A Family Affair

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The Times drums up more Wagnerian melodrama, but of the institutional variety. Looks like they’re not sure who’s going to succeed as director of the uber-exclusive Bayreuth Festival. I guess it has to be real life Wagner at the helm.

In the front of the running is the 29-year-old great grand-daughter of the big cheese-ball himself. She directed this new staging of Meistersinger, and as described here, I’m not sure if great-grand-pappy Wagner would really approve…

“Ms. Wagner tackled the opera’s dark association with German nationalism by satirizing luminaries of German culture like Bach, Beethoven, Goethe, Schiller and even Wagner himself. But European critics said much of the audience turned against her in the last act, when she resorted to topless dancers, full male nudity, plastic phalluses and a bizarre auto-da-fé.”

Umm..can somebody get me tickets…and a wet nap?

To Do: Shameless Self Promotion

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Rindfleisch: 80% of Love

August 1-4, 7PM

The Ice Factory Festival

Okay, so this is like the first time we’ve openly blogged about something we’re in, so, you know, eat it.

We’ve previewed Elke Rindfleisch before, and blogged about her Dixon Place performance in June.

Here’s the blurb for the show:

80% of Love delves into the worlds of two women and one man and their quest for love. By amplifying the physical manifestations of longing and desire, Elke Rindfleisch with her company, musical director Chris Woltmann, and dramaturge Joseph Gallo, sculpts demanding and quirky movement, text, and music into a landscape drenched in want. Set to a score for live rock band and the voices of The Collective Opera Company.”

For those of you who don’t know, C.C. is the founder of Collective Opera Company (or COC–pronounced, cock).

Three cheers for transparency.

Now come see this shit.

Click here for tickets or call 212.868.4444

She’s A Dream

Apollinaire Scherr is our new BFF! In case you hadn’t been following, A.Sch. and C.C. have been good-heartedly sparring over at her Arts Journal blog, on the subject of the chosen choreographers and their use of chairs.

(FYI, Jeffrey Hornaday was the choreographer for Flashdance. Couldn’t find any information on his ethnicity.)

Nevertheless, we HEART you, Apollinaire!

I think we’re totally best friends now! I’m gonna come over every day after school. And I can try on your clothes. And we can talk about boys and Kids Incorporated and make up our own dances and style our hair and lip sync to A-Ha!

This is gonna be the best summer ever!

Apollinaire?…

Apollinaire?!!!…

One More Time

Here’s a benign little offering from Sequenza 21.

You know, in case you aren’t totally sick of reading about this opera that we will all probably forget very soon…

Critics Award of the Day (CAD): Fred Kirshnit

schoenberg.jpgOk, ok. Maybe we should have clumped all the Into the Little Hill reviews on one post, but to be honest, we’re kinda shocked that so many people covered this thing. I guess there’s a little cache for the polemical opera critics. Since there seems to be very little cultural consensus about A.) what the hell opera is, and B.) what the fuck opera should be, perhaps all the little critters are trying to chime in more out of hubris than out of genuine interest.

And Kirshnit over at The Sun totally disappoints us with this little line: Martin Crimp’s libretto for “Into the Little Hill” is disappointingly heavy-handed in its political message…” It’s kind of the main line right now for critics to deride political work. You know, We’re all too cool to get caught up in politics.

So then why does Kirshnit get the award?

Cause that bitch threw down the term “klangfarbenmelodie!” KLANGFARBENMELODIE!!! Holy shit, man. I may not agree with your politics, but I wouldn’t push you out of bed.  Big kiss!!!!

Little Hill of Horrors

Justin Davidson at Newsday chimes in on Into the Little Hill.

On one hand, Davidson sounds quite musically informed (unlike Vivien Schweitzer whoseTimes review of two one-act Zemlinsky operas was all synopsis and sets), but then he also seems totally intolerant (and even a little arrogant) toward atonality. But George Benjamin’s atonality is kind of the easy listening variety, so we’re not sure where he’s coming from.

For some perspective, here’s a link to a sweet-ass post on Moon Chalice (is that right?) , with some You-Tube of Glen Gould and Yehudi Menuhin playing Schoenberg’s Fantasie Op. 47. Now that’s some seriously fucked up shit. Also watch the little segment where Gould grills Menuhin on how he doesn’t like Schoenberg. It’s an amazing window into how people used to discuss music. It kind of makes you realize that we don’t have a very serious discussion of musical aesthetics anymore, at least not openly, and rarely in the critical media; where context and critique often seem to have been replaced by a turn of phrase and an authoritative snark.

Time(s) To Dance: Latin Edition

obeseballet.jpgMaybe sensing the looming end of summer, The Times went all Latin flavored to keep things hot and spicy…

Julie Bloom gives us the lowdown on NYC’s Salsa past, present and future (coinciding, of course, with J-Lo’s latest hey-everyone-look-at-me-n-my-hubby flick)

Dunning reports on Brazilian bottoms from Jacob’s Pillow

And James C. McKinley’s article on an obese Cuban ballet company can’t resist the inevitable MacDonald’s reference

Into The Little Tommasini

Looks like T-Bone Tommasini waited a day to see what Counter Critic had to say about George Benjamin‘s new opera, “Into the Little Hill.” Here’s his Times review.

Ok, so we forgot to mention the Ensemble Modern. Yeah they were pretty hot.

Tony gets most of it right. My biggest departure from T-Bone is that the vocal aesthetics of the singers were questionable (in the way they were directed and in the techniques they used). At first they sang in this sharp straight tone (will female British singers ever be free of having to immitate the sound of boy choristers?) that sounded remeniscent of Bang on a Can’s “Lost Objects”–shiver. Not my favorite style.

He also overlooks that a differently abled singer would be able to handle the leaping, fractured melodic passages that Ms. Comsi was given without swallowing words, chewing final syllables, and pinching off high notes.

But hey, different strokes for different folks.

P.S.

We’re going to try to start spelling your name right.

Double Your Pleasure: Opera Review, “Into the Little Hill”

Double Your Pleasure is our new experiment. We sent Counter Critic (Ryan Tracy, a conservatory trained composer, conductor, and all around art freak) and Sidekick (Shari Goldhagen, a novelist and celebrity stalker who doesn’t know shit about classical music) to cover a new opera. Below, we post our critical findings without comparing them. See what happens when critics stop being polite, and start getting real.

Opera Review: George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill

Counter Critic writes… Continue reading

Whoa, Nelly!

wedgie2.jpgWhen we read Alastair Macaulay‘s supercilious clotheslining of “Metapolis II” at LCF, we totally thought this was just another one of AM’s lack-of-action induced cat fights, and a repeat of the Doug Varone debacle.

But then we stopped over to Tobi Tobias’ AJ blog (you know, since we were in the neighborhood), and he kind of corroborates AM’s pantie bunch.

We gotta give AM credit for this one. But why, oh why, does he have to sound like such a grandpa? Come on, AM. We know you got some crunk up in there.

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