Saturday, October 31, 2015

Four Hours of Opera Won't Kill You


I'll be at Filmstreams today enduring Tannhauser on the Met simulcast. I knew what I was getting into, but Mr. ETB called me before ordering the tickets to make sure I knew just how long it was.
"The Ring would be worse." I consoled him.
"There's naked ladies in it."
"They're nymphs."
"Whatever. If it gets really boring I can go hide in the lobby and read something on my Kindle."

He's all too familiar with the opera having worked on the crew of an opera company out west when he was a university student. I suppose the opera goes quicker when you're moving sets and hanging lights.

Danny enjoys opera. I'm sure he's channeling my dad or something because that was the only thing in life that brought him any enjoyment.  He'd be pleased to know his financial contributions to the Met live on (if you Google his name, that's the first thing that comes up) and I'm sure he'd be thrilled that finally someone in the family appreciates opera. I absolutely hated it, but I listened on the radio every Saturday during the season (usually trapped in the back seat of the Mercury on some pointless drive to Wisconsin because the stereo in the car was better than the one at home) and whether I liked it or not, I learned something. I vowed not to force music appreciation on my child, but in a cruel twist, he's gone off and discovered it by himself. Earlier in the week we went to the Hauntcert and I quietly sat through Pictures at an Exhibition silently chastising myself for not checking ahead to see what they'd be performing. I don't know why I hate it so much, but I do. It is mercifully short, but I'd take four hours of Wagner over it any day.

As I'm now the music teacher, I'm finding it difficult to get terribly excited about music appreciation-because I don't really have an appreciation for it. I listen to news on the radio, and rarely put on a record or CD for enjoyment. The last CD I bought was an old, live Iggy Pop performance. You don't need a music appreciation course for I Want to Be Your Dog. I mean, Karl Haas never covered the Stooges on Adventures in Good Music.

Anyway, I'm fully prepared to sleep through the second and third acts before heading home to answer the doorbell for the Trick or Treaters. I'm pleased that Danny has found something in the arts that interests him without us having imposed it. I'm thankful it isn't sports, or stamp collecting, or D and
D because I would know even less about those than I do opera. I understand there is a Tannhauser game, though I haven't personally run across it.

If I survive this, the rest of the season looks interesting. I know Danny will want to see The Magic Flute, and Turandot. We'll see about Madam Butterfly.

I hope your Halloween is delightfully frightful and if you're lucky doesn't include four hours of singing about a knight that misses his pilgrimage because he's in a cave fornicating. Unless of course you enjoy that sort of thing...



Curtise said...

Opera? It's just too damn hard! I can cope with Carmen and Cosi Fan Tutti, which are opera-lite (ie. tuneful) but Wagner? No. Can't. Simon adores the Ring cycle but I find it unbearable. Well done Danny for having sophisticated and developed tastes in music! xxx

Bibi Maizoon said...

After living a year in Berlin, all I have to say is that Wagner is as bad as he sounds. I like 'high drama' but Wagner's a bit much.
That being said I'm a big Lesley Garrett fan. (Although she did botch the British national anthem in Paris in 2012 badly.)
I'd recommend Ms Garrett's 1991 album "Diva! A Soprano at the Movies" from when she was at her peak. Her rendition of "Dome Epais" is excellent.

Bibi Maizoon said...
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Goody said...

I wonder if he's doing it to be rebellious, since rock music wouldn't bother us?

I suppose it would read completely different in Berlin!

Propagatrix said...

I have done my time in opera choruses and I do not enjoy Wagner. Or most of Verdi, for that matter (though I adore the Requiem). It's been a long time since I've seen a mention of Karl Haas; I used to work for the classical station in Milwaukee, and we ran "Adventures in Good Music" every day at noon. Did you know he played his own theme live at the beginning of each show?

Introduce Danny to Varese and Stravinsky. Maybe that will lead him to Zappa.

Mim said...

Gilbert and Sullivan's as close as I get to opera, and that's funny. (Not that I can convince the Mr of that.) Danny has unusual tastes, but classy.

Beth Waltz said...

Nope, nicht on der Vagner fur dieser fraulein (mitout an umlaut). However, I do adore the costumes for Turandot and I have been known to have a go at the aria from Madama Butterfly (but only in the shower, after a particularly festive evening).

Our local art theatre screened The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the Halloween at midnight cultural event. Gad, can you imagine the reaction to "Do you have any..tatoos?" Even grandmama's are heavily inked in these decadent times!

Snigger. Just remembered an episode in which a chum tore up his ankle trying to walk in heels. I did attempt to warn him, of course.

Goody said...


The show aired later in Chicago, but my dad's route took him to Wisconsin most of the week. He'd frequently call to tell me there was a good show that day, and not to miss it. I'd grumble about not liking music, and flip on the radio anyway. *mumbles about parents making me learn stuff*

My mother was worse-she'd been to art school.

Did they chant, "Virgin! Virgin!" at all the first time attendees?

There were a few Midnight movies that used to play around the Chicago area. Pink Flamingos ran for a long time, and then later The Gods Must Be Crazy. I remember taking my mother to the latter and her just sitting there never even breaking a smile.

Goody said...

I don't know about class...but he enjoys dramatic singing.

Gilbert and Sullivan *are* funny. Show Mr. Robot the Simpsons version of Pirates-perhaps that will get a laugh.