Saturday was a rafting trip in the Poconos. This was another self-guided rafting operation; the guides are not in the boat with you, but hang out in their kayaks and give you instructions about how to deal with Class II/III rapids and all the rocks that are lying in wait for you to beach yourself on. Although one of the guides actually fell out of his kayak at one point -- just a few minutes after telling a young girl who was rather nervous about the whitewater experience that the safest place in the river was on his kayak!!!
Sunday, I watched "Don Giovanni" at Lincoln Center (a high-def movie broadcast outdoors). When I got there, I was too late to get one of the good seats (there were just a few in the very front rows, well on the side), but found a good perch. I was glad I brought a blanket to sit on! Over the course of the opera, however, many people bailed out of the seats -- and the fleet of foot ran in to snag 'em. So the contest goes to those who endure.
But I digress. "Don Giovanni" was entirely new to me ... or was it? Not quite: With a great thrill, I recognized the plot and characters parodied in PDQ Bach's "The Stoned Guest"! Who can forget the immortal Don Octave ("an itinerant nobleman, bargain counter tenor"), Donna Ribalda ("a high-born lady of the lowlands, mezzanine-soprano"), and Il Commendatoreador ("the stoned guest, basso blotto")? And, of course, the inimitable tacked-on happy ending, described in this way by the radio host:
P.D.Q. Bach originally intended his opera to end at this point, but the manager of the Wein-am-Rhein Volkstheater, Rudolfo Bingo, persuaded the composer that the gay fun-loving audiences of that town would never accept such an unhappy ending. And so, without any explanation whatsoever, the entire cast suddenly comes to life, and sings the gay fun-loving finale, thereby providing a happy ending for this otherwise miserable opera.We're talking sheer brilliance here, folks. Loved it! But I think I might have to watch "Don Giovanni" again in more favorable conditions, in order to give Mozart his due. PDQ is a tough act to follow.