I went with my dear friend Tom to the opera this afternoon, for a performance of Atlanta Opera's production of Turandot. The opera may mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, but to me it always means good times (I am a four-year season ticket holder, and counting) and it also means an opportunity to knit. Here's sock two of my Celtic Knots sock, getting a heel flap and some cultural enrichment all at the same time.
AO has moved to a new home, relocating from the Civic Center downtown to a new facility out in Scared White People Land. While it was nice to have a shiny new opera house, it did bother me to realize that all it took to raise average attendance figures from 6,000 people to 10,000 was shifting the setting from an urban neighborhood where "those people" live, to a site out in the sterile suburbs which is insanely far from the nearest MARTA station.
I can deal with people being idiots, and being afraid to support the arts when it requires them to step outside their little vanilla comfort zones, but something else happened that actually gave me the willies. Have you ever been to an opera, ballet or symphony concert that started with the playing of the national anthem? No shit. It was something strange and alien that I had never seen before. Displays of honest patriotism and love of America are just dandy, but this was something different. It was contrived and stilted, and smacked of enforced compliance. Patriotism, my ass. This was nationalism, and more to the point, it was nationalism invading the arts. And I wasn't happy to note that the arrangement the orchestra was using was not some lush symphonic work-up suitable to the occasion. It was a martial arrangement, real John Philip Sousa stuff, the whole bells and whistles shooting match, complete with glockenspiel and rolling snare drums that you would expect a marching band to play.
Welcome to Cobb County.
Anyway, Philip Webb kicked ASS as Calaf, and gave me beautifully delicate shivers at the ending of Nessun Dorma, so it was an afternoon wonderfully well-spent.
And I got some knitting done.
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