Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Im going down to New York City today, leaving just after noon for the brand new opera by Tan Dun at the Metropolitan called "The First Emperor." My younger daughter, she of the ABC nightly news group, and I will have dinner at Ollie's Noodle House near Lincoln Center--a Chinese Restaurant, appropriately enough--before an opera about China's first emperor, who built the Great Wall and who had the massive terra cotta warrior army created to guard his tomb..
The title role is being sung by Placido Domingo who is now in the forty-first year of his New York City career. He made his New York City Opera debut in March of 1966 in the title role of Alberto Ginastera's "Don Roderigo" and had a huge hit that put him on the map. Now, in his middle 60s, he's still singing like men half his age, and actually better than many of them.
The opera itself hasn't gotten the greatest press. Tan Dun has written for movies and other popular art forms, and has at least three other operas under his belt. I saw one at New York City Opera ten years ago and it was interesting but never quite took off. Opinion on "First Emperor" is that it is a thing of many striking, even gorgeous, moments but that it lacks a consistent theatrical structure and that it's too long.
Of course, you have to see these things for yourself and I'm looking forward to it. Tan is the first Asian composer to have an opera done at the MET, his orchestration being filled with Chinese instruments of many types including a "waterphone" in which sound resonates off water rather than a hollow resonating chamber like a western stringed instrument.
Whether or not Tan has done anything to revise or edit the score since the premiere, I don't know. But it's good that the MET is doing new work, because any art form that becomes only a museum without moving forward inevitable begins to decline.
Fritz and I are going to be doing some traveling this June. One of his great nephews is going to be married in Highlands, North Carolina on June 9th so we're flying to Atlanta on Friday the 8th, getting a rental car and driving up to Highlands for the weekend. We discovered that the round trip air fare was six hundred fifty dollars each if we come home on Sunday but only two hundred eighty if we come home Monday--so we'll go back to Atlanta Sunday morning, hopefully to see a dear friend, J, who's been to Fritz's often as leader of the Body Electric School weekends for gay men. Neither of us has ever been to Atlanta so learning a bit about a new city will be something to look forward to and we hope J will be in town and free to give us a tour of the sights.
Joshua--Gays is going to go on my list of wonderfully gay-named places, like Sodom, Ohio and the incredibly named Onancock, Virginia.
Please post your comments on how it was/is.
Well, if J isn't available in Atlanta, then his BF, the totally cute and adorable J, would be more than a substitute.
See you at the sweat