Monday, January 28, 2008

Tatto liberamente da ridere

Pagliacci was terrific! On the edge of the seat thrilling. The "dream sequence" segue to the second act added another dimension to the psychological impact.
Bravo Seattle Opera and Speight Jenkins.

In a somewhat related story;

According to the P.I. 30 members of the Symphony showed up in court to support Peter Kaman in his recently tossed out lawsuit.

The court has found an excuse to once again support big money against mere civility.

Apparently, if the harassment has eased up in the past few years, there is no legal recourse.
The Green River killer could have used a defense like that.

Thirty first violins show up as proof of the hostile work environment at the SSO

The infamous survey that needed to be legally suppressed.

My spies in the house report many complaints by musicians who are afraid to be quoted.
Roger Downey also mentioned to me two years ago that many musicians are afraid to speak out.

My own amusingly recondite expulsion from the SSO, Benaroya Hall and even the streets around that debased spot of real estate.

Sounds real healthy, doesn't it?

And according to Times, Gerry says this all adds up to a healthy and productive work environment.

So here we are;
Speight Jenkins treats his people like human beings and
The Seattle opera is a world class operation, a destination show.

Gerard Schwarz treats the same people like cattle and the SSO is a third rate band
in a town known for its intellectual and artistic vigor.

I believe I sense a subtle pattern.

Who is the madman with the knife in this picture?



Blogger butch said...

Maybe if SSO shortened its anagram to SO, it would become cooler:

Seattle Opera's 'Pagliacci' is a bold and vital slice of life

Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" is as easy to dismiss as it is to praise. Certainly, it is not a subtle piece of theater and just as certainly it possesses more telling music than much longer operas.

After a quarter of a century's absence from Seattle Opera's repertory, the company returned to this "slice of life," to borrow a phrase from one of the characters, over the weekend at McCaw Hall. Every element of the work sprang to life in this dramatically bold and musically vital production.

Fashion at the moment allows the opera to be done alone rather than pairing it with another one-act, which has been the custom in a good share of the world since its premiere in 1892. Seattle Opera did more than put an intermission between the two scenes. It restored, or opened, to use opera terminology, customary cuts in the score and invented a dream sequence to open Act 2, using music written by Leoncavallo but not for "Pagliacci." Two mimes, Comedy, in white, and Tragedy, in black, open the opera and stay a part of the action until the end, when Comedy has lost the game. What an effective device.

The sum of these additions and the sheer visceral effect of the singers made for an engrossing evening in the lyric theater. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine anything before or after.

Seattle Opera, which swims in symbolism and the esoteric with ease, did not approach this bit of gritty realism with any embarrassment. The period has been updated from the late 19th century to the 1950s. However, given the poverty and lack of development in this pocket of Southern Italy, that didn't mean a lot. The buildings -- in a design from L'Opera de Montreal -- do not look different, only the clothes do. Instead of a donkey pulling the cart for the traveling troupe of commedia dell'arte actors, there is a tiny black car, a Fiat 500. That is a charming touch. It is amusing to see the players pour out of the back seat.

One of the chief virtues of the libretto -- written by the composer based on a story told by his father, a judge, who adjudicated a similar case of passionate crime -- is its measured pace. The interior and exterior parts of the play build inexorably from exposition to denouement. Even though the climax is not a surprise, it remains a horror because Bernard Uzan's staging is so compelling and the singing full-throated.

Uzan is an old hand at "Pagliacci," having directed more than a dozen productions. That experience has not resulted in a tired approach but one of sureness in molding the action into a coherent whole, with all sorts of vivid details. He keeps the story line intact and weaves the extra elements around it, adding to but not distracting from the dramatic momentum of the piece. The play within a play is superb.

The interpolation of Canio's dream sequence is clever and well-done, including the music, mostly from Leoncavallo's opera "Zaza." Tragedy and Comedy open the scene, with four acrobats portraying Nedda and Canio from the beginning of their relationship to the present. The connections are obvious and poignant, giving both characters history and context. Special credit to Janet Rayor and Bruce Wylie, Comedy and Tragedy.

Much praise to Dean Williamson, who conducted with his usual brio, intelligence and rhythmic acuity. He knows how to give life to an individual phrase as well as large paragraphs of sound.

