Monday, July 23, 2007

Wrapping up, part one

I'm home in body but not yet in spirit, feeling somewhat lost and perpetually tired. I'm sleeping badly and irregularly, and at odd times; I need several daytime naps but fear that they would interfere with my night's sleep.

In short, I have jetlag. This is not unexpected, coming eastwards is always harder for me than westwards, and it has on occasion lasted as long as two weeks before I was fully back into the European rhythm.

What to say about New York? First, that as much as I enjoy the city, I remain glad not to live there. I find the relentless speed, the hurryness, to be exciting for a day or two, but after that it only irritates me. It's no wonder that people there get ulcers and/or spend years in therapy.

The Ring was very good, even the Wotan of the first night was much improved when he reappeared in "Siegfried" (most singers sang only once during the week, or took one major role and a bit part). "Siegfried" was excellent, better than I remember it from Baden-Baden. As happened in Toronto, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it: I usually experience it as the low point of the Cycle. These two performances have changed my opinion, it is a much stronger opera than I'd thought. I shall have to listen to the CDs a little more intently than I have done.

Presenting the Ring on four consecutive nights (as Wagner wanted) is in my humble opinion not a good idea: one has no time for anything else, and no chance to let the memory of music and staging sink in. The performances started at 6pm and went to 11 or later; by the time one had had a drink in the bar, slept and breakfasted, it was time to think about lunch (the main meal of the day) and immediately after that it was time to shower and dress for the next performance. I think it really needs at least one free evening between the operas.

The New York audience was appalling. People would continue to chatter after curtain-up until somebody shushed them, and always began to applaud while the orchestra was still playing even though many people shushed them. And a good half-dozen cellphones rang during every performance! What the fucking fuck? I can't understand the mentality of that: do people say "oh, my phone won't ring" or "they won't really mind if my phone rings"? Turn your goddamned phones off when you go into a cinema or theatre or concert hall; Christ, people, this is not fucking rocket science. And the coughing! it was a constant background hum through all four operas. Bah and boo and humbug. For shame, New York! not bloody good enough.

On the bus to JKF I lost the hat I'd bought in Lisboa to replace the hat I'd lost on the bus going there. Bah to me.

I didn't have a bowel movement worthy of the name during the entire week in NY, producing only a few rabbit pellets or at most a grape or two. This worried me to the point that I ate mostly salads during the final days, without apparent effect. You will be pleased to learn that my bowels are returning to their normal productivity.

What else? It feels strangely good to be back in a country of low-rise buildings, where the sky is a continuum around (!) the horizon (!!) rather than a stripe of blue between windowed walls. I hadn't been aware of missing the sky while I was there, but sitting on G and U's balcony yesterday afternoon I realized that I was delighted to see an expanse of sky and clouds again.

More later, some time or other. There will even be photos soonish.

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Blogger JoeinVegas said...

I can hear you singing 'Blue skies .. '

July 23, 2007 at 6:24:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Savtadotty said...


July 23, 2007 at 8:01:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger zhoen said...

No caffeine.

I feel much the same about Boston, though it took me longer. Hated seeing movies there for the same reasons. They won't mind if MY phone rings.... heh.

July 24, 2007 at 6:09:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger red eft said...

Bowels don't travel well, in my experience.

September 21, 2007 at 11:45:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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