Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Caro BWAAAAH!

When I tell you that the Met's summer parks performances are fun for the whole family, I trust you won't need your decoder ring to catch my drift. See, the marvellous thing about the series is it's a little bit like a picnic...rules are loosened up, everyone likes that. Heavens to Besty, I'd be elated if I could eat dinner at things I go to at the Met just because there's nothing on tv, cough Fledermaus cough. So with no-one too worried about what sets us apart from the animal kingdom, we are presented with a golden opportunity to rediscover children's love of opera. Not completely incidentally, children don't love opera. Don't even like it, and why should they? They fidget and fuss and occasionally scream during opera, especially in an age of such innovative schools of parenting as the "Everything You Do is Automatically Precious Because You Came out of my Vagina" school. The main rule of EYDAPBYCOMV mommying is you never, ever correct any behavior, and if everyone around you wants to murder you for prioritizing the little ones over every other breathing thing in the universe, just mow 'em down with the stroller for being such bad sports.

The Met's Rigoletto in Central Park this evening was, from my vantage, a little like those toddler+Carribean nanny+guitarist who somehow resists suicide Raffi sing-alongs at Tea Lounge in Brooklyn, if for some reason there were a recording of Verdi playing softly, forlornly, helplessly in the background. We stayed until all the "addio! addio!" business and then could not refrain from a little addio of our own. I had just finished my picnic dinner of $5 hummus from fucking Gristede's eaten with what turned out to be apple cinnammon flavored crackers, and was not feeing patient with the universe. Nora Amsellem sounded DADDY WHO PLANTED ALL THIS GRASS, while Mark Delavan remains NO NOT ORANGE JUICE I WANT APPLE JUICE NO THE OTHER KIND although slightly less so than I recall in years past, making some allowances for mics. Roberto Aronica, a new name to me, was more or less WHY IS THE LADY SCREAMING EVERYTHING AT THE FAT MAN. I'm sorry if you couldn't hear that, but hey, there are several more performances left if you'd like to find out for yourself. If you go, bring pesticide.

20 comments:

manprano said...

Brilliant as always, Maury. I can't count the number of times I've gotten the pattented Child Hater Look from mothers in the EYDAPBYCOMY seating section, i.e., the lawn at Ravinia, the lawn in Grant Park. I don't care. I am of the Give Me a Break From Your Fucking Loud Childred School of Faggoty, special. Neither are old people, as far as that goes, safe from my wilting gaze.

I don't think that anyone should feel compelled to remin stone still in outdoor settings, but neither do I feel that conversations about where you found a terrific bargain on this wine to be as compelling as the performance on stage.

Grr.

manprano said...

Wow. Just checked in... this comment is an excellent example of how proofreading could work for me if only I would let it.

Pardon the temporary illiteracy.

Nick said...

You are good at blogging.

Joy Fleisig said...

Actually, Maury, the Duke was Jose Luis Duval, not Roberto Aronica, who seems to be out for the whole room - Mr. Duval is, I believe, singing all the performances except for the one he was originally scheduled for, which is being sung by Garrett Sorenson.

Maury D'annato said...

Listen, for all the good it did me it might have been Shelley Duval...

Thanks for the edit.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

I get the 'You're a Child-Hater' look as well, but the parents misunderstand. I don't hate the kids, I hate the parents-- they're the ones who bring the kids to the opera/fine restaurant/R-rated horror movie/etc.
When I caused a public disturbance as a child, I was escorted to the ladies' room by my mother for a little attitude adjustment. Kind of like a Perp Interrogation on Law & Order SVU, only instead of Good Cop/Bad Cop, there was only Bad Cop. And also no hunky Chris Meloni (Chris, you deserved that Emmy!).


By the way, I think that there is always something better on TV than 'Fledermaus'. If the TV exploded, shooting shards of glass into my eyes and then burned the house down with me in it, there is something better on TV than Fledermaus.

Maury D'annato said...

Ok for the sake of argument, what about that sitcom with Courtney Thorne-Smith and whatsishead? Clearly worse than the shards of glass, but still better than Fledermaus? Oh, or Reba? The woman has excellent pipes but her sitcom is, like, probably outlawed at Guantanamo Bay.

Because I'm not the world's most pleasant or reasonable person, it turns out I have the capacity to find bad parenting appalling foremost, but still have room in my withered, grey soul to dislike children, too.

Anonymous said...

I hate kids and the parents who bring them to opera/ballet when they are far too young to do anything but fuss and fidget.

There's the old excuse: "YOU were a child once!" but hey, I never asked to be born.

Maury D'annato said...

My response to "You were a kid!" is "yes, and I'm sure I was perfectly dreadful." (I wasn't, in fact, but rhetoric makes certain demands of truth.)

