Friday, February 27, 2009

From the sublime to the subterranean

Where else but New York can you go from the 18th Century Comedie Francaise to 21st Century Tokyo---and all within the span of about ten city blocks?

Wednesday night was Adriana LeCouvreur at the Met---a seldom performed melodrama which premiered at La Scala over a hundred years ago.  The program indicated that the opera had been performed only 71 times prior, and I understood why.  But it has two irresistible soprano arias, and Placido Domingo singing the role he debuted in at the Met 40 years ago was fun symmetry.  The man amazes, for his vocal power and on-stage charisma at the age of 68, but my companion and I agreed that the voice's melodic quality is...well...perhaps best remembered on CD's.  

One of my fave arias "Poveri Fiori" is from Adriana, and I found a recording by the great Renata Tebaldi (who played opposite Placido at his debut).  Here it is, for your listening pleasure:

Tonight, I attended a preview at the Alliance Francaise of a film triptych about Tokyo from three exciting directors, each of whom gave us a microcosmic perspective of this extraordinary city.  All three memorable vignettes, one of which--Merde--features a subterranean creature who emerges from the sewers beneath the city to terrorize the well ordered lives above, including a grenade tossing scene in Shibuya right across the street from one of the hotels Jase and I stayed at during a recent trip.  Cool !  Another examined the interior space of a hikikomori---a Japanese shut-in---who is lured out of his isolation by a pizza delivery girl who falls unconscious at his feet during an earthquake.  The interior shots are worth the price of admission---10 years of books, bottles, pizza cartons, and used toilet tissue rolls stacked and arrayed in a sort of visual haiku.  Wonderful!   This sort of work will probably not be appearing at a theater near you, but it was fun to be part of the Franco-American-Japanese film buff crowd for a night.

Warm enough this evening to walk part way home with my coat unbuttoned, no hat, no gloves, and the first scant hint of the spring to come.....

1 comment:

  1. I doubt this has ever been listened to at the Mandala House in Kathmandu, but it has tonight, atleast a dozen times. LOVE IT!