My parents visited. We went to Afghani House and got way too much food. For dinner tonight, there are leftovers; shalgham (lamb with turnips and onions and ginger), and dall (which is basically the same as Indian dal, but with split yellow peas, instead of brown lentils). We also went to Amici's for dinner last night, which was nice. I like their pizza, but if one actually goes in, one can get the broccoli-and-olive-oil-and-lemon appetizer. The pasta is quite tasty too.
On Sunday afternoon we went to see Billy Budd, which I liked a lot. Good story, interesting characters, and very good music (including excellent performances by the vocalists). My only two points of complaint are:
1) A couple of the sets felt way too spacious, both for realistic portrayal of a ship, and for what was being said. There's a scene where somebody remarks on "this narrow cabin" or something like that, and you kinda look at the cavernous empty stage around him and think, "uh, yeah, whatever". This could've been fairly easily fixed with an alteration of the lighting scheme -- just illuminate a small block of stage with a shaped spot.
2) I don't know if it's inherent in Britten's score, or due to the choices that Don Runnicles made in conducting, but there were maybe two or three spots where the orchestra just ended up sounding muddy. I'm OK with intentional discord, and the kind of sometimes-confusing sonic layering that's used in, say, Messaien's Saint François. With this, it was just that my brain stopped being able to distinguish anything in the sound for a few bars; it just became white noise, which sort of threw me out of the emotional moment. Then some sense of contrast would re-emerge, and it was fine again.
I mostly did like the music -- there's a lot of tone painting in there, giving the sounds of the ocean, and the creaking of the ship, and so on. And at the same time, there's a fair bit of Verdi-esque emotional depth, particularly for the villain, Claggart, and the pivotal tragic figure, Captain Vere; Budd doesn't get so much of that, but that's mostly because he isn't supposed to have a lot of depth -- he's an archetypal "innocent soul".
Random: Has anyone seen any new poll data for Arizona? (The latest I can find is Oct 11.) I'm waiting to see something showing the full impact of the third debate before making up my mind what to do over the weekend of Halloween.