Tuesday, September 07, 2010

His Name Is Love

My poem "I Am My Names" appears in Zócalo Public Square, with an expressive black-and-white photo by Paolo Aquino. The poetry editor Colette Labouff asked me to submit after getting my name from Jonathan Farmer. With this pub, and the later appearance of "A Lover's Recourse" in At Length, only one out of the seven sequences in my next book remains unpublished. I guess a book should give something unavailable elsewhere, besides bringing together in an organized whole an entire conception.

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Watched Puccini's Turandot last Saturday night. The seats in Lincoln Center Plaza were almost all gone an hour before the screening. Found a place in the third row, where the view was not bad at all. Simple story stretched out to operatic length. Princess Turandot requires her suitors to answer her three riddles or be beheaded. The young prince Calàf answers the riddles but gives her a chance by asking her to find out his name. She tortures his slave girl Liù to get his name, but the latter refuses to answer. Touched by the slave's love for her master, Turandot yields to Calàf's kiss and so experiences passion for the first time. Asked for his name the next morning, she replies it is Love, an answer that is both wrong and right, both defeat and victory.

Maria Guleghina as Turandot was a compelling singer, but did not have the looks that would make anyone believe that Calàf fell in love on catching a glimpse of her. Marcello Giordani was not young enough to be the prince. Marina Poplavskaya was too proud to be a slave girl. That was a lot of disbelief to suspend. The music, however, was glorious, Calàf's night aria, the Chinese folk song that heralded Turandot's appearances, the final chorus.

Of the five operas I watched during the Met's Summer in HD Festival, the one I enjoyed most was Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. I must sue to know Mr. Strauss better.

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Had a great time with GH on Fire Island last Sunday and Monday. He slept over at my place, and we took the LIRR from Woodside Station. The beach was a little too windy on the first day, but the weather was perfect on the next. Cherry Grove was thick with lesbians over the Labor Day weekend. Next time, we are going to stay at the Pines.



Photo by GH

2 comments:

Eshuneutics said...

"I guess a book should give something unavailable elsewhere, besides bringing together in an organized whole an entire conception."

Absolutely.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Heard you. :-)