Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Outlander 2014 Wedding Gown

“Dougal’s not back yet, either,” I observed as we came down the hill.  The large black gelding he customarily rode was not in the inn’s small paddock.  Several other beasts were missing as well; Ned Gowan’s for one.

“No, he shouldna come back for another day at least—maybe two.” Jamie offered me his arm and we descended to hill slowly, careful of the many rocks that poked through the short grass.

“Where on earth has he gone?”  Caught in the rush of recent events, I had not thought to question his absence—or even to notice it.

Jamie handed me over the stile at the back of the inn.

“To do his business wi the cottars nearby.  He’s got but a day or two before he’s supposed to produce you at the Fort, ye  ken.”  He squeezed my arm reassuringly.  “Catpain Randall willna be best pleased when Dougal tells him he’s not to have ye, and Dougal would as soon not linger in the area afterward.”

“Sensible of him,” I observed.  “Also kind of him to leave us here to, er, get acquainted with each other.”

Jamie snorted. “Not kindness. That was one of the conditions I set for takin ye.  I said I’d wed if I must, but damned if I’d consummate my marriage under a bush, wi twenty clansmen lookin on and offering advice.”

I stopped, staring at him.  So that was what the shouting had been about.

“One of the conditions?” I said, slowly.  And what were the others?”

It was growing too dark to see his face clearly, but I thought he seemed embarrassed.

“Only two others,” he said finally.

“Which were?”

“Well,” he said, kicking a pebble diffidently out of the way, “I said ye must wed me proper, in kirk, before a priest. Not just by contract.  As for the other—he must find ye a suitable gown to be wed in.” He looked away, avoiding my gaze, and his voice was so soft I could scarcely hear him.

“I-I knew ye didna wish to wed. I wanted to make it . . . as pleasant as might be for you.  I thought ye might feel a bit less . . . well, I wanted you to have a decent dress, is all.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but he turned away, toward the inn.

“Come along, Sassenach,” he said gruffly.  “I’m hungry.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Opening of the Novel: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important. –Gertrude Stein

There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true. – Ernest Hemingway

Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.  Part of it was the war.  The world had ended once already and could again at any moment.  The war had come and changed us by happening when everyone said it couldn’t.  No one knew how many had died, but when you heard the numbers—nine million or fourteen million--you thought, Impossible.  Paris was full of ghosts and the walking wounded.  Many came back to Rouen or Oak Park, Illinois, shot through and carrying little pieces of what they’d seen behind their kneecaps, full of an emptiness they could never dislodge.  They’d carried bodies on stretchers, stepping over other bodies to do it; they’d been on stretchers themselves, on slow-moving trains full of flies and the floating voice of someone saying he wanted to be remembered to his girl back home.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Figaro

Beaumarchais' play Le mariage de Figaro was rejected three times by censors, who represented the interests of Louis XVI. The play was being read at court with Marie Antoinette reading the part of Susanna. The royals wanted the play left in their circles only. However, Beaumarchais wanted the approval of the man and woman in the street, so he kept revising in order to please the censors. When the play finally debuted, it took five hours to perform, it was interrupted so many times by applause. Several composers were interested in setting it to music, including Mozart and Da Ponte. Here are Anna Netrebko and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

War Fisticuffs Black White Le Nozze di Figaro Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

Major point: black suit jackets and ready to fight. Underneath, however, white braces and brass clasp, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo dressed for the wedding and stops fighting the minute he hears the march.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Don Giovanni Salzburg 2014

Remember the stage is the perfect love triangle. Lenneke Ruiten and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo run upstairs and downstairs. Don Giovanni pursues Donna Anna, who has run into the hotel lobby crying for help. Only a very short time has elapsed. In American terms, he still is trying to get to first base with her.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Outlander 2014

When Claire traveled through the stones at Craigh na Dun, she was wearing a plaid shawl, a thin belt, and a wristwatch. Ron D Moore and the production designers had Claire lose her wristwatch (not invented in 1743). When she arrived in 1743, Claire arose from her plaid shawl and left it on the grass.Claire also lost her thin belt. However, look who is using a borrowed belt as a sling.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Opera: Journey From Wilderness to Paradise

Good news: my ebook is uploaded to Amazon! my deep tribute to Mozart, Da Ponte, the two operas they wrote (Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni), the great singers Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Anna Netrebko, the conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and of course audiences from the past 250 years who have enjoyed these two works of art. Because of copyright law in the United States, I had to delete all the links to Youtube examples that should follow the appropriate sentences and paragraphs in the text. Maybe in another century that will be possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

The return of Don Giovanni to life as archetype. The textures make this screen capture. Ildebrando D'arcangelo portrays warmth, happiness, and just a touch of farewell, but he fully comes back to life chasing in the final Salzburg 2014.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Outlander 2014

By now, Outlander is an international phenomenon. Thanks to Starz, Outlander is finally an adaptation for cable and online viewing. Here is a brief excerpt of the best introduction ever for a major literary character:

“Sounds a bit rude, but not very ghostly,” I observed, draining my glass.  What did he look like?

“Big chap,” said Frank, frowning in recollection.  “And a Scot in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running stag brooch on his plaid.  I wanted to ask where he’d got it from, but he was off before I could.”

I went to the bureau and poured another drink.  “Well, not so unusual an appearance for these parts, surely? I’ve seen men dressed like that in the village now and then.”

“Nooo . . .” Frank sounded doubtful.  “No, it wasn’t his dress that was odd.  But when he pushed past me, I could swear he was close enough that I should have felt him brush my sleeve—but I didn’t.” 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Verdi Requiem Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

Successful performance Friday and Saturday 03 and 04 October 2014. Hope to see excerpts soon on Youtube, given the performance was a memorial tribute to the late conductor Claudio Abbado.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Outlander King and Queen of Hearts 21st Century

When they emerge from the stone cottage and are standing together for the first time, it looks like they've come from the womb of the earth, a great chapter title . The emergence is the wedding ceremony.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

The Verdi Requiem, successful performance 03Oct2014 at La Scala in Milan. Here is a link to 2013 Hollywood Bowl performance. Love the small crescendo at 2:18 and the large crescendo at 3:28.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Standing together for the first time. King and Queen of Hearts, 21st Century, Claire Beauchamp and Jamie Fraser.