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Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love"
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For the next three weekends the best entertainment deal in SoCal is the Pacific Opera Project’s production of L’elisir d’amore by Donizetti in 1832. It’s at the tiny but acoustically resonant Ebell Club in Highland Park between downtown and Pasadena. The Elixir of Love is a comic opera, or “jocose melodrama,” about a traveling quack snake oil salesman who sells a love potion that actually … works … because it’s alcohol.

Appropriately, you’re encouraged to drink wine during the show.

The Elixir of Love is the 13th most popular opera in the world in the 21st Century, so you’re getting the good stuff that people really like, not something you are supposed to watch for edification’s sake (like POP’s recent production of Stravinsky and Auden’s The Rake’s Progress).

I saw a production of The Elixir in Chicago about 25 years ago that was exceptionally realistic because it was set in a Prohibition Era dry county in Kansas where nobody was familiar with the effects of liquor. Greg Cochran has perused a Merck manual from a 110 years ago and noted that this vast pharmaceutical conglomerate was based on a lot of elixirs that, admittedly, wouldn’t cure what ails you but would make you feel better for about an hour because they were mostly alcohol, if not cocaine.

POP’s production, however, is set in a 1950s malt shop with Nemorino as a lachrymose soda jerk in love with the Peggy Sueish Adina. He is aided in his quest by the Little Richard-like Dr Dulcamara in his struggle for Adina’s heart versus The Fonz/Biff Tannenish Sgt. Belcore.

It’s sung in Italian with the English supertitles drawn from countless 1950s songs. POP’s impresario Josh Shaw sometimes writes a new English libretto for the singers, but other times POP lets the singers sing in the original Italian while it projects above the set a comic pseudo-translation in English. Thus, Dr. Dulcamara’s aria might get translated as, say:

Tutti frutti, oh rutti,
Wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom!

I went to the dress rehearsal tonight of this sandlot opera production tonight and was disappointed, having seen a half dozen earlier POP operas about the backstage travails of putting on an opera — the soprano throwing a snit, the financial backers flaking, the set collapsing in a heap, etc — that the cast and crew were already in fine fettle and no amusing catastrophes ensued.

$65 for an Everybody Goes to Rick’s-style table for 2 with a platter of salami, cheese, crackers, and fruit, $120 for a table for 4 with food. A bottle of Big Kahuna wine from Trader Joe’s is about $12. Just like Donizetti promised, cheap wine makes everything better.

Okay, so for $32.50 you don’t get Pavarotti, but you didn’t get to eat and drink while Pavarotti was singing, so I’d say it’s a wash. Luciano looked like a fellow who enjoyed eating and drinking, so he’d have wanted you to go.

 
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  1. I remember the dinner-movie pairings. One place in New York was doing them for $60 or some similarly huge number. Babette’s Feast with French food, Godfather with Italian, etc.

    I can’t remember if they did Silence of the Lambs with pate de fois gras, fava beans, and a Chianti, or if that was an urban myth.

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  2. I expected Derbyshire to comment on opera.
    Best to Sailer and to Derbyshire.

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  3. I like Donizetti: we once went to a Don Pasquale and I’ve been warbling the tunes ever since.

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  4. Caruso’s pre WW I version recorded on wax cylinders has been cleaned up and is available in several formats. Caruso and Pavarotti are one of the proofs of God’s existence.

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    • Replies: @Tracy
    I like Caruso's stuff not cleaned up as well. My Italian-side Grandpa loved his Caruso, and hearing those crackly recordings brings back a flood of memories. "Una Furtiva Lagrima" is my very favorite, too! I'm glad Steve posted it so those who haven't heard it will fall in love with it.
  5. Steve, your informative yet amusingly gracious review makes me want to move to West Covina (a short, traffic-free drive from the POP’s home).

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  6. OT: Anne Applebaum at the WaPo just got in the running early for the most hilarious sentence of the year in a story about how the biggest fear of all of her very elite friends in Sweden is, of course, Trump and Bannon:

    My Swedish companions think their country has absorbed and assimilated large numbers of refugees in the past couple of years pretty well, but of course there are tensions, and tensions can be exploited.

    Comedy gold.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/what-happens-to-us-why-sweden-is-so-worried-about-the-trump-administration/2017/02/08/59ce0ca6-ee17-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?utm_term=.12d082299ecf#comments

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    Her Swedish pals probably read Dagens Nyheter, a leading paper which has half a dozen Trump-negative articles per day. (Owned by the Bonniers family. The editor, Peter Wolodarski, cough cough, hated on Trump all the way and had a huge meltdown when Trump won. They are somehow considered 'centre-right' in Sweden.)

    Let's see, at the time of writing we have on DN:s front page:

    "Trump not permitted to speak in British Parliament"
    "Trump sure he will win in court"
    "Anger at Trump for stopping Iranians" (man, those Iranians have found a pretty good PR agency)
    "Analysis: Trump is starting to see his limitations: striking down the travel ban is a slap in his face"
    "The court argument against the travel ban"
    "Bad guys must go to Guantanamo" (Trump)
    "The man who wants to tear it all down" (Steve Bannon!)

    They should give Trump a revenue share for providing them with so much content.

    (NB. Travel ban is my translation of the seven muslim countries order.)

  7. To be added to Sailer’s Slander Properly Low Center manila folder:

    Steve Sailer- vino sippin’, opera luvin’,RAV 4 admiring fascist on budget….

    It’s totally 1938. over and over again.

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  8. You know who also likes opera?

