March 30, 2014

San Diego Opera and other Questions

Question, question, questions...
  • Isn't the massive pushback following the outrageous decision to close the San Diego Opera one of the more remarkable public outcries for the arts in recent memory? 
    Howdy Doody; pourquoi, dude?
  • Or ever?
  • Do you blame me if my level of suspicion regarding ulterior motives in San Diego are on a par with my suspicions about New Jersey's George Washington Bridge scandal?
  • Come to that, are we 100% sure that Gov. Chris Christie isn't mixed up in this San Diego mess?
  • Isn't Werther's aria "Pourquoi me reveiller" really a minor-mode version of "It's Howdy Doody Time" from the vintage children's TV show?
  • If you don't know Howdy Doody, can't you alternately sing the words "Ta ra ra boom di ay" to the Werther melody?
  • However, having conceded the point about "Ta ra ra boom di ay" as per the link above, shouldn't we also concede that Barney the Dinosaur would be woefully miscast as Werther? Wrong fach completely, right?
  • Speaking of Werther, if your HD cinema presentation, like mine, was marred by the loss of the audio for most of the final scene, doesn't the absence of music just make us doubly -- or even triply -- aware that it takes that boy a long, long, long, LONG time to die?
  • In view of 1) its very static dramatic nature and 2) the reality that the choral music is the best part, shouldn't Borodin's Prince Igor be performed more like an oratorio?
  • Could the questions asked of singers during intermissions of Metropolitan Opera HD transmissions BE any more innocuous and butt-kissingly banal? Do the hosts of those intermission features really HAVE to be so teeth-gratingly worshipful? ("Oh, brava, brava, you are just INCREDIBLE! I am in AWE of you! How did you get to be so WONDERFUL?")
  • If Franz Schubert had lived 30 more years instead of dying at 31, do you think he would have figured out opera and finally written a good one?
  • If Mozart had lived 40 more years would his operas have evolved into the Romantic style? Would Mozart at age 75 have sounded like Bellini or Mendelssohn?
  • And while we're on the subject, how come Brahms didn't write any stinkin' opera? What was HIS problem? 
  • Does it say something bad about me that I had no desire or motivation whatsoever to go see the Met's latest La Boheme HD presentation with Vittorio Grigolo and some soprano named Anita somebody?
  • No, seriously, isn't Werther's death scene WAY TOO LONG?????
  • Wouldn't it be cool if somebody built a Disneyland-style theme park for Wagner lovers called "Fernemland"?
  • Don't most of us consider the Board of Directors of the late, lamented San Diego Opera to be a bunch of gutless, visionless wussies with no problem-solving mojo?
  • Will you hate me if I say that Emma Thompson, for all her considerable gifts and charisma, didn't measure up to the immortal Angela Lansbury in terms of singing chops in the New York Philharmonic's recent Sweeney Todd?
  • If you're honest, won't you admit that you can't stop singing "Ta ra ra boom-di-ay" to the Massenet tune?
  • You're not? What's wrong with you??

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