 10,000 people downtown.

Yes. 10,000.

First of all, sending an email the day of the rehearsal is … well … it’s not going to reach everyone. I’m an email junkie, ’tis true, but not everyone is. And some musicians will probably wake up in time to get dressed and head on down. (Yes, many like to sleep in. A lot.) Some are coming from quite a distance, too. So we’ll see what happens.

So, wondering what the large event might be.

Hillary.

’nuff said.

(And no, I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for. Just like I didn’t tell the Clinton folks who called, and won’t tell the Obama folks either. I’m secretive that way. No one from the Republican party has called. Gee, I wonder why that is?)

Info you need to know. Or not.: Scratching an itch activates the memory and pleasure parts of the brain. Cool. It supresses the areas linked to the sensation of pain and emotions. Nice! But since it feels so good we can get compulsive about it. Not so cool.

What to do, what to do …?

I’m scratching my head over this one.

Update
I just checked online. The Hillary event doesn’t begin until 4:00. Surely our 1:00 rehearsal shouldn’t be as large an issue as I first feared. A 1:00 rehearsal means I get there a little after noon. I’m fretting less now. :-)