Re: Cooking Question

1

Watery spinach is my guess -- green juices ran off the spinach, mixed with the eggs before they set, and turned them a funny color. Squeezing the spinach really dry first should fix it next time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:19 PM
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I also guess watery spinach. Also maybe the grossness of the feta was expressing itself visually.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:22 PM
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I would guess you should cook down the spinach first and then tilt the pan over the sink.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:22 PM
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I hope I dried the spinach enough this time. I did try to press it in the strainer, but I am pretty lazy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:22 PM
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The spinach was pre-cooked. At least blanched-ish.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:23 PM
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My quiche-making experience suggests it was the mushrooms, especially if they were a bit old.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:25 PM
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Heebie Geebie, with the mushrooms, in the conservatory.


Posted by: Col Mustard | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:26 PM
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4: If you don't mind getting bits of green stuff on your hands, what works best for me is literally squeezing fistfuls as hard as I can. You end up with a small wad of really quite dry spinach clenched in your fist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:29 PM
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Elbie, brandishing a fistful of spinach, at the national radio station.


Posted by: Miss Peacock | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:37 PM
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10

Go with it. Use green food coloring. Green eggs sans ham.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:54 PM
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A traditional dinner at my college co-op was "macaroni and sneeze" -- baked mac and cheese with green food coloring.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:56 PM
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12

The explanations for LB's dating life just keep coming today.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:00 PM
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13

I would also blame the mushrooms - older, darker mushrooms give a great flavour but definitely turn eggs a funny colour.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:02 PM
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14

Today, with moderately squeezed spinach and no mushrooms, it was pretty again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:04 PM
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15

Centrifuge your spinach with one of those spinney things.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:05 PM
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16

I was going to say. Mushrooms are that way.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:05 PM
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Not sure from how you are describing, but the golden color may be from the Maillard reaction, which requires generally alkaline conditions. So if you put something too acidic in there, that could be your problem.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:06 PM
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Today, with moderately squeezed spinach and no mushrooms, it was pretty again.

You're supposed to isolate one variable at a time. How can we know whether to blame mushrooms or insufficiently squeezed spinach now?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:07 PM
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19

The goal of this thread is to try to get urple to post something awesome, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:07 PM
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18 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:11 PM
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Is this going to turn into a sex thread or a biking thread?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:19 PM
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19 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:21 PM
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21: given urples previous adventures, would we know until after?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:23 PM
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I would also blame the mushrooms

Mushrooms are gross. You shouldn't mix them with real food.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:32 PM
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25

24 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:39 PM
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26

Let's persuade urple to give his opinions on mushrooms.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:46 PM
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27

Let's persuade urple to give his opinions, on mushrooms.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:49 PM
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24 does get it right. But I am a little disappointed that I still have that prejudice, because I've shed a lot of the (many, many) other culinary prejudices that I had as a kid.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:49 PM
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Mushroom and anchovy pizza. Yum.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 5:51 PM
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I'm pretty sure that if I put spinach and mushrooms in my kid's eggs. he wouldn't be eating any eggs.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:03 PM
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Mushrooms are delicious, you screwballs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:04 PM
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But no, the kids didn't eat that one. I'd made two little ones in order to finish off different ingredients.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:06 PM
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Am I to understand that you lot cook your spinach, then take it out of the pan and do stuff with it before putting it back into the pan to make a frittata?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:13 PM
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34

I like the Maillard reaction suggestion, but I'd like to know what is golden. The baked egg yolk?

Other factors could be the salt in the feta? Chemically, I dunno why, but there's a lot more salt in feta than in cheddar, say.

I'm reminded of the gray-green that some hard-boiled egg yolks can get? Is that relevant here?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:16 PM
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All the fungi come out at night -- amanitas, ergots, morels, deathcaps, shiitakes, puffballs. Someday a real cook will come and wash all this scum off the cutting board.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:20 PM
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I'm reminded of the gray-green that some hard-boiled egg yolks can get? Is that relevant here?

