|Subject:||Parents visiting for the weekend...|
My parents arrived Friday afternoon. After having a light lunch and running a few errands, Christa showed up and we went up to the city. We had dinner at Paul K, a very good mediterranean place in Hayes Valley. Doctor Atomic was good, but flawed in a lot of ways. Some of the staging was messy or distracting, and they could've cut back on the stuff with Kitty Oppenheimer and Pasqualita. And the ending was very anti-climactic. Still, it was very interesting and ambitious, and the performances were good. Edited to add: What's really frustrating about the anticlimax at the end is that Adams had already proven that he could do strong, climactic drama, at the end of the first act (with some fabulous orchestral stuff accompanying the mounting of the bomb for the test) and close to the end of the second act (with the "vision of Vishnu", which is a setting of some lines from the Baghavad Gita; Oppenheimer learned Sanskrit -- on top of the seven modern languages he knew -- in order to read the sacred Hindu texts).
On Saturday we went to the Ferry Market in the morning to hang out with a woman I met at the Donna Frye fundraiser last month, who had seemed like the sort of person my parents would like. (She's a retired lawyer and political figure, with a similar sort of family to ours. And she's social like my mother is.) After my dad had driven off to visit a friend up north, my mom and I were walking over to the BART to go find someplace to sit and relax for a few hours before going to the opera house again, and ran into collapseylamb and digitalgoth taking photos at the Loma Prieta Memorial Fountain.
We BARTed down to Powell, where I stopped at Sephora and picked up some blue-iridescent makeup stuff that I had seen somebody wearing in the line for Alton Brown's signature at the Stanford Shopping Center over a year ago, which I thought Xta would like. (She seems to approve of it.) Then we walked up to Borders and sat in the cafe and read for a couple of hours. We attempted to call for a reservation at Absinthe, but it was already booked; we walked by the opera house, but they weren't opening to diners til 1.5 hours before the show (meaning we'd only have half an hour to eat before the talk); we walked over to Jardiniere, and they were completely booked with reservations. We finally managed to get a light dinner at Citizen Cake.
I think I actually liked Rodelinda a little better, overall, than I liked Doctor Atomic. The translation of the Macbeth/Hamelet-esque royal-intrigue plot (which was loosely based on historical events in Lombardy in the 2nd century AD) into a film noir-ish setting, with the villain being something like a mafia don or chief of secret police (it's ambiguous), worked quite well. And they made a good move in recognizing what plot elements strain credulity, and then playing them for laughs -- if you'll look silly even if you try to present something seriously, you might as well show that you're in on the joke. Definitely one of the better Handel operas, though I think Semele is still my favorite.
Today I'm just trying to catch up on the news, email, etc. We're planning to go to my cousin's BBQ this evening...