view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Proms 42

Back at the Proms hanging out with our good friend Pyotr Ilyich. Yep, I'm still on my Russian kick, and after the Proms show a couple weeks ago I was left wanting more. So, here it was, an entire evening of Tchaikovsky.

They started off with bits from the Nutcracker, which was a tad strange, seeing as it's August. For me this music calls up images of rich velvet dresses, men dancing in big fur hats, and the smell of peppermint candies and pine trees in the snow. It makes me want to go home, light a fire and sip some vodka. Still, it's a great score, so we'll take it any time of the year.

orchBut the main part of the night was Tchaikovsky's one-act opera Iolanta. It's based on a fairytale about a blind princess, who's been so sheltered she doesn't know she's blind. All her attendants have been forbidden to mention sight or light or vision. Of course, she gains her sight at the end when she meets the love of her life. Tiff thought the message was a bit lame, that if you just wish hard enough, you'll be able to see. But I don't think you can take these things literally. It's a fairytale. It's all metaphor and myth beamed straight out of the collective unconscious. It's about being blinded by misleading thought, and how it's impossible to conceal the notion of light. I thought it was brilliant.

singOriginally Iolanta was designed to be preformed on the same night as the Nutcracker, so here they were, together again. I'd never seen a Russian opera before so that was a treat. Russian is a such a majestic language. There's strength there without all the spitting out consonants like the Germans do. They had 10 main parts all standing at the front of the stage, as well as a choir in back of the orchestra. Our seats were way up high on the side, so we didn't get the best sound, but still it was great stuff.

Pass the caviar, and let's see what else is coming up in the schedule.



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