The green stuff is iron sulfide. Maybe heebie was using a cast iron pan?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:26 PM
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35: well done


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:34 PM
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Nope. Baking them in a Pyrex ordinary pan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:35 PM
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I can't believe no one pulled off an "oh my God, you're poisoning yourself" troll. Why did you losers study sciences if not to come up with a plausible-sounding poison story?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:40 PM
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39: We were saving it until after urple's contribution to the thread.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:45 PM
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41

Kosher salt or iodized?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 6:48 PM
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42

What does someone who doesn't appreciate mushrooms eat, hot pockets?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:46 PM
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I would be more inclined to blame the mushrooms than the spinach -- mushroom juices can be very grey indeed.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:52 PM
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34: Egg yolks tend to be yellow. I'm reminded of those flash cards that we must have used at some point in my early education. I suppose we could all go around still holding up flash cards as a form of communication -- they do it to signal in plays, which I believe was started in Oregon or something -- but somehow I think it would be cumbersome and make us look like underdeveloped primates. But it would be another way to make fun of your penis.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:21 PM
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45

This is off topic, but I was wondering what it would be like if an internet troll actually looked like a troll IRL, in most relevant aspects. I suppose that's not very interesting though and could be taken for nothing more than a veiled insult, when it's actually just something that came into my head.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:56 PM
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Mushrooms are that way.

Così Fan Funghi, ossia La Scuola degli Amanitae.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:11 PM
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47

Mycology/opera humor...I'll be here all week.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:13 PM
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48

say, do you speak Italian?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:13 PM
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It's funny because I could read an Italian menu and perhaps come across words I didn't know, and it would be all the same to me if it were witty jokes in there.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:17 PM
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50

If I lived in Italy I might take the effort to figure them out.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:18 PM
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Menu-italian's pretty simple. Just remember manzo = beef, maiale = pork, cinghiale = boar, and burrata = deliciousness.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:29 PM
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What, me speak Italian? I don't. I know a little opera libretto Italian and can piece the grammar together through Spanish and French. I actually had this embarrassing New York moment where I was on the subway and this Italian family was in my car and the mom and one kid got off but two kids didn't see or something and stayed on the car...doors close, they look at each other in panic. I want to help, so just to make sure they're not Albanian or anything and we're gonna communicate the best, I say like "voi siete Italiani?" or something? and they look at me hopefully and say si, and then I remember that the kinds of things I can say are about honor lost and love betrayed, and we all exchange a look of disappointment and for all I know they're still on the F train.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:49 PM
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the kinds of things I can say are about honor lost and love betrayed

Those actually seem pretty relevant to that situation.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:15 PM
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53: More relevant still would have been Iodine's famous Departure Aria from "La Triviata":

Questa maledetta porta si blocca
Questa maledetta porta si blocca
si blocca qualsiasi cosa diavolo io faccia
c'è scritto tirare e difatti sto tirando
puo darsi, dovrebbe essere scritto spingere?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:52 AM
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What does someone who doesn't appreciate mushrooms eat, hot pockets?

? Loads of foods don't have mushrooms in. I generally avoid them myself, having a mild, mainly texture-based dislike for them. And it's very rare that it meaningfully restricts my choice of meal.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:45 AM
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Egg yolks tend to be yellow.

I would be deeply suspicious of any that weren't, though a yellowish orange is OK.

Another vote for the mushrooms, probably exacerbated by the wet spinach not letting them dry out while cooking. Mushrooms turn everything grey by default. The only ways to avoid it I know of are either to reduce all the juices before you add them to anything where you care about the colour or only to cook them in red wine or tomato sauce.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:50 AM
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re: 56

Yeah, if you fry the mushrooms fairly hard or make a duxelles type thing, then they don't seem to 'en-grey' everything they come in contact with.

My niece only eats mushrooms raw, for textural reasons. She finds cooked mushrooms slimy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:19 AM
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I'm the opposite, I only eat mushrooms cooked, for textural reasons.

Speaking of mushrooms, a while ago I made a spectacular split pea soup with cèpes and harissa. Neither ingredient particularly asserts itself as its own flavor in the mix, but they both add a great complexity to the sometimes dull earthiness of that soup.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:27 AM
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I eat only one brown mushroom combined with one red mushroom in a wooden bowl.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:57 AM
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55: Loads of foods don't have mushrooms in.

