Monday, April 26, 2010
Does this sort of thing go on in the NFL? I somehow don't think so.
It's a big opera week for me. Tomorrow I travel to New York City for my final two Metropolitan Opera dates of the season, both new productions this year: Rossini's Armida tomorrow night; and Bizet's Carmen on Wednesday.
On Friday night in Boston, Boston Lyric Opera closes its season with Mozart's very grand Idommeneo, based on the ancient Greek version of the Biblical Abraham and Isaac story set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. And a week from tomorrow Opera Boston closes its season with Offenbach's send-up of the Second Empire French government and military, La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein -- written three years before all the laughter and frou-frou ended with the disaster for France of the Franco Prussian War.
There's a great story about the Paris premiere of La Grande Duchesse in 1867 that sums up some of the madness of Napoleon III's France. The great Paris Exposition was going on at the same time and Empress Eugenie decided to attend incognito to avoid being mobbed. A nice but rather plain carriage pulled up to the special Dignitaries' Gate at the Exposition with the Empress in a nice but not too ostentatious day dress inside. The guards asked for identification of the lady and were told it was the Empress of France. The guards went into hysterics, informed the coachmen that they weren't born yesterday, and turned her away.
Later in the afternoon, a magnificent carriage with solid silver fittings, silk brocade upholstery, and a handsome team of horses pulled up. Knowing eyes would have recognized it as "the wages of sin". The guards asked for identification of the lavishly gowned, bejeweled lady inside and were told by the coachmen that it was Madame, la Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein. With profound bows to the lady inside the coach, the guards opened the gates and ushered in Hortense Schneider, actress, singer, one of the great courtesans of Paris, and star of Offenbach's riotous new comedy.
There is a wonderful book on the Second Empire, John Bierman's "Napoleon III and His Carnival Empire". The title almost says it all, but it's well worth reading because truly unbelievable things went on during his reign. Amazon has it used for $1.53.
New additions to the property: I bought two new compost bins from the town, which they were selling for just under half of their normal price. One is up by the garden terraces on the hillside, and the other is here next to the new firewood shed I built, and convenient to the kitchen door so we can compost our fruit and vegetable waste.
I kid the DesignerBog!!!
I appreciate the footballers showing appreciation to their teammtes!
Also, I'm NOT one of those opera lovers lacking a sense of humor. At the Wagner symposium I gave recently, I interspersed excerpts from the Ring of the Nibelung with some of Anna Russell's classic zingers. They loved it.
I miss having a compost bin; i don't feel a proper gardener without one.
You should check out rugby!