Sunday, June 01, 2008

Catching Up And Relaxing

Joshua and I did not do much this weekend.

We stayed home all day Saturday, catching up on things and relaxing. It was a very mellow day.

Today, after church, Josh and I went over to my parents’ house, and we heard all about their weekend in New York. Nothing happened in New York, really, but my parents had a good visit with my brother and his family, and they loved spending time with their grandson. My nephew is, truly, a bundle of joy for everyone.

The dog was in good form today, full of spunk and devilment. He was very happy to see us. Josh and I took him to the park and ran him and played his favorite games with him. He had a ball.

My mother made us turkey medallions for lunch. She served the medallions with oven-roasted potatoes, green beans, carrots and a cranberry salad.

For dinner, we had roast chicken with stuffing, escalloped cabbage, beets, white corn and cinnamon applesauce, all preceded by a cold crab-and-pasta salad. We had blackberry cobbler for dessert.

We really did not do much of anything all afternoon or evening, except chat and play with the dog and talk to my brothers on the phone. It was another very mellow day.

Next weekend, I think Josh and I will go see a couple of plays with our landlady. The Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, Park Square Theater and Theater In The Round all opened new productions this weekend, and I think we may try to catch two of the plays next weekend.

We are trying to decide, right now, which two plays to see. The four choices are “Harvey”; “The Gin Game”; “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”, a modern adaptation of the 1889 William Gillette classic taken from Arthur Conan Doyle; and “The Secret Fall Of Constance Wilde”, a 1997 play about Oscar Wilde’s wife by Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy.

We are leaning toward the two oldest vehicles, “Harvey” and “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”, thinking that it might be fun to see the old-fashioned comedy “Harvey” first, followed by the old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes mystery. We may see the other two plays later in their runs.

We’ll make final plans later in the week.


  1. Hey, Andrew.

    I am currently listening to Der Freischutz with Janowitz.

    I am loving her voice right now.

    I hope you are well.


  2. I am curious, J.R., what you think of the work itself.

    "La Boheme" and "Der Freischutz" are the only two perfect operas ever written, I sometimes think.

    That Kleiber recording is a good one, but it is somewhat hard-driven and it lacks the warmth of the Keilberth recording.

    I also have the Colin Davis recording, on Philips, from around 1990 or so. It is good, but both the Keilberth and Kleiber recordings are better.

    Some people praise an old Eugen Jochum set, made around the same time as the Keilberth set, and others dismiss it entirely.

    Harnoncourt also recorded the opera in the last few years, and there is a recent period-instrument recording under Bruno Weil.

    I have never heard the Jochum, Harnoncourt or Weil sets.

    Three sets of "Der Freischutz" is enough for me, I think--at least for now.

    Mattila is the Agathe on the Colin Davis set, by the way.

    I know you don't want to hear this, but on Kiri Te Kanawa's recital disc of German opera arias on EMI, Te Kanawa opens the disc with Agathe's prayer from Act III. She also includes the Agathe Act I "Leise, Leise".

    Te Kanawa is better than anyone else I have ever heard sing either aria, except for Elisabeth Grummer on the Keilberth set. Te Kanawa is even better than Janowitz, especially in Agathe's prayer. I can fully understand why that aria was selected as the first track on the Te Kanawa disc.

  3. The part of "Der Freischutz" that always creates a lump in my throat is the short Hermit's aria in Act III, the aria with the elaborate flute accompaniment. It almost makes me weep.

  4. I'm barely half-way through it, Andrew.

  5. I'm skipping over to Act III to hear Agathe's aria right now.

  6. Well, I love Janowitz's voice.

    Her creamy timbre is unbelievable.

  7. I must get back to my house chores, however...

  8. Andrew, the opera is beatiful, in such a way that is unlike Traviata or Boccanegra or Manon or Werther...

    ...thank you for it. Please tell Josh, too.

    I'm sure I'll grow to love it even more the more I listen to it.


  9. J.R.:

    Yes, German opera is very, very different from French or Italian opera, isn't it?

    The difference is owing to the German symphonic tradition--in German opera, the orchestra is much, much more important than any of the singers--and the German language, which is totally different from Romance languages.

    German is a language of declamation more than a language of lyricism.

    I am pleased that you like the opera thus far.


  10. My thanks to you for it.