Sunday, October 28, 2007

'Round 'round, git around, she git around

Alright, it was my first Iphigenia in Taurus. The music seemed pedestrian (which turned out to be an omen of future events) The libretto seemed lame, the bulk of story happens offstage and elsewhere. All we get to see is Iffy waiting to kill her brother then trying to kill her brother then not killing her brother.
The thing doesn't work unless we know the whole bloody story of the Anaisiwhooses family.
It's more of an episode than a complete work.
(Tune in next week when Iff and Oreo have it out big time on "Laugh in with the Gods")
The story doesn't actually show up much on stage.
Not having a college education, I am not familiar with that particular saga.
I assume that it is a lot like the soap opera "Dallas" which I never watched.
My point is a single work of art should be complete in itself.
The four episodes of "The Ring" are.
I had this problem with Morning becomes Electra, which starts out with the murder of the only (seemingly) rational member of the gang.
The set was gorgeous. Like an old Rembrandt or some other famous oil painting.
Anyway, getting out of the one episode and back into the myth as a whole, that girl sure got around for some one who started all the trouble by getting herself killed.
I can understand the fascination that this story had for P.D.Q.
But what do I know?
Only he who is running nose.
Audience response was enthusiastic.
They are probably all "persons of an higher education persuasion"
So, on our way out, while I was planning all the clever things I would say to you here, the Volvo ceased functioning properly ("crapped out on us" is the technical term) so we had to wait at the local 7-11 for a tow truck and I missed a significant proportion of SNL.
I'm pretty sure that it's the hot wire mixture control huachamacallit
It broke at about 150,000 mi so I can't complain.
That's not true, is it?
I make a habit of complaining.
It's an Art and a sport.
I notice on other blog sites that the subject of the vitality of "Classical Music" is still being bruited about.
I'm not sure what, if anything, that's all about.
Terms need to be defined.
Terms like "Classical"
"Death of"
"Audience for"
"Record sales"
"Record sales"
Wait I do know what that one means, even though I can't spell it
(spellcheck has "no suggestions")
There seems to be some rumbling about a woman's place in the music biz.
I always think of Nannerl's choice.
Hmmm...should I go on the road like my silly brother borrowing money and hoping the next show will be a hit and then die young (freeze to death in a garret is the technical term)?
Or should I marry the count and live in the warmth and comfort that wealth and social position can provide and live long enough to reap the rewards of the little snot's fame?

I suppose I could reach for my Gutman or my Hildesheimer either one of which is a mere arms length away and look up who or what she did marry, but, you know why bother?

I think it's a post called "attitude" in which I outline the definitive and comprehensive history of music.

While talking to a telephonic fund raiser for the Seattle Opera, Meredith, in order to demonstrate who made the money in this menage a deux, mentioned that I wrote "serious music"

She doesn't read by blogs.


Which means, like "Adios" and "Addio" "To God"

I'm not expecting you to die for Enzo's sake.

See yez on the 'morrow.



Blogger butch said...

I love it when you quote and sing along with the BEACH BOYS. Yet when I think of them all I resonate with is GOOD VIBRATIONS, which was their attempt at "serious music".

Iphigenia in Taurus Summary | Part 1 Summary
This classical Greek play continues the mythic, archetypal story told in several other Greek plays - The Oresteia by Aeschylus and the Electra's of Sophocles and Euripides, among others. Two long-lost children of the slaughtered king Agamemnon are reunited under surprising circumstances and plot to escape both their earthly imprisonment and servitude to the will of the gods. The play makes thematic statements, revolutionary in the world of pre-Christian religion, about the nature of, and relationship between, destiny and free will.

The play is set in the courtyard of a temple sacred to the goddess Artemis. Iphigenia comes out, and, in a long speech, explains who she is, how she came to Tauris, the way that she became a priestess, and her role in the rituals of the temple. She reveals that she is the daughter of the Greek king Agamemnon, and that she was betrothed to the legendary warrior Achilles. She also reveals that Agamemnon was commanded by the gods to sacrifice her to Artemis so he and his army could sail to another country to rescue a kidnapped woman, the legendary Helen of Troy. Iphigenia goes on to say that, at the moment she was to be killed, Artemis replaced her with a deer, brought her to Tauris, and set her up as the high priestess of the temple there. Finally, she reveals that as a continuation of an ancient tradition, she prepares any Greek that comes to the island of Tauris for ritual sacrifice.

Iphigenia then recounts a dream she had the night before in which she saw the destruction of a temple. She interprets the dream to mean that her brother Orestes, who was still a baby when Artemis took her, is dead and that she is the only living member of her family. She then goes into the temple to make ritual offerings to Artemis in memory of her brother.

Orestes and Pylades appear, and after making sure they aren't being pursued, they agree that this must be the place to which they have been sent by a decree from the god Phoebus Apollo. As they comment on the blood and bones of sacrificed Greeks visible beneath the altar, Orestes then speaks a long prayer to Phoebus. He reveals his role in his family's troubled history, and that he killed his mother, Clytemnestra, in revenge for her murder of his father Agamemnon and that avenging goddesses called Furies have driven him close to madness and pursued him relentlessly all over Greece. He also reveals that when he prayed to Phoebus for freedom from their pursuit, the god commanded him to journey to Tauris, steal the statue of Artemis from her temple and bring it back to Greece, all of which would end his suffering.

