Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 16, 2011

Tuesday, 13 December 2012 – another visit to the opera!

It was not by design yesterday when I forgot to make reference to the closing stages of the 2nd Cricket Test between Australia and New Zealand.  I must say that it was certainly an exciting finish, which left this writing putting off the doing of various other tasks until the match was over [mid-afternoon].

Australia began the morning with 10 wickets in hand, and needing 169 runs for victory, to win the series 2-0. With the score at 2 for 159, things were looking promising for the Aussies –  needing 68 runs at that stage. Then all of a sudden, Ricky Ponting loses his wicket and he is quickly followed by our next two best batsmen – Clarke and Hussey, for ‘0’ each  –  5 for 173.  Opener David Warner [in just his 2nd Test] was still there, and he was joined by the wicket keeper, Brad Haddin, and again, a victory seemed on the cards, as both looked comfortable when Warner reached his debut Test century.  Then it all started to go wrong  – Haddin out to a rash shot, and he was quickly followed by the two fast bowlers, and all of a sudden, from a comfortable score of 2 for 159 a short while earlier, Australia had slumped to  9 wickets for 199 runs  -still requiring 42 runs, and New Zealand suddenly with a 99% chance of snatching victory from defeat. Then followed a tense 20 minute period with David Warner and tail ender Lyons gradually eating away at that run difference, surviving a couple of appeals along the way.  Before we realised it, the situation had reversed, and Australia was on the verge of snatching victory from defeat  –  as the last partnership, with Lyons batting as confidently as his more accomplished batting partner,  –  suddenly, the Aussies needed just 8 runs to win!!!  That’s where it ended!!  Lyons was bowled, and with that action, New Zealand defeated Australia in a Test Match on Australian soil for the first time since around 1984/85!!    Final team scores, in a low scoring Test Match:   New Zealand 150 & 226 defeated Australia [by 7 runs],  136 & 233, and levelled the 2 Test series at 1-1 all. 

·         As for the off-season news from the Carlton Football Club, the annual Rookie draft of new players has been complete, and there are 4 new names I hope to see playing with the team next season – Tom Bell from Mornington,. Nick Heyne from St Kilda, Matthew Lodge, from NSW, and Frazer Dale, from our local club up here, Calder Cannons. Hopefully, won’t be the last I hear of those names!  Meanwhile, Carlton’s Andrew Carrazzo [who turned 28 today], was last night awarded Life Membership of the Carlton Football Club, along with Heath Scotland, and Andrew Walker. All worthy recipients.

This morning, I spent nearly 3 hours up at the radio station again – not on air, but dealing with various administrative and treasurer duties, and printing off copies of recent programs, and other items of a personal nature – the printing facilities are not as efficient as had been the system at the VPTA, but were available to members – I made sure I was contributing paper to account for any usage I made of that availability. This morning, that included printing off copies of my family Christmas letter to my five siblings  –  I seldom get any response to that ‘annual letter’ which generally details what Bill and ‘his family’ have been up to over the previous 12 months – perhaps they all consider it a total bore!! Anyway, apart from Robert generally, and occasionally a response from Jill, most of the things I send up north [such as the reports on the ‘family reunion’ event in Charlton in the beginning of September past] are usually ignored as far as any feedback is concerned. I expect it will be the same on this occasion!  Not to worry! Anyway, whilst up at 3NRG this morning, I also, with the help of the Station Manager, completed two new promotions for my regular programs, and will be interested to see how they sound, once they go to air.

Meanwhile, on the national front, in response to Prime Minister, Julie Gillard’s re-arrangement of her Cabinet and various government minister’s portfolios, the Liberal Party has provided it’s usual instant attacking response –  in my ‘e-mail’ today, we read that  –   “Julia Gillard’s reshuffle demonstrates that she places a higher priority on shoring up her own political position than tackling the real concerns of Australians.  Behind the reshuffle, the knifing of Kevin Rudd continues to haunt the Labor Party with continuous leaks, threats and retribution which are all about internal factional fighting and nothing to do with developing a plan for Australia’s future.  Julia Gillard will ensure Labor’s internal feud continues by exacting revenge on Kevin Rudd and his supporters.  While so many Australians continue to struggle to meet the increasing cost of living and while job security is under a real threat from the carbon tax and mining tax, Labor and Julia Gillard continue to fight their internal battles.  Today’s reshuffle does nothing to strengthen our economy, to stop the boats or to reduce the cost of living pressures on Australia’s forgotten families.   The worst government in Australia’s history now has the biggest cabinet in Australia’s history.  The reshuffle is a sign of a Prime Minister who has no authority over her own government.  It’s not a reshuffle about meeting the challenges of our country; it’s a reshuffle about meeting the challenge of Kevin Rudd”.  It would not surprise me to imagine that there is an element of truth in all that, despite the usual negativity, as the PM attempts to strengthen her role within her own Party!!  Oh well, such is life in our rather ‘troublesome’ current political environment!

