So, I was in Auburn, AL this weekend, visiting my friend R who teaches at the university there. She had actually had Dead Crow Figaro on her Netflix list (yes, we are talking about that damn DVD again) and since I own the thing, I brought it with me and we watched it together. R likes opera, but she’s not as obsessive about it as I am, and also does not have the time to be as obsessive about it as I am, because she is teaching 3/2 and has had to give up caffeine and everything carbonated b/c she ended up with an ulcer last year due to stress. Apparently pretty much everyone in that department is either ulcerous, depressed, or in therapy.

But the climate’s nice.

Anyway. Highlights of me and R watching Le Nozze di Figaro:

1) Beginning of Act II: R and I disagree as to beauty and interestingness of Dorothea Roeschmann’s voice. I love it. R has yet to be convinced – she thinks her vibrato is too quick.

2) “Venite inginocchiatevi”: opinions differ as to dramatic effectiveness of the Epic Cherubino Grope.

3) Yep, BDSM-y. R noted that the Countess’s go-to reaction to anything in this production is to collapse onto the floor. But given that there appears to be no furniture at all in that house, the floor is pretty much her only option.

4) R does not like that Susanna really is having an affair with the count. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth too, but the fact that it’s there and I don’t like it but I’m watching it anyway indicates the value of the concept. It works in the sense that you have to address what you think of it whether you like it or not. (I have three DVDs of this opera, and this is the one I’ve watched most, by far).

5) Act III: opinions differ as to the interpretation of “Dove sono.” Opinions concur, magnificently, as to the ugliness of Susanna’s wedding dress.

6) Act IV, the part where the count is “seducing” his wife disguised as Susanna:
R: did she just grope him?
me: indeed she did
R: ugh.
[the count begins to lick ‘Susanna’ ‘s fingers]
R: ew.
me: yeah, I’m with you there.

7) R points out that this is a production of Le Nozze di Figaro where, basically, Figaro is sort of a side issue. Amid the groping and the collapsing and the unicycles, Figaro himself is lost. Whether this is a plus or a minus is an open question.

Next time, I’m going to see if I can talk her into watching La Clemenza di Tito. She notices things that I don’t.