At the conclusion of the prayer, Orestes and Pylades discuss how to go about stealing the statue. Orestes worries about being executed if they're caught and suggests they run away, but Pylades tells him that that would be foolish and cowardly. He suggests they hide until dark and steal the statue then. Orestes agrees, and they go back out in the direction from which they came.

Iphigenia in Tauris
By Christoph Willibald Gluck
Sat., Oct 13, 2007 - Sat., Oct 27, 2007
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 13 minutes, with 1 intermission
McCaw Hall

In French with English Captions

Overview Synopsis Artists Photos Sights & Sounds Articles & Interviews Speight's Corner Press Sponsors
Experience “two of the most absorbing hours of opera in memory” (Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly) This exquisite co-production with the Metropolitan Opera debuts in Seattle before heading directly to New York. Don’t miss this “rare treasure…of astonishing beauty” (R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer), featuring “glorious music; a charmed cast of brilliant singing actors, a beautifully sensitive orchestra, and emotionally intelligent staging” (Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times).

Long Story Short: Supposedly-dead sister reunites with her long-lost
brother and his best friend, bringing an ancient saga about the cycle of violence to
a happy ending.
Who’s Who?
Iphigenia, High Priestess of Diana among the barbarous Scythians, comes from the
original dysfunctional family. Her father, the Greek king Agamemnon, sacrifi ced her to the
gods in exchange for smooth winds so he could sail his armada to Troy to fi ght the Trojan
War. But his wife Clytemnestra murdered him when he came home, to revenge Iphigenia.
Unknown to either parent, Iphigenia was not, in fact, killed: the goddess Diana whisked
her away from the sacrifi cial altar to Tauris, a distant kingdom where she has been a very
unwilling High Priestess ever since, responsible for offering human sacrifi ces to Diana.
Orestes, her brother, murdered their mother Clytemnestra to avenge her murder of
his father. Ever since, he has been driven mad by the demonic Furies. The god Apollo
encouraged him to come to Tauris in order to steal the treasure from the temple of Diana
and thereby placate the Furies.
Pylades is Orestes’s best friend and has stayed with him
through thick and thin.
Thoas is King of the Scythians; he fears foreigners and
immediately sacrifi ces any found in his land to Diana.
Diana (Roman name of the Greek goddess Artemis) is the
chaste goddess of the hunt and sister of Apollo.
The Furies, fearsome gods who long ago sprang out of the
blood that spilled forth when Jove cut off the testicles of his
father, the sky-god Uranus, torment and punish anyone who
hurts a member of his own family.
The other characters are Scythians, Priestesses of Diana,
and Greeks.
Where & When?
In Tauris, a kingdom on the Black Sea, in the decade following
the Trojan War.

As to soap operas, which differ from horse operas in that it is more difficult to figure out who the horse's asses are, you are accurate in your appraisel of them without watching them. Old college buddy Patrick Duffy made a few bucks while on DALLAS. They couldn't even kill Bobby off. FALCON CREST, and several other nighttime soap operas had the same kind of overly ripe plots of human interactions, drug abuse, sexism, racism, pregnacy, abortion, fast cars and loose women. I'm sure, even though I did not see it, your opera had all these qualities and shortcomings. Like David Niven said while presenting at the Academy Awards, when the streaker flashed by behind him, "Isn't it interesting how some men boast about their shortcomings."
I, for one, would like to see LAUGH IN WITH THE GODS. Although when you think about it, isn't that what life, what our perception of reality already is?

Set design in Opera and Theatre is really an art form in itself, and perhaps the most expensive part of any production. I remember some gargantuan sets for shows I appeared in at the Seattle Repetory Theater, and the surprise I encountered when I found out how much they cost. Art design in films is much the same kind of animal. You are just dead in the water if the "world" of the play, film, or opera is not properly suggested or portrayed.

As a card carrying, diploma bearing member of that special club of "persons of a higher education persuasion", I can assure you that only thing you ever missed out on in terms of a college education was the student loan paybacks. I always forget that you dropped out of Huskytown. Your education came to you the old fashioned way. You read books, went to theater, opera, films; talked to people; read more books. Your education, for the most part, was not soiled and influenced by the system of education, bad teachers, peer pressure, and parking permits.

God protect us from the curse of the failed or broken "hot wire mixture control whatchamacallit". Even the trusty stalwart Volvo is prone to break downs. Christ, what is this world coming to? What's that all about? I have had several bad premonitions about mechanical failure of one my vehicles. That's why I just had my Isuzu winterized to the tune of 700 smackers. But even then I worry, fret, can see myself coming out from work, or from the house to go to work, or in a huge parking lot at one of the mall theaters, and my trusty stead not being able to get to its feet, just lying there prostrate and dysfunctional. I hate those feelings. They have something to due with Mars being aligned with the moon, or some shit. Astrologers were always telling me that something or other was in retrograte, and that I needed to be extra careful.

