Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I am SOOOO Upset

This is the tale of the destruction of memory!

My daughter, Anne, lent us their compendium of Powell and Pressburger films so that we could watch Battle on the River Plate (no complaints there) and we have watched one or two others. Last night we watched The Tales of Hoffman. I love this opera and have seen it performed lots of times. But the film version (made in 1951) was the first opera I ever saw. It was in Edinburgh in the early 50s. So last night we watched it again. I was upset!! The stagings were as I remember, the puppet doll, Olympia and the Venetian scenes but the singing was awful and a lot of singing has been junked and a lot of the plot has been changed. Mind you, Robert Helpmann is wonderful - but Hoffman is dreadful - far too 'pretty'. A lot of it is dubbed.

Is it better to go over the past or leave it alone? What this upsetness shows is that I have changed. In the 1950s, I was an ignorant teenager who had never been to an opera and images from the film are with me still.  Interesting that these remembered images are accurate. But today we have been to see opera all over the world (Zurich, Munich, Strasbourg, even the New York Met as well as lots in the UK) and my standards for singing are higher. I don't like the style of staging now . Everything has been sacrificed to the staging and the ballet sequences. I don't like the style of singing now - although the Barcarolle is as I remember. Does this just say something about my ability to remember? Was I not sufficiently interested in the music and singing in those days  for it to penetrate the recesses of the brain and be laid down in the internal filing system? In the colourless world,of the early 1950s, was it the staging that impressed me?

Interestingly as I switched it all off, two District Nurses turned up to treat Michael and neither of them had heard of The Tales of Hoffman - or Powell and Pressburger either.

I had already decided not to watch 'The Red Shoes' in case I had mis-remembered it. Let me live with my imagined memories. I have been wondering about going back to look at my secondary school, Boroughmuir, in Edinburgh but maybe not now. I have changed and I hear it has changed too. 

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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.