Thursday, July 16, 2009


When are they going to do something about the notorious wetware problem, the volatility of the short-term memory buffer?

Yesterday morning I gather up and loaded into the car the following: change of clothing for today, toiletries, supply of Diet Pepsi for work today. Off I headed to work and then Santa Fe.

Only as I was about to get in the car after work, standing there in the heat of the parking lot, I realized that MY OPERA TICKET was still sitting next to my laptop at home.

I called Santa Fe to let folks know what happened, then zipped home, picked up the ticket, and zoomed north to Santa Fe. For those unfamiliar with the geography here, Santa Fe is roughly north of Albuquerque. My best friend's pied-à-terre in Santa Fe is on the north end of Santa Fe, basically across from the Veterans' Cemetery. Work is on the slightly north end of town adjacent to I-25. I live on the far southwest part of town. It is about 25-30 minutes from work to my house and work is on the way back to Santa Fe.

I made record time, driving like a Californian, arriving at the condo in Santa Fe just under two hours before the opera began. Whew. (That is enough confession. We will not mention velocity here.)

Every time I visited there before the gate to the condo complex was open. It was, of course, closed last night. I had no gate pass or gate code, so I did what sensible people do. I drove up and tried to use the directory to ring best friend and mutual friend, co-owners of the condo. Last Name #1 was not listed. Last Name #2 was not listed. Out comes cell phone on which I had announced my soon arrival just five minutes earlier. Voice mail. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I must have dialed ten times.

So that is how the opera adventure began.

We can add that I was "journey proud" the night before and did not sleep well. Last night I realized how very quiet my house is because every noise at the condo seemed like a symphony at full volume. I did not sleep well last night. I fully expect to fall asleep at the keyboard before very long this evening.

Having said all that....

Dinner plans changed last night. Instead of meeting at a restaurant in Santa Fe we met at the condo for leftovers. You may dismiss your concept of leftovers. We had crusty peasant bread with stilton and brie. A nice red wine. Poached salmon with basil from BF's yard. Coleslaw made from cabbage and onions from BF's yard, along with jicama and a light dressing of mayo, New Mexico chile powder and cayenne. Fresh fruit salad with nectarines and plums and melon all at their peak. Individual pastries for dessert. (They were purchased for the occasion and, like the bread and cheese, were not leftovers.)

Mutual friend was driving. So I must have had slightly over half the bottle of wine.

Off to the opera!

It was like an oven inside the opera house. At each pause for applause in the first half I wiped great quantities of sweat from my temples. (Sorry, delicate ladies, but it's true.) I did get drowsy toward the end of that act, between the wine and the heat and, well, a darkened space with pretty music.

But it was wonderful to enjoy an opera we had met so many years ago. The staging was inventive, set in Italy near the end of WWII. The acting was reasonable, the singers sang well. I enjoyed it.

It was not magical. The performance we saw decades earlier had been magical and it is hard to rise to the level of our transformative memories, no?

The one thing I would level as a serious criticism in the production design/direction was treating Dr. Dulcamara, the traveling snake oil salesman, as a shifty mafia castoff. Of course there is an unsavory element about him but he is usually portrayed as charming and one WANTS to believe he's got the goods. This portrayal sometimes made my flesh crawl. The net result was diminishing the charm of the performance.

Yes, diminished charm is the problem I had with it. Nemorino is always a lovesick loon, passive to the point of making one want to shake him, but he should have tons of charm. Pittas' Nemorino did not have the charm we remember when a very young, very athletic Luis Lima did it so long ago (in a galaxy far away).

Still, lovely music, nicely sung.

While taking it easy this evening the doorbell rang. My neighbors were playing in my yard. Pruning. I have wanted to top my plane tree so it will grow out more. Well, that is finally done and I did some other pruning on the lower branches. The other alleged "tree" has had deadwood and excess branches removed, the day lilies have had dead leaves cleaned up. They are such nice people.

Now to cool off and finish catching up.

--the BB

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

A very nice evening on the whole ;=)