OSTMycophilesWHYB


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:23 AM
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One thing that put me off about opera when I used to go to them was that the characters always telegraph exactly what they're supposed to be thinking -- in accordance with the plot -- in any given situation. I suppose that's a necessity of the form, but it made it hard for me to take them seriously. I worried a bit that it made me a philistine not to appreciate all these great operas. Maybe it did, but I worry much less about it now.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:29 AM
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One thing that put me off about opera when I used to go to them was

...the mushrooms.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:37 AM
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Another mushroom-hater here. I have had some little pasty things containing duxelles and they were nice, but generally, yuck.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:54 AM
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There's a .. band? Producer? kid in a basement? who releases trance music called Infected Mushroom. I like their stuff a lot.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:58 AM
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62: It's true, I couldn't get why Mario would keep coming into contact with them. It seemed a contrivance.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:59 AM
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Oh I suppose I learned to love them. The performers are expressing emotion in an unreal form, but they are real emotions, or can be taken as such. I just had to come to terms with the libretto being of secondary importance.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:12 AM
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55: Sorry, I can't get my head around it, so you're now an exclusive Fray Bentos eater in my mind.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:48 AM
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Hmmm...I have always loved mushrooms. I suppose it's one of the few things growing up on a Scandinavian cuisine diet can give you a leg up on in the culinary sophistication department. (FWIW I've also always loved cod and potato mashed together into little cakes, sour cream, dill, dense rye bread, and liverwurst-type products. Also soft boiled eggs eaten out of egg cups.) My father used to sauté mushrooms in butter as a snack for my sister and me, so it's a comfort food now.

I have also always loved opera, but probably not due to the same reasons.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:52 AM
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The libretto isn't always of secondary importance but yeah.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:12 PM
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Another mushroom-hater here.

This is like Israel/Palestine discussions, where you find out that people who seem perfectly likable are actually moral monsters.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:20 PM
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71

You left a "morel" pun on the table. That makes me cry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:22 PM
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72

Not worth screwing around with the complicated HTML. I figured you or Stanley would pick it up.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:28 PM
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69: In which operas is the libretto more important than the score?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:37 PM
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Well, I think what we're talking about here (since by "secondary importance" we don't mean that the opera could exist without one or the other) is whether the quality of the libretto seems to have as much to do with the worth of the opera as the music, yes?

So first of all what I'm getting at is not that the libretto is ever more important but that it sometimes has just as much to do with why people love an opera.

Examples might include Pelleas et Melisande (based on Maeterlinck's play), anything by Wagner who very much believed that text and music and everything else were integral to the whole work of art, something like Jenufa where the composer was very focused on language as the root of music and the word setting is considered part of the art, things by Strauss with texts by Hoffmansthal, a poet who was very much involved collaboratively in the operas...

I think the trend here is that, on the whole, it's 19th century Italian stuff where the music was so important that the libretto could be crap and the work could still enter the canon. But I'm generalizing and also talking, in some large measure, out my ass.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:20 PM
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It was the 19th century Italian works that first put me off, so that makes a little bit of sense. But the question isn't whether an opera could exist without the libretto -- obviously it couldn't -- I suppose the question is whether one should pay more attention to the words or the music when attending an opera. If you are giving primary attention to the words, then an opera will necessarily be inferior to any play or other work on which it is based. That should be obvious. But I can't stand bad dialogue, and I really hate exposition in dialogue, so enjoying opera required some adjustment of my expectations. I've seen Pelleas et Melisande and while I don't recall being upset about the words -- one or two lines may have even stuck with me -- at that point I was paying more attention to the music. If I weren't, some portions of it would have been interminable. I'm thinking of the scene in which the ring gets tossed down the well.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:44 PM
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It's not as though the interests of words and music could never come into conflict. I doubt that Wagner would ever want his operas translated, for instance. Of course I could be wrong about that; I know little about Wagner.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:47 PM
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77

Poulenc believed that Dialogues of the Carmelites should be performed in the language its audience understood, so the world premiere at La Scala was not in French. This works out ok in English as there's a decent contemporaneous translation, but on the whole I'd rather understand less than suffer through a bad translation, which many are. So, ok, I suppose I'm more interested in the music in some sense, but it still seems like a little bit of an artificial conflict.

Strauss' last opera, by the way, is about whether words or music are more important in opera. It is deathly dull.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:07 PM
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I suppose the question is whether one should pay more attention to the words or the music when attending an opera.

This in particular doesn't make a ton of sense to me. I suppose you could say that at a movie, the question is whether you should pay more attention to what people are saying or to the visuals, but in practice people take in both.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:09 PM
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77: In many cases it is an actual conflict. There is music, in a foreign language, and there are words, either on a little screen or in a booklet. The words might be quite simple, even trite, by themselves. This may be due to the translation or it may be exactly how it was written. It doesn't matter. Do you let your attention focus on the trite dialogue, or do you shift focus to the performers and the musicians? This is something which I suppose has more to do with attending operas than reading about operas. And I agree that an opera of this conversation would be quite dull, if that's what Strauss had in mind.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:13 PM
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78 I suppose further illustrates why you fail to understand the question here. When you watch a movie you don't have to divert your attention from the movie to understand what's being said. This is true even if the movie is subtitled. You aren't missing musical nuance by focusing on the subtitles when watching a movie.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:15 PM
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There's a .. band? Producer? kid in a basement? who releases trance music called Infected Mushroom. I like their stuff a lot.

