I was entranced when I turned the corner down 18th and Delancey near Plays and Players with the Wolf moon looming over the deco battlements of the Drake hotel. It was shrouded in silvery clouds, foreshadowing as it turns out. It was late for the AVA concert selection of Norma and Il Travatore. By the time I came out for the first intermission the wolf moon was directly overhead at the Kimmel and had been claimed as la bella luna by the luminous Angela Meade, playing the Druid priestess Norma who ‘revists her silvery disc’ and cast fortuna on the warring lands.
Philadelphia is Italian opera central this week with Soprano Angela Meade headlining AVA’s Operatic Masterpieces concert version of Bellini’s Norma and internationally renowned tenor Juan Diego Florez singing Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in front of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Bellini is also the subject of Golden Age by Terrence McNally, a backstage romp at the 1835 Paris premiere of his final opera, Il Puritani which is premiering at the Philadelphia Theater Company
Florez will be joining rock star Sting and the Philadelphia Orchestra for the Academy of Music’s 153 Anniversary gala concert. Whether Sting will be able to sustain his notes as long as his fabled orgasm will not be on the program, but there is no doubt that Meade and Florez will leave everyone breathless with their control.
A Single Man is designer Tom Ford’s impeccably stylish screen adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s eloquent novel about George, a gay professor whose lover of 16 years is killed in a car crash. It is about his silent screaming grief, deafeningly silent in 1963 when gay relationships were invisible.
Firth is operatic, unpredictable and subtle, giving a completely interior performance. It is completely faithful to Isherwood, which makes it unique from the start. His scenes with Matthew Goode as his deceased lover are so understated and true.
Julliane Moore as his best friend who still wants to sleep with him to cure her lonliness is a boozy, sloopy bored Brit with faublous taste and Ann Margaret hair.
Kudos to Ford for getting this uncommercial movie made. Of course all of the production design, clothing and 63′ assessories are impeccable under Ford guidance. And the visual look of the film, has a completely period aesthetic that is not overdone. A fine tribute to Isherwood and pretty tore de forcey for Firth.
So much of the invisibility of gay life at the time is captured. Meeting his lover in a seaside bar during WWII. Sharing homelife without inclusion or intrusion from relatives, the veiled homoerotica in academic circles and then of course there is the fab dancing.
Supposed to go to the barber this week to kill this dead animal act on my head and I did go to a Barber but not one with scissors. This week would have been Samuel Barber’s 100th birthday so there is a mini-Barber fest. Listening to the rarely performed Vanessa on RTI Sat, which they preluded it with a choral version of his most famous work Adagio for Strings his profound orchestral elegy.
Barber was born in West Chester Pa in 1910 and fell in love with Giancarlo Menotti when they both attended the Curtis Institute of Music in the 20s. Must have been charming a gay affair in the prestigious halls of Curtis, stealing glances and intimacies as glorious music of the conservatoire collided around them.
At Curtis Monday night Barber Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra was a ring of fire essayed by cellist John-Henry Crawford and pianist Hugh Sung. The work is on wily dual tracks of dissonant matrixes and lush enclaves.
Sung’s piano serenely crystallized and Crawford’s vertical finger dance over the string and his untaut bowing, completely hypnotic. Their handling of chord clusters and reverse harmonic lines displayed their deep understanding of Barber’s architecture.
Standing outside the Wilma Theater in the rain looking north on Broad and the cobalt and green spotlights on the stone city blocks reflacting through the rain on my glasses is 360 cinematic. Trying to forget what I was supposed to be doing and guilitily succeeding this light. Later the moon was so bright but being blocked by low clouds so as to be an indistinct mass casting gray light. This morning waked up by wind whipped rain on the side of the building. Had to go out in it to watch the commuters around Rittenhouse wrestle to keep their broken umbrellas up.
Decided to throw all of
My books out today
they are falling
off of the shelves
and in the case of
the trials of Wilde bios
I’m fed up with the
Otherwise I’ve noticed
Their weight lurking
I’ve stayed too long at this mental
Orgy Frank O’Hara was screaming
As his complete works fell on
My big toe
All of the men that
John Cheever screwed are
I don’t even know when
Or where I couldn’t have gotten
A first edition of One Day in
The Life of Ivan Denisovich,
But it was there, dust jacket
Intact and just a little foxing
Must have been when he rubbed
Snow on his chest to ward off
Of course it will be hard to
Part with Truman, Tennessee
And Gore even though they
Are busting out a shelf with
Intellectual menage camp
And my signed copies of Ned’
S diaries is like assigning
Myself to permanent celibacy.
Don’t I have anything by women?
Austin & Proust,
Thank the gods.
Did I really collect screenplays
By Igmar Bergman, must have
Been part having a
Salvation, Shakespeare, Moliere
And Isherwood’s diaries
His eyes cursing me
Then I picked up Greene and
Lost sensation in my right hand
Well if he goes, so does Eliot.
What’s to remain?
There really only seems to be room
For Nijinsky Dancing.