Friday, February 25, 2011
Late last fall, Fritz planted greens in the cold frame, watered them and we let Nature take its course. That course very quickly turned to serial heavy snow storms. The three garden terraces, the cold frame and even the compost bin disappeared completely. We had to go up the hill a couple of times to shovel out the area in front of the solar panels that was piled so high with snow that the snow blanketing the panels had nowhere to slide down into. But we generally hadn't the energy to dig all the way over to the cold frame, so it remained completely buried for over a month.
We went up earlier this week after several days in the 40s or 50s had reduced the snow cover somewhat and carefully shoveled a path over to the frame, scooped the snow off the glass and there it all was, having been growing without sunlight for well over a month.
I've been to a number of productions this year where the old and, I feel, somewhat tired topic of updating theatrical and operatic productions has come up again. There is a very determined, extremely vocal segment of the audience that views producing plays in any period other than the one in which it supposed to be set as some kind of artistic high treason.
Theater audiences have traditionally been more adventurous, more accepting of experimental or reinterpreted stagings. I suspect that playgoers have simply written off the possibility of seeing Hamlet, for example, dressed in late medieval garments ever again and they're ready to get on with it. But that kind of acceptance doesn't come easily to the more conservative crowd that frequents opera and, especially, ballet. I'm a radical in that I not only like but I practice the new production styles and I'm heartened to find a bit less knee-jerk rejection with each passing season. But there's still resistance and skilled, thoughtful designers and directors are still booed savagely with some degree of regularity.
So, here's one small comment on the issue of "updating." For the vast majority of the long history of the performing arts, audiences saw characters on stage dressed in styles contemporary to the audience. The concept of historically researched costuming is only a little over 150 years old, and wasn't adopted universally for some while after it had began.
For a glimpse of what Shakespeare looked like on the English stage of the 18th century, go to Google images and type in Quin as Coriolanus. Here's the first image you'll see, top row, left. Everyone's in standard English court costume of the period. Nobody looks remotely like anybody from the Roman Republic, and nobody was disturbed in the least.
When people say that opera should be staged as the composer intended, in my experience they generally mean "the way it was done when I first saw it at age seventeen" which for any opera written before, say, 1950 is NOTHING like what the composer knew. In fact, if we could and DID exactly replicate the productions that Verdi, Bizet, Wagner or Mozart knew, audiences would most likely find them grotesque and laughable. On one or two occasions, even Wagner found productions of his work grotesque and laughable.
Art always pushes forward, it will not be stopped. It always relates to or reacts against issues and realities in the culture if its own day, not the past.
Cold frame: Amazing! We have nowhere near the harsh winter you have and I still don't have my lettuces and radishes in. Soon, very soon.
Production design: I have no opinion. ;)
They're out culling the greys in the Lake District to let the reds take over.
As for squirrels, Mason just about had his very first one in his mouth yesterday in his Grandma's back yard here in Idaho. Yikes. I had to do an intervention.
Part of it may be that the rock ledge is under a very thin layer of soil up on the hillside. Water from snow melting a little further uphill may have run under the frame on the rock and watered the roots that way.