Hello, fellow old.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:18 PM
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I suppose there is also a difference in that, in opera (as opposed to movies) the words must always be sung. And so they must be written in a manner which can be sung. And so a question may arise -- "how do we enable Brunhilde to express her thought right here" -- and it must be answered in a way which fits with the music. So I would guess there would be some conflict and that a librettist would have to write the words either with some idea of the music ahead of time, or with such simple language that they could conform with most any score. So yes, when setting words to music, there can be conflict between them.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:21 PM
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This in particular doesn't make a ton of sense to me. I suppose you could say that at a movie, the question is whether you should pay more attention to what people are saying or to the visuals, but in practice people take in both.

An opera is only comparable to a subtitled movie, since there's no way to know what the words are without reading them.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:30 PM
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83: I don't think that's an apt comparison either though. In a subtitled movie, the words aren't set to the musical score.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:35 PM
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85

Smearcase, have I bitched to you about Ainadamar? Because WTF, it sounded like nothing could be more up my alley and then the libretto was seriously ungreat almost to the point where it seemed deliberate. (Though the woman singing Lorca mostly made up for it.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:39 PM
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I'm sure we're supposed to and it's a sign of philistinism, but even though I (in my super ignorant way) like opera I don't think I've ever enjoyed a libretto, exactly, not in the same way one enjoys rock or country lyrics, even when the libretto is supertitled or I'm reading along. I do like the drama and acting a lot (she's sad because he's dying, or whatever) but that feels different somehow.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:40 PM
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And in a subtitled movie, you aren't likely to miss anything by taking however much attention it requires to read the subtitles. In an opera you might sit for a second staring at the tiny screen ahead of you, or in your booklet, thinking, "I cannot imagine a being who would say those words with any level of emotion." And in doing so you might miss some musical nuance.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:43 PM
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88

I think the idea that you split word/music and then order importance is a pretty ahistorical way of looking at opera and not super productive.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:45 PM
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89

Now I kind of want to know what actual opera people think of the libretto my senior colleague wrote.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:45 PM
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88: What's the historical and productive way of deciding how to enjoy operas with bad dialogue? I would think that considering the way in which the operas were constructed would have some relevance.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:52 PM
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91

All the Great Operas in Ten Minutes


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:54 PM
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92

Well obviously talking about "opera" as a whole is going to lead to confusion and anachronism, to start with.

I don't know if there is a proper way. But I don't think "in opera, the words come second" is very useful. For instance, what is "bad dialogue"? Are you importing standards from other settings that aren't particularly pertinent to a particular opera?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:56 PM
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93

Opera would have a lot less drama if people would just sit down and talk out their problems.

There should be a No Drama Obama Opera. Spoiler: the liberal policies die at the end.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:01 PM
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I suppose further illustrates why you fail to understand the question here.

Arrogance is where I check out of these conversations, besides which, I am 100% fine with you not enjoying opera.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:08 PM
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92: Yes, in discussing dialogue in opera, as compared to other forms, you are going to have to adopt a standard which is not localized to opera. I have my own standards for dialogue. It ought to be interesting. It ought to drive the action forward and it ought to have some semblance to words a person would say in the situation in which the character finds himself or herself.

So you might consider the way in which this particular dialogue was written. Maybe it was written by a librettist who was told ahead of time to use the simplest words possible so that the composer could have as much leeway as possible in creating the music. In that case, it would be stupid to sit and fume over the dialogue rather than listening to the music. In that case, it would be productive to tell oneself, "the libretto is of secondary importance."