    Leon Botstein, a conductor and the president of Bard College, believes that Puccini’s music created a vacuum into which authoritarianism could enter. “His was a musical aesthetic that the state could easily appropriate,” said Botstein. “It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/08/donald_trump_s_favorite_aria_by_puccini_nessun_dorma_is_sort_of_fascist.html

    The fat lady never got the memo:

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    • Replies: @Kylie
    Omg. You are bloody effing kidding me.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Puccini was in fact quite blasé about Fascism and was notably pro-German during the first year of the Great War.
    On the other hand, he was not a great composer, and he knew it. The story goes that one day he was going through a Wagner score on the piano while another composer listened.
    When he had finished he sat back, sighed, and said: "Compared to that, you and I are mere guitar strummers."
    , @SPMoore8
    Botstein on Puccini: "“It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That's the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don't say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don't say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is "music that provides resistance to a fascist regime"? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there's an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma", but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it's a goofy cover, but it's not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It's like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it's like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it's an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it's also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it's a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.
  9. @Immigrant from former USSR
    I expected Derbyshire to comment on opera.
    Best to Sailer and to Derbyshire.

    Sung in Chapter 74. Nice to see some bel canto on iSteve.

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  10. Read More
    • Replies: @Olorin
    You beat me to it! (Damn, I like this pub.)

    I'm not partial to tenors and always thought Pavarotti sounded like a schnauzer.

    Björling? Perfect.

    I'll add the best Au fond du temple of all:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI


    Et fidèle à ma promesse,
    Comme un frère je veux te chérir !
    ...
    Oui, partageons le même sort,
    Soyons unis jusqu'à la mort !
     
    Happy Sessionsday, compadres.
  11. Gorsuch’s recent criticism of Trump has me worried.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-judiciary/318565-could-court-pick-gorsuch-be-a-crypto-liberal-conservatives

    And then I read above that he attends a left wing, social justicy church.

    Uh oh.

    I’m feeling sick in the pit of my stomach.

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    • Replies: @Prof. Woland

    And then I read above that he attends a left wing, social justicy church.
     
    You mean the Episcopal Church?
  12. Bathhouse Rock or Threepenny Opera?

    If I were that albino with a wig, I would probably avoid a company of Luo fetishists:

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  13. A few weeks ago on iSteve, we were all commenting on an article by a newly teetotal young woman complaining about the fact that every activity in the US now involves alcohol. I guess no one is immune.

    If you listen to Pavarotti on LP or CD at home, you drink cheap wine, unbutton your tux trousers, and scratch your balls during the performance, providing the ultimate high-low culture experience.

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    • Replies: @bored identity
    Thanks for sharing Chis...

    My prosaic weekends will finally get some meaningful leisure-time activity;

    BTW, does it have to be tux trousers, or $$$ Adidas sweatpants would do the thing?




    Also, what is Pavarotti ?
  14. At least according to the movie Amadeus, people ate and drank at operas back in the early days of the art.
    BTW, the LA Opera’s, eat your spinach it’s better for you philistines, production of Phillip Glass’s Ahknaten was worth seeing except for the naked principal. The score is nothing you would be humming but worked with the opera and if you want to hum it anyway, it’s easy:
    DEEDLEEdeedleedeedleedeedlee
    DEEDLEEdeedleedeedleedeedlee
    DEEDLEEdeedleedeedleedeedlee
    DEEDLEEdeedleedeedleedeedlee
    deedleeDEEDLEEdeedleedeedlee
    deedleeDEEDLEEdeedleedeedlee
    deedleeDEEDLEEdeedleedeedlee
    deedleeDEEDLEEdeedleedeedlee
    As the apocryphal story goes, an avant garde composer about to premiere his latest atonal work turned to the audience and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, all my life I have suffered for my art. Now it’s your turn”.

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  15. Thanks, Steve. Good to be reminded that there’s something in this world other than political conflict.

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  16. L’elisir d’amore has the distinction of having inspired not just one, but three of W.S. Gilbert’s libretti: Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack; The Sorcerer; and The Mountebanks. That is some sort of tribute to the genius of the original.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Sullivan: Oh, Gilbert! You and your world of topsy-turvydom. In 1881, it was a magic coin, and before that it was a magic lozenge, and in 1877 it was an elixir.

    Gilbert: In this instance it is a magic potion.

    -Topsy-Turvy, 1999, written by Mike Leigh

    (By the way, my favorite line from the movie is:

    Gilbert: "Sullivan & Gilbert?" Who are they?)
    , @Olorin
    When resident troll Tiny Duck came to these parts, I was hoping They was a bittersweet snake-elixir peddler...or a Savoyard of elevated wit...rather than a mere toxic weed.

    Reverted to the clarity of our host's invitation to use They for batting practice.

  17. steve thank you for the suggestion.. You have a huge # of readers in the LA Metro area that can drive to this. Highland Park is the most interesting neighborhood in S Cal

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  18. I’ve always liked this opera; you don’t find yourself waiting an hour for the ‘good stuff’. But somehow I completely missed the alcohol thing – I always thought that just the belief in the potion rather than the potion itself was what worked …

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  19. @Crawfurdmuir
    L'elisir d'amore has the distinction of having inspired not just one, but three of W.S. Gilbert's libretti: Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack; The Sorcerer; and The Mountebanks. That is some sort of tribute to the genius of the original.

    Sullivan: Oh, Gilbert! You and your world of topsy-turvydom. In 1881, it was a magic coin, and before that it was a magic lozenge, and in 1877 it was an elixir.

    Gilbert: In this instance it is a magic potion.

    -Topsy-Turvy, 1999, written by Mike Leigh

    (By the way, my favorite line from the movie is:

    Gilbert: “Sullivan & Gilbert?” Who are they?)

