Monday, February 25, 2013

An Afternoon of Opera

Anyone who has been reading my blog for any period of time knows that I love opera. I've only been to three different operas (but I've seen one of those operas three times, now), which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but in this day in age, it makes me Frasier Crane. Omaha has a fantastic opera company, Opera Omaha, bringing great classics and new works to the Omaha area since 1958.

This past weekend, they performed The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I have seen this opera three times now. The first time was when I was in college. The Mizzou School of Music put it on at the Missouri Theatre, and I jumped at the chance to see my first opera, even if I did go alone (none of my friends wanted to go). I had fun though I thought the production left something to be desired (Their Pamina had a beautiful voice, but was not an actress!)

A year later, while planning a trip to Santa Fe with my best friend, Lauren, I discovered Santa Fe had an amazing opera company. The night we had free for opera, they were showing The Magic Flute. The theater is practically outside, and when the Queen of the Night sang her aria, heat lightning struck in the distance. Coolest thing EVER!

Opera Omaha's production of The Magic Flute was designed by Jun Kaneko, who also designed last year's production of Madama Butterfly, which I also saw (and featured my former voice teacher, Shelby VanNordstrand in the chorus). Kaneko has a very imaginative eye, and for the purposes of this imaginative story, it was perfect. It was bright, colorful, with so many different textures and prints. It was a joy to watch.

(c) Opera Omaha
They didn't follow the dialogue from the original script (I'm positive), adding in jokes about a poor economy, and a lot more sex jokes than what would've been approved in the 1700's (though I could be wrong. This was Mozart, who was known to be silly and inappropriate). It was amusing, and actually helped move Tamino's long, arduous passages along.

Believe it or not, I am NOT a fan of Tamino, the so-called hero. I think he's a ninny who is way too introspective for his own good. I'm more of a Papageno fan. Papageno was a bird-catcher, who went with Tamino to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night.

Papageno just wants to find his one true love and have kids. Tamino wants to be with Pamina, and also seeks to become enlightened, so he goes through several tests to prove himself. Papageno goes through the first few tests but doesn't make it that far. He doesn't want to be enlightened.

(c) Opera Omaha
So, while I don't care for Tamino, it's the character, in general that I don't care for. Singer, Shawn Mathey, did a wonderful job in the role. Stunning voice. Papageno, performed by Corey McKern, was hilarious. He took Papageno and made him big and boisterous, which is what the character needed.

Going back to the colorful production, I have to say, Pamina was like Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Her two different costumes were mostly blue with full skirts, and black character shoe-Mary Janes. She was also a blonde with a side part.

(c) Opera Omaha
She was thrust into a new world by being kidnapped, and with Kaneko's strange characters, all bigger than life, working toward their own goals and using Pamina for that gain. A different world and all she wants to do is go home until she discovers her mother is the villain.

Pamina (Monica Yunus) had a stunning voice, and it was a pleasure to hear her sing "Ach ich fuhls" (NOT Yunus, and NOT in English, like the production I saw). I love that song, and it's a hard song to sing (I've tried).

Musically, everyone did a fantastic job. Opera Omaha never disappoints, and I'm so glad to have an Opera Company who cares about the classics so much. It always surprises me how many people go to the Opera since it has a stigma of fat women singing with horns and a breastplate. The Sunday afternoon showing that we went to was sold out. We had an extra ticket since my dad couldn't go (out of town on work), so my mom suggested inviting her friend, Dawn, who goes to our church. Dawn had never been to the opera, and she really enjoyed herself. While I was driving everyone home (parking in downtown Omaha is a NIGHTMARE! Carpooling is the way to go), we had a great conversation about what we thought.

Loved the show, and I'm so glad that we all had a great time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Hate Valentine's Day

And don't even try to change my mind. It won't work, many have tried, but I do not care for this so-called holiday much more than any other. I used to like it. When I was in elementary school and we handed out valentines to everyone, and you didn't read into the message behind Koby's "Bananas for You" valentine. There was fruit punch, candy, homemade mailboxes for your valentines, cupcakes, cookies, etc. Those were the days. That was what Valentine's Day should've been about. Partying with friends because you cared about them.

In junior high, they stopped making you give cards to everyone, and there weren't even parties. That was when people started pairing off and celebraing as pairs. If you didn't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, this was the time when you started getting mocked for it.

Believe me. This was NOT when I started hating Valentine's Day.

In high school, student government sold lollipops and roses for you to send to your secret crush. While I never got one, this still didn't put the damper on Valentine's day. Government also sold results to an ultimate match survey (for a buck, I always bought it), only to disappoint the hundreds of students when they found out their ultimate crush was at the top of the NOT a match side. Still didn't taint the holiday for me.