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:11 PM
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94: Will arrogance keep you out of it? I suppose a deliberate misreading of my comments might make it all feel better.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:12 PM
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97

85: I've actually never heard it. I should give it a listen. I see it's a libretto by a playwright, which can certainly go wrong (as, for instance, by most accounts, in the recent big deal Two Boys, though in that case part of the problem is not so much "playwright" as "awful playwright") since a libretto doesn't quite work like a play.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:15 PM
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96: Sure, yeah, that.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:15 PM
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99

The link in 91 is pretty great.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:17 PM
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99: I agree. Enjoyed it very much, though it left out Fricka's role in Siegmund's death.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:18 PM
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101

I think 97 nails the problem, and it's libretto by a playwright then translated into another language (not that I understand quite enough Spanish to follow the whole thing, but enough to wish it had just been written in Spanish, I think.) Kelley O'Connor sang the part when I saw it and she's also the one whose version is on cd, but your interest in trouser roles may be less prurient than mine anyhow.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:25 PM
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91 argh, the pronunciation. Also I don't think I've ever seen a production where Aida and Radames die in the last thirty seconds.

101: Oh I love me a good trouser role. Granted, not in a groinal way. Here's a production where they went to the trouble of making the mezzo androgynous. It helps that Graham (not a fave, but in good form here) is quite tall.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:37 PM
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103

Funny, this whole conversation puts me in mind of a talk I had with a middling poet many years ago.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:47 PM
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104

I suppose I should say struggling poet? Is that more accurate?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:47 PM
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105

Shit, what happened to the conversation?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:36 AM
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106

I think you killed it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:56 AM
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95: but those standards are arbitrary and absurd. You want the dialogue of a Chekov play. But operas aren't Chekov plays, and the text is doing something different. It is not attempting to be a piece of mimetic realism.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:02 AM
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(Quite dead; I am just very bored.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:03 AM
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107: No, I don't think my standards require realism, just interesting dialogue that doesn't feel forced, which opera is not known for. Those who appreciate opera typically aren't appreciating the stunning dialogue. Have you been to an opera? Quite a lot of music is spent saying very little. And that's fine, opera is not about the dialogue; I learned to accept that as a somewhat arrogant twenty year-old, and I continue to accept it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:08 AM
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So what's the problem? Why are you even talking about this?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:11 AM
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In a form of drama in which the words have been crafted either to conform with pre-set music or to provide the composer with the greatest possible level of freedom in crafting the music, the writing is taking a second seat to the music. There may be an opera of poetry in which the music conforms to the stunning verse, but I haven't seen it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:12 AM
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110: because I hate all of you, except teo.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:13 AM
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I think at this point all evidence shows that the feeling is mutual.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 2:14 AM
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It ought to drive the action forward and it ought to have some semblance to words a person would say in the situation in which the character finds himself or herself.

To be, or not to be, that is the question--
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep--
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law's delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action.


(... Retroll, motherfucker. Your move.)


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 3:03 AM
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My father learned Italian and German while a PoW in WWII. He said this ruined opera for him because afterwards he could understand the libretti. He liked it much better when they were just sounds that people sang.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 3:33 AM
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In which operas is the libretto more important than the score?

The Pirates of Penzance?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:10 AM
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114: Umm. Hamlet's meditation on suicide does drive the action forward, inasmuch as the question of whether he will commit suicide is part of the drama in play. And one can imagine a person thinking in the way that Hamlet is thinking here. Of course it would have to be an intelligent person doing that.

Is that a good enough move or do I move more now or something? I haven't shat yet today.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:37 AM
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There may be an opera of poetry in which the music conforms to the stunning verse, but I haven't seen it.

All that work Lady Gaga put into "Artpop" and you're still not impressed.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:40 AM
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Am I banned for making people feel stupid now?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:41 AM
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There is the additional question of whether a monologue should be considered dialogue.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:44 AM
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sorry, these comments aren't loading and I have no idea what cryptic ned just wrote.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:45 AM
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Now I see that it was funny. I wish I'd known that several seconds ago.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:46 AM
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117: Well, your problem with opera seemed to be at least partly a problem with soliloquies. At least, you started out by saying

One thing that put me off about opera when I used to go to them was that the characters always telegraph exactly what they're supposed to be thinking

but this is a convention which was probably already old in Aeschylus. If what you're saying is just that you don't like operas with trite libretti, that's something else entirely. I don't think you can claim that Hamlet's monologue can be considered to "drive the action forward" but operatic soliloquies don't. But by all means, relieve yourself first.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:50 AM
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Actually, even in Aeschylus, people communicate with nuance, and their monologues, if I remember correctly, do resemble something a thinking creature might say to himself or herself in a time of great emotional strain.

I assume by "operatic soliloquies" you are referring to arias. And yes, arias do tend to be much more simplistic than anything you will find in Aeschylus. If you were just to write something like that in a comment box, it would be like communicating with a three year-old.

