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congrats and news

2003-07-10 - 11:49 a.m.

Time shall now be taken to officially offer congratulations and wishes of joy and felicity to Luis Morales and Margaret Robinson, who are now officially engaged.

Time shall also now be taken of send thoughts of succour and support to Christina the bar-studying girl. As in studying for the bar, not studying an actual bar.

Time shall also be taken to thank Luis for his words of succour and support in regards to the whole homemaker thing. Even though I too study my Betty Friedan, evidently I am not immune to this disease that says women must be perfect at it all. Actually, that's a lie--I have no expectation of being perfect at it all, but I did think I'd be able to be adequate at it all, and sometimes that's more of a stretch than I'm willing to admit.

In other news, I think my knee has finally healed enough for me to get back to the gym, and I have every expectation of going either tonight or tomorrow. I will be armed with a newly-charged iPod, with some new music on it. This includes Weird Al's newest offering "Poodle Hat" and Samuel Barber's "Vanessa."

"Poodle Hat" has some great moments, not least of all the song "Bob," wholly comprised of palindromes. (Side note: I've always thought it dreadfully misfitting that "palindrome" isn't.) But let's face it--who can really listen to a whole album of Weird Al and keep their sanity? Highlights include the afore-mentioned "Bob" as well as "Angry White Boy Polka" and "Ode to a Superhero," which is the story of Spiderman set to "Piano Man." I think W.A.'s best songs are his movie parodies. Also good in the parody realm are his Eminem, Avril Lavigne and the one by that boy band.

"Vanessa" is of course rapturous. I believe I've reviewed it in these pages before. Granted, the opera is literally hysterical, with women mooning about after men and strange lyrics comparing them to Christmas roses and wild doves and all that such. But the music often soars above it all, nowhere more so than in the first act aria of "Must the winter come so soon?" (which eloquently foreshadow's Erika's impending doom) and the final quintet of "To leave, to break" I especially love the last part of the quintet, in which each character sings the lines that pertain to him/her (Anatol, the rogue, sings "to leave, to break," as he leaves Erika and breaks her heart) and the rest of the cast details what his/her fate will be (Anatol is told "Ah, Anatol! How hard it will be, the bitter backwards road of regret.")

Still, I do have some problems with the story line, not least of which is the character of Erika. Erika lives with her aunt Vanessa, who has been waiting for her lover to come back to her for 20 years. Vanessa has isolated herself in order to preserve her beauty, and her mother no longer speaks to her. When Anatol (the son of Vanessa's lover) comes along, he seduces Erika and offers to marry her. But he cannot promise to love her with a burning passion for the rest of his life. He promises that they will be great friends and have fun together, and, who knows, perhaps his love for her may be eternal, but he won't promise it. Erika refuses, and Anatol hooks up with Auntie instead. I believe it is made clear through the opera that Anatol does indeed love Erika. But instead of either agreeing to marry him or ditching him and moving on with her life, Erika resigns herself to standing in the wings. When Anatol and Vanessa leave for their wedding and honeymoon, Erika orders the mansion to be closed up and all the mirrors draped, announcing "Now it is my turn to wait." I mean, come on! She's seen what that did to her aunt (who interestingly enough, will "die empty-handed"), so why would she sign herself up for that? It doesn't make any sense and it is not logially explicated in the text. And honestly, what did she think she could expect? No one can promise eternal burning passion. And Anatol was at least ebing honest with her, instead of just sweet-talking her into marriage (and thereby into her money). He's a rogue, but I think he gets a bad rap in this opera.

All that set aside, "Vanessa" is a marvelous opera and one that deserves to be revived. If we were going to judge opera on plot points, we'd have to eliminate a number of them.

That's the news from Lake Amygone for today.


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Die Entfuehrung
Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail (The Abduction From
the Seraglio).
Which Mozart Opera Does Your Life Most Resemble?
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