Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Avengers and Don Giovanni

Well, my classic movie watching of late has been side-railed by two things:  The Avengers and Don Giovanni.  Yes, I really loved The Avengers movie.  I’ve never read the comic books, and I haven’t seen all the movies that led up to it (though I’ve seen most of them), but this movie was just the kind of movie I’ve been waiting for.  Just the right mix of serious and humor, with not too much humor.  The right mix of action.  Almost no bouncing camera!  Hooray and hallelujah!  Maybe that trend is finally going away???  Great dialogue.  Lots of good-looking actors.  All-in-all, it was a thoroughly entertaining way to spend two hours.  I’ve already seen it three times and will probably go a couple more times before it leaves the theater.  For anyone who knows me well and has seen the movie, then it's pretty obvious that Agent Barton/Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner) is my favorite of the Avengers.  Who else would I relate to/love?  LOL!

As for Don Giovanni, I attended a performance at the Disney Concert Hall last Friday with the LA Phil.  The orchestra was good, the singers were good, the production was terrible.  The set looked like someone had crumpled giant wads of paper all around, which in and of itself wouldn’t have been too bad – if they’d let the singers act out the story that goes with what they’re singing.  But nooooo.  Very little of what they did on stage seemed to have anything to do with the story.  Even worse, they moved in super-slow-motion or stood around frozen in place, or randomly lay down for entire scenes.  Okay, folks.  Don Giovanni is a long opera.  Do not make it bloody interminable by deliberately slowing the action down even more.  I mean I know the opera, I know the story, and I know a fair bit of the libretto.  It’s the one Mozart opera I’m rather fond of because it has action – murder, a couple assaults, an avenging statue, very funny exchanges between characters, and the lead character goes to Hell in the end.  And when I’m bored, you know the artsy and ridiculously static production ain’t working.  And I wasn’t alone in that opinion apparently, as after act one ended, quite a lot of seats were empty for act two.  People were bailing out while the getting was good.  Unfortunate, because the singers really were good.  But opera is neither just music nor just story – it’s both and more, and it all has to work together.  I don’t mind operas updated to modern or different time periods, but this was something else entirely.

(yes, please, sit around on boxes doing nothing.  And why are so many characters dressed in white on a white stage?  Are they supposed to blend in and vanish? Grrr.)

But, it put the music back in my head, so I’ve been listening to my Simon Keenlyside recording and watching better versions on youtube.  And when opera is stuck in my head, I have a hard time watching movies.  Although The Avengers is oddly compatible with Don Giovanni, so this combo has been working for me.  I alternate listening to Alan Silvestri's score for the movie, and then listening to my favorite scenes from the opera... Yeah, it's pretty weird, but it works.


  1. My kids went to the The Avengers and loved it. I will have to ask my daughter who her fave is/was. I agree, your Jeremy Renner (did you notice I said "your" Jeremy Renner?) is quite hunk-ish. I can see why you would be attracted to him.

    SO sorry that your opera experience was far less than you had hoped/expected. That is always so look forward to something and have high hopes for it, and then be disappointed. I haven't been to an opera in years...went to one in the early 80's, shortly after I moved to Orlando. They have never appealed to my husband, so it was one of the things that fell by the wayside when we started dating.

    1. You know, every member of my family loves/relates to a different character in Avengers. So far, there's no overlap. Good thing there's enough characters to go around! We tend to come out of a movie and start pointing fingers at each other immediately. "You're just like so-and-so!" ROFL! And usually everyone is in unanimous agreement on who = who in a given movie, based on personalities, character traits, etc. It's highly amusing.

      And thank you! I did notice. :-D Mmmmmm, sure wish he was mine!

      That's so cool that you have gone to operas in the past. Definitely a passion of mine, but definitely not something for everyone.

  2. I loved The Avengers. I watched all the other movies leading up to it and this was by far the best. My 12-year-old daughter fell in love with Loki if you can believe it! She is now obsessed with everything Loki. sigh. From what I'm seeing around the 'Net, she's not the only one.

    I love the Marriage of Figaro. One of my favorite Mozart operas.

    1. Me too! I so love that movie. I have to re-do my favorite movie list, because it's now on it, and I need to figure out what drops off.

      And your daughter is definitely not alone! My sister is also in love and obsessed with all things Loki. In a BIG way. We're even getting her a new license plate holder for her car that says: "I am burdened with glorious purpose." Hee. Tom Hiddleston does have one of the best smiles, though. Every time he smiles, I have to smile too, because it's just infectiously happy.

      Who was your favorite character?

      I am planning on catching Marriage of Figaro soon. Amazing that since I grew up on opera, have listened to it non-stop my whole life, and I don't know that opera beyond a couple famous arias! Time to rectify that.