Saturday, August 21, 2004

Culture Specimen

“Hey, I heard you’re going to watch a performance on Friday night. What is it again ah?”
“Oh, I’m off to watch an operetta.”

Wah liau eh, just merely saying that already makes me feel so cultured, and I don’t mean the urine/stool/sputum sample kind. :P

op·e·ret·ta n. A theatrical production that has many of the musical elements of opera but is lighter and more popular in subject and style and contains spoken dialogue. Also called light opera. (source:

Actually, I didn’t even know what the word ‘operetta’ actually meant but I felt like watching it after reading the write up about Franz Lehar’s ‘The Merry Widow’ in the newspapers. It sounded really fun and interesting (it also helped that it was incredibly cheap—RM22 for students), so it was me and two of my footie gal pals off to ‘The Palace of Culture’ to relax and unwind.

We did not regret the decision. It was highly entertaining, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The leads were foreigners supported by a Malaysian cast. It was not a world-class presentation, I must say. The Baron was an absolutely delight onstage (he got the loudest cheers at the end of the show), but unfortunately, his manservant had poor articulation (he sounded ill at ease speaking English—he had this strong Malay accent) which was a shame ‘cos he had some of the best lines in the show. The choreography was alright but obviously could be improved. However, I went there not as some hoity-toity snob but as a stressed-out medical student who wanted to be entertained. And entertained, we were. The lead who played the Janda Riang (which is the Malay title for it, btw :P), Hanna Glavari was very clear, and she sang so beautifully. And the love interest dude, Danilo had a very likeable stage presence.

The dialogue was very clever and witty, we laughed so much, but it was the beautiful lyrical prose which I fancied most. The soprano who acted as Hanna Glavari managed to convey the emotions of each song, especially when she sang of this story about a hunter who fell in love with Vilja the sprite.

“Haunting the woodlands,
Enchanting the night”

was how the hunter described her. There were many other beautiful, poetic words sang throughout the night (it is essentially a romantic comedy) which I cannot remember. But I remember how touched I felt when I heard them (and wished I had someone singing them to me exclusively. ;P)

However, our untrained ears could not catch what they were singing most of the time as they were singing in operatic style. There were subtitles, but the English one could not be seen and only the Malay subtitle was available. So we had to quickly read the Malay words, translate them in our heads and then concentrate on the singing onstage, listening to the lyrics which we (hopefully correctly) deciphered. It was a hit-and-miss thing, but even if you still don’t understand a word they are singing, you’d still enjoy it because hey, great music is great music. I don’t understand a word of French or Italian but that doesn’t stop me from listening to Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, Celine Dion (her French stuff) or Kyo (this French-singing Belgian rock band. It’s very nice!!! Download this song— Derniere Danse—it’s really good. And if you translate the lyrics... you’ll feel even more jiwang listening to it. Sigh. ;P Thanks to Ad for introducing me to them. ;) ). But then again, French is a very romantic sounding language... Japanese is so not.

Anyway, I saw the posters of various performances previously held at the venue. Among them were ‘Fame-The Musical’ and ‘Giselle and The Nutcracker’ performance by the Bolshoi Ballet. I felt a twinge of regret missing them. I think I didn’t go due to financial constraints. What a crappy excuse. :( Well, the next artsy-fartsy excursion would be a trip to the MPO next month, tentatively. Anybody interested? ;)

I also wanna watch Kampung Itu by M. Malam Shyamalan, but I don’t think I can afford the time to do so now, since it’s only a week plus before the RS Assessment. After that-lah, I guess...


Mini posting:
Schumi, Champion of the World
I just wanna announce to y’all how great my Schumi is, clinching the World Championship title after only 13 races in the season. This is his SEVENTH World Championship title, btw. And incidentally, at the same race, Kimi’s McLaren went bonkers. AGAIN. I don’t think the McLaren boss reads blogs (especially by medical students) but in case he somehow stumbles into this particular blog (fat chance of that happening! But you’ll never know...:P): “Mr Ron Dennis, many fans are displeased with McLaren’s mediocre performance. Buck up or let Kimi go to a better team. You are wasting his talent.”

Hail, Herr M. Schumacher! :D

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Grace said...

hey! u make it sound so nice I wish I'd gone... hehe but since you mentioned the MPO trip I think my choice is justified: count me in for the MPO trip! :> and this time I won't come in jeans hehe

At 2:03 PM, Blogger comic_crisis said...

Me too, Me too!!! I wanted to watch the merry widow... but i totally missed the time. Damn!!! Do you know you can go backstage? Cos it's mostly for students, they let selected students backstage. Like wat I did!!!


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