Saturday, June 10, 2017

World History Project: Costco Opera House, Part One

As is usual, I’m lying before I even get past the title (run for president, should I?), because it was probably BJs. And come to think of it, “Opera and BJs” makes for a more interesting title. It certainly catches the eye.

Still, it might have been Costco, but I’m remembering being in a big box shopping hell hole with the wife and then child when we came across the CDs and, what the hell, I also saw Morrissey’s Your Arsenal and REMs Automatic for the People, which Sister Mag was just raving about at the time, and well, you can’t beat those prices, can you?

I’ll probably remember it differently next time.

No, it was definitely BJs (maybe), and so even though all of the above probably wasn’t even the same trip, what it was was that I bought a Ten(!) CD set of Opera Highlights for ten bucks. That’s one buck per opera! (Notice that I saved you from doing the math.) So the price was right. It was similar to when I joined the Musical Heritage Society back when I was young and open minded, and got an eight record set of Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies for fifteen bucks. (Always buy your classical music in bulk, I say!)

Actually, I’m suspicious of anything that you can easily purchase in such quantity, but in this case it wouldn’t go bad like that 50 lb. bag of potatoes we thought we would actually cook, or those twin economy boxes of Saran Wrap that I bought when I thought we were running out. (Of course, we weren’t. We were actually running out of tin foil! But that’s another crisis for another post.) Instead, we had a lifetime’s worth of Saran Wrap. And I mean that literally because although it was at least twenty years ago we still haven’t run out.

So I listened to them all ten of them once and then put them away for a very long time. Longer than the potatoes. Every once in awhile they’d come out again, but they never made it to heavy rotation.

But I'm going through the World History Project right now so why not give them a re-listen?

I’m currently stuck in the 1760s, where I’m trying to read, among other things, the Chernow biographies of Washington and Hamilton, and Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon, so I’ll be there for a while. I may never get to Costco again...

Which brings me to:

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (1762)

Not the whole thing, mind you, but good hour’s worth. Remember, it’s Highlights.

So I’ve listened to this dozens of times while I wait to get to to the Revolutionary War.

And it’s pretty good! A nice ratio of singing and playing. And the singing isn’t too melodramatic. In other words, not every operatic, which suits me just fine.

You don’t get that feeling that you’re watching it on PBS on a boring Sunday afternoon, waiting for something to happen, and then when it does happen, you wished it would stop.

I put it on before reading in bed (hence the dozens of times), and still wouldn’t be positive I’d recognize it in any other context.

But it doesn’t cause me to scream and go running for another viewing of Black Orpheus.

So, overall, you could do a lot worse than this one, and I swear if they ever do it at the Met again, I'll go.

But in the meantime, I'll see you Costco. I’ll be the angry one.



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