19. June 2009 · 6 comments · Categories: Opera, Ramble

I’m at the airport. Waiting. We always get to the airport plenty early, but that’s fine by me. I have this thing about time. And I get terribly upset if I’m late.

There’s free wireless here, but blogging more than this little blurb would be ridiculous because my brain is not quite in function mode yet. I plan on keeping it that way; may as well be ready to space out on the plane. (And I have my earplugs and noise canceling headphones to help with the noise of the plane.)

One thing I did want to quickly write about:

Last night, as I was walking up the stairs of the dress circle of the opera house at intermission, an older man with a British accent was busy telling the youner woman accompanying him about the opera. “Aside from Porgy and the widow you can’t understand a words they’re saying,” he said. “They may as well be singing Chinese.” Then he proceeded to say that everything was far to rigid but that, “That’s not Gershwin’s fault. It’s ours.”

He was clearly annoyed with the whole thing. And I have a feeling he is always there to critique in a negative way. He had that air about him. I can’t figure out why people like that attend performances.

And now, over & out.


  1. Hey, we were there too (but up in the cheap balcony seats)!

    My impression was that parts of the opera are just scored too heavily in the orchestra to allow the vocal lines to be heard clearly sometimes. But I sure enjoyed it all.

    I wonder what he meant by rigid – rhythmically? I didn’t notice that.

  2. I have to admit that I have attended performances where the singer, while articulating clearly, could not be understood (by me, anyhow) – I’m not sure why – the intonation and tone were good, they hit the notes and rhythms, but somehow I just could not understand the words (and this was in English, with which I am marginally familiar). It could be me – that for whatever reason my hearing could not separate the words from the music/sound. Being an instrumentalist I honestly don’t have a clue.

    I was going to make a crack about bassoonists and rhythm (I only get to do that because my wife are one) when I looked up the Hornists’ Nest (in remembrance of trying to explain how to swing eighths to three other horn players while practicing one of the Hornists’ Nest fripperies – i. e. quartets – and getting a blank stare back from six other eyes) and I discovered that they have transcribed some of them for bassoon. And trombone. And I can’t decide which is worse…

  3. Maybe you can’t decide which is worse because you’re a horn player. *And* an oboist.

    I’ll let you interpret that any way you want… 😉

    I mean, for gosh sakes, some oboists even *marry* trombonists. It’s no wonder an oboist can’t recognize which is worse between bassoon and trombone.

  4. Well, after playing the horn, it’s not like I could take up some wimpy instrument like…well, anyhow, I must admit to a certain puzzlement about them what marry trombonists. Although I did allow my daughter to take it up…what was I thinking? And now my son wants to play the clarinet (like his namesake). At least we’ve got one of those somewhere around the house (I think – where is that thing?).

  5. I might have married a trombonist, but he got smart eventually and no longer plays the thing. 🙂

    As to understanding words; I really don’t think you can understand singers all that clearly and I really don’t care. So there. 😉

  6. marionharrington

    Speaking as somebody who holds a UK passport but has lived in Spain since 1996, working exclusively with the Brits for the majority of that time, I’d be inclined to say that his comments could be largely due to nationality. For a large section of the older expat community here, the desire to colonise has not disappeared; Britain is still great and the only way to do things is the English way otherwise it’s worthless. Arrogence was one of the reasons I left and moved to Europe. These days I avoid expats like the plague. The Spanish are far more hospitable and friendly without the airs and graces of the Brits. I really admire the patriotism of the US. At least you guys have a country to be proud of.