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These Days: Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Opera: I went to the Met last night to see Renee Fleming in the penultimate performance of her opera career. She isn’t retiring, in fact she will in “Carousel” next season, and will no doubt perform recitals, but she will being stopping the arduous art of a “Der Rosenkavalier” by Richard Strauss. I am not crazy about the opera though having now seen it live, I am crazier than I might be. The story of the middle aged The Marschallin, Princess von Werdenberg, and her affair with a seventeen year old Count, it is a comedy of manners dating from 1910, and a signature role for Fleming. The Count is about to fall for a more age appropriate girl (who is vowed to Marschallin’s cousin).  Before the romance has even started, the Princess knows he will leave her for a younger woman and in a heartrending end to the first act, she sends her lover away in the perfectly performed last twenty minutes. Fleming may have been better here, as she deals with the echo chamber of the woman giving into the inevitable as the 58 year old diva also gives into the inevitable, she has an added aura . For those of us around Renee’s age, there is something so strange about how our bodies age and decay, it is as if we live out the Ancient Greeks’ worst nightmare about the withering and dying bodily functions, it steadily breaks down and, in much the way, and for many the reasons, it was considered wrong to even eat in public (because the needs of our bodies denied our divinity), so everything creek and ache and aged skill rusting is in bad taste.

Theatre: I just got a ticket for Spamilton on Friday, I’d been listening to the soundtrack with nothing but pleasure, and for some reason I’d been skipping going to see it. The parody closes at the end of May, so now is the time?

Old Music: Heavily into the Presley goes to Stax initial release, Raised On Rock. The title is a major misnomer, how can you be raised on something you all but invented. I love the Stax Sesions album from a couple of years back but I am all over the place on this one. Right now it is wavering between good (B) and very good (B+)

New Music: my very next review will be the singles round-up and I can’t say I’m thrilled here at all. For Beth Ditto, “Ooo La La” (Grade: B) is no “Fire” (Grade: A-).

Sports: “Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright, the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, but there is no joy in New York City—the mighty Rangers have bowed out”. Seriously, they were so completely dominant in those two MSG games that I am shocked.

Speaking Of Which: This is a win-win for Trump, not only does he rid himself of J. Edgar Comey, an exceedingly scary guy who was getting more powerful by the day, but he also scuttles the Trump-Russia investigation. Comey seriously overplayed his hands way too early in the game.

The Grammys: Returning to nyc in January 2018, I went last time it was in town and, like just about every awards show the minute you get past the thrill of the new it gets bogged down in a swamp of delays. Still, I wouldn’t mind going again.

Death: best friend and bodyguard to pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek on Rob & Big, Christopher “Big Black” Boykin is dead, Mario Maglieri, owner of the whiskey-A-Go-Go, , Dies at 93.

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