almaviva90: (Default)
GAH!!!!

Why on earth is everything I want to go to or do, etc on a FRIDAY?! When I am totally not free on that day?

The HKU libraries are having their annual used book sale (with some of them being duplicate copies of books they have in their catalogue) on 9th October, from 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm. But I probably won't be able to get back to HKU from Taiwai on that day until around 8.00 pm by which time I'll probably be dying from exhaustion. And by that time, maybe the books I'd be interested in buying will have gone (yes, okay...having just 3 hours elapse and having all the books disappear might be just a little bit of an over-exaggeration...but still...it's better to be there first when they open the sale and confirm that you haven't missed anything).

So what on earth do I do? Opt not to go on that particular Friday and go on Saturday instead (which is possible and allowed by my contract)? Or go anyway on Friday and rush as frantically as I can to HKU right after 6?

*sighs*

almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
I've actually made it to Sunday after going to Taiwai two days in a row without collapsing or anything. Interesting.

But that doesn't exclude the fact that I did feel like I was going to have a cold earlier this morning before going to bed...hmm...

So...I've finally got a letter from the Arts Faculty about being presented with the first year history prize in a ceremony on 18th November and the letter (as usual with all HKU pretentiousness) has even asked me to invite my secondary school principal as well as a teacher. God, they're so full up of themselves...but then again, I AM hoping to see Ang Lee at HKU in a talk given on the 1st October. To tell the truth, the only reason I'm going to that event is that he directed 'Sense and Sensibility' and has worked with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. XDDD

But what to wear? Gah, and if I wear heels, my feet are seriously going to suffer. It's nice being offered a prize but the preparation and dressing up for the ceremony is always unnecessarily stressful. 
almaviva90: (Default)
I must admit it's been a trying week. Spent two days packing and helping out with the books and all at my professor's flat, going to class afterwards, becoming tired at the end of the day and to top it all, finally having to live with the knowledge that I have finally had to let Durham go.

Of course, there were some good things to feel about...the fact that it was TA's birthday on the 10th helped me from wallowing in my disappointment, I suppose. It's not good to become self-absorbed, methinks.

I had thought to make a video or something to put up in celebration of his birthday but uploading such a thing now would be belated and pointless. So I've saved the video for the 40th anniversary of his professional debut which will on the 18th next month. Just finished ironing out the various video technical difficulties which have upset my video making efforts for the past day or so and the anniversary vid has finally been finished, thank goodness. I'll just let it wait and sit around on my computer till next month, I suppose. 

Uni work will probably get into full swing next week and so will my internship duties, alas. I'm still not too happy with the situation both at uni and the internship since next week I have to go to Taiwai three times in light of the move and I still haven't got the books to write essays on for one of my courses since a) the libraries don't have them even though the lecturer said they were on reserve and b) I don't WANT to buy them since it will just be a waste of money seeing that I'm not interested in the subject. Gah...

Literally was asleep for most of this morning and did not wake up till the afternoon...that was how tired I was after this week. A mix of physical and mental exhaustion, perhaps.

Hmm...I better start brushing up my French...don't want that to get too rusty.
almaviva90: (TA evening dress)
Gah...can't understand why these days I find it so hard to fall asleep.

Really annoying when you know you've got a busy day ahead of you the next day. *sighs*

I have no idea why but currently feeling depressed...even reading, music, etc can't shake this veil of gloom off me.
almaviva90: (TA Guglielmo 1981)
Gah...just finished watching the 1975 version of 'Cosi fan tutte'. Certainly it's not the most action-packed opera of all of the Mozart ones I've seen so far (at the moment, I'm thinking that there were too many songs being sung by the two sopranos playing the sisters and not enough solos for the men, particularly Guglielmo [yes, I'm biased since that's the baritone part =P]).

