I am at work on a Sat. I just need to do a few final things before tomorrow's conference. Unfortunately, I am falling ill. I can hold up through tomorrow. No problem. But man, I may be very ill on Monday. Equally as unfortunate is that my office is across the street from UC Berkeley on the east side, near the stadium. And today is The Big Game. Holy shit
. I have never seen so many pedestrians, so many parked buses, seen so many people milling about frat houses as I did on the annoying, but surprisingly uneventful drive here. I intellectually understand the rivalry, but I still think Fuck Stanford shirts are tacky.
In better news, I went to the opera last night with ctiee
. We saw Puccini's Manon Lescaut
. In the music, which was lush and beautiful, if slightly sentimental and overly dramatic, I heard hints of things to come: Gershwin, Bernstein, John Williams; I saw the precursor of the American musical. I had never noticed this about Puccini before. The singers in this opera were superb, even if I found the tenor's vibrato extremely unsettling in the first act; by the middle of the show he was warmed into his voice and the vibrato seemed so appropriate to the grandiose, over-the-top qualities of Puccini. The soprano was amazing. She started out timid, like the young girl she is supposed to be, and throughout the opera her voice deepens, mirroring the tragedy she is experiencing. It's subtle and so lovely. Plus, Puccini loves to write for sopranos (think La Boheme
and Madama Butterfly
I also think this particular opera is flat out absurd for the following reasons, besides complete lack of development: tired gendered cliches; no overture -except for act 3, which is all of ten minutes!; and act 4 takes place in some strange desolate land (supposedly Louisiana, but that is not made clear in the libretto) and the soprano, Manon, spends the entire act dying on a rock. Act 4 is musically gorgeous and the soprano hit everynote, dramatic and sung, just perfectly, but again - it's all climax; it was hard to be moved at all. In fact, I have never laughed out loud at an opera as much as I did during this one.
My overriding thoughts about Puccini are that he is like the suave, extremely good looking lover that totally sucks you in. You agree to go to bed with this guy, only to discover that while he's very good at bringing you to orgasm, that's all he wants you for. He scored, and now he's moving on. Frankly, I'm a woman who needs some build up. All climax and no foreplay makes for some spectacular but empty sex.
As always, going to the opera is just plain fun, especially with Ms. Tiee. We took pictures of our get-ups and drank illicit vodka and Pepsis. Not inside the auditorium, though. Some things are sacred. Whee!