    Read More
    • Replies: @robt
    I was very disappointed in that movie. Almost no G&S music ...
  20. Not a big fan of Donizetti but…gotta LOVE the pure beauty of “Una Furtiva Lagrima.” Pavarotti’s version? Silver. Bjoerling? Pure gold.

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  21. I’ve heard Pavarotti is L’elisir and he wasn’t all that good. So don’t worry about missed opportunities. And good production with local singers makes a lot of sense for L’elisir. It’s hard for smaller opera companies to cast certain operas with parts that require extreme vocal resources. But L’elisir does not make great demands on even tiny opera companies.

    But first let me explain why I didn’t like Pavarotti as Nemorino. I caught him too early in this part.

    The first Nemorino I heard was Alfredo Kraus and he was wonderful. He looked good (he was a Spanish language movie star). He sang beautifully and he acted the part to perfection. Many opera fans think Kraus was the best tenor ever. But not me as it happens. I prefer bigger, richer voices. But Kraus at least knew the part.

    Pavarotti came into town about two years later and stepped into the L’elisir production replacing Kraus. The rest of the cast was the same – Ingvar Wixell, Reri Grist, and Paolo Montarsolo. But Pavarotti didn’t know the part. Or should I say he hadn’t yet learned the part.

    Pavarotti was always slow to learn music. He couldn’t read music and had to have the notes pounded into his head by a repitituer. Many years later Pavarotti cancelled a Mefistofele at SF Opera because he couldn’t learn the part. When he did Otello at Chicago. He sang only a concert version and had an assistant conductor in a box under his feet to prompt him.

    When Pavarotti eventually learned the part it was one of his best roles. He had always had the right voice for Donizetti. When I heard him he was better than Kraus in the aria (Kraus had what was described as a ‘honey and lemon’ sound – little acidulous) but in every other way – for example: singing in ensembles, appearance and acting – Kraus was superior. I’ve heard several other L’elisir productions. Pavarotti remains in my memory the worst. The best Nemorino in modern times was probably Rolando Villazon.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bythesea
    Rolando Villazon was indeed a great Nemorino but after a series of vocal crises several years ago his voice no longer has the beautiful tone and power that were his characteristics. It's a tragedy for him and for opera lovers that that he burnt out like that. He's only about 45.

    The best belcanto tenor singing today is Juan Diego Flórez. Here he is singing Una Furtiva.

  22. One of Donizetti’s lesser known operas is Maria Di Rohan. I framed a poster of this opera and presented it to my Irish mother as a Christmas gift because it was a fancy rendition of her name – Mary Rohan. She loves it!

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  23. …you’re getting the good stuff that people really like, not something you are supposed to watch for edification’s sake.

    A hearty BRAVO to that!

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  24. @Chrisnonymous
    A few weeks ago on iSteve, we were all commenting on an article by a newly teetotal young woman complaining about the fact that every activity in the US now involves alcohol. I guess no one is immune.

    If you listen to Pavarotti on LP or CD at home, you drink cheap wine, unbutton your tux trousers, and scratch your balls during the performance, providing the ultimate high-low culture experience.

    Thanks for sharing Chis…

    My prosaic weekends will finally get some meaningful leisure-time activity;

    BTW, does it have to be tux trousers, or $$$ Adidas sweatpants would do the thing?

    Also, what is Pavarotti ?

    Read More
  25. I know a sixtysomething lady who volunteers a few times a month at the downtown performing-arts center. She often is able to watch whatever play or opera is being staged that night. (Sometimes she gets stuck outside, but many times she serves as an usher.)

    She enjoys it thoroughly and makes it into a social event – she and a girlfriend* ride together and split the parking cost. She says it can be demanding – almost like having a second job – but is rewarding. And she does get free tickets.

    *Lest you get the wrong impression, she’s happily married.

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  26. @Pat Boyle
    I've heard Pavarotti is L'elisir and he wasn't all that good. So don't worry about missed opportunities. And good production with local singers makes a lot of sense for L'elisir. It's hard for smaller opera companies to cast certain operas with parts that require extreme vocal resources. But L'elisir does not make great demands on even tiny opera companies.

    But first let me explain why I didn't like Pavarotti as Nemorino. I caught him too early in this part.

    The first Nemorino I heard was Alfredo Kraus and he was wonderful. He looked good (he was a Spanish language movie star). He sang beautifully and he acted the part to perfection. Many opera fans think Kraus was the best tenor ever. But not me as it happens. I prefer bigger, richer voices. But Kraus at least knew the part.

    Pavarotti came into town about two years later and stepped into the L'elisir production replacing Kraus. The rest of the cast was the same - Ingvar Wixell, Reri Grist, and Paolo Montarsolo. But Pavarotti didn't know the part. Or should I say he hadn't yet learned the part.

    Pavarotti was always slow to learn music. He couldn't read music and had to have the notes pounded into his head by a repitituer. Many years later Pavarotti cancelled a Mefistofele at SF Opera because he couldn't learn the part. When he did Otello at Chicago. He sang only a concert version and had an assistant conductor in a box under his feet to prompt him.

    When Pavarotti eventually learned the part it was one of his best roles. He had always had the right voice for Donizetti. When I heard him he was better than Kraus in the aria (Kraus had what was described as a 'honey and lemon' sound - little acidulous) but in every other way - for example: singing in ensembles, appearance and acting - Kraus was superior. I've heard several other L'elisir productions. Pavarotti remains in my memory the worst. The best Nemorino in modern times was probably Rolando Villazon.

    Rolando Villazon was indeed a great Nemorino but after a series of vocal crises several years ago his voice no longer has the beautiful tone and power that were his characteristics. It’s a tragedy for him and for opera lovers that that he burnt out like that. He’s only about 45.