Overall, it ended up being approximately 2 hrs and 40 minutes long...perhaps a little too long for a relatively simple storyline and ONLY six characters....three men and three women. To put the story briefly - basically the philosopher Don Alfonso declares that all women are the same and are ultimately unfaithful and incapable of being otherwise. His two soldier friends, Ferrando and Guglielmo challenge him to a duel since he has launched a direct attack on their beloved fiancees and he is given two choices: either to prove their infidelity or face their over-amorous and confident lovers in a duel. 100 pieces of gold is placed as a bet on the part of the two soldiers and Don Alfonso takes up the challenge. He concocts a devilish plan - pretend to get rid of the two soldiers by giving them false orders condemning them to battle and trick the two women by dragging the soldiers back again...in disguise as Albanians. Ferrando and Guglielmo end up doing all kinds of things to 'seduce' the sisters; mocking death by arsenic, getting cured by a magnet for the latter, sighing and despairing in their 'anguish' as the sisters initially ignore them. It seems that their confidence in their betrothed is not misplaced. Don Alfonso has other plans...while he deals with the men and orders them what to do, he pays the sisters' maid, Despina to do her bit with the ladies and urging them to amuse themselves with their new admirers. What happens? The sisters give in...one by one - to the point that they're getting married to them the next day. You can imagine the mens' reaction...PLUS the fact that each other's fiancee is now getting married to the other... -____- However, at the end, all is revealed and the lovers are seemingly reconciled - slightly bruised and battered emotionally - but wisened nonetheless.

Normally if the acting was 80% good, 2 hrs 40 minutes might not be so bad. In fact, it might even pass away so quickly if you were really captivated by the singing and acting. Unfortunately, not all opera singers possess imagination and acting skills. In this production, what probably saved me from falling asleep during mostly the soprano parts/arias was Frantz Petri as Don Alfonso and of course, TA as Guglielmo. Petri as Alfonso was a delight...a smug but charming characterisation that kept reminding the audience of the ludicrousness of the comedy being played out before us and that HE really was the puppet-master around here. His singing was confident, his intonation excellent and his voice strong. TA as Guglielmo...he could literally act everyone (Petri excepted) off the stage. Even at such an early stage in his career (only about 6 years into his professional career), he could seriously act. Facial expressions - perfect. Body language - perfect. Charm - as always sublime and that too goes for his voice. I can see why people call him a gifted comedian since he was the main source of comedy during otherwise dull and uninteresting moments. The tenor playing Ferrando seemed to have a little trouble keeping his high notes strong...his voice seemed thin and barely audible at higher registers. The sopranos playing the sisters had the irritating habit of staring rather absently into space as they sang...even when their betrothed were dragged off to 'war', their faces didn't particuarly strike me as being grief-stricken. Despina had a slight tendency to overact. There were scenes when literally everyone was SITTING DOWN during a rather unnecessarily long aria by one of them saying that she will not betray her love for her beloved, etc, etc. Where are they in that scene? Ferrando sitting on a box, Guglielmo sitting cross-legged (!) on the floor since there's no place to sit, Despina and Don Alfonso are leaning rather boredly against the wall and the other sister looks as if she wants the song to end as soon as possible. Ha, and I thought only the audience was bored...

The costumes could have been better...bright shades of red and blue for the soldiers was not entirely flattering but I don't know whether that was due to 70s era film cameras or the costume design. But they weren't too bad (at least they were better than the 2006 Salzburg version I watched with TA as Don Alfonso...seriously, I wanted to kill the costume designer there for making him look as unattractive as possible which is a shame because he really isn't bad looking in real life. How bad, you say? Well, his costume strongly reminded me of the Penguin in the older Batman film with Danny DeVito...it was NOT helped by the fact that the tailcoat (and trousers) he was wearing were made of leather AND the fact that he had to wear a wig which made him look bald AND he had to wear lipstick...O____o...and yes, I was repeatingly bashing my head against the table when I was watching that version.) However, the staging was small and rather cozy as befitting the storyline, giving me quite a different feeling I got when I watched the 1987 'Don Giovanni' where basically the stage seemed too big and empty for the characters.

The production simply cries out that is comes from the 70s though...the slightly unnatural tinge of film colour and the hair especially. Particularly TA's...see...





I still don't get why on earth that particular hairstyle was so popular during the 70s. But thank goodness, it isn't an afro...XDDDDD
I was discussing with my mum that at this stage in 1975, he looked too young and naive to play the ultimate baritone 'scroundrel' Don Giovanni (he did end up playing his first Don two years later also at this same venue, I think) but weirdly, with a beard or moustache he suddenly looks entirely suitable for that part. It instantly makes him look more mature...even when it's not even a real one.



Yeah, his outrageous 'Albanian' disguise...but that expression there is a very signature Allen look seen in almost every opera production I've seen of him, particularly when he's playing the Don. And as you can see, the addition of a fake set of beard and moustache instantly changes his impression. Strange.

Will I watch this DVD again? Most probably. But probably just for the sake of TA and Petri...



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almaviva90

January 2012

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