Who IS the real Macoco?

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I unabashedly wear my heart on my sleeve with pride when it comes to opera.  I love it.

There is something about all the entanglements, drama, tragedies, betrayals, music, sets, the languages and how it all comes together that I enjoy.  I must admit there are some performances that I enjoy more than others – but that is to be expected.  I have been looking forward to this first Opera in the Village since last summer when I first heard about it when I was out for a walk with a neighbour.  We happened upon a live operatic performance on the RiverWalk where it was mentioned this new opera festival was planned this summer.  I have been interested since then.

Thursday, a friend from out of town was here on business.  After her meetings, we met up and had drinks on the patio in the sun at Diner Deluxe.  We then went for a walk along the river to attend the evening performance of Arias in the Afternoon in East Village.  While there we heard a well-put together hour-long, narrated collection of works from three separate operas.  It was interesting to see the performance, as many of them I had seen them on Stephen Avenue Mall during a lunch hour earlier this month promoting the Cowtown Opera Company.

Last night (Friday) I was excited to see the movie The Pirate, 1948 starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly which was projected onto the side of the Simmon’s Building after the scheduled Gilbert and Sullivan performance of the Pirates of Penzance had ended. I had never seen the movie before, so was looking forward to it –especially since the music was written by the great American composer of musicals – Cole Porter (who wrote Kiss Me, Kate which was written the same year this movie was produced).

The night before, my friend and I talked to one of the volunteers and they suggested that we should bring a collapsible chair and I am glad that I did.

Like a good opera – this movie had its twists and turns in the plot.

Briefly the plot centred around a trio of people – the village girl, Manuela (played by Judy Garland); the town Mayor, Don Pedro (played by Walter Slezak) whom she is betrothed to marry; and a travelling circus actor, Serafin (played by Gene Kelly).  Manuela had a deep crush on the villainous and infamous pirate “Mack the Black” Macoco.  Both Don Pedro and Serafin at various times throughout the movie, make claims that each of them was the real Macoco.  To find out who is the real Macoco, like a good opera, one must wait to the end to find out.

Tonight the movie will be The Princess Bride, 1987 which has been described as a “classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather)” – based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name.  It stars Peter Falk as the narrator/grandfather; Robin Wright as Buttercup; Cary Elwes as Westley; and Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck.  Like the movie last night there are parallels between the twists and turns of opera; and the central role of literature and the written word.  It should be a beautiful night to sit under the stars and watch a movie.

The performance starts at around 10:45pm, and I would suggest bringing a folding chair if possible, although there is some seating available.

My thanks to Calgary Opera for including this type of programming in the festival.  For a full list of programmes that are available during the remainder of the weekend visit http://www.calgaryopera.com/arghh

Hurrah for the Pirate King!

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The pirate ship Black Pearl was proudly flying its skull and crossbones flags in the dry dock today.

Upon seeing this, I frantically looked around for dubious characters and swashbuckling buccaneers sporting eye patches and swords – looking to pillage and plunder.  Instead all I saw was a not very threatening security guard sitting in a half-ton truck right beside it and an older gentleman in shorts and tee-shirt ambling along through the parking lot, seemingly not in a rush to get anywhere.

Then I saw the big white tent.  And then I saw the signs.  I knew something must up.

Sure enough, Calgary Opera will be presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s well-loved comic opera The Pirates of Penzance under the big, 900 seat white tent.  The performances will all take place along the RiverWalk in East Village, close to Fort Calgary – beside the Simmons Building.

Performances are every night this week between, and including, Thursday through Sunday at 8:00pm nightly and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm.  Select tickets are available online for all performances and range between $35-100 per seat for adults.  Act quickly as some performances only have a few seats that are still available.

There are other activities in East Village in addition to the opera.  It is all part of the first Opera in the Village festival that promises to be a much bigger summer opera festival in the years to come.

For more information see http://www.calgaryopera.com/arghh

Now to get rid of the earworm that I have had all day – I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.  Hearing it always makes me smile.