Archive for the ‘Opera’ Category

Heinlein Month: Bad shape

July 18, 2011

Cloistered SWF seeks poetic SWM, age not important, balcony-climbing skills a must. Send carrier pigeon to Villa Capulet. Your pic gets mine. No bots please.

You’re in bad shape when your emotions force you into acts which you know are foolish.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. 1958.)

The Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful, faithful classic. But — keep this under your hat because I don’t want to be kicked out of the super-cool smart kids’ club — the Baz Luhrmann hamfisted crazy-go-nuts adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is actually my favorite, because I unapologetically love his juxtapositive imagination and didn’t think it defiled the play particularly. A little excess never killed nobody. (Get it? A little excess? Oxymoron? Yes?) I like over the top lushness in a movie — I’m a decaphile and I’m not sorry for that. But I went with the picture of Olivia Hussey to illustrate this idea because she is so exponentially hotter than Claire Danes that Claire Danes just now suddenly got sad, purely from all of us nodding silently, and she doesn’t know why.

Left: Amateur hour. Right: Holy hell.

The mise-en-scene of Luhrmann’s R&J dazzles me, but compared to the chemistry in Zeffirelli’s 1968 version? There is no comparison. Absolutely none. By the way, am I the only one who read that thing where Zeffirelli claims to have totally been hit on by Aristotle Onassis? Still wrapping my mind around that one and weighing its potential truth. (Verdict so far: Depends. Was Onassis trying to get Zeff away from Callas once and for all? Or just bombed on some really good shit?) More on that story here, and don’t skip the comments for the full scope of the debate.

Goethe Month: Das Märchen [von der grünen Schlange und der schönen Lilie]

July 29, 2010

Rachel Weisz for Esquire.

“Remember the Snake in honour,” said the Man with the Lamp; “thou owest her thy life; thy people owe her the Bridge, by which these neighbouring banks are now animated and combined into one land. Those swimming and shining jewels, the remains of her sacrificed body, are the piers of this royal bridge; upon these she has built and will maintain herself.”

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Das Märchen/The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, 1795. Translated by Thomas Carlyle, 1832.)

[Das Märchen] portrays in imaginative form Goethe’s impressions of [Friedrich] Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a series of Letters. The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being.

(the wiki)

“Goethe’s Ferryman, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.” William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock.

The heroes of Goethe’s very atypical fairy tale are an elderly couple and a female snake. There are also four kings in an underground temple: one king is gold, another silver, the third bronze, and the last a mix of the three. The kings are pushy and really argumentative. I don’t want to judge, but I need to say that they just seem to disagree and threaten much more than necessary.

Cast of the short-lived TV series Four Kings (2006).*

Also featured: a dog named Mops; cabbage; onions and onyxes; a pair of tricky will o’ the wisps; and a dashing prince who is captivated by a beautiful flower. Their love is mutual but the lily is poisonous to anyone who touches her so, to their poignant agony, the lovers can’t consummate their passion. I think that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complications a prince and a flower might encounter, sexwise, but again — I try not to judge.

“Goethe’s Beginning, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.” William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock.

It’s actually kind of murky in Goethe’s story whether she’s a flower or a woman, for the record. Everyone calls her the fair lily and she has flowerlike attributes but she’s also got hands and can talk, and she is traditionally portrayed in illustrations as an actual woman. There is a modern opera based on this fairy tale, but I’ve never heard it. However, I predict the part of the fair lily is played by a human and not a flower. Flowers simply do not have the range for the coloratura compositions that had become the neoclassic fashion in the 1960s.

Beautiful Maria, patronest saintest of all my patron saints.

Look — Callas lily. Get it? God, I’m so awful. All done.

*I will never pass up an opportunity to post up pictures of Seth Green and I am neither sad nor proud about that. Also, Scrubs supafly ukemaster Kate Micucci, she of the brain-asplodin’ cuteness, was on Four Kings. Such a woeful disappointment that the show was canned.