Sunday, March 18, 2012

The First Week of March: Don Pasquale and Other Stuff

Another week passed by like a bullet train! First off, I went to the 2nd performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale at the San Diego Opera last Tuesday. Alas, it was the end of a very long day for me and I kept dozing off in the middle of it and left at the 2nd intermission.

It was a fun show (well, at least the 2/3 of it that I saw)! I especially enjoyed John Del Carlo in the title role. His voice was commanding and very adept at florid singing, and his acting convincing in every which way. Danielle DeNiese was a physically fetching Norina, and every bit as good a physical comic actress as I expected. Her voice was surprisingly strong, though her high notes tended to spread and her coloratura work a bit smudgy, not that the majority of the audience minded. I was surprised that Charles Castronovo's Ernesto sounded as if he was singing from the far side of the trolley tracks all night, though. He didn't sound like that when he was riveting the house a few years ago as Nadir in Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. Aside from that, a beautiful tenor indeed, in every sense of the word, and a good actor. Jeff Mattsey was his dependable self as Dr. Malatesta...

The San Diego Symphony under Marco Guidarini was fine. I wondered if Maestro Guidarini could have reined the orchestra in a bit more when Castronovo was singing (perhaps he was having an off night and wasn't projecting his voice very well). Director David Gately staged this thing as a spaghetti western opera, which worked. I mean, you go to a bel canto comic opera to be entertained rather than to be profound, and this production plays up the fun very well.

Don Pasquale intermission from San Diego Civic Theater's upper balcony
It was a busy week with real work and house work, though I did manage to roam around the internet a bit and found many wonderful reads. The Earworm out in Baltimore did more insightful analysis of operas, this past week she did a series on one of my all time favorite opera DVD, the 2003 Salzburg Festival recording of La Clemenza di Tito. It is one of the Regietheater stagings that actually works well in highlighting all the right dramatic and emotional contents of the story... if you can manage to ignore a few weird oddities that it seems everyone puzzles about (really, what's with those boys in whities on the dinner tables? Anyone solved that yet???).

By the way, at one of my writing hang-outs (I occasionally write articles for AC/Yahoo) an ex-Mormon posted a very interesting article last week about what exactly Mitt Romney must have promised to do during his Mormon temple ceremonies. It is quite an eye-opener. I wouldn't want to hold someone's religion against them when it comes to political elections, but the pre-1990 Mormon temple oath does seem to present some conflicts of interest to anyone running for government office. I mean, yeah, you can take a lot of Bible verses seriously and find things that conflict with government, too, but at least the Christians don't have to swear to any of them under the penalty of death by very gruesome means, you know?

A work in progress
It was a good thing my roommate and I managed to get much of our outdoor yard works done last week, since this weekend has been wonderfully stormy. It rained all day Saturday and much of last night. This morning saw sporadic rain in between blowy wind gusts... I thought we had a good dry window just before noon and took Georgie the 14 yrs old dog out for a stroll...

Hailing on my parade...
...only to be caught by a little hail cloud half way around the block. It was a nasty little cloud! I was grateful that we are in Southern California, though. When it gets windy and rainy and then hail-y this time of year back in Missouri, that's when you jump into the basement and lock the door hatch... It usually hails before the tornado comes.


Charlotte said...

I'm glad you liked my take on that production of La Clemenza di Tito! (And yeah, the boys on tables . . . who knows.)

(I am actually not in Baltimore - my wordpress username is just a silly in-joke with graduate school friends reference to my phd thesis. Some day I will have to get a more grownup handle . . . )

Don Pasquale sounds like it was a good time. I enjoy De Niese's acting immensely - have you seen the DVD of her as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare? She's terrific.

Smorg said...

Hiya Charlotte: I've seen that ROH DVD indeed! Loved the staging, and DeNiese sure acts very well as Cleo there (the lass can dance!). I wasn't hot on her singing of the role, but when she looks and moves like that sometimes I forget to listen. ;oD

I confess, tho, Sarah Connolly's Cesare is the main draw for me in that show. Sure I wish there is more umph in her voice, but that's being picky... She really is something in drag! :oD

Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Hope your weekend is going well!

Georg said...

Wonderful music, Smorgy, and old Vessi is singing splendidly. No wonder the people were applauding like hell.

As to your pictures "a work in Progress", I have exactly the same huge wheels standing in a corner. For years I was wondering what to do with them. Now I have reached the decision to cut them up but before doing so just tell me: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THOSE COACH WHEELS???


Smorg said...

Hallo Georgy:
Well, my roommate was thinking of turning them into a yard bench (sort of like this ), but they are too big and heavy for it.

I've been sanding the rust out of them, trying to re-tie/secure all the parts before weather-proofing with wood finishing coat.. so they aren't looking so old and decrepit. They'll probably just end up tied to the property fence as ornaments with flowers growing on and around. :oP Looking nicely rustic! We have an enclosed outdoor fireplace, so I guess if it doesn't work out we can hammer the wooden parts out and use them to feed the fire. ;o)

What did you have in mind when you got the wheel? :o)

My roommate is still working hard on the new garage... with the new dog supervising. :oD I'm working on the computer most of the days at the moment, tho I'm planning a couple of good bike rides for later this months. Hope you are having a good spring!!!