Having a perfectly normal and splendid day? Stop and reconsider. Chances are it could be vastly improved by luring certain persons into a bear trap.
My wife and I enjoyed Met Opera HD last night at the local theatre, Puccini's Tosca, which neither of us had seen before. The singing was good, the acting was fabulous, especially for an Opera. George Gagnidze's clammy and glisteningly piscine Scarpia was superbly evil, sporting Napoleonic/Dark-Cityish steampunky henchmen in sunglasses, optional black top hats, rakish black Caesars, and black leather coats. $18 to see a Met Opera with most of the sound, and a far better view than much more paid is definitely a treat-- especially without having to be in Manhattan! I may be in a large city now, but I didn't grow up in one, just that small-to-mid-sized one that spurned the Olympics (and not because Vesuvius had erupted, yes, that's a very respectable declination). Boettcher's and Central City Opera's English-language productions were fun growing up, but after awhile I got sick of seeing mostly Shakespeare Operas, and in a smaller production usually one person impresses and the rest is a grab bag, for better, worse, or worse that's comedically better (such as zealous fully-clothed humping in Romeo and Juliet, and of course the fabulous cupid-stooges in Die Zauberflote). Meanwhile with the Met, almost everyone is impressive and hard-working, and when they interview the singers or designers, you can tell that, beneath the impressive credentials, they're really super hard-core geeks. This is not to say I don't believe in supporting local artists doing the very hard work of trying to get paid for what they do, improving, and clawing their way forward despite the criticism (who me? I'm just a poor person robbing his poor neighbor, move along, that's what we do around here). No, I'm simply celebrating that technology now allows one to enjoy the fruits of choice.
Tosca was a lot of fun, but once Tosca herself (Karita Mattila) appeared for ending bows we left. "There's nothing to miss, it's just a bunch of clapping and bowing," one of us commented. Well, we were wrong. Apparently, the director, Luc Bondy, showed up and was booed out for failing to adequately replace Zeffirelli's hallowed quarter-century-old production. So much for a missed Met meta moment.
I saw Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet at 16. Not only did it feature d'Artagnan/Logan Five Michael York as Tybalt, it was the first strange experience of a movie containing nudity be not only a sanctioned experience-- but one that also counted towards school work. Fancy that! Speaking of which, I really wonder what it's like to tell people to moon the audience you have a part in a Met Opera production, and then have to cough out that you're one of Scarpia's slutty Regency-dayglo-go-go girls-- whose bare-butt moons the audience while mock-blowing him during a solo. I'm glad contemporary art has rooted around deep enough in pomo that the humorous and utterly ridiculous are now okay in really expensive art. Right, because foursomes are seriously highbrow.