Aug. 3rd, 2009

starlady: (Rick Roll'd!)
My friend S and I went to see the Metropolitan Opera put on Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" in the movie theatre last week, as part of the Met's cinecast series. I'm not sure when the production was from--I think this past season--but it was very good. The cameras are situated right near the stage, so that it's quite easy to see the expressions of the singers; I think it's partly that visibility that made the opera so funny--I tend to prefer tragic or dramatic operas, but this one really was laugh-out-loud funny at times, despite the vaguely skeevy plotline. Also, as S commented, the Met performers are just good: they're stellar at singing (and particularly the people playing Figaro and Count Almaviva stood out in that respect) but they're also really good at acting. I wouldn't say it's the case that other operas I've seen have lacked acting chops on the part of the cast, but unsurprisingly everyone in the Met company seemed good at both. Like a U2 concert, the Met stage loops out into the audience, around the orchestra, which adds another wrinkle of dramatic possibility. My one relatively minor complaint is that the camera angles don't always allow one to choose where one looks--there were a few times when I would have liked to be able to watch Figaro, since he was hilarious, the real spirit of the play, as opposed to whomever the cameras were following, but again, a minor complaint. The crowd in the theater was fairly lively and into it too, which is always nice. I'm definitely going to keep this series in mind as a good way to expand my opera experience.

On Saturday my sister and I went to a pool party concert in the round with Dan Deacon, No Age, and Deerhunter at the Flying W in Medford--it's a private club and airstrip with its own airplane-shaped pool, and the draught beer was only $4 (there are advantages to being out in the boonies beyond the natural setting). All in all it was pretty damn amazing: we laid around on the grass and went swimming in the pool and ate veggie burgers and funnel cake and spiked water ice until the evening, when the bands set up and started playing--I told Dan Deacon that I liked his sparkly hat, and my sister got a picture with the lead singer of Deerhunter. Dan Deacon ensconced himself in the wooden playset (there were people swinging on the swings while he played, and people climbing halfway up the playset to crowdsurf), No Age set up poolside, and Deerhunter took over a portion of the wooden patio. I literally stood for almost the whole set (which was three hours long) two feet behind Deerhunter's drummer. There were small planes taking off and landing on the airstrip the whole time. All in all it was pretty damn amazing, and a lot of fun. My sister has played Dan Deacon (he of the corn-burning bus, which sadly was not in evidence) for me before, but it wasn't until I heard him live that I really got the appeal of his music (and he can get a crowd of jamming semi-drunk people to do his bidding, which is pretty cool). Deerhunter were pretty damn awesome too (though the singer is way too thin. apparently he's a vegan who doesn't eat tofu, which explains his near-skeletal appearance), definitely my favorite of the six bands (three opening acts) that played. The whole "round robin" concert concept is pretty cool; I'd definitely go see others like that.

All this was only $12, mind you, + a $2.50 surcharge, which leads me into this consideration of concert ticket prices, and what's wrong with them, in this week's New Yorker--or rather to the author talking about it on Fresh Air, since the article itself is subscriber-only.
starlady: (utena myth)
So I got a friend of mine (who really is an extraordinary human being in multiple ways), K, who's still living in Japan, to send me the complete Ribon no Kishi in Japanese, since a) I don't read untranslated manga and b) the bilingual edition is basically one of the unicorns of American manga--copies are currently going for $152 on Amazon.com, so it's essentially out of print, and it remains perhaps the greatest Tezuka work not widely available in English.

For great gender justice! Or something. )

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