But I enjoy a lot of arias, typically for the music. Operas also contain a lot of dialogue which can be more jarring than arias if you concentrate too hard on the words.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:57 AM
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Also, yes, a monologue can drive the action forward if it contains a change of heart, a new idea, or an impulse which the audience understands that the character will now undertake. Shakespeare was fairly good at that.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:00 AM
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And one can imagine a person thinking in the way that Hamlet is thinking here. Of course it would have to be an intelligent person doing that.

No you can't. It's utterly ludicrous to suggest that any person, intelligent or not, in Hamlet's situation: pondering suicide, wracked with grief over the death of his father, torn by suspicion of his father's guilt and his mother's possible acquiescence, unable to trust anyone - would have an interior monologue in iambic pentameter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:07 AM
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||
I am feeling stressed out and whiny about a number of real and substantive issues, but for some reason the things that put me over the edge each time are tiny, insignificant annoyances like "I really hate the new save behavior in Pages." I hate it so much. SO MUCH.
|>


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:13 AM
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126: Alright, that was funny. And it's actually interesting. The convention of iambic pentameter probably increased the amount of complexity in the language. Operatic singing, in which single words are held onto for long periods of time, forces a simplicity which can seem childish at times. You have to concentrate on the emotion in the voice, beyond the words, to enjoy it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:17 AM
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What is an example of a really awesome libretto? The stuff in the Ring Cycle?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:28 AM
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Some of the confusion here might arise from an idea of "operatic" which is not actually grounded in what goes on in opera. There are other forms of media -- movies, plays, books -- which I suppose a critic might call "operatic" and which do contain lots of interesting language. This does not mean that operas themselves contain lots of interesting language.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:28 AM
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129: I couldn't tell you. People don't typically sit around reading librettos like they would reading Shakespeare. A good libretto would be a libretto that fit well with good music, which is not really contingent on whether the words are interesting by themselves.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:30 AM
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People don't typically sit around reading librettos like they would reading Shakespeare

I was serious about "The Pirates of Penzance" earlier, because Gilbert's libretti are funny and clever enough that I think you would get more enjoyment from reading just the libretto than from listening to just the music. (Or listening to the opera if you couldn't understand the words or see the action on stage.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:35 AM
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What is an example of a really awesome libretto?

Nixon In China?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:42 AM
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129. The Threepenny Opera?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:43 AM
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132: I suppose the priority of verbal to musical nuance is one factor in the categorization of Penzance as an operetta rather than an opera.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:43 AM
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I don't know much about it, but is there any chance that The Threepenny Opera is also considered an operetta?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:45 AM
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Even still, I haven't known people to sit around reading the texts of those works rather than listening to them, unless they're musical actors or something.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:47 AM
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137: I did.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:54 AM
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129: Vanessa is a beautiful libretto in an OTT, Douglas Sirk kind of way, and the music is also quite wonderful, but it's not done very often. And if the standard is "would I want to sit around and read it?" I'm not sure it passes. Salome is Wilde translated into German, and if you like overripe early modernism, it's swell; same story for Elektra which is Hoffmansthal's take on Sophocles. Virgil Thompson wrote two operas with libretti by Gertrude Stein, but those are really infrequently mounted. Pelleas, as a above, is...I mean all of these are interesting if you like their genre. It's murky French symbolism, if that floats your boat.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:59 AM
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138: That's interesting. I sat and read "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" when I wrote a parody of it for the law school musical, to which another person contributed one unrhymed verse, which I had to change to make it rhyme. Otherwise I've seen a movie of it and that's about it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:02 AM
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I've only seen the Simpson's episode where Sideshow Bob sings it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:06 AM
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139: I did like Pelleas, and I do enjoy murky French symbolism. Pelleas has a well-constructed libretto. All the same I would have been bored out of my mind sitting through the first Act if I hadn't focused on the music rather than the words being sung.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:06 AM
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139: Have you actually witnessed any of those works, or at least read them? I couldn't really comment on them just based on knowing who wrote the libretti. The music may still be more important for all I know.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:13 AM
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My mother likes to quote my late father as saying that it is important not to know what is being said in an opera, because what you imagine they are saying is always more beautiful and profound.

It is possible that this was not meant to be taken entirely seriously.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:17 AM
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Yes, I really liked that Simpsons episode, probably more than Pirates itself, which I think I saw in junior high.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:21 AM
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Of course I did actually take the time to read the lines on the little screen.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:22 AM
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My mother likes to quote my late father as saying that it is important not to know what is being said in an opera, because what you imagine they are saying is always more beautiful and profound.

