Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Catching Up

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    3,584
    Post Thanks / Like

    Catching Up

    Let's see, where did we leave off? I know it's been awhile, and I've missed all of you. So, where have I been?

    I had a difficult winter with a drug withdrawal thing, which lasted much longer than I thought it would. Word to the wise: For those taking prescription drugs, please be sure you know whether or not it's ok to stop taking the drugs abruptly. I should have known better. At the height of the withdrawal, everything was so emotionally intensified that opera was unbearable.

    As that was easing, I was feeling well enough to join a tour of Sicily and Malta. Both are wonderful corners of the Mediterranean and I highly recommend them. However, about half way through the trip, while on a tour of the gardens of a 14th century villa belonging to a member of the Ferragamo family, and wearing sneakers with an exaggerated waffle sole, my sneaker snagged on a stone in the dirt path and I had a nasty fall while as I twisted my ankle. My immediate concern though, was a gash in the palm of my hand from breaking my fall that required 8 stitches (and, in rural Sicily, I was treated to sutures without anesthesia. I don't recommend it..), which, as it turns out, were rather expertly applied. However, I paid little attention to my ankle which I had fractured in the process. My ankle was severely swollen and, in true guy fashion I assumed it would heal in due time. Well. It turns out that healing times are much different for those of us heading into age 70 than the 35 year old body I remember so fondly. I finally broke down and saw an orthopedist in August, wore an ankle brace until about a week ago, so the swelling has been greatly reduced. However, my ankle requires some physical therapy, which I started yesterday.

    While still wearing the brace, I joined my friend in Elizabeth in Berlin for two weeks and then at her apartment in Paris for a week in September. We saw the Berlin Ring (Production: Guy Cassiers) and a performance of the Paris Philharmonic (Shostakovich #11 was awesome) in the 3 year old Philharmonic Hall. We had seen this same Ring in 2013, and I didn't much like it - it is very dark, utilizes way too much dancing/choreography (did Wagner put those instructions in his libretti for the Ring operas??). I digress. The Staatsoper tweaked the production for their renovated opera house on Unter den Linden, so there were improvements. They did not, however, change the staging of the Ring of Fire in Die Walküre when, instead of fire, they lowered a dozen or so ridiculous red lamps from above such that Brunnhilde, on a bier, looked like an entree at Dennys. Geez. The ending is as confusing and unsatisfying as I remembered - a large frieze of gods and goddesses frozen in plaster descended to fill the stage. I get it, but big deal. The upside, though, was that Barenboim was in inspired form (in 2013 he had kind of phoned in a lackluster performance) and the singing was, in a word, transcendent. I had not looked forward to hearing Irene Theorin's Brunnhilde as she kind of squawked her way thru the performance in 2013 - but she turned out to be in the best voice I've heard her in years. Michael Volle's Wotan was inspired and Andreas Schager's amaaaazing Siegfried!

    Sometime in March, I had the brainstorm that relocating to the Palm Springs, CA area to join a number of friends who live there might be fun and help provide a needed layer of support. The move also will assist me in escaping some big construction projects pending in my neighborhood here in Arlingon: Amazon and its 25,000 staff (HQ2) will build out over the next 10 years, plus some 650 apartment units to be built in the parking lot just below my balcony - 3 years of construction noise that doesn't interest me. I made a couple of trips out to the desert in June and about a month ago and started the ball rolling on my plan about 3 weeks ago when I put my condo on the market. It remains to be seen how long it will take my place to sell and the moving process will take. And whether there will be anything left of California after the horror of the fires out there.

    I thought of all of you today because of tonight's final Game 7 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. I thought of everyone here because I had a ticket to see Otello tonight - and, how could I possibly miss either one? Fortunately, as a season ticket holder, I was able to exchange my seat from tonight to 8 November. Apparently, according to the Kennedy Center assistant, so was half the audience madly exchanging their tickets this morning.

    I've probably left something out, but there it is. Go Nats!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Detroit MI
    Posts
    3,489
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I've probably left something out, but there it is. Go Nats!
    I was rooting for the Nats too. and go they did!

    Glad to hear you survived your trip to (and in) Sicily. I am not a fan of congested areas, so agree with your getting out of Arlington before Amazon bulks it out big time.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  3. Likes Hoffmann liked this post
  4. #3
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,260
    Post Thanks / Like
    Welcome back! Great to hear of your adventures, even though they were a mixed bunch.

    I can relate to your drug withdrawal problems. Not me personally, but I have two old friends who have been through this and I have witnessed their distress. They hated the medication but hated the withdrawal equally.

    What a shame about your accident in Sicily and I hope it hasn't put you off travelling and exploring interesting places.

    Not being a fan, I can't comment on the Wagner you saw in Berlin but I have heard both Michael Volle and Andreas Schager live and can understand your enthusiasm. (Michael Volle was Guy de Monfort in Les Vêpres siciliennes at ROH and Andreas Schager was Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos in Warsaw).

    Good luck with your prospective move to Palm Springs. Friends are important when you don't have relatives living close by.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

  5. Likes Hoffmann, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post
  6. #4
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    3,584
    Post Thanks / Like
    Thanks, Annie!

    No, the fall did not put me off from future travels, but I realize I need to take measures to lose weight and build strength to ensure my ability to travel in coming years. The day will come when trips will include too much walking and become too arduous, but the longer I can put that off the better.

    Andreas Schager is a force of nature. He didn't seem to break a sweat and sang through Siegfried almost effortlessly.

    He substituted as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung in the Berlin Ring in 2013 and I thought he was ok, but nothing special. He is now really outstanding. He's older now and lost the boyish glow that supplemented his success as Parsifal a few years ago, but I was happy to see him again in such great form. Bacchus is a small but tough role, you're lucky to have seen him in that!

  7. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,000
    Post Thanks / Like
    Oh. Even though I moved farther away from Washington DC, now a 6-1/2 hour drive instead of 4, I can't say I like to know that you are moving to California! It will be way more difficult to visit you; the times when Contessa and I went to see you in Washington DC were lots of fun! But whatever is best for you, buddy. It's good to be surrounded by supporting friends.

    I can relate, as I also fell during a nice trip, in Turkey. No fracture but like you, I neglected to take care of the injury, and years later I learned that I was left with a meniscus tear that damaged my joint and required a stem cell procedure (which fortunately did partially fix the problem). And I got sick in Naples and needed surgery when I was there to see Così fan tutte. Oh well, unlike you, I did get anesthesia... I was impressed with the excellent healthcare I got there; I'm proud to say that my other country, Italy, is #2 in the world in terms of quality of healthcare according to the World Health Organization, behind only France. Another good perk is that as an Italian citizen, the care I got in Naples was entirely free, while it would have cost me quite a bit in deductibles and co-pays here in the United States.

    Anyway, great to read you again, although I'm sorry to see you move so far away. But we can always see each other in Berlin like we've done twice! No immediate plans, but eventually I'll go back there. I do understand that Berlin is farther away than California... but hey, they have the Deutsche, the Komische, and the Staatsoper!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), Hoffmann liked this post
  9. #6
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,885
    Post Thanks / Like
    Glad you are on the way to recovery and good luck with yout plans.

    I've been offsite for a bit; partly due to having a new job with a lot of teaching and therefore preparation; partly also I've been involved with my fibre craft group as well. Still listening to opera though!
    Natalie

  10. Likes Hoffmann, Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. Catching Up
    By Hoffmann in forum Off-topic discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: June 28th, 2017, 08:29 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS