Friday, April 13, 2012

What I’m watching

It’s school holidays so I am solo parenting while my wife is away mixing with geneticists, IP lawyers and such. So I was stuck at home today, helping Eight and Ten with their baking. At  about 2pm I snapped and said “It’s me time” and put on the DVD of Janacek’s opera Káta Kabanová, the one with Karita Mattila in the title role. Mattila is brave as – Google her, if you wish, in Richard Strauss’s Salome in which she appears naked. She is brave here too, and OMG what a beautiful voice. Amazing staging too:

But I had to explain to Eight and Ten what the story was about: basically, a married woman has an affair (“What’s an affair, daddy?”) and chucks herself into the Volga (“Why, daddy?”). We had a suicide in the whanau last year so they understand the concept but even so, it was a challenge. 

Next up was the DVD of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming and Hei-Kyung Hong. I whimpered every time Ms Hong appeared and the children demanded to know why Donna Anna was sad, why Donna Elvira was cross, why Don Attavio was jealous, and whether Leporello was as bad a man as Don Giovanni. Also, why did women like Don Giovanni if he was so awful? I couldn’t really explain that – who could? – and I couldn’t explain why this is perhaps the sexiest scene in opera ever. I was pleased though that they could tell that throughout the entire opera the Don was lying through his teeth. Girls really ought to know how bad boys are.

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