Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The curate's ball gown/opera/ dream



Well, I had a very mixed day yesterday.  

I’d booked a day of annual leave, thinking it’s nice to have a midweek day off before Christmas to do any final bits of shopping and so on.  Also I had a ticket for “Robert le Diable” and that started at 6pm, so I was going to have to ask to leave work early at the least.  Since in the event I’d done all my Christmas shopping, I had a lazy morning and then went to the V&A to have a mooch and see the “Ball gowns” show (which closes in early Jan).  

It was a very odd show – the first half (mostly from the 50s and 60s, with a few more modern classics) was about 80% terrific, and the second half (contemporary designers’ red-carpet gowns) was about 80% terrible.  If it had been selected with the express purpose of demonstrating that the contemporary applied arts are just as desperate as the contemporary fine arts to be innovative at any and all cost, even if it means being crap, it couldn’t have made its point better (& I think it was meant to have demonstrated how damned hip and wonderful they are!).
 
And as for the opera; well, I actually left at the interval – only the second time in my life I’ve ever done that.  It STANK.  The music itself was uninspiring (alternately hammy-rumbly and sugary-tinkly), and the production was irredeemably bad.  It was “ironic”, and so heavy-handedly so as to be just plain embarrassing.  I’ve seldom seen anything so unrelentingly cheesy in my life.  

At least if one went to Disneyland the cheesiness would be sincere; this was all eye-rollingly superior.  I swear it was more self-consciously knowing than a Carry-on film, and without the redeeming silly humour.  It sucked.  My heart ached for the poor cast, who were bravely doing their best, with rubbish to sing and a director with his brain up his arse.  

You will gather I hated it.

I then went home, feeling rather cross, and got on with some typing, and the laptop got hiccoughs and wouldn’t save.  In the end I left it running, with its little error message saying something along the lines of “I can’t do this, why are you asking me to do this?” and went to bed.  I arranged a large book propped open to mask the light from the screen, and tried to ignore the constant chuntering-computer sound, but of course I couldn’t sleep with it purring away a few feet from me.  I got up at 1am and checked, and it was still jammed, and I thought “sod you, then” and switched it off at the wall...  So will probably go home tonight to an injured complaint of “you switched me off in a bad way, you’re a mean missy”.  I don’t know if the stuff I had typed (about two thousand words) will have been saved or not.  There’s supposed to be an automatic back-up-save every ten minutes, so in theory I shouldn’t have lost too much (cross fingers).  Poor old laptop, I think I do have to accept that it’s nearing the end of its useful life.  

At any rate, by the time I had relaxed enough to actually get to sleep after all that, I had less than six hours before my alarm went off.  I think I was still pretty stressed about the laptop, since I then had a really weird dream.  It was a glorious summer day, and my mum’s friend Ninetoes and Robert Downey Jnr. were helping me to move house.  I had bought a lovely big house with a garden, and as house-move-help goes, Ninetoes and RD Jnr. made a pretty great team (at least once she had stopped making eyes at him), so things weren’t all bad by any means.  The downsides were RD Jnr. insisting on playing just one song, over and over, on the stereo in the pantechnicon (I have nothing against Duffy, but “Beggin’ you for mercy” has fairly repetitive lyrics when you hear it just once, let alone six times in a row) and the bizarre house-warming gift I had been given from work; a urine-driven coffee-maker. 

My subconscious goes to some very strange places at night.  As new green energy concepts go, I think wee-power will take some beating.

4 comments:

Jules said...

Well it's not quite a urine-powered coffee maker but...http://makerfaireafrica.com/2012/11/06/a-urine-powered-generator/

Imogen said...

Wow! Good women! Taking girl power to a whole new level...

All they need to do is beat the "explosive" issue and they could be on their way to being millionaires.

Anonymous said...

I saw R le D (or 'Naughty Bob' as I prefer to refer to it) earlier in the run....I agree with you about the score/libretto. Very poor indeed; but, you have to remember, Meyerbeer was only providing the incidental music to a what is meant to be a gaudy, 2nd Empire excuse for excess - as well as an excuse for members of the Jockey Club to come and see their girlfriend 'ballerinas' in the 2nd act (hence the ballet, which has necrophiliac overtones in this production). I couldn't see why CG bothered to revive this work (although it IS a co-production) when there are other things far more deserving of exhumation. I think you're being a bit harsh on Laurent Pelly, though, all of whose previous productions I've enjoyed - his L'Elixir was splendid, I thought, and he almost managed to distract me from the essential thinness of Cendrillon. But I think adding girth to Meyerbeer is beyond even his talents - a largely wasted evening, although I can now confirm that Wagner was right about GM.

Imogen said...

Hi, Anonymous, thanks for your comments. It's the first Pelly production I've seen and I'm afraid it will give me pause before I try another of his. I have a hefty mental block about whimsy... But as for Meyerbeer, well, I CERTAINLY won't bother with any more of his! Like you I cannot figure why CG decided to revive this at all. There are four-hour pieces one could spend the budget on that would be worth doing, after all...