Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Lackey's Life

Postings have been light here and will probably continue to be so for another week while I work as a lackey to the rich.

Not literally, but in a sense all working class folk are lackeys to the ownership class.

Or as John Lennon once sang, "you're [we're] all fucking peasants as far as I can see."

This is the way it's always been in our particular Western culture, and it probably always will be.

People have been trying to change the situation to a more equitable and civilized status for centuries...

...but though the players have changed, the structure has remained the same.

Along with working too hard lately for paying clients (who in truth are somewhere in the middle of the food chain), I have also been impersonating an 18th-century lackey in Sevilla, Spain for a production of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" at the San Francisco Opera.

The production opened last Saturday and has about another 8 performances over the course of June.

The young cast is sexy and in good voice, the direction by John Copley seems to be amusing the audience no end, and the music is possibly Mozart's best.

Or, as Pauline Kael once wrote in the context of a particular Buster Keaton movie, "arguably Mozart's finest, but amongst the Mozart riches who can be sure?"


Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

Nice post leading to musings both political and spiritual about liberation. What a strong pull freedom has on us.

What else are we slaves to? Time (linear and cyclic), biology, greed?

Playing a lackey in a poet shirt sure looks like fun and liberating too!


Pedro said...

love the haircut!!

sfwillie said...

I disagree that political/economic lackeyhood is inevitable. But that issue is theoretical. Not in dispute is our lackey-status vis a vis our own cells: we are slaves to their demands.

cedichou said...


follow up on your comment at sfist regarding Figaro. Went last night to see the main cast. And: Susanna Tilling is as pretty as Burggraaf and very similar voice-wise. I say: a draw. The Count Mattei has more presence than Hakala, a better singer as well. The Countess: Swanson is impressive, but Moore was not far off. Swanson seemed a bit more at ease. Figaro: as a singer, maybe Releya projects a bit better than Feigum. But he looks awkward in his movements, and had zero chemistry with Tilling. The Susana-Figaro couple is so cold in the main cast, and so vibrant in the alternate. There is more chemistry in between Susana and Cherubino (they do kiss; or even between Figaro and mama Marcellina!) than between Tilling and Relyea. Relyea also should realize that he has monitors up on the balcony and backstage in the aisles, because his stiffness is accentuated by the way he looks at the conductor waiting for his cues. You can literally see him think "now I have to tap 'dong dong', three, two one, dong dong." "Now I have to hand the broom to Cherubino, ready, set, go." I did not remember Feigum leaving with the wig AND the sword in Act I, as Relyea did. Did he?

I think I enjoyed myself better with the alternate cast, which had more cohesion, just was more comfortable in its skin.

Conducting wise: still a few miscues and a few shaky tempo transitions. In defense of Goodman, Susanna seemed to have forgotten where she was a couple times. It seemed the overture was a tad slower last night.

sfmike said...

Dear Ced: Your observations about the differences between the two ensembles is fascinating. The Canadian Relyea, with his beautiful voice and profile, strikes me as a shy person, actually, which is sort of odd for a would-be opera star, while Feigum is extremely outgoing and overall the better actor.

I noticed a difference in the sound of the two ensembles too. Though individually the "A" cast sounds better, the "B" cast blends together better.

Thanks for the update.