It was another night at the Opera for me this evening – this time, to see Mozart’s story of Don Giovanni.  Not sure how I felt about this particular opera – no problems with the performance, music, singing [all in Italian again, with English sub-titles up above the stage, that didn’t concern me], had an excellent seat, and the opera itself is generally regarded as one of the most popular of Mozart’s operatic productions. I’m just not sure that I really enjoyed the storyline – not really much to like about the character of Don Giovanni – details of which both [the storyline and character] are presented below in a useful little précis of the opera. Teddy Tahu-Rhodes, as Giovanni, is an outstanding singer – I’ve seen him perform on stage previously, with ‘my’ Australian String Quartet, a couple of seasons ago, with his rich baritone voice. Perhaps it was the fact that for some reason, I was not feeling well this evening, and that possibly dampened my enjoyment of the 3 hour performance [including the interval] – maybe when I have an evening concert etc to go to, I should avoid too much time out in the garden & sun, which may have been the cause of tonight’s ailment [which admittedly, seemed to continue in a different way, through the night!].  Anyway, irrespective of that, for the record, here is a little synopsis of the story behind the opera. Apart from that, I must say the official program, was a fascinating document, and including a quite lengthy article by ABC Classic FM personality, Christopher Lawrence called ‘Let’s Hear It For The Bad Guy’ – an appreciation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Interesting reading indeed, even if my feelings were not as enthusiastic for the ‘bad guy’, as Christopher’s seemed to be!

Don Giovanni – a synopsis of the Opera  [not my précis, copied from an unnamed source, does far better justice, than any attempt of mine would have!!!

 

ACT I

Outside the Commendatore’s house, Leporello stands watch for his master, Don Giovanni, who has gone inside to seduce the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna. When she tries to unmask him Don Giovanni flees. The Commendatore pursues the intruder and is killed by him in a duel. Donna Anna makes Don Ottavio, her fiancé, swear to avenge her father’s murder.

Don Giovanni turns to new adventures. On the street he sees a lady, Donna Elvira, who is searching for the man who seduced and abandoned her. She recognises Don Giovanni as her seducer. He makes off, promising that Leporello will explain everything. Leporello runs through the extensive catalogue of his master’s conquests.

Don Giovanni encounters a group of peasants celebrating the marriage of Zerlina and Masetto. He invites the entire party to a banquet, telling Leporello to get rid of the groom.  Just as Don Giovanni is about to ensnare Zerlina, Donna Elvira appears and takes the peasant girl under her protection. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive and enlist Don Giovanni’s help in seeking vengeance for the Commendatore’s murder.  Donna Elvira interrupts and accuses Don Giovanni of deserting her; he tells the others she is mad and ushers her out. Donna Anna tells Don Ottavio that she has recognised Don Giovanni as her father’s murderer.

Don Giovanni gives Leporello instructions for the feast. Zerlina tries to make peace with the jealous Masetto. Masetto hides and eavesdrops as Don Giovanni resumes his seduction of Zerlina. When the enraged Masetto confronts Don Giovanni, the latter invites them both into the party. Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Don Ottavio enter masked and are invited to join the festivities. While Leporello is distracting Masetto, Don Giovanni entices Zerlina into an adjoining room. Her cries for help are heard, and when Don Giovanni tries to accuse Leporello of being the offender, the three avengers unmask and denounce Don Giovanni.

ACT II

Leporello is tired of the life he is leading, but a bribe persuades him not only to continue in service, but also to exchange clothing with Don Giovanni for yet another amorous adventure. The target this time is Elvira’s maid, and Leporello is to distract the mistress. Masetto enters with some peasants intent on punishing Don Giovanni. The disguised Don leads them in different directions and then gives Masetto a beating. Zerlina consoles Masetto.

Leporello, still disguised as Don Giovanni, tries vainly to escape Donna Elvira in the darkness. Don Ottavio and Donna Anna enter, soon joined by Masetto and Zerlina. Leporello, realising the danger, discards his disguise, apologises and manages to escape.

Don Giovanni finds himself in a cemetery, at the foot of the Commendatore’s monument. He is joined by Leporello. Don Giovanni is warned by the statue of his approaching doom. He forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to supper. The stone figure nods its head in acceptance.

Don Giovanni dines, waited on by Leporello while a band of musicians plays music from popular operas. Donna Elvira makes a last attempt to induce him to repent. He ridicules her until she leaves. There is a loud knock at the door. It is the statue of the Commendatore, who has arrived for dinner. Don Giovanni accepts the Commendatore’s return invitation and as a pledge grasps the extended hand of the statue. The grip is ice-cold, but even as his limbs begin to freeze, Don Giovanni refuses to repent. He is hurled down into the flames of hell. Leporello informs the other characters of what has taken place and the others begin to resume their former safer, but less exciting lives.

Christopher Lawrence [referred to earlier] opened his excellent article on the subject as follows:-  “Don Giovanni is frequently cited as one of the most perfect operas ever written. Yet for all it’s ‘perfection’, it doesn’t stick to some of the time-honoured conventions of the genre: there is hardly a tenor to be seen, none of the sopranos die, and the moral of the tale – that ‘scoundrels always receive their just desserts’ – is arrived at without the scoundrel in question having made any form of concession. They might end up in Hell, but somehow, the bad guys rule. In our jaded modern times, such a conclusion has a familiar and uneasy resonance”. Nine pages later, he writes “In a sense, the characters are speaking directly to us here……..Mozart is lowering the temperature and taking us back to the everyday. Perhaps life is best, he is suggesting, when it is just – normal”.   Maybe that was the real reason, why I was not so sure about how I felt about ‘Don Giovanni’!! Nevertheless, I’ve actually now seen this so-called ‘perfect opera, so my non-committal can at least come from a viewing perspective!!’

 

 

 

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