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It's hard to pay attention to the current Met run of Le Comte Ory when your uncontrollable inner mind keeps emitting:   WE'RE SO PRETTY OH SO PRETTY YENDE   (I should say that this star-is-born do

Dynamite-plus, even.

This reminds me of my rant about SF Ballet's Cinderella without fairy godmother or mice.

This is the second production I've seen. And in each one, I thought: the guy who plays Kodaly can't compete with Jack Cassidy. And I've never seen Jack Cassidy in this. (The Original Cast Album remains one of the all-time classics, though.)

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As much as I like Boyd Gaines's work in general, I have to say that Zachary Levi is a more convincing Georg Nowack. Gaines is such a matinee idol, you couldn't see why he would have been shy or insecure about this relationship. Levi is goofy enough that you could believe in his shyness and insecurity. (At this point in her career, though, Laura Benanati couldn't project ingenuousness if she begged.)

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I'm sure it's no surprise that I am an insane fan of Kid Creole and the Coconuts (and, for that matter, their predecessor band Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band). They even are important to me personally: one of my first dates with the person who eventually became my late wife was to a Kid Creole show right after their first album, Off the Coast of Me, came out.

I often thought that Tommy Browder a/k/a August Darnell a/k/a Kid Creole should write a musical. So you can bet I was beside myself with anticipation when it was announced that an August Darnell musical called Cherchez la Femme (after Dr. Buzzard's big hit) would be playing at La Mama.

Too bad it sucked.

It sucked because (a) it was semi-autobiographical, or at least about a guy in a band, and who the fuck cares about THAT?, but more important (b) it betrayed the Kid Creole legend: a large of part of the point of Kid Creole and the Coconuts was that the protagonist was portrayed very obviously as a guy whose social and sexual reach exceeded his grasp, whereas here the protagonist -- an obvious Kid Creole stand-in -- is portrayed as if he were Prince or something. Even Woody Allen, damaged beyond repair as he is, continues to present his protagonists as schlubs (even when they're schlubs played by Owen Wilson).

So Mr. Darnell should write a real musical, with a real book, not just some self-gratifying legend-building thing -- and get a better librettist than some former NME reviewer (sorry, Wilf).

If it were still safe to post to Bonk Lists, Kristina Hanford would get a listing.

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Went to UCSC last night to see some of N's students perform in the annual student opera production. This year it was Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Some of the singers were quite good for their age, and it was only an hour long, but as I told N it didn't make me appreciate either opera or baroque music any more.

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Nope, sorry. "I'm going to kill myself because you decided to obey an order of the gods. Oh, you said you'll stay? No, it's too late, because how could you even for one second consider to have left me even though the gods may have killed you." Hard to work up much sympathy for her.

 

Yeah, I'm a hard case. :P

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Speaking of opera: We went to The Importance of Being Earnest on Saturday, part of the NY Phil Biennial. This is the version with a bass singing Lady Bracknell (but dressed in a regular man's garb). The whole production was terrific--singing, pretty bizarre staging in contemporary dress, musicians (include Carter Brey, Sheryl Staples, and much of the Phil's percussion section). It's hard to remember how many times we've seen the play, because we've also seen Stoppard's Travesties so many time, but even as cut down as an opera libretto has to be, this had most of the best lines. And probably the best use of mobile phones I could ever hope to see.

 

If there's ever another production near me, I expect to see it again.

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I thought this succeeded very well as an opera about how you can't successfully turn The Importance of Being Ernest into an opera. And I mean that as a compliment. I really enjoyed it. (And the performers should all be given medals or something for excellent work in extremely trying circumstances.)

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