Sunday, April 22, 2007

TOSCA is in Town. Run to See Her.

It is not often that a company outside of New York, Milan or Buenos Aires manages to assemble such a perfectly balanced trio of lead singers as did Vancouver Opera for last night's opening performance of Puccini's "Tosca."

Renzo Zulian is Cavarodossi, the artist hero.

Yulan Zhang is the darkest of villains, Scarpia.

And Cynthia Lawrence is the alluring actress, Floria Tosca.

Against the most beautiful, classical sets of Rome 200 years past, this simple tight story is told with such swift confidence that you feel it has gone by in a moment.

It is one of the best pieces Vancouver Opera has ever presented. The three lead singers are each, alone and together, wonderful.

Click here for all the details of the 4 remaining shows, and do yourself a huge favor and see this and hear it. It is quite amazing.

MARIA CALLAS - TOSCA - Torture scene - Act 2 (1958)

On the other are Gobbi and Callas as Scarpia and Tosca in what must be one of the great pulp fiction terror moments eve put on a stage...It was brilliant last night, as well

Enrico Caruso - Tosca ''Recondita armonia''

In honor of last night's wonderful "Tosca" by the Vancouver Opera, here is Caruso...


A fascinating article in this morning's New York Times talks about the need for Blackberry connectivity in terms of validation, inclusion and desirability. And the writers speak about addiction.

They are absolutely correct about addiction and those other motivator, as well. And they could include, especially include, the ubiquitous cellphone.

But I see darker, more ominous payoffs and motivations. And darker consequences.

Nobody today can tolerate quiet.

120 years ago, if you wanted to travel from what is now Richmond to what is now Point Grey, you would sit on or behind a horse. You would pack a meal or two and perhaps a small boat. Except for the bleats of Mother Nature, you would be alone with your thoughts. Alone with your thoughts! Imagine!

Today, there is a small counter or hanging, plasma TV in every kitchen making sure you don't have a thought over breakfast. The cell and computer practically turn themselves on in their excitement to run your noisy, thoughtless life. In the car, your earcell is blathering on from the office or the next condo closing, in competition from ALLNEWSALLTHETIME or ALLTRAFFICALLDAY.

Nobody can buy lettuce anymore without conferring electronically. "I'M AT THE LETTUCE COUNTER, DEAR," the fool hollers, above all the other hollering fools, "IS IT THE TALL, STALKY LOOKING STUFF OR THE SHORT ROUND CRINKLY ONES?"

Nobody reads a book in a cafe. Everybody computes and cells and blackberry's simultaneously, a dance to multi-tasking.

Nobody walks down the street and observes the passing scene, the men, the women, the children, the shop windows, the bakeries, the new clothes, the cherry blossoms. Everybody is talking and scrolling and texting.
A world without thought is world in great peril.

And I am a total hypocrite and of no use in this deluge. For soon, my blog will be ALLAUDIOALLTHETIME and it will RRS to your iPod and I will join the fray gleefully and pocket the change and help you ignore the world around you and avoid the silence that might if you really, really listened answer your prayers, amen.

Would the REAL America Please Stand Up?

President Bush continues his hopeless, hapless war on the world at an ever-increasing cost approaching a Trillion dollars.

But that is far from the only cost.

The money has to come from somewhere.

This article from the New York Times chronicles one of the most ugly and most sad and most predictable fall-outs of Operation Stupidity.