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October 16, 2015
Posted at 10:49 am

Castaway - Chapters 30-31

Well, we finally get to such sex as there is in Castaway. Oh, odd bits more, but I warned you at the start, it's pretty minimal. Sorry, to me sex is strictly a participatory sport; if you're not participating, it isn't something to either watch or read about.
The business about horses on opera stages: I've seen horses used that way. Unfortunately, they lack any sense of the moment, and any decorum. Once I actually did see a horse decide that the moment to relieve itself had come. My recollection is that it was during an otherwise fine performance of Carmen, but the horse happened to be front and center at the moment. Animals simply don't belong on human stages; they should be relegated to animal shows, at which one can simply overlook their casual toilet propensities.
I have some other tales of bad stage direction of operas, but the wildest I'll save for later on in the novel where I use it as part of my story.
There are more than a few tenors-that voice seems to have a penchant for this kind of thing-whose predilection is as I describe Mario's. They so cater to the sound of their own voices that they pay little heed to the composer's intentions. One experience I particularly recall is when the legendary Maria Callas made a farewell tour in the very early 1970s (it may have been the late '60s). Her voice by that time had deteriorated to not much more than a rag but her musicianship was still spectacular. She was joined in her concerts by tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, her long-time collaborator in her younger days who later became her lover. He had an extraordinarily lovely voice in his prime, some of the quality of which still remained at the time of the concert I saw. During his solos he gave it full rein, holding notes longer than the score allowed, sliding from note to note, all the things they do to make sure you know it's the voice that's important, not the music. But when Callas and di Stefano did their duets, the music always took priority and his antics disappeared. The difference was quite remarkable. That's the sort of thing that Camilla's talking about.