Exactly what the character in "Maskerade" (quoted in 54) says - he sings the Departure aria in question beautifully ("Iodine tells her lover, Peccadillo, how difficult it is for her to leave him") before pointing out that the words translate as
This damn door sticks
This damn door sticks
It sticks no matter what the hell I do
It is marked "Pull"
And indeed I am pulling
Perhaps it should be marked "Push"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:23 AM
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Shortly after undergrad, I was hired by a fancy private school to play in the pit orchestra for Penzance. I thought it was weird that a high school production wouldn't just pull musicians from the school's band program (which existed), and I think there may have been some ongoing tension among the band, chorus, and drama teachers. Anyway, it was fun, except having "Modern Major-General" stuck in my head for like two weeks straight.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:24 AM
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I thought it was weird that a high school production wouldn't just pull musicians from the school's band program

Perhaps the band were mercenary fellows who required to be paid in advance? That's so like a band.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:26 AM
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143 is funny.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:28 AM
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150: how so?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:30 AM
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Moby is commenting in base 9. He means 120.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:31 AM
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Funny in the sense of strange.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:32 AM
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Oh, okay. I had to take a bunch of cough syrup in order to (not) sleep last night. I took too much, I think. Or maybe this particular brand of purple drank is more potent than it once was. Regardless, I'm pretty stoned, and so I wondered if I was missing something funny about one of text's little performances.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:35 AM
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Or funny in the sense of aggressive in a way that would be offensive if it weren't obviously trying too hard to be offensive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:35 AM
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155 is reassuring. Thanks. Okay, I'm off for a bit to confirm that the semi-huge amount of work that I did right before the break is indeed lost and likely gone forever. Go, me!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:37 AM
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154: Do you need to write a comment every time you miss something?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:37 AM
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157: no, but I decided I would this time. I typically find Moby very funny. And so I assumed that if he found something funny, I would agree.* But your comment didn't strike me as funny at all, which left me wondering if I'm more stoned even than I thought. I have to drive soon, you see, so I thought I'd use the above as a kind of self-breathalyzer.

* This, a sort of transitive power of humorousness, might have been my mistake.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:44 AM
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This, a sort of transitive power of humorousness, might have been my mistake.

A similar mistake lead me to try reading Jeeves three times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:46 AM
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158: You could simply write "I'm an obtuse person," so that I could more easily set it to music.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 11:50 AM
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I'm sorry that you're so terribly unhappy, text, and that you find it entertaining to troll people here, and also that you only came back to flog your writing and that that didn't go as well as you had hoped. I'd offer you some of my cough syrup, but I finished the bottle last night, so you're on your own.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:08 PM
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I'd rather you were less sorry and more entertaining. See, that could also be a line in an opera.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:09 PM
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I think if you saw me stumbling around, you'd find the spectacle pretty entertaining. But maybe you're not a fan of broad comedy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:15 PM
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True, your personal means of ambulation may be quite funny, but that doesn't come across here, more just tediousness and sanctimony.

In an opera that would be shortened to something more common.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:17 PM
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You know they sell cough syrup in drugstores, right? Or are you already on one of those lists?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:19 PM
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I'd like to see an opera whose libretto was written by William Gaddis.

No, wait, that would be horrible.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:20 PM
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Do you mean to say that cough? Dear God woman, have some manners.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:21 PM
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Oh, fine. I'm not completely immune to trolling.

139: Have you actually witnessed any of those works, or at least read them?

No, I'm just mentioning names of stuff that seems like it might be neat. Yes, of course I have. I've been going to the opera for twenty five years. If you'd like a list:

Vanessa: New York City Opera, 2007. I love the Mitropoulos recording with the cast from the premiere and sometimes listen to the broadcasts from the opening season and the revival in the 60s.

Salome: Houston Grand Opera 1997, Cincinnati Opera 2000 or something, Tanglewood 2002, Metropolitan, 2004 and 2008. Many, many recordings.

Elektra: Houston Grand Opera 1993, Metropolitan Opera 2002 and 2009, Tanglewood 2005, Canadian Opera Company 2005, NY Philharmonic (concert performance) 2008. Many, many, many recordings from the abridged 1937 Rose Pauly one to last year's Chereau production.

The Mother of Us All: Glimmerglass Opera 1998. In high school I found the studio recording at the public library and my friends and I would listen to it. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a pirate of the original cast.

