Sunday, June 28, 2015

Luminato's Apocalypsis

Surely this weekend must break some kind of record for rain and chill, for June. However, as I tried to get around the paralyzed city today, it was clear that the Pride festivities were undampened.

What a way I spent the afternoon - seeing Luminato's vast million dollar production of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's Apocalypsis, with a cast of one thousand dancers, actors and singers, an orchestra, a ton of atonal music and novel stage effects and Brent Carver as the anti-Christ - can you ask for more? Yes - a bit less self-important oddness, a bit more comprehensibility - but despite its flaws, and there were many, the event was unforgettable just for volume of sound, sonic magnificence - like a hundred heavenly choirs (though there were in fact only ten or so. Still, a lot, really a lot, of singers.)

I call bull@#$# on a lot of it - people wandering around extreeeeemely slowly, a symbolic body of water, some people imported from New Zealand where the director's from, as if we don't have such performers here. But musically, it was stunning. And there was one incredible revelation - Tanya Tagaq, the Inuit throat singer, who made unearthly sounds that sent chills down my spine and, I'm sure, everyone else's. Other great talents were wasted - Denise Fujiwara the dancer, sitting in a box centre stage weaving around as if she was floating in a womb - and Brent, dear Brent, in a suit making an odd speech in which he mentioned the addiction to computers, something that matters to me - but what did it mean? Who knows? Why did it all have to be so obscure?

But in the end, sheer size won out. A thousand people were singing to me, music that sounded like Arvo Part and Gregorian chant and plainsong and hymns ... everything. And I liked it a lot.

Last night, two things I liked a lot on lowly television: PBS and Masterpiece Theatre's "Poldark," a swashbuckling British romance, full of cliches - handsome misunderstood hero, noble and tormented in love - and yet beautifully done and I'm hooked; and a documentary about the Hermitage that made me want to jump on a plane to St. Petersburg. Because my friend Bruce has trained me so effectively in Italy, I was able to shout out the name of the painter as certain paintings appeared: "Caravaggio! Rembrandt! Raphael!" What a place. Must get there. Bruce says he won't go while Putin the homophobe is President, so I may have to find another art-hungry travelling friend.

Please may there be sun tomorrow, before we all turn into rusty frogs.

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