I have opera tonight. It will be the second to last performance. Time sure has moved quickly for this run.
I’m not entirely sorry to be finishing up. I do enjoy the music to Carmen, but I guess I’m ready for something new. Sometimes it’s just time to move on, you know?
Next week will be, for me, a bit ‘o fluff; Symphony Silicon Valley is doing the Mozart Flute & Harp Concerto as well as Schumann’s Second Symphony, but we open with music from Sullivan’s Pineapple Poll. I played some portions of this ballet when I was in high school (a band arrangement, mind you). I don’t remember much about the work, but I do remember I had an oboe solo in a slow movement and I recall being incredibly nervous. In my recent listen to the snippets I could find online, I realize now that it was no big deal after all. And definitely fluff. Funny how something that feels so major to a 16 year old becomes very trivial to a whatever-age-I-am-now person. (Okay, I’ll admit I’m 48. Who cares, eh?) For next week’s concerts I’ve opted to play the English horn, and only the Sullivan uses EH. So it might be a very short concert for me unless I move to assistant principal for the Schumann, (The work does tax the principal oboist, and I’m happy to play. We’ll see, though, if management approves it.)
Anyway, it’s the end of Carmen this Sunday. She’ll die. As always. When will that girl learn to make better choices? When will Don Jose get a clue?
(Side note: I’ve always had this dream of a “Psychotherapist’s Opera”; maybe a three-act with different famous operas for each act. The singers sing snippets from the operas. A therapist sits off to one side and occasionally offers advice. The singers make better choices. Everyone stays alive. All’s well that end’s well, and that sort of thing. Except maybe in the final act someone gets fed up with the therapist’s interruptions and kills him or her off. It’s just an idea … but I do think it would be great fun. Maybe even the pit musicians could be involved. We never have a “visible voice” in opera and I think it is time.)
Just a variety of quotes to ponder …
O, popular applause! what heart of man is proof against thy sweet, seducing charms?
-William Cowper (English poet One of the most widely read English poets of his day, 1731-1800)
What good are fans? You can’t eat applause for breakfast. You can’t sleep with it.
-Bob Dylan (American folksinger, b.1941)
We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause.
There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else. I don’t care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause.
-George Matthew Adams
Popular applause veers with the wind.
-John Bright (English writer, 1811-1889)
Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.
-Edmund Burke (British statesman and philosopher, 1729-1797)
Glorious bouquets and storms of applause are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys.
-Golda Meir (Israeli founder and prime minister. 1898-1978)
According to Drew McManus at Adaptistration a violist in a major symphony orchestra welcomes booing.
Okay. I can’t argue with a major symphony orchestra musician!
I’m in the minor leagues, if that.
But is she or he a principal player? I wonder. I think it may be different for a section player. (Now I’ll be in big trouble, though; I was told by a section cellist that her position was much more difficult than anything I ever did. She was quite angry when she blurted this at me, too. I don’t mean to say that playing in a section is any less difficult. It’s just that it’s a bit more anonymous.) When the San Jose Symphony (RIP) was around any booing aimed at me would have been for my English horn solos. And in case you’re wondering, I don’t need to be told if I’ve done a bad job. Most of the time, in fact, the audience hasn’t a clue that I’ve done poorly! When I’ve hated what I’ve done and a conductor has me stand I’m simply annoyed or even embarrassed.
Anyway, if the audience wants to boo, fine.
May we boo back when they are annoying? ;-)
(It sure is great fun to be reading so many music blogs! (See my list on the main page.) I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to locate them and link to them. Take a look-see. Most (all?) are much better writers than I.)