Sunday, November 19, 2006

stage matters

Seeing "Cats" again, as we did a few days ago, I was struck again by all the thoughts I'd had the first time around: it's not as awful as some of Weber's later stuff; mainly he's saved by T.S. Eliot's pitch-perfect, bouncy poetry; "Memory" is probably Weber's lasting contribution to the world of melody, simple and beautiful and not too cloying in the right hands; I'd love to hear some of this stuff done by real singers: Jessye Norman, perhaps, as Grizabella, and James Morris as Old Deuteronomy.

Liberated from the usual Broadway voice, some of that stuff is really cool. The other thought I had was that opera really needs to get kinetic. Time was that at least an hour of any given opera was solid ballet. Dance was taken very seriously in operas, even in Wagner. Now you're lucky if you get the hapless chorus to solemnly move about this way and that like a Presbyterian exercise class. How thrilling to see a full cast of "Carmen" really deliver in motion, or even to see "Magic Flute" blocked logically and with an eye toward the contribution of movement to a gesamtkunstwerk.

And, several decades into liturgical dance, where are we? Is the soil that barren, that nothing will grow there?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

dwellings and manna

Well, we always knew that our time in the Rock House would be short. We even suspected it might be this short. We'll be moving out at the end of November, giving us just enough time to clean up after a lavish Thanksgiving feast.

We'll still have our housewarming party, too — it'll be a farewell party as well. (Given the likely fate of the abandoned old house this winter, a fare-well wish is just that, alas.) Someone asked, "Why on earth would you have a party at a house you know you'll have to leave?"

Now that's a question from someone who has never had cancer.

You don't know how long you'll be in your house, either, friend. The whole lesson of manna from heaven is that you have to get out there and gather it, and then try your durndest not to store it up for later.