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April 4th, 2007

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11:31 pm - A fabulous evening spent with the flagrantly flirtacious "Flavio"
Celebrated ms_redcat's birthday today by taking her out to the opera.

After meeting at Lincoln Center, we splashed our way to the restaurant we'd chosen for dinner. I've eaten there a number of times, but I believe it was ms_redcat's first time dining there. We started off with large glasses of bubble tea (mine was taro, hers mango) and the house soup, a light but delicious concoction of tofu, peas, seafood and mushrooms in broth. We then shared dishes of tofu with mushrooms (a favorite of mine) and crispy fried duck with honey sauce. The duck was delectable -- moist and flavourful, with the skin being crisp yet not greasy. I've usually had the veggie-duck here, which is also quite good, but the duck-that-used-to-go-quack was simply scrumptious and I certainly plan on having it again when I go there with non-vegetarian friends. We finished off with ginger ice cream, which ms_redcat liked very much.

The opera we saw this evening was Handel's "Flavio", the musical equivalent of a mint merinque lavishly decorated with pink icing roses and whipped cream. This frothy concoction was often quite humourous, as when King Flavio chased butterflies (and girls) with his net and when he cheated at miniature golf when his companion's gaze was elsewhere. Part of that humour comes from the direction and staging of this production, not from the libretto, but I thought it was a lovely touch. The audience was often laughing and giggling as countertenor David Walker showcased his comedic talents in the title role as well as his musical ones as he flirted his way through the opera.

The object of Flavio's pursuit, Teodata, was charmingly played by mezzo Kathryn Allyn, who teased both Flavio and her lover Vitige mercilessly. Katherine Rohrer in the "pants role" of Vitige was quite amusing as Teodata's exasperated beloved who must feign indifference as Flavio woos her. The byplay between these three was one of the highlights of the show.

One of the other highlights was the incredible vocal talents of the other countertenor of "Flavio" -- Gerald Thompson in the role of Guido, part of the less-amusing part of the plot, who in order to maintain his family's honor ends up killing his future father-in-law and alienating his True Love. His rendition of "Fato tiranno e crudo" was amazing, as was his duet with Marguerite Krull as Emilia at the end of the second act. Throughout most of the evening Ms. Krull's voice had seemed overshadowed by the others in the cast, but in that duet she came into her own and dazzled. I'm quite pleased about the quality of Mr. Thompson's vocals -- the world needs more good countertenors! (How else to have more productions of Handel operas?) The Met certainly has taken notice of his talents -- he's debuting in Handel's "Giulio Cesare" in the role of Tolomeo across the plaza in a few days.

While waiting for ms_redcat's arrival, I ran into an old friend, who invited us to join him in the green room for drinks and nibbles at intermission. We had a nice time chit-chatting while enclosed in walls of deep green with gilt panels of flowers, sipping sauvignon and chardonnay. I'd had no idea he enjoyed opera and it's fun to learn things like that about folks one's known for years -- the unexpected depths that lurk beneath a placid surface. A few weeks back I'd managed to surprise someone who's known me for almost a decade when she learned that I like heavy metal as well as classical music -- she'd had no idea I was a rivethead. Perhaps I should wear black leather and chains more to the opera . . . but then I'd have to deal with all the fellows foot-worshipping me at intermission while I'm standing in line for the ladies room . . .
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: "Fato tiranno e crudo" by Handel
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(Eat a pomegranate)

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