    The best belcanto tenor singing today is Juan Diego Flórez. Here he is singing Una Furtiva.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Boyle
    Florez has the style and the color but not the size. I always call him the 'Singing Peanut". In a big American opera house he simply has too small a voice.

    Chris Merritt for example the Rossini star tenor of a generation before had a much bigger voice that was appropriate for the major Rossini roles. He also sang Lohengrin - something that Florez is not likely to do.

    Of course Merritt's voice was unlovely but at least he was plausible in the big houses and big roles.
  27. @bored identity
    You know who also likes opera?


    Leon Botstein, a conductor and the president of Bard College, believes that Puccini’s music created a vacuum into which authoritarianism could enter. “His was a musical aesthetic that the state could easily appropriate,” said Botstein. “It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”


    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/08/donald_trump_s_favorite_aria_by_puccini_nessun_dorma_is_sort_of_fascist.html
     
    The fat lady never got the memo:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4fOuD8PyMQ

    Omg. You are bloody effing kidding me.

    Read More
  28. @Kylie
    https://youtu.be/aVjvFX98qMY

    You beat me to it! (Damn, I like this pub.)

    I’m not partial to tenors and always thought Pavarotti sounded like a schnauzer.

    Björling? Perfect.

    I’ll add the best Au fond du temple of all:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI

    Et fidèle à ma promesse,
    Comme un frère je veux te chérir !

    Oui, partageons le même sort,
    Soyons unis jusqu’à la mort !

    Happy Sessionsday, compadres.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kylie
    Thank you. It was worth the headache I got from weeping. It always is.
  29. Off Topic:

    Bill Kristol says:

    “Look, to be totally honest, if things are so bad as you say with the white working class, don’t you want to get new Americans in?”

    “Basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two, three, four generations of hard work, everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled, whatever.”

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  30. @Crawfurdmuir
    L'elisir d'amore has the distinction of having inspired not just one, but three of W.S. Gilbert's libretti: Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack; The Sorcerer; and The Mountebanks. That is some sort of tribute to the genius of the original.

    When resident troll Tiny Duck came to these parts, I was hoping They was a bittersweet snake-elixir peddler…or a Savoyard of elevated wit…rather than a mere toxic weed.

    Reverted to the clarity of our host’s invitation to use They for batting practice.

    Read More
  31. If you ever get to Verona, Steve, there’s a six-week summer opera festival in the Roman amphitheatre – I’m no an opera buff, but it’s a glorious setting to watch it in, the staging is a spectacle, and tickets are cheap for opera – 22 euros, though top seats are a lot more. Holds about 25,000 people.

    OT – the President of South Africa’s State of the Nation address was interrupted by MPs from Julius Malema’s party (in red shirts). Somewhat chaotic scenes ensue. That Jacob Zuma doesn’t fire a gun into the ceiling like President Camacho, he calls in the security guards. Start about 17 minutes in, that’s when it gets heated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB-a-6ec4l4

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  32. They’d have to pay me some bucks and give me alcohol to sit through an opera. Man all that so called culture like opera, ballet, musicals, are torture for me to sit through. I’d hold up better with waterboarding if they wanted to get some info out of me.

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  33. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    OT: Ninth Circus Court of Appeals lives up to its reputation. I suppose getting a Supreme Court ruling will have to be Trump’s consolation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    The point at issue is whether there is enough evidence to overturn the Washington State Temporary Restraining Order. This is not about the validity of of the Executive Order itself. That's something that will be discussed in Washington State later. Therefore if it goes to the SCOTUS, it will only be going there to get the justices to say that the Executive Order is "so important" and the TRO is "so dangerous" that the TRO should be overidden.

    However, again, that's not the end of the case, because the XO is now going to litigated (as to lawfulness) in Washington State, and then there will be a decision on that, and depending on how that goes, it will go back to the Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS, etc.

    What Trump has to do now is to change visa issuance policy. If he can. If there are no more visas out there a lot of the order becomes moot.
  34. @bored identity
    You know who also likes opera?


    Leon Botstein, a conductor and the president of Bard College, believes that Puccini’s music created a vacuum into which authoritarianism could enter. “His was a musical aesthetic that the state could easily appropriate,” said Botstein. “It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”


    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/08/donald_trump_s_favorite_aria_by_puccini_nessun_dorma_is_sort_of_fascist.html
     
    The fat lady never got the memo:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4fOuD8PyMQ

    Puccini was in fact quite blasé about Fascism and was notably pro-German during the first year of the Great War.
    On the other hand, he was not a great composer, and he knew it. The story goes that one day he was going through a Wagner score on the piano while another composer listened.
    When he had finished he sat back, sighed, and said: “Compared to that, you and I are mere guitar strummers.”

    Read More
  35. @Anonymous
    OT: Ninth Circus Court of Appeals lives up to its reputation. I suppose getting a Supreme Court ruling will have to be Trump's consolation.

    The point at issue is whether there is enough evidence to overturn the Washington State Temporary Restraining Order. This is not about the validity of of the Executive Order itself. That’s something that will be discussed in Washington State later. Therefore if it goes to the SCOTUS, it will only be going there to get the justices to say that the Executive Order is “so important” and the TRO is “so dangerous” that the TRO should be overidden.

    However, again, that’s not the end of the case, because the XO is now going to litigated (as to lawfulness) in Washington State, and then there will be a decision on that, and depending on how that goes, it will go back to the Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS, etc.

