La fille du régiment at Seattle Opera

LaFilleSeattle Opera kicked off its 50th season with Donizetti’s La fille du régiment. It seemed like a strange choice to me, because, well, it is not the best opera. In fact, it almost doesn’t seem like opera. It reminded me more of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance than a comedic bel canto like Così fan tutte.

Although there is some beautiful music and technical singing in La fille, the arias lack powerful, memorable melodies. Some parts are spoken instead of sung while other parts foreshadow Gilbert & Sullivan’s patter songs. It’s not uncommon for opera plots to be tissue-thin, but few operas have as little pretense to substance as the shamelessly silly La fille du régimentPerhaps after the rigors of producing The Ring this summer, the company was due for something light and fun. Daughter of the Regiment certainly fits that bill. Continue reading


What I Felt

Nils_Frahm_-_FeltI was listening to Nils Frahm’s album Felt while washing dishes when I was overcome by the most powerful sadness.

It was a good day. The whole family was together, shopping for ski season and checking out books from the library; I picked up Outside magazine’s special life-hacking issue “127 Strategies for Living Bravely.” We ate prawns, seasonal vegetables, and locally made pasta with our favorite cheap red wine, Protocolo.

But Nils Frahm always sends my thoughts down a rabbit hole, and the music was so achingly beautiful it set me to yearning, once again, that I too could make something exquisite to add to the collection of extraordinary things that brighten this world. Frahm conjured all my dreams of a life of art and ideas; images of traveling the world, not just to see what I could see, but with something precious to share as I discovered each wondrous new place. I had to fight not to be a clichéd housewife crying over the dinner dishes.

Then I remembered the phone conversation with my mom earlier in the day. Continue reading