Four Saints in Three Acts: Well, you got me there. It has not, to the best of my knowledge, been produced in my adult life in the US. I bought the LP set when I was 16. It had a libretto but the singers also had good diction and you didn't really need it.

Pelleas: Metropolitan Opera 2000 and 2010. I'm partial to the Karajan recording.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:22 PM
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Sorry, I left out the "I" above. "The lady says that I cough! Or perhaps just implies it! I am so very sad that I cough!" Imagine it in a baritone.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:23 PM
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168: Oh cool, you've been to some operas. So you would understand that the stories are drastically condensed and the individual words drawn out to suit the musical structure.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:26 PM
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This, to be clear, is not the amusing, friendly sort of trolling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:30 PM
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170: Yeah, sure, that.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:31 PM
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Oh well, cut out my vowels again.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:31 PM
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I do swear I've had this exact conversation with a middling poet.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:32 PM
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Where was this, at the Self Publishing Convention?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:33 PM
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173 could be fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:34 PM
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Four Saints in Three Acts: Well, you got me there. It has not, to the best of my knowledge, been produced in my adult life in the US. I bought the LP set when I was 16. It had a libretto but the singers also had good diction and you didn't really need it.

That was in my parents' record collection! It has to be the some one, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:34 PM
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173: It's like you read my mind!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:34 PM
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177: Sorry, "same one" not "some one".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:34 PM
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Ntwstwklmtngdrngwhchhwldcmplmntmchptrsndwldcrsswrdstfhspms


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:36 PM
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174: Did the middling poet say he had to go to the bathroom and never come back, or did he punch you in the face?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:37 PM
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srslgs


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:37 PM
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Did the middling poet say he had to go to the bathroom...

Piddling poet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:37 PM
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nhwskndfnc


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:37 PM
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177: Hm, are you younger than me? I think the one I had is from the 80s, though there seems to be one of the original cast.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:39 PM
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vsdrt


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:40 PM
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I'd rather you were less sorry and more entertaining. See, that could also be a line in an opera.

Sounds more like operetta. Opera would have it reversed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:41 PM
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185: either that or peep's parents kept buying records well after it was appropriate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:43 PM
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185: No, I'm older, and my parents' LP was probably older than me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:44 PM
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187 made me laugh. Now I am listening to Four Saints on Spotify but the connection is weird and it keeps being interrupted by buzzing noises.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 12:54 PM
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Stockhausen's Four Saints


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:01 PM
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143 amused me. I mean, yeah, Smearcase, have you ever even been to an opera?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:03 PM
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I mean, not amused as in "I am laughing along with text", to be clear. Amused as in "jeez, text is not only an asshole but really clueless". You know.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:20 PM
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He's never seen a violin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:24 PM
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I could live with never having really connected to opera if it didn't make me feel inferior to both Richard Gere's and Julia Roberts's characters from Pretty Woman.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-10-14 12:38 AM
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is this thing on?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 7:35 AM
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It seems someone has reforged humding or something.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 7:43 AM
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operas are imho just stupid, their music are okay i guess if too ornate, and the opera singers are usually some obese older people who sing young people parties, some matron singing for example tatyana larina looks just hideous, with unnaturally wide opening their mouths and their voices sound like that, as if like by metal on the glass
what beauty and emotion can be found there is beyond me of course


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 7:56 AM
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I may be an asshole, essear, but I am an asshole who is able to figure it out when verbal nuance is sacrificed for some other end.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 7:57 AM
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I may be an asshole, essear, but I am an asshole who is able to figure it out when verbal nuance is sacrificed for some other end doesn't really the comment threads on this blog.

FTFY


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:10 AM
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You're going to need to revise that again to tell us what kind of an asshole you are, Barry.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:14 AM
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I may be an asshole, essear, but I am an asshole who is able to figure it out when verbal nuance is sacrificed for some other end doesn't really read the comment threads on this blog.

Now FTFM too.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:14 AM
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I do find that acronyms spice up otherwise bland and inept expressions of hostility.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:19 AM
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Maybe Barry could write us an opera of acronyms since he hasn't quite found his form yet.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:22 AM
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LOL.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:24 AM
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FTW, I don't really endorse the hostility of "asshole" but I had to work with what I had there. "Clueless" OTOH...


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:26 AM
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The acronyms do suit your inept and mysterious hostility, Barry. Could you string a few more together for us?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:30 AM
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look, I'll start you out:

LOL, OTOH, FML
FWIW, IMHO, RTFA


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-11-14 8:32 AM
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