    What Trump has to do now is to change visa issuance policy. If he can. If there are no more visas out there a lot of the order becomes moot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Move out of the SF Bay area. Trump will nuke it. I have it on good authority. Okay, I am that good authority. Okay it was my suggestion that Trump nuke SF - but only after you and yours are evacuated. And nuking with neutron bombs. Because poisoning the three judge panel with polonium seems just too Russian.
  36. so for $32.50 you don’t get Pavarotti, but you didn’t get to eat and drink while Pavarotti was singing, so I’d say it’s a wash.

    Steve, we’re trying to have a civilization here!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S449KdjPKrY

    Read More
  37. @bored identity
    You know who also likes opera?


    Leon Botstein, a conductor and the president of Bard College, believes that Puccini’s music created a vacuum into which authoritarianism could enter. “His was a musical aesthetic that the state could easily appropriate,” said Botstein. “It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”


    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/08/donald_trump_s_favorite_aria_by_puccini_nessun_dorma_is_sort_of_fascist.html
     
    The fat lady never got the memo:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4fOuD8PyMQ

    Botstein on Puccini: ““It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That’s the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don’t say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don’t say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is “music that provides resistance to a fascist regime”? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there’s an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang “Nessun Dorma”, but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it’s a goofy cover, but it’s not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It’s like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it’s like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it’s an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it’s also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it’s a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Know who else didn't provide any resistance to a fascist regime? Effing Beethoven. Nazis used Beethoven quite deliberately, in fact. Same thing with the allies, who ridiculously associated the motif from the first movement of the 5th symphony with Morse code for "victory," among other things. Which goes to show how far this "didn't provide any resistance to" nonsense gets you.

    (I don't consider the fact that Puccini lived a couple of years into Mussolini's reign a meaningful distinction. Beethoven's music was, if not as alive as ever a century after his death, at least still kicking. More alive than much modern music ever would be.)

    You bring up Prokofiev, and of course there are too many politically sinning artists in the modernist pantheon to mention. As with everything else, the rightists and mere non-rabid leftists have it worse. Leni Riefenstahl is basically Hitler, whereas 9 out of 10 people will never pause to think about the political implications of Sergie Eisenstein. I've stopped caring. We'll set up our own pantheon when we wrest back control of high culture.

    But you never know. Reputations rise and fall. Orwell is slowly becoming synonymous with badthink on Jews and gays. Ezra Pound, on the other hand, an actual fascist, gets honorable mentions. I guess because they're comfortable knowing his reputation is squashable whenever they choose. If you can be of use to them, like for instance the novels of Celine may be to anti-war movements, they'll let you slide despite actual, overt fascism. They're inconsistent like that.

    It's the arbitrariness power affords them. They can bring you down or raise you up, almost at will.

    , @guest
    I think Pavarotti or one of the other Tenors was supposed to sing it and got sick, so they looked around thinking "Who can fill in?" There's Aretha; she's famous. She's got pipes for a rock n soul singer, right? Might be a gas to see her out of her element.

    It was a pointless exercise, musically, and the equivalent of click-bait for tv back then. The point of those things is to get people watching and talking, though, so I guess you hey did they their jobs.

    It was a novelty act. She doesn't have any business singing like that. They should have done an R&B version, at least, but I don't suppose there was time.

    Well, if you ever wanted to hear Aretha Franklin sing a classical aria, there you go. Though I don't know why you would.

    , @bored identity
    1938...aargh!



    "Italy under Mussolini welcomed Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, both banned by the Nazis.
    Igor Stravinsky was a popular figure in Italy (granted he was an opportunist and to the Right politically, but he was widely considered a musical radical and eventually had to flee Europe).

    Though European Fascism saw Communism as the greatest threat, Mussolini invited Soviet performers and, in defiance of their country, insisted they personally pocket their fees.

    Until and even past 1940 to some degree, Jewish composers and American black artists such as Paul Robeson and the choral Fisk Jubilee Singers were welcome.

    Bela Bartók, a ferocious anti-fascist, made much needed money in Italy before he fled Europe (and nearly starved in America, finally dying of medical neglect from initially misdiagnosed leukemia in New York City, but lived long enough to be evicted from his apartment on his death bed.)

    Strangely, the premiere of Berg's Wozzeck was a critical hit in Rome in 1942 -- starring the twenty seven year old Tito Gobbi, conducted by the sixty four year old Tullio Serafin."

    http://mrsjohnclaggartssadlife.blogspot.ru/2013/04/mussolinis-composers-running-from-opera.html

     

    , @bored identity
    1938...aargh!



    "Italy under Mussolini welcomed Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, both banned by the Nazis.
    Igor Stravinsky was a popular figure in Italy (granted he was an opportunist and to the Right politically, but he was widely considered a musical radical and eventually had to flee Europe).

    Though European Fascism saw Communism as the greatest threat, Mussolini invited Soviet performers and, in defiance of their country, insisted they personally pocket their fees.

    Until and even past 1940 to some degree, Jewish composers and American black artists such as Paul Robeson and the choral Fisk Jubilee Singers were welcome.

    Bela Bartók, a ferocious anti-fascist, made much needed money in Italy before he fled Europe (and nearly starved in America, finally dying of medical neglect from initially misdiagnosed leukemia in New York City, but lived long enough to be evicted from his apartment on his death bed.)

    Strangely, the premiere of Berg's Wozzeck was a critical hit in Rome in 1942 -- starring the twenty seven year old Tito Gobbi, conducted by the sixty four year old Tullio Serafin."

    http://mrsjohnclaggartssadlife.blogspot.ru/2013/04/mussolinis-composers-running-from-opera.html

     

  38. @Olorin
    You beat me to it! (Damn, I like this pub.)

    I'm not partial to tenors and always thought Pavarotti sounded like a schnauzer.

    Björling? Perfect.

