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November, 2008:

Some Musicology?

I attended Opera at the Grand.

The Grand, by the way, is a super-cool theatre.  It’s obviously from the 30s and very art-deco, despite the fact that it is relatively small. It comes from a time when people cared about the appearance of such things beyond is it “clean” and is it “functional.”  I still need to take that Art Deco Los Angeles Tour one of these Saturdays.  If only it didn’t require me to go… downtown on a non-work-day.  Ugh.

Moving on. . . I went to see an old friend sing.  Well, she’d laugh at that.  I went to see a friend sing.  I’ve known her a long time, relatively speaking — almost 13 years.  For someone who’s 29, thats a goodly chunk of life.

Not a great picture I took there, eh?  She’s on the left being dramatic.  Oh well, she was phenominal — not that I’m any real judge of operatic talent.  Either way, I was impressed and the little I do know tells me that she was a more powerful singer than all of the other participants.  And, call me partial, but the mezzos tend to have richer voices than anyone but a seriously solid baritone.  Maybe it’s just the vocal range in that register of the throat (given one’s natural range as male or female).

Anyway, she sung the Flower Duet from Lakme by Leo Delibes.  I was blown away.  Sometime in 2001 or 2002 was the last time I heard that.  I used to own a CD called The Best Opera Album in the World . . . Ever! that included this and many other songs.  The CD was given to me by the friend who I went to see (and hear) sing.  Somewhere along the line we both lost that CD.  So, I went and found it again.  Spending a whopping $2.98 on a CD was rough, but I got it a few days ago.  Here it is:

To it’s credit, it is a pretty great opera album.  It’s sort of a “greatest hits” from all the big names plus a few no-names that have some excellent songs, like Leo Delibes.

Anyway, I was impressed with my friend.  She’s performing this weekend at the Metropolitan Opera’s Regional Auditions.  She talks it down (to keep herself from getting too nervous), but I know it’s a big deal for her to even be in it.  It’d be an even bigger deal if she makes it.

I hope she does well.  Somehow, make it or not, I know she will.

In other news, there was a small reception afterward.  It was nice to see her, but it was also depressing to me to see these small paintings in this gallery.  I sat and stared at a few for quite a while.  For personal reasons, several were quite depressing.  This one in particular:

I’ll be safe

I decided to remove the last post.  I’m happy with it, but I think it is probably best left unsaid.

Kierkegaard, Tipping Points & Ronald Reagan

Well, I’m still reading Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography. It’s a beast to get through.

Large chapters dedicated to each year of Kierkegaard’s life.  It’s some dense reading, but I’m loving it.  I’ve been learning things things about Soren’s father, brother & fiance (subsequently his ex-fiance).  It is also interesting that the author notes that Kierkegaard actively cultured an image later in his life in an attempt to present a particular person as Kierkegaard to posterity.  For example, he was less-than-devoted as a Christian in his youth.  He was by no means “wild,” but he was immature, slothful and spent far too much of his father’s money.  Essentially, he was a rich, spoiled brat.  I knew/known a few of those.

My “book club” is also in the midst of reading The Tipping Point…well, I should say, I’m in the midst of reading.  The rest of the poor group are on pages 0, 25 and 80 respectively.  Anyway, it’s a book about the way in which epidemics start.  He pulls data from all types of areas from sexually transmitted diseases to the Hush Puppies craze.

It’s starts out very strong and interesting, identifying types of individuals and the various ways they influence others.  For example, some people simpley “know” alot of people.  These people are great at putting people in touch with others, but generally they don’t often influence these people very effectively because they are “loose” connections.  Others influence people heavily, but don’t know as many people.  Still others have a great deal of information, but are typically poor influencers.    Anyway, after that, the book drifted into cognative theory in discussing children’s shows such as Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues.  It kinda lost me at that point.  Anyway, I’m going to make myself get through it.

Finally, I’m going to suggest to the book club that we read The White House Mess next.  I gather that it’s good stuff.  In point of fact, it is set in 1988 and Ronald Reagan sits in his PJs in the Oval Office and refuses to leave the White House.  I’ve never read Christopher Buckley before, but I’ve heard a few people tell me he’s great.  I’ve, obviously, seen Thank You For Smoking.  I thought that one was pretty great.  So, I figure another book by the same guy should be alright.  Besides, I’ve also heard he’s got a heck of a vocabulary, which should be good for me.

In other news, I’m tired now.  I’m going to finish watching The Wendal Baker Story.