This past week:
Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at Met on the 25th. I had seen this opera only once before when I went to Moscow a few years ago, and I am far from having absorbed it – I notice the forays into waltz at appropriately bourgeois moments (I was reminded, oddly enough, of Baron von Ochs’s irritating waltz tune), and I kept getting pulled in by the woodwind writing at various points in the story/score, but I suspect I may have to find an audio only version of it and go through it a few more times before. My friend and opera buddy S (we went to Russia together, so she saw that Russian performance with me as well as this Met one) is dating a Russian and working away at learning the language; her verdict is that Eva-Maria von Westbroek’s (Katerina’s) Russian is not very good. I cannot comment on this myself, but the production, by Graham Vick, was a little edgier than what I’ve grown accustomed to at the Met recently. It gets at the story’s mix of tawdriness, real sadness and dark humor – there is something about lurid green lighting, astroturf, packs of insane blood-spattered wedding-dress wearing dancers and shabby living room sets that works for this story. Katerina and Sergei put the husband’s body in the trunk of a car rather than in the cellar, which is a bit odd both visually and logically, but this doesn’t really detract from the effect of the whole.
Had internet meltdown resulting in no streaming at home. (Apparently, using your phone to create a local wifi network at home has a data limit that is different, and much smaller, from one’s total cellular data limit – even if one has paid for unlimited data – and results in no more phone-created home wifi until next month. Just when I thought I had figured out a way to have internet and not have to set up an additional service/bill, T-Mobile lets me know that no, that will not work. Meanies.) This actually results in me listening to CDs or not-the-internet, which I suppose will do wonders for my dwindling powers of concentration. Always look on the bright side of life, etc. etc.
I am going to Prague this month and also Budapest for two days and I have no opera or other music tickets. I am not sure how this happened. I am also not sure what (if anything) to get.
Finally, I have been tantalizing myself by listening to fragments of Frau R’s new song recital CD, but not the whole thing yet because I have a work thing that I have to finish and I need some motivation. But as I have discovered via dog training, there is such a thing as a reward being too motivating. My dog will smell a freeze-dried liver treat and forget everything he’s learned and simply try a series of things in quick succession (shake hands, sit, lie down) in the hopes that one of these will be the thing I asked him to do and he will get the liver. In my case, I have trouble doing a good job on the work thing because I have severely downgraded my definition of “finish” in anticipation of German art songs. When my dog ceases to learn and simply starts assuming familiar postures in order to get the treat, I switch from freeze-dried liver to bits of apple.
What is the musical equivalent of bits of apple?