    I'll add the best Au fond du temple of all:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI


    Et fidèle à ma promesse,
    Comme un frère je veux te chérir !
    ...
    Oui, partageons le même sort,
    Soyons unis jusqu'à la mort !
     
    Happy Sessionsday, compadres.

    Thank you. It was worth the headache I got from weeping. It always is.

    Read More
  39. @SPMoore8
    Botstein on Puccini: "“It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That's the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don't say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don't say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is "music that provides resistance to a fascist regime"? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there's an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma", but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it's a goofy cover, but it's not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It's like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it's like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it's an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it's also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it's a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.

    Know who else didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime? Effing Beethoven. Nazis used Beethoven quite deliberately, in fact. Same thing with the allies, who ridiculously associated the motif from the first movement of the 5th symphony with Morse code for “victory,” among other things. Which goes to show how far this “didn’t provide any resistance to” nonsense gets you.

    (I don’t consider the fact that Puccini lived a couple of years into Mussolini’s reign a meaningful distinction. Beethoven’s music was, if not as alive as ever a century after his death, at least still kicking. More alive than much modern music ever would be.)

    You bring up Prokofiev, and of course there are too many politically sinning artists in the modernist pantheon to mention. As with everything else, the rightists and mere non-rabid leftists have it worse. Leni Riefenstahl is basically Hitler, whereas 9 out of 10 people will never pause to think about the political implications of Sergie Eisenstein. I’ve stopped caring. We’ll set up our own pantheon when we wrest back control of high culture.

    But you never know. Reputations rise and fall. Orwell is slowly becoming synonymous with badthink on Jews and gays. Ezra Pound, on the other hand, an actual fascist, gets honorable mentions. I guess because they’re comfortable knowing his reputation is squashable whenever they choose. If you can be of use to them, like for instance the novels of Celine may be to anti-war movements, they’ll let you slide despite actual, overt fascism. They’re inconsistent like that.

    It’s the arbitrariness power affords them. They can bring you down or raise you up, almost at will.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    There's that old joke about realist painters painting what they see, impressionist painters painting what they feel, and socialist realist painters painting what they hear: Namely, what the culture commissar wants them to paint. Nowadays, painters (or any creative person) doesn't have to be "good" or "bad" (how lame!) they merely have to worship the proper idols and say the proper things.

    I gave up trying to convert people to classical music and also a lot of prior culture a long time ago. That is because virtually anyone who lived before yesterday, somewhere, said something nasty about Jews (therefore, anti-Semite), blacks (therefore, racist), homosexuals (therefore, homophobe), women (therefore, misogynist), and so on. So all it takes is for someone to point that out and presto! someone has an excuse to not read anything that wasn't written by Ta Nehisi Coates or listen to anything that wasn't recorded by Lady Gaga. Which leads me to think that the moral standards of the left not only allow them to "appreciate" culture solely on the basis of its politics, but also to be intellectually lazy, and in fact proud of that laziness and really ignorance because of their progressive politics.
  40. @SPMoore8
    Botstein on Puccini: "“It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That's the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don't say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don't say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is "music that provides resistance to a fascist regime"? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there's an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma", but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it's a goofy cover, but it's not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It's like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it's like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it's an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it's also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it's a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.

    I think Pavarotti or one of the other Tenors was supposed to sing it and got sick, so they looked around thinking “Who can fill in?” There’s Aretha; she’s famous. She’s got pipes for a rock n soul singer, right? Might be a gas to see her out of her element.

    It was a pointless exercise, musically, and the equivalent of click-bait for tv back then. The point of those things is to get people watching and talking, though, so I guess you hey did they their jobs.

    It was a novelty act. She doesn’t have any business singing like that. They should have done an R&B version, at least, but I don’t suppose there was time.

    Well, if you ever wanted to hear Aretha Franklin sing a classical aria, there you go. Though I don’t know why you would.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kylie
    Franklin doing "Nessun Dorma" was a desecration. Even worse than Streisand attempting Schubert's setting of "Auf dem Wasser zu singen".

    Creatures like these two can't conceive that a song might be anything but a showcase for their vocalizing.
  41. @DaninMaryland
    Gorsuch's recent criticism of Trump has me worried.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-judiciary/318565-could-court-pick-gorsuch-be-a-crypto-liberal-conservatives

    And then I read above that he attends a left wing, social justicy church.

    Uh oh.

    I'm feeling sick in the pit of my stomach.

    And then I read above that he attends a left wing, social justicy church.

    You mean the Episcopal Church?

    Read More
  42. @guest
    Know who else didn't provide any resistance to a fascist regime? Effing Beethoven. Nazis used Beethoven quite deliberately, in fact. Same thing with the allies, who ridiculously associated the motif from the first movement of the 5th symphony with Morse code for "victory," among other things. Which goes to show how far this "didn't provide any resistance to" nonsense gets you.

    (I don't consider the fact that Puccini lived a couple of years into Mussolini's reign a meaningful distinction. Beethoven's music was, if not as alive as ever a century after his death, at least still kicking. More alive than much modern music ever would be.)

    You bring up Prokofiev, and of course there are too many politically sinning artists in the modernist pantheon to mention. As with everything else, the rightists and mere non-rabid leftists have it worse. Leni Riefenstahl is basically Hitler, whereas 9 out of 10 people will never pause to think about the political implications of Sergie Eisenstein. I've stopped caring. We'll set up our own pantheon when we wrest back control of high culture.

    But you never know. Reputations rise and fall. Orwell is slowly becoming synonymous with badthink on Jews and gays. Ezra Pound, on the other hand, an actual fascist, gets honorable mentions. I guess because they're comfortable knowing his reputation is squashable whenever they choose. If you can be of use to them, like for instance the novels of Celine may be to anti-war movements, they'll let you slide despite actual, overt fascism. They're inconsistent like that.

