July 18

Having fun with Paul Bellini around is a given. Taking over the Flying Beaver Pub last night, the former-Kids in the Hall writer performed his Flatus Maximus (it’s Latin, look it up.) Not exactly a performance piece, it consisted largely of Paul reading from his hilarious FAB columns (think Michael Musto sidelined in Toronto, as if that were possible), with an occasional side-splitting silly song (who knew!) thrown in for—what, even more comic relief from the already over the top comedy? Anyway, it was a quiet riot, culminating in the playback of one of the most awkward telephone interviews ever, as the intrepid Paul tried and failed to get some semblance of an answer to his quite reasonable questions from crotchety B’way legend Elaine Stritch, proving again that some things (and people) are beyond even the most laudable efforts, but not beyond comedy.

Jul 11

Went to the Met’s Die Walküre in HD tonight, part two of the Ring cycle production staged by Robert LePage. The set, referred to as “the machine”, was not as extensively used this time around, so the music took centre stage. James Levine’s conducting was nothing short of glorious. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated Wagner so much. Bryn Terfel’s (Wotan) voice doesn’t excite me, but his acting was terrific, as was Susan Voigt’s (Brünnhilde). The star of the evening, for me (and many of the audience) was the German tenor, Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund.) In terms of vocal ensemble work, this may become the definitive Ring for years to come. Really superb.


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