Friday, March 29, 2013

20 February 1945: Germans Begin The Evacuation Of Danzig

With the Russian Army advancing from the East, Germans begin the evacuation of Danzig on February 20, 1945.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


One of the local food stores has started stocking Henry Lambertz products from Aachen, Germany. Lambertz was founded in 1688, and has been in business, without interruption, for 325 years.

All Lambertz products are made from all-natural ingredients, and contain no preservatives.

I learned something this week: Lambertz fruit-filled cookies are to die for.

And I have noticed that the Lambertz line of products disappears instantly from local store shelves.

We must not be the only ones with an interest.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Outtake From “Metropolis”

An outtake from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, a film much more discussed than actually viewed.

It is not often one has the chance to see silent films under optimum conditions.

About a month ago, the Minneapolis Institute Of Arts showed a pristine print of “Wings” on a Saturday afternoon.

Andrew and I talked about going, but we decided to do something else that day.

Rearranging Calendars

Andrew and I have been scratching things off our calendars left and right.

We have been warned off Park Square Theatre’s production of “Or”, a pseudo-Restoration Comedy by Liz Duffy Adams. We have been told that the play itself is the problem—Duffy apparently has rewritten and watered down Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Compleat Female Stage Beauty”, itself a work unworthy of emulation—and we have been cautioned that the text of the play is so gruesomely bad that the production must be avoided at all costs.

On Friday night, at the very last minute, Andrew, Alex and I decided to skip Theatre In The Round’s production of Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well”, our intended project for the evening. We were, at root, not in the mood that night to sit through three hours of Shakespeare—especially since the production, two weeks into the run, has generated zero “buzz” among local theater aficionados.

Owing to lack of interest, we decided to skip Minnesota Opera’s current production of Ambroise Thomas’s “Hamlet”. Andrew says he would beat down the doors of any theater to get into a performance of Thomas’s “Mignon”, but that the composer’s “Hamlet” is not written at the same high level of inspiration.

On Saturday night, Andrew’s parents and Alec and Lizbeth attended a performance of Minnesota Opera’s “Hamlet”—and they reported that the evening was nicht gut. Andrew, Alex and I had a much better time that evening, babysitting the kids.

Penciled into our calendars had been one March performance by the Minnesota Orchestra—but the Minnesota Orchestra remains out of session. Consequently, we shall not hear Mark Wigglesworth lead the orchestra in music of Mozart (Symphony No. 1), Stravinsky (Violin Concerto) and Shostakovich (Symphony No. 10). The soloist was to have been Leila Josefowicz.

Penciled into our calendars had been two March performances by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra—but the SPCO, too, remains out of session. Both SPCO concerts had been scheduled to be conducted by Roberto Abbado, a conductor Andrew and I rather like.

The first SPCO concert was to have featured music of Bartok (Divertimento For String Orchestra), Ravel (Piano Concerto) and Mozart (Symphony No. 38). The soloist was to have been Lisa de la Salle.

The second SPCO concert was to have featured music of Ravel (Le Tombeau de Couperin) and Mozart (Symphony No. 36) as well as contemporary Italian composer Nicola Campogrande, a name totally new to me. The Campogrande work had been a late substitution for a Couperin-inspired piece by Richard Strauss (Divertimento For Small Orchestra), a work that would have made far more thematic sense than the Campogrande.

This coming weekend, in Chicago, we shall encounter a late substitution of a different sort (and, again, a name totally new to me): Christian Macelaru, a conductor stepping in at short notice for an indisposed Pierre Boulez. Macelaru will lead the Chicago Symphony in music of Debussy (Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun), Stravinsky (The Song Of The Nightingale) and Bartok (Divertimento For String Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 2). The scheduled soloist is Yefim Bronfman.

I think this coming weekend was my one-and-only chance to hear Boulez. Given Boulez’s advanced age, I doubt I shall ever have another opportunity to hear him. I am very disappointed. The appearance of Boulez was our prime motivation for planning a music weekend in Chicago.

Also on our Chicago agenda: performances of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and Puccini’s “La Boheme” at Lyric Opera Of Chicago.

We shall take my sister to all three performances.

We shall see my sister again at the end of the month. She will be on Spring Break the final week of March, and she will fly to the Twin Cities to spend that time with Andrew and me.

In order to offer her what entertainment we can, Andrew and I plan to “bank” all local plays we want to see until my sister arrives: Shakespeare’s “The Taming Of The Shrew” at The Guthrie; Ron Hutchinson’s “Moonlight And Magnolias” at Bloomington Civic Theatre; Alan Ayckbourn’s “Life And Beth” at Theatre In The Round; and Ira Levin’s “Deathtrap” at Jungle Theater.

I suspect my sister will prefer to see a few plays rather than have Andrew and me attempt to amuse her by reenacting scenes from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”.