16 October 2010

Went to the Metropolitan Opera the other night to see "Boris Godunov". I love the accoutrements of opera: getting to dress to the glittering nines, getting to be with a handsome man in black tie, getting charged 32 dollars for a glass of Veuve Clicqout (Nope, didn't buy one; nor was the bartender amused when I asked him, since he didn't take credit cards, is I could trade colorful shells and beads, or perhaps liovestock, instead. He might have just have been bitter because he didn't have change for a sheep.) It's just opera itself I'm not sure about. Which is an irremediable failure on my part, but it's probably like sea urchin sushi or Justin Bieber: you either totally love it or you, well, don't.

I have written about opera before; I think it can be good for a critic to know absolutely nothing in the slightest, about the art form she's talking about. -Not good for the readers, maybe, but really- who asked them? Sheesh.

This production of "Godunov" was impressive but a little on the "hey, let's just do weird things and hope the audience thinks it's arty!" side. The sets were very, very minimal: apparently, someone walked into an empty warehouse one day and said, "Hey this reminds of me the scheming and power struglles in 18th century Russia!"- and the costumes were beautiful but a mite distracting. Partially because it appeared that the costume designer's approach was to close his eyes, open a book about "Costume Through The Ages", and simply copy whatever his eye first fell on. So there were ladies in 16th century ruffs; 19th centurey Empire costumes; and 20th century Gaultier suits; while the men cavorted in the priesthood robes of an oder that didn't exist at that time, as well as 19th century peasant, 21st century Generic Madman, and, with Boris G himself, a sort of Marilyn Manson-meets-Nine-Inch-Nails post Goth thing: he also had waistlength Cher Hair.  I kept thinking: "you're Tsar, dude: you can't afford a haircut? Even washing it would be a nice gesture."

You'll be surprised to learn that it didn't end happily. However, if I remember my history right, which is a pretty big "if, the REAL "False Dimitri" (he pretended to be the rightful Tsar, don't even ask, really) didn't stride out onto the stage proclaiming that justice peace and really good borscht-the kind you make from scratch--would now be readily available to all you smelly poor people. Nope. What ACTUALLY happened was that the peasants got fed up with him--turned out the borscht was storebought--and shot him out of a cannon, over the Russian border into Poland, a technique one almost never finds recommeneded in books called things like "How To Live A Long And Healthy Life". In fact, the number three rule, after "Stop smoking" and "don't date actors", is "Try not to get shot out of a cannon into Poland."  And I don"t. or do, or have, or haven't. Or something. Damn this grammar thing.- Anyway, good night.
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