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February 3, 2021:

THE MINOR MAJOR MIRACLE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we did get our major miracle yesterday, but it wasn’t as major as I needed it to be – so, a minor major miracle and I’ll take it and hopefully it will make the next couple of months a bit easier. So, thanks for all the excellent vibes and xylophones. Otherwise, I’m sitting here like so much fish, listening to Mr. Benjamin Britten’s opera of Billy Budd, which is pretty great. The performances are tops, and no one conducts Britten like Britten and the sound is fantastic. I’m really enjoying this one. I also listened to the first CD of Il Trovatore, which I didn’t love, but I’ve got two CDs to go. This one stars Leontyne Price and Placido Domingo, conducted by Zubin Mehta, who I don’t much care for. But it sounds good and everyone sings nice and loud. I also listened to a solo album of arias sung by Elina Garanca, Romantique. What a voice this woman has, but more importantly she not only is a great opera singer, she can act, too. I’ve seen and heard so much shmacting in opera and she doesn’t do that – she goes for character and it’s great. I became a huge fan from her brilliant performance in the DVD I have of Der Rosenkavalier. I’m getting a couple of her other solo albums. In other news, the Darling Daughter texted me and she’s in town helping her friend with stuff, so we’ll have a visit this week and that will be very wonderful. After Billy Budd is done, I’ll move onto L’Amico Fritz by Mascagni, then go back to Il Travatore, and I’ve also got two Kurt Weill operas I’ve never heard, so that will be fun, and a Verdi thing called Chore. Oh, and I also watched the streaming Met production of Porgy and Bess. I love Porgy and Bess and I saw the Houston Opera production when it played the Ahmanson in the 1970s. This production wasn’t much to my liking. The Porgy was a void as an actor, which is a problem, but the Bess was very good as was the Crown. In fact, most of the cast was fine, save for the Sportin’ Life, who was far too “now” for me, and didn’t have any of the delicious sleazy stuff going on. You have to understand that the guy could charm a snake and get that snake to do anything, but this guy was just buff and wrong. The pacing was also very slow. If you have no pacing in Porgy and Bess, you’re done. That’s why I love the CD we put out – you can just hear how that production sizzles and moves like a house afire. That’s what you want. But, you did get Audra MacDonald schmoozing backstage before the show, at intermission, and after. I really hate that stuff. Just do the damn opera.

Yesterday was a nice enough day. The minor major miracle happened early on, so that was good. I answered e-mails, did stuff that needed doing, then I went and picked up some packages, then made a stop at Gelson’s. I got the small Caesar and one of their pre-made penne Bolognese things. I came home and had the Caesar for the early meal and later I had the penne for the later meal. The calories were reasonable. And much later, I had some popcorn. It was weird not having anything to do in the afternoon, book-wise, and I won’t until the proofer notes come back. So, I just did stuff around the house and listened to music. Then, at some point, I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a Blu and Ray of Hansel Und Gretel, yes, another version, this one from Germany, conducted by Christopher Thielmann and directed by Adrian Noble. It begins interestingly – halfway through the overture, we see a father showing stereopticon slides to his kids at Christmas and introducing them to the story of Hansel and Gretel. Then they kids go into the story to experience it. It works pretty well – they’re onstage only occasionally and never intrude on the actual story. This is not what you’d call a starry cast – they’re all fine, save for the father, who I didn’t care for. The mother was quite good and the witch was more fun than most that I’ve seen, save for the old Met production’s Rosalind Elias. It’s visually a very interesting production, rather magical at times, and the stuff with the witch is not played as a horror movie, which is good. But, where they all fail, for me, is the comedy leading up to the witch and then that entire sequence. I don’t know why these various directors don’t get it – it’s all right there in front of them if they understood what fun that can be had. Let me at it, I say. The only weird thing in the video is they’ve edited out all applause and audience reaction, which I don’t understand. We see the audience at the start, we see the musicians and the conductor, we know the audience is there – it’s just a peculiar choice. And then, of course, the audience suddenly shows up for the curtain calls.

After that, I listened to music and relaxed, not necessarily in that order.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, then someone’s coming by to pick up CDs, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat, and then at some point, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same, trying to get our guest stars for the March Kritzerland, which I’m thinking might be later than our usual second week, and then promoting project one aka Tonight’s the Night. We really need to get the word out, folks, so if you dear readers could help spread the news far and wide as well as wide and far that would be great. I’ll be posting an update today so you could share that. But also, tell your friends, your neighbors, and the folks who live on the hill.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, have a brief CD pick-up, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, wishing the major miracle could have been truly major, but happy and grateful for the minor major miracle, which sounds like a Gilbert and Sullivan song.

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