Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One down, three to go

Das Rheingold last night was quite fine, other than a weak Wotan; this production is as good as I remember it being (we've seen this particular Ring before, in Baden-Baden in the Spring of 2004). The orchestra is not as well-trained as the Met's own under Jimmy Levine, but then again which orchestra is? The lighting is magnificent, much better than I remembered; it is both subtle and dramatic, washes of lovely colours which change slowly with the mood—or abruptly with the plot. Some of the costumes are also different to my memories. Which is fine, of course there would be changes in the course of three-year-long world tour and a changing cast.

The audience was surprisingly well behaved (for New York): only one cellphone rang during the concert, and there was little coughing and rustling to be heard. When I am Minister for Culture (which God forbid) I shall make Failure to switch off a cellphone an offence punishable by beating with rusty iron bars.

I'm finding it hard to make the time to get online, there is so much to see and do here, even if we are mostly just walking around, eating and drinking and getting a stiff neck from looking upwards. One change that registers with me is the decline of the central-Manhattan bookshop: there used to be a round dozen good (large selection of obscure and arcane titles, pleasant atmosphere, knowledgeable staff) bookshops in Midtown, but they have all gone. We found a Barnes & Noble, not bad as chains go, but in no way a replacement for a proper bookshop. Sigh. Replaced by fast-food chains and low-price computerish stuff (US$ 40 for a camera? how can selling that pay the rent on a Sixth Avenue store?)

I've been to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, of course I have. It's a heart-warming sight for an Apple fan: a very large store full to bursting with happy people playing with pretty stuff, and even buying things. The genius bar is a great idea, knowing that this service is available free surely takes away some of the reluctance to cross over to the light side. The store planners were clever enough to realize that they could not put in enough cash registers for all these shoppers, so there are staff equipped with portable credit-card-readers who roam the floors looking for customers who wish to buy something.

More later, perhaps.

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Blogger Savtadotty said...

There is still one book store worth a visit, at the corner of 12th Street and Broadway: http://www.strandbooks.com/app/www/p/aboutus/

July 17, 2007 at 5:07:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger zhoen said...

Yup. Apple stores are happy places.

July 18, 2007 at 12:45:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Little Light said...

Oh, glad I popped in. Hope you're enjoying the city.

July 18, 2007 at 10:14:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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