Public Service Announcement from Gourmay

All is “right in the world” and the prospects for peace have never been brighter regardless of which side of history you prefer to stand on:

  • Congress is in summer recess and,
  • President Obama is spending two weeks vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

In the words of Garrison Keillor, that national treasure who hosts A Prairie Home Companion, “the optimists among us are either running for public office or on strong medications; the rest of us are skeptical.”   I guess I will resume taking my meds.

For those who have better things to do with their lives, I recommend the Met HD Opera season (2014-2105) that begins October 11.  We make an effort to see them all, but for those who are tempted to see what old people do in their spare time, I have listed below several traditional operas and a few operas featuring legendary divas.   If you are fortunate enough to be hooked on Opera, there is still hope for your soul:

You can watch a live Saturday matinee performance or an encore performance the following Wednesday. Simply enter your zip code to find a theater that is broadcasting a Met performance near you. Found below are a few special ones:

Nov 1, 2014 – Bizet’s Carmen. Moral of the story: Never succumb to the charms of a gypsy.

Nov 11, 2014 – Rossini’s Barber of Seville – Good fun and a few instantly recognizable melodies

Jan 17, 2015 – Lehar’s The Merry Widow – Easy listening with eye-candy Renee Fleming in the leading role. (Will you look that good when you are 55?)

Feb 14, 2015 – Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta – A chance to see the incomparable Anna Netrebko

Mar 14, 2015 – Rossini’s The Lady in the Lake – An opportunity to see “bel canto” by famous tenor Juan Diego Flores. Joyce DiDonato ain’t bad either.

Schedule one or more. You won’t be disappointed.

Couldn’t resist another classic duet from Puccini’s La Boheme with Rolando Villazon and a somewhat younger Anna Netrebko. If this doesn’t move you, you have never been in love.

Together, we can keep this art from heaven thriving. Do your part and attend a live performance at the Met or in a theater near you.

I am Gourmay’s International Correspondent and I approve of this message.

Nachos, Popcorn and the Opera

While standing in line at the Westchester Mall Theater last evening to get a paper cup, I watched a woman queueing for a large bag of popcorn with extra butter (1100 calories) and nachos with extra cheese (1875 calories).    As you can imagine, I was both surprised and relieved to discover that she also decided to order a large “diet” Pepsi.  Glad to see that she is sticking to her New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2010.

The reason for the paper cup was to transport my glass of Merlot (120 calories, but I don’t keep count after the second glass) into the theater to watch the Metropolitan Opera’s reprise transmission of Jacques Offenbach’s signature opera, Les Contes d’Hoffmann.   Despite the fact that the theater program listed Giuseppe Verdi as the author and we lost transmission in the middle of the climactic third act, it was an evening of great entertainment and virtuoso performances by Joseph Calleja (Hoffmann), Kathleen Kim (a brilliant Olympia as the mechanical doll), Anna “Eye Candy” Netrebko (Antonia), Alan Held (a very convincing Devil) and the lovely and talented Kate Lindsey (Nicklausse and The Muse).

Renee FlemingSheila and I have been attending the Metropolitan Opera’s HD transmissions for a couple of years now.  The grind of dashing into NYC to see the live performances at the Met finally got to us and we are indeed grateful to the Met and their sponsors for making these memorable performances available to the general public.  For those not familiar with the Met HD program, the Met will broadcast a live Saturday matinee performance in HD at a theater near you, followed by a reprise of that same performance on Wednesday evening a week or two later.    Simply go to the Metropolitan Opera website, check out the schedule of performances, and type in your zip code to locate a theater near you.   

Two exeptional performances are coming up shortly:  Richard Strauss’ Des Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming and Susan Graham on January 9th (the live transmission) and George Bizet’s Carmen with Roberto Alagna and Elina Garanca on January 16th (the live transmission).   While we can’t make the live performances (working), we certainly will attend the retransmissions.   The pagentry, music, staging and performances are memorable.  Do yourself a favor and attend one of the upcoming Met performances at a theater in your neighborhood.