As is often the case, Seattle Opera has mounted two casts of merit. Nuccia Focile sang a vocally resplendent Nedda with buoyant lyricism and beautiful tone Saturday night. The Canio, Antonello Palombi, has the big, generous sound one wants in the role and no sense of reserve. However, I wish he could find a dynamic level other than forte. Gordon Hawkins' Tonio was admirable, almost making him less of a villain than he is. On Sunday, the three changes of cast provided genuine verisimilitude. Mark Holland's Tonio was raw, and John Uhlenhopp's Canio projected anger and violence. Eva Batori's Nedda seemed to come straight out of a Fellini film from the 1950s. Doug Jones' Beppo, no surprise, was first-class, and Morgan Smith's Silvio was attractive and believable.

For decades, Canio delivered the closing line, "La commedia e finita," although Leoncavallo directed Tonio to do it. Seattle Opera honored the composer's wishes. It works much better -- more heart-wrenching, less melodramatic.

R.M. Campbell seems to be a reporter who says what is on his mind;

Case against Seattle Symphony dismissed
Violinist who alleged he suffered emotional distress from music director plans to appeal

A personal injury suit brought by violinist Peter Kaman against the Seattle Symphony was dismissed Friday in King County Superior Court. Kaman is a member of the Symphony's first violin section.

Immediately after Judge Catherine Shaffer granted the symphony's motion for summary judgment, Kaman's lawyer, Brenda Little, said that she would appeal the decision. "We still believe in all of our discrimination claims. We are in this for the long haul."

A violinist with the symphony for more than 25 years, Kaman also lost in court last month when Shaffer granted the orchestra's request for summary judgment on another issue in the suit.

"The decision," the symphony said in a statement, "confirmed that the claims in this lawsuit were not supported by the evidence."

Filed two years ago, the suit alleged that Kaman endured "emotional distress arising out of hostile environment and harassment ... over a long and extended period of time." The violinist, who has anxiety disorder that developed in his late teens, said in the suit that he has suffered "persistent and severe discrimination." Within two years after Gerard Schwarz became music director of the orchestra, according to the suit, Schwarz began a long-term attempt to fire Kaman.

The musician is on leave from the symphony for undisclosed reasons.

Kaman has refused comment, citing advice of counsel, but he said in an e-mail in September that "our resolve has not and will not waiver 1 inch." In a statement issued by Little in September, she promised a "classic 'David and Goliath' showdown. ... With a plot that includes retaliation, discrimination, physical assault, humiliation, bullying and harassment ... the trial will hold great interest."

That trial is not going to take place, at least in the near future. Trial dates have come and gone over the past six months as Kaman and the symphony wrangled over a number of issues, including Kaman's request to see the salaries of individual musicians -- ranging from the $76,500 to well beyond $100,000 for 45 weeks of work -- in an attempt to prove pay discrimination. More than 30 musicians gave depositions on Kaman's behalf and were expected to appear as witnesses for him during the trial. Some of them, all members of the first violin section, were in court Friday.

The case began in Superior Court, moved to federal court, then was remanded to Superior Court.

During the process, various facets of employment discrimination issues were raised, then dropped from the case, although Little strongly argued against that assertion Friday. She did not succeed. Among the results were that Shaffer would only consider discrimination and harassment evidence from 2003 to 2006.

Kaman cited three incidents as examples of harassment, only one of which was made public.

Citing several precedents, Shaffer said the incidents did not constitute the kind of "extreme outrage" demanded by the law.

The Seattle Opera is an opera company located in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1963 by Glynn Ross, who served as the company's first general director through 1983, Seattle Opera's season runs from August to late May, with five or six operas offered and with eight to ten performances each, often with double casts in major roles to allow for successive evening presentations.

The second, and current, general director of Seattle Opera since 1983 is Speight Jenkins. Since August 2003, the company has presented operas in the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, built on the site of the old Seattle Opera House at the Seattle Center. The company does not have a full-time music director. In October 2007, Seattle Opera announced the appointment of Asher Fisch as the company's principal guest conductor

Speight Jenkins Jr (born Dallas, Texas) is an American arts administrator. He is the son of Speight Jenkins Sr and Sara Baird Jenkins.[1] [2] His B.A. degree is from the University of Texas at Austin, and he graduated in 1961 from Columbia University Law School. He served in the US Army, and later became a music critic and journalist. He worked for seven years at Opera News as its news and reports editor, and later at the New York Post from 1973 to 1981 as music critic.[3] He has been a host for US television's Live from the Met.[4]