    It's the arbitrariness power affords them. They can bring you down or raise you up, almost at will.

    There’s that old joke about realist painters painting what they see, impressionist painters painting what they feel, and socialist realist painters painting what they hear: Namely, what the culture commissar wants them to paint. Nowadays, painters (or any creative person) doesn’t have to be “good” or “bad” (how lame!) they merely have to worship the proper idols and say the proper things.

    I gave up trying to convert people to classical music and also a lot of prior culture a long time ago. That is because virtually anyone who lived before yesterday, somewhere, said something nasty about Jews (therefore, anti-Semite), blacks (therefore, racist), homosexuals (therefore, homophobe), women (therefore, misogynist), and so on. So all it takes is for someone to point that out and presto! someone has an excuse to not read anything that wasn’t written by Ta Nehisi Coates or listen to anything that wasn’t recorded by Lady Gaga. Which leads me to think that the moral standards of the left not only allow them to “appreciate” culture solely on the basis of its politics, but also to be intellectually lazy, and in fact proud of that laziness and really ignorance because of their progressive politics.

    Read More
  43. After reading this, I bought a table for Valentine’s Day. Thanks! It’s even cheaper than flowers and the missus will be quite surprised with my left-field choice (we usually spend weekend at warehouse techno parties!)

    Read More
  44. @SPMoore8
    Botstein on Puccini: "“It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That's the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don't say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don't say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is "music that provides resistance to a fascist regime"? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there's an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma", but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it's a goofy cover, but it's not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It's like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it's like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it's an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it's also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it's a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.

    1938…aargh!

    “Italy under Mussolini welcomed Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, both banned by the Nazis.
    Igor Stravinsky was a popular figure in Italy (granted he was an opportunist and to the Right politically, but he was widely considered a musical radical and eventually had to flee Europe).

    Though European Fascism saw Communism as the greatest threat, Mussolini invited Soviet performers and, in defiance of their country, insisted they personally pocket their fees.

    Until and even past 1940 to some degree, Jewish composers and American black artists such as Paul Robeson and the choral Fisk Jubilee Singers were welcome.

    Bela Bartók, a ferocious anti-fascist, made much needed money in Italy before he fled Europe (and nearly starved in America, finally dying of medical neglect from initially misdiagnosed leukemia in New York City, but lived long enough to be evicted from his apartment on his death bed.)

    Strangely, the premiere of Berg’s Wozzeck was a critical hit in Rome in 1942 — starring the twenty seven year old Tito Gobbi, conducted by the sixty four year old Tullio Serafin.”

    http://mrsjohnclaggartssadlife.blogspot.ru/2013/04/mussolinis-composers-running-from-opera.html

    Read More
  45. @SPMoore8
    Botstein on Puccini: "“It represented a regressive, narcotic, illusionistic music that didn’t provide any resistance to a fascist regime.”

    Such nonsense. That's the kind crap Hanslick used to write about Wagner, and a lot of people have written about Italian and German composers who had the bad luck to live where various forms of fascism succeeded in the 20th Century (R. Strauss, Pfitzner, Respighi, Puccini.)

    But they don't say it about Prokofiev (who actually returned to Soviet Russia, and wrote a birthday cantata for Stalin that has to be heard to be believed (not bad, BTW, musically)) or Shostakovich, and they don't say it about Hindemith who left Germany in 1938, etc.

    What exactly is "music that provides resistance to a fascist regime"? Again, just stupid crap.

    I seem to recall there's an interesting reason why Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma", but I have forgotten. From a purely classical POV it's a goofy cover, but it's not that bad.

    Opera is an acquired taste. It's like the difference between a three hour David Lean epic and a 43 minute long TV episode. Alternatively, it's like a musical with the additional challenge that all the dialog is sung, in addition to the musical numbers (BTW, not always the case, but only starting in the later 19th Century.) As such, it's an enormous creative challenge to the operatic composer and it's also an enormous aesthetic challenge to the listener. Personally, I think it's a taste worth acquiring, but, whatever.

    1938…aargh!

    “Italy under Mussolini welcomed Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, both banned by the Nazis.
    Igor Stravinsky was a popular figure in Italy (granted he was an opportunist and to the Right politically, but he was widely considered a musical radical and eventually had to flee Europe).

    Though European Fascism saw Communism as the greatest threat, Mussolini invited Soviet performers and, in defiance of their country, insisted they personally pocket their fees.

    Until and even past 1940 to some degree, Jewish composers and American black artists such as Paul Robeson and the choral Fisk Jubilee Singers were welcome.

    Bela Bartók, a ferocious anti-fascist, made much needed money in Italy before he fled Europe (and nearly starved in America, finally dying of medical neglect from initially misdiagnosed leukemia in New York City, but lived long enough to be evicted from his apartment on his death bed.)

    Strangely, the premiere of Berg’s Wozzeck was a critical hit in Rome in 1942 — starring the twenty seven year old Tito Gobbi, conducted by the sixty four year old Tullio Serafin.”

    http://mrsjohnclaggartssadlife.blogspot.ru/2013/04/mussolinis-composers-running-from-opera.html

    Read More
  46. @SPMoore8
    The point at issue is whether there is enough evidence to overturn the Washington State Temporary Restraining Order. This is not about the validity of of the Executive Order itself. That's something that will be discussed in Washington State later. Therefore if it goes to the SCOTUS, it will only be going there to get the justices to say that the Executive Order is "so important" and the TRO is "so dangerous" that the TRO should be overidden.