I went to a women's college, so my odds of finding a boyfriend were pretty slim, unless I went to Mizzou (I did a few times, but no Prince Charming). On Valentine's Day, my single friends and I would watch a movie and pig out. It was fun, and we all appreciated the love and friendship we offered.

I don't hate Valentine's Day because I'm bitter at not having a man in my life. No one ever believes me, but that's true.

During my last year of college, so many people were lamenting their single status, and those that were in relationships were threatening break ups if their significant others didn't propose or do something spectacular.  The same thing happened the next year, and it got me so upset I wrote the following Valentine's Manifesto:

I'm a firm believer that Valentine's day is a whole lotta hype. I don't even know what I'd do if I did have a boyfriend on Valentine's day. I hope I wouldn't expect much. It's just another day. I mean, I sent out Valentine's to my friends and parents, and if I were in a relationship, I'd get him a card, but you shouldn't dictate that this one day out of 365 be the ultimate day to be romantic. It's such a cliche. 

I've heard from numerous people in my life and online and in the news, that if so-and-so's boyfriend doesn't plan something HUGE on this day, she's gonna break up with him. What about the other 364 days in a year? Has he done nice, wonderful things for you in the past? Why should actions on this one day be the be-all-end-all of relationships? It just doesn't make sense to me. In fact, it's kind of a crock. If you love someone, you shouldn't put pressure on them to do nice things. If they love you, they'll do nice things anyway. But everyone is human, and you can't expect that the actions someone conveys on this one day should outweigh all the other good actions they've done in the past? I mean, seriously! What is that all about? 

I believe that Valentine's day means love in the most general terms. When you say "Love" people will most likely jump to romantic love. But what about unconditional love? What about friendship love? There are several terms for love. I love my parents. I love my sister. I love my friends. I love my family. I love my pets. That's a lot of love right there. But because I don't love a guy in a romantic way, I'm obviously wasting my life come Valentine's day. 

World infatuated with romance and love on this one day alone, Screw you.

Yeah, I might've been a little bitter at the time, but what matters is the end of it. I show love to my family and my friends, my cats, dog. Why does romantic love have to be the be all/end all? What about the other 364 days of the year? 
Melodramatics are the reason I hate Valentine's Day. I do apreciate how much Chocolate there is, however. 

Happy Singles Awareness Day! Because people make sure Singles are AWARE of it!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

I hate February.

I'm just gonna lay it all out there. February's a rough month for me. It's cold outside, I hate Valentine's Day (Let's not even go into my thoughts on that commercial monstrosity), and February is also the anniversary of the death of my puppy.

Becky and Charmin, 1997
All I can say is that I'm glad it's short.

So, I've been a little bummed the last few days. And stressed. I was trying hard to get my book done, but it didn't happen by the end of the month. I'm probably beating myself up a bit more than I should over it, but I am upset. Lots of things have been happening the last few weeks, and it makes it hard to get a grasp.

As most people know, my computer died a few weeks ago (Happy 2013!), and now my car is slowly going the way of my computer. I'm angry at an inanimate object. For one thing, the tire light's been on for weeks now, despite my tires being properly inflated, and yesterday, my Check Engine light turned on. Last time that happened, it was because of a faulty sensor that I had to pay $100 to fix. This morning, my heater decided to kick the bucket in 4 degree cold! The day went downhill from there. Though, interestingly enough, it was working again when my dad got into my car when I picked him up after work. Weird.

I went  to a party last to celebrate my good friend, Emily, who turned 25. It was at a dueling piano bar, which was a lot of fun.

Cheddar Jack Waffle Fries with Ranch. YUM!

A Sex and the City Original: The Cosmopolitan

Dueling Pianists

Tequila Sunrise
Birthday Seranade.
It was a fun night, and it was nice to get out of the house. I don't get out of the house much, but when I do, it's always a lot of fun.

I'm really tired. I'm ready to move on to the next part of my life. I really want this year to be the year I move to Denver to be close to my best friend.

And be on my own again. 27-year-olds shouldn't live with their parents. It's too Charlotte Lucas, and I'm supposed to be Lizzy Bennet. I took the Pride & Prejudice character quiz.

This is a random post, that started off as something whiney, but went back to edit since by the time I had time to finish, I'd already been to the party, was two drinks in, and was feeling a lot better. We all have our Moaning Myrtle moments. Feeling much better today. Plans to go to a housewarming tonight, finish my book (Just because I didn't make my goal doesn't mean I won't finish it this weekend, or even today!), and go to the gym to finish week five of LiveFit today (I'm about three days behind. Eep!). I am concerned about my left knee, though. It's been feeling out of place, but I'll talk to my chiropractor about it on Monday. And someone recommended KT Tape to help it, too, so we'll see.

Have a good Saturday!