I tend to forget that FFTL is a "Classical Music" site, and when you launch into various rants about it, I always feel so inadequate. Maybe when you are through educating me, and many like me, I will feel less insecure. Not.

Where is a woman's place? Next to her man, or her lesboman, or her pet, or her purse? Women have always had the "power" over men. It is the most basic of truths. I, for one, as a man, am damned sick and tired of hearing them whine about equality in any work place or form of endeavor. Christ, we, as men, should be doing the whinning. My wife tells me that we already do and are.

You kind of lost me with the Hildescheimer reference. Does it have something to do with Joyce's FINNEGAN'S WAKE? Wasn't "Nanneral" Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's sister? In my ignorance, that is all I can come up with. Was there an opera about her, or are you just flaunting your "classical education"? Mozart did die in a garrot. Just go back and watch the blockbuster AMADEUS. I'm sure it was historically accurate.

Ms. Meredith really should read your blogs, should be a regular contributer here on FFTL. Look what she is missing out on.


6:56 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Gutman and Hildeschimer are the authors of the Mozart biographies on my shelf.
Yeah, Wolfie's sister, said by some to be as good a musician.
She had sense enough to not go into "the biz".

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herr Savant:
Having a college education through the Ph.D. hasn't made me any more familiar with the history of the House of Atrius than you are; it is probably a pre-christian-era version of "Dallas", as you say.

"Mourning becomes Electra" would have been better if the music were by Douglas Palmer!!

Even if she doesn't read your blogs, the LL still hopes you pass along our regards to her and Keth, please.

Regards und Tschüß,
-- Anonomann

3:57 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Got home last night before Melva. She works out at Curves, and did a library run. I found our home without power, totally dead in the puddle; no juice whatsoever; not even the phones worked. I went into the basement and checked the breaker box, and it was OK. What a mystery! I checked with the neighbors on both sides of me, and they had power. Then I checked with the neighbors across the street, and they too were without power. But at least they understood why. A squirrel had walked across a transformer on our common electric phone pole, and fried itself, shorting out everything. There he was half fried and frozen half on the transformer, half off. We used our cell phones to call the power company. It took them an hour to respond. I went out and got some take out food for us. We were sitting in the dark, eating by candlelight, which was kind of cool, when the power came back on.

It is amazing what we take for granted in our hectic lives. Electricity is way up there on the expectation list. This was a reality check, and not a nice one. The fridge, the freezer, the furnace --all off. I have survived in homes without power for a week years ago after a big freeze and cold snap, with dropping trees on lines, etc; but each time it happens it jolts me back into a new frame of reference. It is like Doug and Meredith coming out of the opera to find their Volvo would not start; a reality check. Last year I was at a meeting in Tacoma on a week night, and I offered to give a person a ride home. My truck would not start. I called the tow truck, and towed it to my mechanic in Puyallup, and the tow truck driver was nice enough to drive me home. Melva was out of town, don't you know. Turned out that my fuel pump had failed, and in the Isuzu it is inside the gas tank, so it had to be drained and partially removed. What is the deal with that, Doug?

Anyway, as I get older, and more disabled (not that I was much of a handyman when I was healthy) these minor catasrophies (?) make me very uneasy, perhaps a little crazy. I always feel like such a helpless boob, some kind of random victim in the great scheme of things; like breaking down on the freeway, and watching humanity whizz by you at 70mph oblivious to your pain and frustration.

My electrician has not called me back yet, and my plumber is getting anxious to put in the second sump pump before the typhoons hit. More stress, and more trepedation. But hell, this life is still a grand adventure, and as I sit here this morning, listening to Yo-Yo Ma on my computer, and banging away on this comment --all's well that ends well, or some shit like that.


5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Doug:

Reading your blog lately is still a bit painful for me. What the hell is Butch doing printing up some much poetry that is not mine? Sherman Alexie, and Richard Brautigan, and even Glenn Buttkus --my goodness; taking up valuable blog space, cyber seconds with all that stuff. I liked it better when he reprints my wonderful poetry and prose; even if he digs a bit too deep, and gets into my personal life --but even that is alright, because it is still attention, and a vague form of flattery.

So sorry to hear that you and that other woman had horseless carriage problems after watching and listening to IPHIGENIA IN TAURUS. I have keenly watched humanity developing its machines over the decades, and I agree that you all have become much too dependent on them. Return to a simpler life I say. Ride a horse. Buy a goat. Read more books. Although I understand dearest, that you and the little missus do read more books than average folks. That Butch is a disgrace. Barely reads at all, so busy with watching his thousands of movies, writing about them, talking about them --but I must say his poetry is not too bad. But you tell him that he needs to read more. Actually it is cute how you trick him into reading by making references to several books that your reading on this lovely blog, and out of curiosity, he gets the book and reads it. Nice machination, lover.

Nice things you said to me when you returned from your "vacation". Do not ever forget that I am your Muse. I am that eternal spirit that will always worship you, and yet that being the case, I fully expect reciprocation, even supplication, and eternal respect and affection. It is the least you could do.


6:01 AM  

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