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No, that's Tosca, ninny.

 

 

 

Not a slam at Wilfrid, but an answer to a decades-ago New York magazine challenge to readers to write a piece of doggerel that ended with the name of a famous person. Of the others I remember, one ended with "And made of lad a mere ash-can Ozzy" and the other was something about "the somethings have ruined our something/ the somethings have ruined our hedge/ and now those stupid pigeons/ are going to Roone Arledge."

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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.

Well, there's opera, and there's opera. Maybe we have to consider it as a different paradigm.

No, the problem isn't that he stretched the bounds of opera. He didn't, at all. It is in fact, to me, the whole point of the piece that he didn't. To me, the whole point of the piece is that it was an impossible project to begin with. And the opera worked as a very funny (I thought) joke about that.

 

What I mean is -- the miracle of The Marriage of Figaro notwithstanding -- opera can't accommodate a highly verbal source like this one. Because unless it's a six-hour Wagner piece, an opera can't have very many lines of text. Barry cut out something like three-quarters of the dialogue -- and in a completely dialogue-driven (not plot-driven) play like this, that tells. I was not nearly as sanguine as you that he retained enough for you to appreciate the wit of the play. (And, of course, opera-singer diction is such that, even in an opera in both your and their native language, like this one, you can never understand what they're saying.)

 

I think Barry sort of gave the game away by retaining all the lines in the play about food -- every single one of them, no matter how tangential. That HAD to be a purposively arbitrary choice, made just to show how hopeless the job of cutting The Importance of Being Ernest down to an opera libretto is. I think he was making a meta point about how what he was charged with doing couldn't really be done, given the limitations of opera (which he did NOT in any way try to transcend).

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I do see what you mean. A friend wrote an opera on a Romulus Linney play (Holy Ghosts) and there was maybe one-third of the play left in the libretto.

 

But in any case, it was fun to watch and listen to.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The last week of ABT's season is perhaps a little bit late to realize that I should be watching proper story ballets too. Oh well.

 

My goodness, Sleeping Beauty was beautiful, though.

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Question: are there any story ballets set to "interesting" music (i.e., the kind we hear at concerts where we run into Sneak)? Not Tchaikovsky, not Chopin, not any other Romantics? I used to love ABT, but I can't get Paul to go to anything with "traditional ballet music."

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Question: are there any story ballets set to "interesting" music (i.e., the kind we hear at concerts where we run into Sneak)? Not Tchaikovsky, not Chopin, not any other Romantics? I used to love ABT, but I can't get Paul to go to anything with "traditional ballet music."

Romeo and Juliet to Prokofiev?

 

The Most Incredible Thing to Bryce Dessner? (Neither the ballet nor the score is very good, though.)

 

MY VERY FAVORITE STORY BALLET: The Bright Stream (also known as The Limpid Stream) to Shostakovich.

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Thanks. Shostakovich is certainly acceptable. And I'd forgotten about Prokofiev--the Sharks and the Jets, for sure. I'll have to research Bryce Dessner--although your parenthetical comment gives me pause.

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