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Denglisch opera with a side of vegetables - Persephone Yavanna the Entwife

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November 5th, 2006


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07:17 pm - Denglisch opera with a side of vegetables
Spent the weekend celebrating the birthdays of a few scorpions.

Celebrations started with an opera -- I went to see "Hansel and Gretel" with a friend from New Jersey on Saturday. After a vegetarian birthday lunch of tofu, tofu and more tofu, with some taro bubble tea to drink, we went to see the NY City Opera's English-language production of Humperdinck's children's classic.

Surrounded by an audience of curly-haired moppets, we went on an odyssey through late-nineteenth century Gotham, since the director had decided use the NY immigrant experience as a theatrical conceit. I thought it worked surprisingly well, especially as a way of explaining the mix of English and German used in this production. The songs were sung in the original German but much of the rest was in English and conversations between characters were often in a mix of the two languages. Given how often Denglisch is used among people I know here, that certainly seemed to be a realistic touch on the director's part. The English libretto for the witch's part in Act 2 was a masterpiece of double-entendres -- I don't know if that is a reflection of the German original or something the translator added, but it increased my enjoyment of the work quite a bit.

There was also a bit of class-struggle undertone, with the children and their parents living in a Lower East Side tenement while the witch was ensconced in a Fifth Avenue mansion -- one which looked quite a bit like the one at 72nd and Fifth, in fact.

Most of the singers were fine, although the one who played Hansel was rather weak-voiced and really should have been miked. The children's chorus at the end was quite beautiful though.

After the opera, I got on the subway to go to a birthday party for another scorpion friend. Unlike my companion for this afternoon, he and his girlfriend are vegan, not simply vegetarian, so I had to read ingredient panels carefully for the munchies I was bringing. I ended up bringing pretzels, wasabi peas and wine, along with some oh-so-treiff chocolate cookies that contained some egg -- said cookies were put out for the non-vegans, who promptly devoured them.

Our hostess made some yummy vegan chili for us to eat while we chatted with one another. I discovered that one of my fellow guests was an opera singer who is friends with Dinyar Vania, who I had seen perform just last week -- small world, eh?

The birthday boy had invited a bunch of his fellow musicians over and we all jammed together. (I played maracas.) Alexander Nixon of The Violets played a churango mostly -- it had llamas carved into the back of it and had a lovely tone. We ended up entertaining most of the neighborhood with songs like "El Cimarrón", since we had to open up a window during the jam session as the room heated up.

The party went until close to dawn and I ended up crashing overnight. No one woke up until well after noon. We decided to make French toast and it came out really nicely -- here's the recipe:

Vegan French Toast

1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 to 1/2 cup applesauce (we didn't measure exactly)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread
margarine

Mix together the soymilk, applesauce, baking powder and vanilla extract. Melt some margarine in a frying pan. Soak the slices of cinnamon raisin bread in the "batter" then fry both sides in the margarine until brown and not soggy. Top with more margarine and maple syrup or apricot applesauce.


After we ate, my hosts introduced me to a British comedy called "Little Britiain", narrated by former Dr. Who Tom Baker. It was a sketch comedy, but with repeating characters in running-gag situations, unlike Monty Python, which it otherwise tended to resemble, with men cross-dressing in almost every scene. (Call me odd if you like, but I think men in dresses are cute as buttons -- but then again, I'm a part-Scot who watched plenty of Python during my formative years . . . ) I got a hoot out of latex-clad Daffyd, who insists vocifereously that he is "the only gay in the village" -- despite plenty of evidence to the contrary! He was probably my favorite, although the fellow billed as "The World's Worst Cross-dresser" was a close second.
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: "El Cimarrón" by Alexander Nixon

(Eat a pomegranate)


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