Thursday, August 23, 2007

 
This week we’re hosting a former student of Fritz’s from Long Beach, CA. He’s good company, full of fun, and delighted with the New England countryside and the history that’s everywhere (where he’s from the 1920s is considered Antiquity). We’ve taken him to the Shaker Village in Canterbury and to Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth. Yesterday we took him to the Ladd-Gilman House in Exeter (1735) and the associated tavern (1774-5) that once entertained George Washington. We had dinner at a lobster, fish and steamed clam house, then went to a talk on the famous stone walls that are everywhere here in the Northeast. He also joins us on our twice or thrice daily walks up to the building site. Speaking of which:



The framing crew has increased to four. Two of the guys are named Shane (my NYC daughter’s new boyfriend is also named Shane—there must have a vogue for the name a while ago that I missed somehow). As of this morning, they got the second floor up in about an hour and a half thanks to having pre-fabbed everything a couple of weeks ago.



*******

Continuing with the Glimmerglass story, dining in the area is becoming more interesting. In the past there had been one or two attempts to put in bistro or high-end cuisine restaurants but they had failed rather quickly. As one antique dealer told me this year, the Baseball Hall of Fame crowd, even when they come as families with mother and daughters in tow, is interested in pizza, hot dogs and beer. The opera festival lasts for two months, and you can’t maintain a good restaurant year round on just a two month bump of heavy patronage. However, the Villa San Isidoro has opened half way between the opera theater and the place where I stay each year in an early 18th century stone farm house attached to a 19th century Italianate Victorian house that a gay couple bought some years ago and have been restoring ever since. The Ristorante and Taverna opened last December and have been going strong ever since.

The difference for the Isidoro is the Taverna section with the wood-burning brick oven and the gourmet pizza, roast chicken, salad, pasta and Italian sausage menu. Everybody loves the place, and it came into summer opera/tourist season already established and going strong. I ate there both nights, once in each side of the place, and had excellent food and service both times. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’re still open next summer because I’d go back in a minute.

Saturday night’s performance was Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, one of his typical send-ups of Parisian society and what one writer called “Napoleon III’s carnival empire.” It was Offenbach’s first big hit; I’ve now seen two different productions and while I like the work, I think he hadn’t yet fully found his style.

It starts slowly but does build to the truly loony mayhem of the Underworld scene that’s capped by the famous can-can as grand finale. The production team wisely decided to trim the earlier scenes and get to the best parts of this Orpheus as soon as possible. Among the brightest ideas was to have John Styx, gatekeeper of the Underworld, done up a la Toulouse-Lautrec--walking on his knees where his shoes had been placed--and to have Joyce Castle as Public Opinion. Castle’s a wily and versatile old pro who still has great legs, as she demonstrated when she finally abandoned her stance as guardian of public morality and joined in the dancing at the end. By this time the work was truly flying and everyone left happy.

Sunday morning at 11am there was a concert version of what the British would call a "potted" version of Haydn's Orfeo ed Euridice. The recitatives and some minor numbers had been dropped and there was a well-written continuity narration to keep the plot going. Besides a rare opportunity to hear an opera by the great Franz Josef Haydn in performance, the singing and playing were on a very high plane. Even so, Sarah Coburn stood head and shoulders above everyone else in a spectacular performance. Unquestionably a rising star, she's blessed by physical and vocal beauty, brains and taste. Hers should be a very big career.

Comments:
Shane! Come back!

Ok, that's all I really know about that movie, but my research indicates that Shane peaked as a first name in the early 70s and then again in the mid- to late-eighties. I'm sure you were dying to know.

The house looks great! It's really going up quickly.
 
Early to mid 70s works for these guys. They're in their mid-30s and the one I refer to (to myself) as Shane 1 is cute, energetic and hot. Chest for days.

"Shane, come back Shane. My Dad wants you. My Mom wants you--I know she does (major double entendre)!"
 
I went to school with a GIRL named Shayne ... spelled with a Y in the middle.

Your house is growing! How exciting that you can walk there every day and watch the process and document it.
 
i once had a 3 way with 2 boys named shane.

i am sure you know that the boys i fuck are NOT born in the 70s even 80s (first half anyway)

stevie
http://chaos.typepad.com
 
Yes, Steve--that hasn't escaped my notice! ;-)
 
i am mad-jealous;
i would love to hear/see orpheus in the underworld again.
 
Marc I went to a party a couple of weeks ago and ran into a young man named Shane. I think you're right. The name must have been popular for a bit.
 
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