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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fear of Failure

T-RosenkSm.jpgONIGHT - Saturday night - I'm going with my ever-considerate wife to watch LA Opera perform Der Rosenkavalier at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown. It's a very different kind of opera, musically speaking, from my other favorites. It is written almost as one long waltz peppered with crashy bits and some breathtaking trios - kind of beauty that could almost make you believe in Heaven, if that kind of singing moves you at all? I've waited years for the chance to see this opera performed live - it's been almost twenty years since I was first ensnared by Rheingold and Don Giovanni, and began buying tickets at theaters. All the Verdi's and Puccini's I sat through in Edinburgh to encourage Scottish Opera proved fruitless - the bastards waited until I had left the country before they produced the acclaimed Ring Cycle that may have destroyed them - but six years of patronizing LA Opera are about to pay off. I hope.

You never know until the curtain rises - and sometimes not even then. The very best and the very worst of all the opera productions that I've seen have been right here in L.A. under the stewardship of Plaçido Domingo, hero of my CD collection second only to Solti. The worst, I'm ashamed to say, was last year's Idomeneo in which I saw the man perform for the first time. We left at half-time. I have a reasonable excuse - chronic nerve damage rooted in my spine makes it difficult for me to sit cramped for long periods, almost impossible to sit still, and painkillers that only go so far - but that wasn't it. I might have endured the second half if the first had not been so awful? Wasn't the singing, anything like that. I am not an opera queen, just an enthusiast. If you have ever read Diva you'll get what I mean. Bit like that. But there are few things I find so dispiriting as a minimalist set and dramatic flouncing around the stage, and I felt it keenly that my wife, who is not an opera lover but who accompanies me regardless, that she should have to sit through two more hours of it. The very best, on the other hand, was year before last and a visually stunning Don Giovanni that looked an awful lot like the dreamy parts of The Cell and in which all the participants moved in highly-stylized ways. Never seen anything like it on stage before or since.

So I'm excited, but fearful. I've built it up so highly, what will I do if it's crap? What if we leave, she gives me that look that says "see what I do for you?" Her attendance tonight is not without sacrifice: she has forgone two fully-comped limousined seats at Jerry Seinfeld's one-night stand in Vegas, offered her - too late - by the casino we patronize. Jerry Seinfeld is very much her Rosenkavalier; but we'd bought the tickets for its final performance long before the offer arrived.

You will know if tonight's production turns-out to be awful. I will never speak of it again.

[ADDENDUM: followed some links - now I'm not worried much at all.]


Blogger -jkg said...

she gave up two seats to see seinfeld AND ride in a limo? true love reveals itself in the act sacrifice. hah. bravo!

ive been dragged to an opera once. i have to say, everytime i hear opera, it strikes me as an absolute stunning art. still, my Mtv mind wont allow me to enjoy it unless forced, and even then its begrudgingly.

5:33 PM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

She did - all we had to do was find our way there. everything else was comped. She had her fingers on the dialler when she remembered we were already booked tonight, and had paid a stash for the tickets.

It was f'ing excellent though.

1:10 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

Mentioned this post to the ever-loving wife. She stared at me as if I were speaking Venutian.
"Say that again. S L O W L Y."
I did so.
"Either she's totally crazy in love with him or his persuasive talents are beyond human comprehension. If it's the latter, what product is he a salesman for?"
I've re-read the blog to make sure I did get your story straight; I'm with the wife. How did you do it? Yeah, I know you already laid out the money, but since the Seinfeld show was free, it would be easy enough to say that you paid for the Vegas show and go there. Did she enjoy the opera as much as you or was she nudging you the whole evening and whispering sweet Seinfeld lines into your ear?

5:54 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I'm way too shy and embarassed to sell anything.

She has known since my girlie squeals of delight last August when this season's program arrived, my "OhigodOhmigodOhmiGOD! ROSENAVALIER!!!" jumping and skipping and kissing of any passersby in the street, stopping cars in excitement etc... She bought me tickets for the best damned seats in the house for Xmas. She has been cajolling and winding me up about this the whole time, until last month when the Seinfeld bomb was dropped.

I owe her Big Time. She's getting a new kitchen and a new floor out of this, with much more to follow.

7:30 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

A New Kitchen and a new floor? For just a new couch, I'd have flown out and treated you. F.C., your balance of marital payments seems akin to ours and China's.

8:59 AM  

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