A friday quickie -- cutting out of work early

Part of the job of every music critic is advocate on behalf of his art. Some are more shameless than others, while some use their column to take swipes at the local music organizations. It's all good. But sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the review from a press release.

And then there are strange and overly enthusiastic reviews like this one, written by Richard Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News.

Virtuoso Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez and German soprano Diana Damrau wowed audience at S.F. Opera

I'm not sure that'd quite fit on the marquee.

So many people think opera is, you know,...

I know?

...ultra-challenging, elitist, weirdly out of the mainstream, anything but popular entertainment.

Oh, I do know. This is the setup, that you can then knock down with your stellar pitch.

So what opera being performed is not weirdly out of the mainstream and sure to strike a chord with the hip, popular types?

A new opera by Philip Glass? Or some lamentable opera, rock crossover by the Moody Blues, or Roy Orbison? Is Transformers an opera yet?

These people now have an assignment: March to War Memorial Opera House, where San Francisco Opera's "La Fille du Régiment" ("The Daughter of the Regiment") by Donizetti...

Donizetti?!? Doni-fucking-zetti!

Donizetti is to today's popular entertainment what the surrey is to modern transportation.

..."La Fille du Régiment" ("The Daughter of the Regiment") by Donizetti is unleashing a blast of smart farce that's flat-out fun and resplendent with singing guaranteed to leave folks scratching their heads in tingly amazement.

figure shampoo: Guaranteed to not leave folks scratching their heads in tingly amazement.

Among the thousands who attended Tuesday's opening were many who anticipated one event:

What could it be? Axl Rose sings in the lead role, after bringing democracy to China?

a feat of virtuoso derring-do by 36-year-old Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez.

"a feat of virtuoso derring-do"?! I'm very excited now. Don't keep me in suspense. Does he eat dynamite and drink nitroglycerin?

figure daffy: Greatest showman ever.

In the role of Tonio, the Tyrolean hayseed lover, he has wowed audiences around the world in "La Fille," even generating front-page headlines in the New York Times last year, by singing a famous aria titled "Ah, mes amis," in which he is required to pop nine high C's — something Pavarotti used to do and which most tenors simply can't pull off.

Sing nine high C's? Well, that's cool too. I guess.

But I'm still not convinced I want to march to this concert yet. I don't know much about opera and don't understand your "high C" reference. Can you give an analogy a hip, popular, non-elitist, simpleton like me could relate to?

Flórez pulled it off, this act of macho virtuosity. He didn't do a solo encore, nailing all nine a second time, as he did in New York. Still, it was plenty good — like watching baseball's Prince Fielder, launching one blast after another in the home-run derby contest at the All-Star Game. Oh, come on. He can't really be doing that!

Like hitting homeruns! Why, that's the best part of baseball! I can relate to that.

Wow! Sounds exciting. Maybe I'll go see the Blue Angels afterward.

figure planes: "Air show? Buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke from their whiz jets to the strains of "Rock You Like A Hurricane?" What kind of countrified rube is still impressed by that?"

Count me in!

Thanks, Richie.


Actually it sounds like it was a great show...other than it's a Donizetti opera. But do read the rest of what is a pretty fun review. I kid Richard Scheinin.


Empiricus said...

If it's ultra-challenging, elitist, and anything but popular, then why is it "WEIRDLY out of the mainstream"? Just saying.

Sator Arepo said...

If you're trying to outdo me on oblique and uncited Simpsons' references, Gustav, it's on.


"Like hitting homeruns! Why, that's the best part of baseball!"


("Do you want to know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to see me hit some dingers?")

Gustav said...

SA, dropping uncited Simpsons' references is my speciality. But, frankly, I enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Can't I just bet that everyone will have a fun time?

Sator Arepo said...

Do I know what rhetorical means?