Friday, July 22, 2016

opera in camera, supplemental

This comes of posting when I'm tired. I left out the most interesting parts of my visit to the library to hear a San Jose Opera preview.

1. The singers were accompanied by their rehearsal pianist, who was very good, on the library's upright, which was not quite ready for prime time.

2. The opera's general director, who had the kind of personality you'd give to a character of that role in a tv comedy about an opera company ("I have the best job in the world ... they rehearse across the hall from my office ... it's a wonder I get anything done"), ended the program with a plea for subscriptions in the context of what he said was an unprecedented closing of opera and other performing arts companies (San Jose has lost its principal theatrical company and its ballet company just in the last couple of years). He said we don't want to return to the bad old days of the 1940s and 1950s when there were only two professional opera companies in the US: the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, all the other earlier ones having been killed off by the Depression.

And I thought, that's interesting, because those were considered part of the heydays of classical music as a central part of middlebrow culture. True enough, though, that as far as opera was concerned that mostly consisted of listening to the Met's weekly broadcasts on the radio, and going to see their touring companies when they hit town.

3. On the way in to the library, we saw a mother and a 6 or 7 year old girl examining a cornerstone on the terrace-edge brick wall outside the building. "1985," the girl read. "That's really old." "Yes," said Mom, "that's the year I was born." The girl left impressed with the depths of the abyss of time.

4. Nothing to do with the opera show, but in other musical news, I saw this report of the first day of the RNC, including a clip of the band playing what the writer described as "Baby Boomer Boogie." The clip was there so that you could appreciate the sight of Republicans "moved to something that was not totally unlike dancing," but what struck me was a couple shots of people who found the music too loud and had their fingers to their ears. That would have been me. Despite being of that generation, I have no appreciation for that kind of music, and still less for the volume it's usually played at live.

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