Tag Archives: music

летучая мышь

Or, Die Fledermaus.  Or, The Bat (the flying mouse in direct translation ha).  However you like.  My students took me to see it on Friday evening.

I really enjoyed it.  It was the first time I had ever seen it, so I was surprised by how many of the choruses I knew.  Of course, it was all in Russian.  Yes.  There was also a surprising amount of dialogue for an opera.  The plot synopsis of what I saw didn’t really match up with the synopsis on wikipedia or the one on the Met’s website.  Apart from that, the soloists were quite good, one of the sopranos was just amazing.  All in all I really enjoyed it, and as always it was fun to hang out a bit with some of my students outside the classroom, when they’re less stressed.  When we came out of the theater, it was snowing! Perfect.


When shall we three meet again..

So I mentioned that this was week was particular of fun events.  After Wednesday’s activities, and going out for a nice dinner with the other Americans and some friends on Thursday for a mini-Thanksgiving celebration, on Friday I went with some friends to the ballet, to see “Macbeth.”

I didn’t really know anything about this particular ballet at all going into it, so it was a bit of a surprise.  I’ve since googled it and I will tell you that it was originally choreographed in 1980 by Vladimir Vasiliev to the score (can you say that about a ballet?) by Kirill Molchanov (who was also the composer of the music for the Soviet film “The Dawns Here are Quiet”).  I always enjoy ballet, probably because of the 15 years or so that I danced, but this one was a little off for me – not classical, but not quite modern.  The choreography was a bit repetitive, but what bothered me more was how far the story in the ballet strayed from Shakespeare’s version…especially the portrayal of Lady Macbeth.  Whereas in Shakespeare she’s a conniving but very confused lady, in the ballet she’s presented as some sort of bloodthirsty seductress.  In the ballet, she starts out as the Queen, married to Duncan, and somehow entices Macbeth into an affair and then convinces him to kill Duncan.  She danced more with a knife than anyone else.

Apart from that, the other huge change in the plot was that the weird sisters somehow convinced Macbeth to commit suicide!  None of the forest-coming-to-the-castle or man-not-of-woman-born stuff, just bam! The ending came as a bit of a shock to me.  It really makes you think about the what-ifs in Shakespeare, though, and I guess a reinterpretation is not always a bad thing.  Maybe it’s better if Macbeth is more remorseful and confused and puts himself out of his misery.

The one part of the production that I absolutely loved was the weird sisters/witches/whatever you want to call them.  Their choreography was the most interesting, the three dancers were really together and in sync, and their costumes were visually just great.  They all had really heavy skull makeup on, so it looked like they were wearing masks, but they were also wearing skull-masks on the back of their heads, which led to some really interesting moments in the choreography.

Anyways I’m really glad I got to go, because it was different than what I had expected and of course interesting.  Maybe I should try something a little more standard next time, or be more prepared.  There will be a next time though.


So, I’ve been busy (surprise surprise) but some of the stuff I’ve been doing is actually interesting and not the usual.  This week was full of fun cultural-type things for me, but I want to tell about them chronologically, so let me start with Wednesday.

One of the teachers who I work with knows that I’m really interested in music and folklore and folk music and all that, and so on Monday after my class she asked me if I wanted to go to a concert with a Georgian folk-music group on Wednesday.  She had an extra ticket and thought of me!  Of course I said yes, so I got to top off what is usually my longest day of the week with a concert.  Now, I didn’t really know why the concert was happening, but it turns out that there was kind of like a mini film festival featuring Georgian-made films with the slogan “Two Cultures, One Faith!” and the concert was somehow connected with that.

I really enjoyed the first part of the concert, which is when the Georgian group “Tbilisi” sang.  They were four older guys, singing what I guess were traditional Georgian (and some Russian) pieces.  My favorite songs are always going to be the acapella ones, and they had some really great ones (I preferred the acapella songs to the ones with guitar and of course to the ones with the cheesy orchestrations).  The singers were very endearing and sweet, and I think everyone really enjoyed their performance.

After the singing group was finished, the concert continued for another hour or so with different offerings from Voronezh-based singing and dancing groups as well as some short speeches or readings by notable people (I don’t know who they were but they seemed sort of famous).  Although I probably prefer plain singing to anything else (in this case), it was cool to get to see the wide variety of performing groups from Voronezh.  It was a really interesting concert, and I’m glad that I was able to go.


After the concert, I was tired, but some of my friends were going to go see Harry Potter sooo I went with them.  I’ve been to more movies in the past three months than I had in the previous year.  Anyways, I kind of loved the movie, but I can see how only people who have read the books and then seen the movies would like it.  It was much darker/scarier/more serious than I expected, which was a good thing.  It’s always funny to me how the names change in Russian: Harry is more like “Gary”, Hermione is “Ger-mee-oh-na”, and Luna is “Palumna”.  Interesting.  Now I feel like I have to 1. re-read all the books and 2. see all the movies before the final part comes out in July.  A nice project for my nonexistent free time.**


**It took me about two minutes to come up with the word “nonexistent”. Inexistant, unexisting, unexistent, etc…My English continues to deteriorate. Ugh.