In the early 1980's, Jenkins was a guest lecturer at Seattle Opera for the company's production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. His knowledge impressed the Seattle Opera board of trustees such that they offered him the post of general director of the company.[5] He began his tenure with Seattle Opera as general director in 1983, and in 2003, signed a 10-year extension to his contract.[6]

Jenkins has two children, Linda Leonie Jenkins and Speight Jenkins III, with his wife Linda, from whom he is separated.[6]

Of course it would be prudent of you, Sir Savant, to at some point translate the archaic Latin in your title, if it is not made up Palmerspeak, or even if it is.

Isn't it wonderful to know deep in your guts that SSO's horrific treatment of a sensitive soul such as yourself is just one in a long line of transgressions, that your Quest for the Smearing and Demise of Schwarz and all things SSO can continue? SSO just keeps, year after year, proving themselves to be cretins and putzes, and all you have to do is read the Seattle Times and the P.I. and alert us to the latest issue or problem. I guess that somewhere buried in the bathos and sadness of this there is a dark humor; levity as black as coal, and twice as tasty.

I hope you enjoyed my Rave for your performance of your Violin Duet, even though I guess I misspelled the "Shepard" center. My heart was in the right place even if I didn't quite know what the hell I was writing about; sort of like a newspaper reporter, enit?


5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palmer, you still crack me up. Your ire knows no limits. You can hold a grudge like a crippled elephant. But I love you, man. I dig your tunes, and I hope that you some day get a CD together and get into that commercial world that Alex Shapiro is so heavy into. You are one of the few persons who ever bought and kept my ONE album: SIDEBURNS (1964). You are one of the few folks who did a little research and discovered that my background is unique, that I started out as just another Indian kid on the Spokane Reservation; that my real name was Edward Green Pastures; that my father was there, on the Rez when Robert Johnson visted; even stroked that infamous devil-spawned blues guitar of his. My first band, THE KICKAPOO KOMRADES, was pretty hot. Then I changed my name, went solo, hired musicians to back me, and cut that incredible album, SIDEBURNS.

You remember the cuts; now them was some songs:
1. Lucille, my Oldsmobile
2. West Seattle Greens
3. Fairbanks Fiddlers
4. Mephastophiles Stomp
5. I am Mercer, I am Not
6. White Center Aint White No More
7. Born to be a Child
8. Big Hands
9. Mama, Can You Hear Me?
10. Little Sister

Thanks for being a fan. Too bad I had to cash it in so early, but you know what they say about how the good always die young. There was a moment back in 1966 when my Harley was airborne coming off the Alaska Way Viaduct that I was really flying, right over Ivars and the fireboats, right into the cold green belly of Elliott Bay. But with your interest, I might rise again. Emily says howdy.

Eddy Emerald

5:53 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Italian is not "archaic Latin"
Italian is the very flower of the Latin tongue.
It should be obvious, due to the subject matter of the post, that "Tatto liberamente da ridere" means
"Feel Free to Laugh"
And "La Commedia continua" means "the comedy continues"

RIDIculous, eh?

11:51 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Well excuse me, since Latin is the antecedent to Italian and hordes of other tongues that I did not recognize it as you intended. But that is cool, feel free to laugh, in mussolinispeak, enit?

I am suprised and a little shocked that you did not respond to the message from Eddy Emerald. That album, SIDEBURNS was one of your old faves, right along side Duane Eddy if I recall. Some of those tunes sound pretty familiar.


5:59 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Duane Eddy...Eddy Emerald, have you ever seen them in the same place at the same time?
Think about it.

I remember those tunes. They had a profound influence on my life at the time. I'm tempted to set them as a ten movement mega-symphony, but it sounds like too much work.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on both counts:
The great "Pagliacci" and the court case!!
I've only one minute left, so

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonomann returns now, on another day, when I have time to write a bit more and clarify Speight's marital status, a little bit. After a post-performance Q&A after a Sunday matinee,he said he's now on his way to the Sea-Tac airport to pick up his wife; so though separated, they do evidently see eachother every so often. Anyway he is VERY much married to Seattle Opera, where he seems to be on the job "24/7" as the US-Americans say.
I say

3:26 PM  

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