Sunday blogging: Three items in the NYTimes
Not only does does orchestra conductor James Levine Takes a New Look at Gounod’s Warhorse, so does the audience (emphasis mine):
Mr. Pape shows up as the Devil in a silly-looking rendition of a festive princely regalia, with puffy breeches and red tights. These are Mr. Pape’s first performances as Méphistophélès, and he already owns the role. His singing is robust, incisive and chilling. So why make him look ridiculous?
The worst for him comes later, during the terrifying scene in the village church, where the guilt-racked Marguerite, pregnant with Faust’s child, goes to pray. Here Mr. Pape, wearing a rubberized bodysuit, appears as a naked Devil, complete with bulging muscles, exposed genitals and a serpent’s tail.
Another reviewer says there are “preening, sequined “devilettes” who would feel right at home at Cirque du Soleil”.
Marguerite’s lines don’t include the word “Whoa!” — that one’s for the audience to say. The only photo of Mr. Pape shows him modestly clad in 16th-century garb. Darn.
(New visitors to this blog who wonder if I was named after the opera can rest assured I wasn’t. I was named after grandma Faustina, who I remember as a sweet little old lady with alabaster-pink skin and lovely white hair. And no bodysuits, no “preening, sequined devilettes”, thank you.)
In Arts section, The Ennis-Brown house is Falling Because of Water. If you have seen Blade Runner, The Rocketeer, Murder, Obliquely, or that awful Dracula movie with the guy that played Mr. Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, you’ve seen the interior of the Ennis-Brown house. Most of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings have water damage problems, and that’s the main issue of the Ennis-Brown damage:
Damage to the Ennis house began well before the recent rains or the 1994 earthquake. It is one of five structures Wright built in Los Angeles and Pasadena in the 20’s using textile blocks – squares of cement and an aggregate cast in molds that left complex geometric imprints. But the blocks were not adequately pressed, hydrated and cured, so they absorbed moisture. Over the years, the water has rusted the steel reinforcing bars and exploded the surrounding grout, causing the blocks to crack and flake. And from there things just got worse.
Obviously, making cement blocks is not the same as making adobe bricks. Too bad Frank didn’t know.
In more cheerful news, Alexander McCall Smith‘s latest installment of the life and days of Mma Ramotswe is at a bookstore near you. Go read all of the Mma’s books. As the reviewer says,
The ”No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series is a literary confection of such gossamer deliciousness that one feels it can only be good for one. Fortunately, since texts aren’t cakes, there is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these six books.
A pleasure they are.