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

I'm afraid I'd rather watch a 'Yes, Dear' Marathon, or any show on UPN than sit through even that endless trio in Fledermaus (or the Frosch 'comedy' bit). I was stuck in the chorus in Fledermaus (in a hilariously rancid old-fashioned English translation; if your source material is lame, making it easier for the audience to understand the words is not a good idea. Leave it in German), and the only way we got through it was to have real champagne onstage.

One of the things that give Opera a bad name is the 'acting' in operetta. HOOOWWWW many TIIIImes have you rrrrrrrolled your EYES lisssenting to the sIIINGers doing opeRRRReta DIIIIIIIalog?

Feh. If I want to see an opera, I'll go see Don Carlos. If I want to see a muscial, I'll go see Sweeney Todd.

Anonymous said...

I think Met in the Parks is not for serious opera lovers. I haven't gone since the Moffo BOHEME and the enormous triumph of Irene Dalis as Amneris in AIDA.
There are too many distractions which prevent any real enjoyment of the performance.

Maury D'annato said...

Irene Dalis, wow. I can't remember what it was I liked her so well in, I think a b'cast of Don Carlo maybe? One of those names like Oralia Dominguez that you only find on pirates but would be thrilled to hear any night.

I don't think outdoor music has to be such a zoo...I sat on the lawn many a time at Ravinia and never had such an an allergic reaction.

Winpal said...

Hey, Maury, I have 2 tickets to SFO's Fledermaus in 2 weeks. I'll pay you face value. I'll fly you cross-country. I'll feed you hummus. You are my last hope.

Ah hell, it's hopeless.

Maury D'annato said...

Winpal: as it happens, air travel is the single experience in life I am more averse to than Die Fledermaus. Throw in 8 more years of republican presidency and you'll have scored a trifecta of anguish and misery.

Winpal said...

Coming soon: Fledermice on a Plane

Anonymous said...

Irene Dalis: not the greatest instrument and iffy on top but she had a vivid sense of the characters she was portraying. Her Nurse in the Met premiere of FRAU was thrilling and she nearly stole the show from Leonie, Christa & Walter Berry.

Dominguez did make some commercial recordings, notably she is Karajan's Erda' Her Amneris with Callas from Mexico has to be heard to be believed - I cannot think of many performances where the singer gives of herself so unsparingly, both vocally & emotionally as Dominuez does in this AIDA. It's amazing she ever sang another note after that, but she did go on - for about 20 more years!

Ariadne said...

Just wanted to say re the original post that as a Mom, sometimes it's all I can do not to reach out and smack some other parent's kids and/or give the parents themselves a smack and a stern lecture!

Ugh. There's no excuse whatsoever. Can you believe that one prominent music critic/blogger actually *defended* a kid at a classical concert who was *playing a video game* ... *** DURING THE PERFORMANCE ***! (Grrrrr..... why bring your kids if they can't behave, listen or at least give a good approximation thereof?)

I will note that the outdoor DC Porgy & Bess was attended by THOUSANDS of extremely well behaved people of all ages and descriptions. Even the occasional bicyclist or baby was interested & respectful.

ps to other parents: Giving your kid a good nap before the concert and a juicy bribe for afterwards is a centuries-old, tried & true formula for insuring good concert manners!

Henry Holland said...

This thread is probably Tod, but my favorite Kid at a Concert happening:

Los Angeles Philharmonic, about five years ago, a routine subscription concert, Esa-Pekka Salonen on the podium. He starts the first piece and gets about a minute in to it; kid in row 5 making a bit of noise. So he stops, turns around, smiles, makes the international sign for "Shut the fuck up" with his fingers to his lips and turns around to start again. Crowd laughs, a good time was had by all.

About 2 minutes later, more noise from The Kid in Row 5. This time, E-P S turns around and, as Monty Python once said "Ooohhh, if looks could kill, he'd be in for 30 years". To her credit, the mom immediately scooped up the kid, made some motions of "Sorry" and left. It was bad for all concerned, and while I realize the poor kid was probably too young to be at a concert, it's just wrong to expect someone about 5 or 6 to behave (mom probably couldn't get a babysitter).

Of course, if I'd done something like that (or ran around at the bank or grocery store), my parents would have killed me on the spot and dealt with the consequences. They were old school, anti-EYDAPBYCOMV types.

Maury D'annato said...

This is the whole thing. I don't really blame the kids so much, seeing as how they almost certainly didn't say in their piercing little voices (ok, I don't blame them but I'm not nuts about them either) "Mumsy, I'm simply itching to take in some middle period Verdi! Be a lamb and call us a car!" So I reserve 95% of my venom for the lunkheads who think it is anything but a lose-lose situation to take really young kids to opera and then leave them largely to their own devices. Just take them on a damn picnic in the park. It's a large park.

Anonymous said...

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