    However, again, that's not the end of the case, because the XO is now going to litigated (as to lawfulness) in Washington State, and then there will be a decision on that, and depending on how that goes, it will go back to the Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS, etc.

    What Trump has to do now is to change visa issuance policy. If he can. If there are no more visas out there a lot of the order becomes moot.

    Move out of the SF Bay area. Trump will nuke it. I have it on good authority. Okay, I am that good authority. Okay it was my suggestion that Trump nuke SF – but only after you and yours are evacuated. And nuking with neutron bombs. Because poisoning the three judge panel with polonium seems just too Russian.

    Read More
  47. @bob sykes
    Caruso's pre WW I version recorded on wax cylinders has been cleaned up and is available in several formats. Caruso and Pavarotti are one of the proofs of God's existence.

    I like Caruso’s stuff not cleaned up as well. My Italian-side Grandpa loved his Caruso, and hearing those crackly recordings brings back a flood of memories. “Una Furtiva Lagrima” is my very favorite, too! I’m glad Steve posted it so those who haven’t heard it will fall in love with it.

    Read More
  48. @guest
    Sullivan: Oh, Gilbert! You and your world of topsy-turvydom. In 1881, it was a magic coin, and before that it was a magic lozenge, and in 1877 it was an elixir.

    Gilbert: In this instance it is a magic potion.

    -Topsy-Turvy, 1999, written by Mike Leigh

    (By the way, my favorite line from the movie is:

    Gilbert: "Sullivan & Gilbert?" Who are they?)

    I was very disappointed in that movie. Almost no G&S music …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Boyle
    Not only is there almost no G&S music in the film, what little there is - is sung by non-singers
  49. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    OT: Anne Applebaum at the WaPo just got in the running early for the most hilarious sentence of the year in a story about how the biggest fear of all of her very elite friends in Sweden is, of course, Trump and Bannon:

    My Swedish companions think their country has absorbed and assimilated large numbers of refugees in the past couple of years pretty well, but of course there are tensions, and tensions can be exploited.


    Comedy gold.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/what-happens-to-us-why-sweden-is-so-worried-about-the-trump-administration/2017/02/08/59ce0ca6-ee17-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?utm_term=.12d082299ecf#comments

    Her Swedish pals probably read Dagens Nyheter, a leading paper which has half a dozen Trump-negative articles per day. (Owned by the Bonniers family. The editor, Peter Wolodarski, cough cough, hated on Trump all the way and had a huge meltdown when Trump won. They are somehow considered ‘centre-right’ in Sweden.)

    Let’s see, at the time of writing we have on DN:s front page:

    “Trump not permitted to speak in British Parliament”
    “Trump sure he will win in court”
    “Anger at Trump for stopping Iranians” (man, those Iranians have found a pretty good PR agency)
    “Analysis: Trump is starting to see his limitations: striking down the travel ban is a slap in his face”
    “The court argument against the travel ban”
    “Bad guys must go to Guantanamo” (Trump)
    “The man who wants to tear it all down” (Steve Bannon!)

    They should give Trump a revenue share for providing them with so much content.

    (NB. Travel ban is my translation of the seven muslim countries order.)

    Read More
  50. @guest
    I think Pavarotti or one of the other Tenors was supposed to sing it and got sick, so they looked around thinking "Who can fill in?" There's Aretha; she's famous. She's got pipes for a rock n soul singer, right? Might be a gas to see her out of her element.

    It was a pointless exercise, musically, and the equivalent of click-bait for tv back then. The point of those things is to get people watching and talking, though, so I guess you hey did they their jobs.

    It was a novelty act. She doesn't have any business singing like that. They should have done an R&B version, at least, but I don't suppose there was time.

    Well, if you ever wanted to hear Aretha Franklin sing a classical aria, there you go. Though I don't know why you would.

    Franklin doing “Nessun Dorma” was a desecration. Even worse than Streisand attempting Schubert’s setting of “Auf dem Wasser zu singen”.

    Creatures like these two can’t conceive that a song might be anything but a showcase for their vocalizing.

    Read More
  51. @robt
    I was very disappointed in that movie. Almost no G&S music ...

    Not only is there almost no G&S music in the film, what little there is – is sung by non-singers

    Read More
    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Actually, I liked "Topsy-Turvy" a lot because it was a good demonstration on the nuts and bolts that go into putting on a show, everything from blocking and dialog to costumes to choreography . I certainly didn't expect it to be a straight run through of "Mikado." The delivery of "The Sun Whose Rays " at the end was very nicely done.
  52. @Bythesea
    Rolando Villazon was indeed a great Nemorino but after a series of vocal crises several years ago his voice no longer has the beautiful tone and power that were his characteristics. It's a tragedy for him and for opera lovers that that he burnt out like that. He's only about 45.

    The best belcanto tenor singing today is Juan Diego Flórez. Here he is singing Una Furtiva.

    Florez has the style and the color but not the size. I always call him the ‘Singing Peanut”. In a big American opera house he simply has too small a voice.

    Chris Merritt for example the Rossini star tenor of a generation before had a much bigger voice that was appropriate for the major Rossini roles. He also sang Lohengrin – something that Florez is not likely to do.

    Of course Merritt’s voice was unlovely but at least he was plausible in the big houses and big roles.

    Read More
  53. @Pat Boyle
    Not only is there almost no G&S music in the film, what little there is - is sung by non-singers

    Actually, I liked “Topsy-Turvy” a lot because it was a good demonstration on the nuts and bolts that go into putting on a show, everything from blocking and dialog to costumes to choreography . I certainly didn’t expect it to be a straight run through of “Mikado.” The delivery of “The Sun Whose Rays ” at the end was very nicely done.

    Read More

Comments are closed.

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