Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.
05 April 2008
Opera and opining
Anyway I've started working on my new project, a jewelry rack for my necklace collection. I'm painting a bit of plywood (ok it's not a bit, it's like 2'x2', but Home Depot didn't have any smaller pieces of the right thickness)white with a grey and black design (I haven't decided what yet, but I saw a cross section of a petrol tree phloem the other day and I love the lines.) Then I'm going to screw cup hooks in to hold the necklaces and bracelets.
I went to the new staging of Aida that Opera Omaha just opened last night. They seem to be very into concept shows of late, which to be honest I think is pretty awesome. It's nice to see them taking artistic risks and pushing some boundaries (even though I wish that they didn't tend to show the same couple of well-trod operas in rotation. I swear I've seen at least 5 Carmens by now.) I really like the new staging, I was definitely interested to see that the dance during the celebration of the defeat of the Ethiopians was turned into more of a representation of the love triangle than the actual battle. All of the leads had perfect voices, but it's a shame that there seemed to be really poor sound design in general as especially during the first act there were huge dead spots where the mikes didn't pick up anything and the singers voices were swallowed into oblivion. This was especially disappointing during at least one scene where you couldn't hear Radames voice at all. The set design was hit or miss for me. I'd read an article in the paper about what the designer was trying to do with scale, and I think it's in the right direction and I loved that it was far more minimal than the set of the last production of Aida with it's giant gilt eagle, however I didn't really appreciate the black Egyptian lotus design on the columns, nor the massive white Lotus that formed another set and which looked like it was made out of cardboard frankly. I also felt that the altar monument looked far too Asian, and looked like it was built out of cheap plywood, which is hardly indicative of an altar to an Egyptian god. I did, however, love the use of the altar in the final scene as well as the giant archway that looked like abstracted tree branches at the Temple of Isis.
What I didn't think lived up to their job were the costumes. I didn't like them at all. They didn't seem harmonious with ancient Egypt, they seemed to fight for attention, looked awkward and ill-fitting, created ugly forms. The dancers looked like they just stepped off the set of an Ester Williams movie. Radames looked like he was wearing black Levis jeans under his tunic, Amneris's costume didn't fit in at all with any of the others and looked like it had been borrowed at the last second from a show set in Victorian times. Yuck all around. (and by the way I have it from members of the cast, at least some of them were created with fabrics that wrinkle so easily and badly that the cast was outlawed from sitting down in them or draping them over chairs as it would ruin them, which if you ask me is not a very practical design for a staging that they're trying to sell to other Opera companies)
So all in all, it was a good production, if you ignore the costumes, and the cast makes it worth seeing. I just don't know about it being a staging for the ages.