Category Archives: Music

Film: Puzzle

You know what else I have been doing? Listening to music. I am really enjoying Arctic Monkeys’ latest album. I even found a photo from this summer that goes very well with one of the songs.

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“Maybe I was a little too wild in the ’70s
Rocket-ship grease down the cracks of my knuckles
Karate bandana, warp speed chic
Hair down to there, impressive moustache”
Star Treatment by Arctic Monkeys

Big Opera is dead, long live the … Small Opera?

For the second time in just the few years the Ottawa Opera Lyra cancelled the season. We managed to get full refunds so phew!

Part of me is sad about demise of opera company in a city that has too few already. Part of me is “well duh!” indifferent. Looking back at the last decade of my experience with this company, my favourite productions were the children’s version of The Magic Flute followed by the concert version of Thomas’ Hamlet. Therefore I will posit the following:

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Waiting for Tsars’ Bride at the ROC

– I like opera but I do not like large productions in large halls

We were dozing off for the last act of Carmen at the Met and the only thing I remember from the Royal Opera is the gorgeous sets. I am sure that the cast was top notch, but I don’t really _remember_ it at all. Maybe if I wasn’t such a cheapskate and got front row tickets my experience would be different, but from where I usually sit, being able to hear anything is more of a feat of engineering on the part of the architect and the sound analyzing CAD software than the ability of the artist. Furthermore, the singers are chosen for their above average musical abilities leaving us with mismatch of their physical presence and the character they are trying to evoke. If I could tell the difference between a Diva and an average singer from where I am sitting, I might forgive this, but so far I have not been able to.

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Waiting for Against the Grain’s production of Don Giovanni at University of Ottawa

– I like opera and I especially like small productions

Actually, I am lying, I can tell the difference between Ok singer and amazing singer, but for me that only really matters to a point. From theatre point of view I have had much better record of enjoying small productions with scaled down orchestra and supporting cast that is less than stellar if the storytelling and music “pull me in”. The two operas I’ve seen this year at the Chamber Music Festival knocked my socks off – for just $20!!!. When you consider the that you can watch the shows from the Met or ROC at the movies, I think the lesser cities can survive without the Opera Lyra style companies as long as they have a good serving of “budget” productions. What remains to be seen is whether the void left by Opera Lyra will be filled.

Laibach: The Next Generation

After ten years, I saw Laibach live again on my last day in Zagreb. Part of the performance included a set they were taking to North Korea.

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Edelweiss

Here is the review from T-Portal.

So how is Laibach doing in 2015? At first I was sceptical since half of the performers were younger than me, but then again, Laibach was always more of a collective. Though the last founding member left about ten years ago, the machine itself is still marching on across absurdity with aplomb.

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Grieg’s unfinished opera

Film – Lego Movie

Yes, I went to a movie. In fact, the whole family is now of age where we can go to see a kids movie and we did. Expect me to only review kids movies for the next five years…

I think Lego Movie is best seen on an airplane where you can choose not to put the earphones on. Concept and execution were good, jokes were good (ok, you can wear earphones for those) but the dialogue was standard pep-talk between action scenes fare. Had they hired a decent dialogue writer this move would be as awesome as everything.

I’ve also been listening to popular music! I’ve got a solo album by Alex Turner and two of his group work efforts; “Whatever People Say I Am That’s I’m Not” and “AM” by Arctic Monkeys. After many, many listens, I prefer the solo album which is the soundtrack to the movie “Submarine” the best though I am fairly hooked on the other two. This is the first time that I have albums I bought at the iTunes store that I wish I had a CD for (or at least the CD booklet). I found myself wanting to check the song credits, lyrics and the album art quite a few times.

Film: Met live in HD; L’Elisir d’Amore

There seems to be an emerging pattern of me knitting socks in October. I had no intention of knitting more of them, but Halloween is coming up and my costume demands a particular kind of look.

Because I don’t have much time, and we were going to spend a few weekends driving, I picked the simplest pattern (all stockinette stitch), did the fancy parts like starting or turning the heel the night before the trip and spent the time in the car knitting, knitting, knitting.

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I just have to do the ribbing and the rest of my costume. Should be done by Saturday, no?

Film – Madagascar 3

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Adventure!

It has been a while since I’ve been to a movie, but I have managed to get out quite a bit otherwise. I went to the last three Lisinski evenings including performances by Sol Gabetta and Lana Kos. Lisinski is a great place, not only because it is Modern and beautiful, but because this is where Santa Claus drops off the presents, or at least he did in the 80’s.

Apart from already discussed Jenufa, I got to see another play at the HNK. It was “War and peace” and it was very well done. Finally, I got to see Zaz at the Dom sportova. I am getting so spoiled.