Thursday, October 04, 2007

"I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood. . ."

Way back at the end of January I posted a short blog entry on the forthcoming Philip Glass opera Appomattox, scheduled to open in San Francisco this fall. Then, just like the siege of Petersburg, nine months passed, and finally Robert E. Lee came forward to face the music, only this time he's singing along.

My favorite Chickasaw Okie and long-time Sierra camping buddy, who's in his 17th season backstage at the SF Opera, gave me a tour Tuesday night, and an orchestra seat to the final dress rehearsal. The show opens Friday night.
I'd never been to the opera before. But then, no one's ever written one with such studious reliance on The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. It's about time.

Interestingly, at the heart of Act II, a good bit of the actual Grant/Lee correspondence is sung verbatim (in advance of my visit to Appomattox earlier this year, I posted much of that historic exchange here).
Between now (3:00 a.m. Pacific on Thursday a.m.) and Sunday night [better make that early next week], I'll post some impressions and observations about Appomattox, the opera. Two other blog entries during that same time frame will include slow gestating & long overdue follow-ups on Stonewall Jackson's sister, and an unexpected Appomattox tie-in from my recent Arkansas vacation, fit in around some Little League action, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and the 49ers. Busy weekend.

Thanks for checking in.

[below: props backstage. What size boot do you wear?]


Anonymous said...

this sounds cool. the SF Opera welcomely concentrates on American subjects rather than the Italian operas here in the northeast. I once saw "Gun of the Golden West" televised from the SF Opera, and it was strange but nice to hear an English language opera.

I wonder if this comment will get censored as well as my others?...

dw said...

The only messages of yours I have not released were gratuitous attacks on another blogger who had cut you off. Your recent messages to me are all here, though I should mention that I'll let some of the more pointless exchanges die after a few go-rounds, rather than allow the comments area to fill up with angry League of the South talking points.

dw said...

Re: "I once saw "Gun of the Golden West" televised from the SF Opera, and it was strange but nice to hear an English language opera."

It did seem odd to be able to understand most of the lyrics, especially since so much of it was "ordinary" language -- one imagines they must be saying something much more profound when it's in another language.

The SF Opera does plenty of that as well, including some Wagner currently.