Thursday, November 30, 2006

Die Fledermaus

Pictured: Easy Eddie (Woodstied on PSO) somewhere in Montana

Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all! I'm sorry I haven't had much time to post during the past week. It's been a jungle out here....

I don't know how many people have played in a poker tournament in the morning and attended an opera the same evening. You can add me to the list. In a lifetime maybe? Anyway, after the Nov 18 tourney I took Eddie to lunch at the Manchester Family Inn overlooking the Seattle skyline. On a clear day, you can also see Mount Rainier. I met up with Chef Billy for dinner in Bremerton where we enjoyed a live performance of Die Fledermaus.

Chef Billy is introduced to Conductor Leone Cottrell-Adkins by Kitsap Opera Treasurer Claire Shearer. A day later we met a different kind of conductor, courtesy of Amtrak.

We purchased four seats (with dinner included) for the performance. Easy Eddie declined to join us in order to get some much needed rest. We wanted to offer the other to Lovely Natasha, one of Billy's childhood friends. Tash lives in the Seattle area and is employed as Delilah's Editor. She had a procedure done on her foot a few days earlier and would not have been able to make it. So two of our four tickets went unused. At least we had plenty of leg room for the show.

Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is, in its disguise of comedic assumed identities, a picture of Vienna in the 1870's. The story centers around the Eisensteins who are part of the rapidly growing "Noveau Riche", a new level of society throughout Europe starting with the Industrial Revolution. These people are anxious to rub shoulders with any of the often aimlessly drifting Royalties such as the Russion Orlovsky. Johann Strauss, the younger, was the most popular composer of the time, keeping Vienna in a constant whirl of waltzes. Nevertheless, his ingeniously constructed party music was greatly admired by the profound composer, Brahms, and later by Mahler. One can't help but laugh at the absurdities of this domestic comedy of errors. It was nice to have Chef Billy nearby to explain some of the nuances. Bill has performed in Die Fledermaus on more than one occasion. The fact that it was in English was a definite plus.

The Kitsap Opera Company has a website:

The Admiral Theatre is a 1940's vintage downtown movie theatre, quite similar to the Ideal Theater in Milford MA where I saw my first movie (Pinocchio) with my Grandfather Flaherty more than 50 years ago. Speaking of grandparents, Grandmother Niro's given name was Rosalinda. I always thought the name was pretty but never heard of another person called Rosalinda...until this opera. Nana was born in the 1890's so perhaps there is a connection. I'll have to ask my brother Ray about it. He is an Opera expert and well versed regarding the family history. In addition, he has been back to Italy to visit the old family village in Foggia.

The part of Rosalinda was sung by Soprano Meg Daly. Ms. Daly is a local talent, having graduated from Gonzaga University and University of Washington School of Music. Currently she is the Pastoral Assistant for Music at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Gig Harbor WA. I was able to shake her hand and offer personal congratulations on her great performance. But I ruined the Kodak moment by accidently stepping on the train of her gown when she tried to turn around to acknowledge a friend. I quickly lost the courage to ask for a photo (probably a wise choice). Sigh.

Next year the Kitsap Opera Company will present IL TRAVATORE. We will get the tickets early and, hopefully, fill all four seats next time. Tash has the right of first refusal on one of them. By the way, the meal was excellent.

The next day, November 19, Chef Billy dropped Easy Eddie and me off at the Amtrak station. We were able to upgrade to larger rooms (thankfully) on both legs of the trip (Seattle-Chicago and Chicago-Albany). It's a nice way to travel if you have 73 hours to spare. The only glitch was a freight train derailment ahead of us between Toldedo and Cleveland that spewed UPS packages all over the tracks. We were re-routed 180 miles to Erie and Buffalo by way of Ashtabula OH (not kidding).

The good news is that my Sprint PCS card worked east of Minnesota and we had Internet access at 70 miles an hour. I have to thank Freddie Meyers (Delilah's CPA) for the great suggestion. I have no excuses not to answer e-mails any longer....except maybe spending too much time blogging.

We arrived in Albany on Wednesday, 6 hours late. At least it was the same day. Despite many miles traveled during 2006, I wound up sharing Thanksgiving Day in exacly the same way as in 2005. An early glass of wine and some turkey with the DiSorda family in Lauderdale Lakes NY, followed by dinner for 25 with my surrogate brothers at Easton Mountain. Chef Billy flew out from Portland to join us. All in all, it was a centering experience. I truly have a lot for which to be thankful.

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