March 26, 2013

Bird Feeder - Showcasing Hunger Rules in Nature?

Easy food at break of day!
Manna for my wretched wings,
wintered out with desperate flying
to find some food and prey.

A surge, a measured swoop

to grab the rim n hang on to it.
Tentatively balanced,
to feast on every seedly bit.

The sparrows wait
the cardinals hover,
as I feed feverishly
till I can hold no longer.  

It is now the cardinal’s turn;
the red one on the ring.
In his hurry, he bangs the rim
and the feeder begins to swing.
Paying for his rushed entry,
the cardinal must now wait;
warily watching the tasty treats
until the swinging stays.
Crazy Cardinal!
For want of patience,
endures wrathful screeches
and a feeding time reduced.

One peck, two peck,
and now he must go.
Without a grudge he takes a bow,
soon alights a humble sparrow.
The line is growing, the bounty waning
I fly out to tell my friends…
finches, chickadees, blue jays and all,
still wethering Michigan's snowfall!
Hunger Games...
the humans play.
We birds know better
to simply share and obey
the Hunger Rules of Nature.

March 21, 2013

Verdi's 'Otello' at Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center - Spellbinding Musical and Drama.

What could be more enthralling than to watch the 321st Metropolitan Opera performance of GiuseppeVerdi's Otello,  from 'grand tier' box number 18 of the Lincoln Center?  This was an unforgettable experience for two reasons. First of all, I had never watched a Shakespearan Opera, let alone one of Verdi, and then getting to watch it from the center parterre premium seating at Lincoln Center was simply wonderful.

Otello is composer Giuseppe Verdi's Italian opera in four acts based on Shakespeare's play Othello with Jose Cura in the title role, opposite Krassimira Stoyanova as Desdemona and Thomas Hampson as Iago. This opera was one of Verdi's last ones and had its world premier in Milan in the year 1887 and is "often cited as Italian opera’s greatest tragedy, a miraculous union of music and drama. It is a musical masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically."

Shakespeare's Othello was one of my lesser liked tragedies of Shakespeare, but watching Otello has made me rethink that.  The intensity of emotion that the music and the singing aroused in me was  was almost unbelievable. Stoyanova in the role of Desdemona was magical; particularly as she sang'Ave Maria', her last piece, an emotional goodnight to Emilia her attendant. That piece, clearly foreboding Desdemona's death, had me in tears that were unstoppable. The orchestra, conducted by Alain Altinoglu, and the singing at that point felt almost as if the duo were plucking at my heartstrings "with every instrument playing as softly as possible, pulsing like the last breaths of a dying being."  I was absolutely overcome by the sheer volume and intensity of emotions I was experiencing.  This was despite the fact that I did not understand a word of the singing since it was in Italian, and I did not dare look at the translation provided on the ticker tape lest I miss something that was happening on stage. The fact that I knew the entire story of Othello to the smallest detail did only but enhance the experience.

There are at least five more performances of Otello scheduled at Lincoln Center in the next few weeks;  this is a must see for anyone who appreciates art and /or music in any form.


March 13, 2013

Anna Karenina - Stoppard and Wright's Adaptation of Tolstoy's Mega Classic Fails to Impress.

Much as I didn't want to watch another cinematic version of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel Anna Karenina, I did.  When the movie was released in 2012, I was intrigued by the fact that the vast landscape the novel rides through was to be captured in a theatre mould.  However, the movie did not make waves after its release, and I soon forgot about it until the Oscars this year where Anna Karenina won the 'Best Costume Design' award. Having seen it this week, my resolve not to see another adaptation of Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina stands resolute, even strengthened.

I was impressed by the fusion of theater and cinema that Joe Wright brought about especially the scene where we along with Anna and the others watch a horse race on stage! However, this embellishment did little to redeem my interest in the movie which transformed Tolstoy's classic saga, his literary opus into a drama about a fobidden love that unfolds in glamorous Russia of the 1830s. Needless to say, Jude Law and Keira Knightly played out their parts well, but made no lasting impressions that would have raised the movie to the classic proportions of its literary counterpart.