radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
And some attempt at measure.

Beauty: A walk and an opera

The Opera )

A pause to take stock: Operas I Have Seen and How they Made Me Feel )

The Walk )

And frustration: I'm sick again

I thought I'd recovered... )

I wander foggily, coating everything in the Beautiful Shed with a thin film of Vicks VapoRub.



1. I say "them", but the primary singers generally come from away, so we heard entirely other voices last time.

2. Opera dates from http://www.pov.bc.ca/repertoire.html

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/4166.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.
radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
Two dreams in one week about disturbing a ground nest of hornets and being stung. Once at my parents' house, once here at home. Apart from the literal, what should I be worried about? Where am I in danger of kicking up trouble?

This week turned out to be a small personal arts festival, beginning with the opera dress rehearsal on Tuesday night -- my ticket bestowed by [livejournal.com profile] argus_in_tights. This occasional opera attendance has become a sweet tradition in my year. Idomeneo was excellent, and I will review it, only -- well -- I have to see the last act first. [livejournal.com profile] argus_in_tights, your gift was great, but my weariness and worry were greater, and I went home at second intermission to work on my paper. I know it's dreadful, but seemed like a compromise I could live with.

Thursday came, and it was finally October 11th, which meant Robert Bringhurst speaking on the West Coast Renaissance. It was arranged as a Lansdowne Lecture and a part of the Skelton/Malahat review retrospective. Fanboys everywhere, or at least here, rejoiced. He seemed a bit bemused that we wanted typography books signed rather than poetry. And o his voice. I have never heard such finely modulated tones (bari-, bass) sustaining such well-constructed phrases. The question period was interesting, and challenging on the subject of cultural usage, which I was glad for.

Then last night, on the spur of the moment, [livejournal.com profile] inlandsea and I decided to attempt (if not too artistically priced) the Art Gallery's contribution to the retrospective -- a reading by Skelton's students and contemporaries of their work and his. Brignhurst read last and best, incanting Skelton's long night poem as though the sea itself spoke, rolling and grinding the stone of each word, dragging it back and forth until its shape was perfect in the ear and the mind.

All of these rich moments, deserving of detail and attention, but I am going to market before it closes. If spoken words are round beach-stones, sometimes lately it seems like lifting granite blocks to write them down, to formulate the chronologies of things, even events I know I'll want to have a record of. I suppose it's having done all those bloody drafts of that bloody essay. I seem to remember that only five years ago this school/work proposition was much less taxing.

I feel flickering, moments of brightness and a fatigue not exactly physical or mental, though affecting both. Something like overtaxing the ligaments that join body and mind.

Anyway. Poetry later. Shallots now.

radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
I went to an opera the other day. It was that delightfully casual; [livejournal.com profile] argus_in_tights called an hour before the show to say that [livejournal.com profile] geniusoutlaws had a ticket begging, so I threw on something glamourous and swanned off to be transported.

About ten years ago, in one of my random attempts to become Cultured, I read an entire encyclopaedic book on the history of opera. I immediately forgot its entire contents. I remember nothing except thinking vaguely that I would probably like the works of Richard Strauss.

Fortunately, Pacific Opera Victoria cares about me, and they are in the midst of staging Daphne. I felt like I'd been handed a beautiful picture-book, its pages made of music.

Strauss has taken a minimal Greek myth, yet another "God tries to assault a nymph, she runs away, he turns her into something immobile," creation story, and made it into an evocation of psychological distress -- alienation from one's community, fear of adulthood. It is Daphne's conflicted desires, not Apollo's will, that are the heart of the opera, and her final transformation is a kindness rather than a punishment.

Dionysian revels, sensitive nervous systems, and giggling at satyrs )



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