Monday, January 31, 2011

Once upon a time......

Not much in the way of fibre activity this weekend, due to Other Stuff.

Saturday we went to see "Carmen" at Opera North. I have to say, I really wasn't looking forward to it all that much. Far from being my favourite opera, it had not had a very good review, so I was bribed with a nice lunch, and then we walked up to the theatre in Leeds.

Actually - I enjoyed it much more than I had thought that I would. This was mainly due to the performance of Carmen, a young woman who really looked the part, acted her socks off (well, her top at least!) and could sing to boot. And some of the other parts were really well done too. The direction/staging was....spotty. Seville, Espana had been translated in to Seville, Middle America. Now, there is one very obvious snag with this directorial change - bull-fighting ain't all that common around those parts. So a chorus warbling away about a Toreador is just a tad odd. Having said that, repositioning it as pit bull fighting did actually work quite well. I had forgotten about this major translocation to the US, highlighted and criticised in the review I read, and spent quite a while being puzzled as to why there was a cardinal (bird!) sitting in the large tree that formed the centrepiece of the set. They added a pinata later, which was quite fun.

The director had apparently cut out a lot, but as I am not over-familiar with the libretto, I couldn't tell you which bits - I suspect that poor old Escamillo lost quite a lot, and probably Michaela as well, but in this version we could have done with losing all of her. The singer had a great voice, but the interpretation seemed odd to me - if she is supposed to be the wholesome home-town girl who truly loves Jose, why rig her up as a right slapper, eh? And she was given some very odd business to do.

And again, maybe because of the cutting, the two halves of the performance seemed unbalanced, and the killing of C by J totally anti-climactic. But most puzzling of all was the treatment of the day shift sergeant, who was played by a really good and villainous-seeming black singer. Who then appeared with a whited-up face, and was, a la KKK, strung up from the tree, dressed all in white including a large war bonnet. Totally incomprehensible to me, and somewhat offensive, actually.

So that's one tale.

Sunday we did something really unusual. Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, our social life was very much focussed on having people to dinner and being so entertained in our turn. This was before the days of clubbing (although pubbing sometimes took place) and latterly when we lived in Cumbria and there were no cinemas, theatres of even many concerts to go to. It was great - always interesting new recipes to try, and good conversation to be had.

Those days have pretty much gone, but we did actually have friends over for a meal last night, and it was lovely. Gone too are the days when we used to over-indulge in both alchohol and food (golly, I remember doing two starters, a hefty main course and two puddings sometimes!! I also remember tables surrounded by, I think, up to twelve guests, and rustling up food for that number was a doddle. Wow.)

Anyway, tamale pie (I had never made it before) and my favourite winter pudding of a hot fruit salad with clotted cream, went down a treat. I may have to try to resurrect an old habit.....

But what I have done, having had a couple of days to mull it over, is to partially frog the square throw. I had tried a different knitted join, and I was getting some puckering as well as rather ugly bumps. I didn't take it right back, the first bit looks quite reasonable, but we shall see. I feel much better having come to that decision, which is usually the right one. If you think that maybe something should be frogged, then you are generally right. Much better to do it sooner rather than later, you waste much less time and effort that way!

First day of the week, last day of January - for what that's worth. Dismal weather, too. This weeks major focus - getting on with the samples for the singles project.

But first, tea. Our panacea!!

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