Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sunday Night with "Don Giovanni"

A small memoir of a pleasant evening last Sunday (28th. May):

Even in quiet little old Brisbane, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart is a big deal -- with many concerts in celebration being put on. The latest one that I attended -- last Sunday -- was a concert performance of the famous opera "Don Giovanni".

Anne and I went with another couple, Jill and Lewis. Jill is actually an ex-girlfriend of mine but in my usual way I have kept in touch with her. We have a very similar love of music -- which is a very significant bond. Both Anne and Lewis put up with that past with good grace as they understand the nature of the bond.

Before the concert I made a simple dinner of sandwiches for us all -- thick-cut Gypsy ham with American mustard, lettuce and tomato -- on fresh grain bread. Being a sandwich-lover, I know how to make a good sandwich -- though that is about the limit of my culinary talents. We had planned to have the sandwiches in the park adjoining the concert venue but the weather looked a bit overcast so we had them on my verandah

As a concert performance, the sets for the opera were minimal but the costumes were reasonable and the singing was good. As always, I particularly liked the bass singer (Don Pedro), who was very competent.

It did however have the casting problem that plagues all opera: Singers wildly out of character but chosen for their voices -- as it has to be, of course. On this occasion, Don Giovanni was a quite insignificant guy and not at all convincing as a great lover -- but he had an excellent baritone. And in an amusing reversal, instead of large and aging ladies being cast as young girls, we had a young girl cast as an older woman!

The concert was in one of Brisbane's old powerhouses, converted some years ago into a performing arts centre now that Brisbane gets its electricity from vast generators situated alongside equally vast central Queensland coalfields. The conversion into an arts centre deliberately retained a fair bit of the original powerhouse interior. The idea of that was undoubtedly "arty" but it works well enough and I of course am very much in favour of retaining reminders of how we all got to where we are today.

The most surprising thing about the night was the audience. Far from being geriatric, there were people there of all ages, with a good representation of young people. I like to think that we have the universal appeal of Mozart to thank for that.



(Post lifted from Norm Geras)

NATFHE has today voted to blacklist Israeli academics:

The largest university and college lecturers' union in Britain on Monday voted in favor of a motion recommending that its members boycott Israeli academics and institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories. The motion passed with 106 in favor and 71 against. There were 21 abstentions. The 69,000-member National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) debated the proposal for the boycott at its annual conference in the northern English city of Blackpool. Two parts of the motion passed with a show of hands while a third went to a vote. Under the boycott, union members also will not submit articles to Israeli research papers.

The report in Haaretz goes on to quote Paul Mackney, NAFTHE general secretary, as saying:

Criticizing the Israeli government does not make me anti-Semitic...

Fancy footwork there, Paul, but not good enough. A blacklist of individuals isn't 'criticism' of their government; and the issue isn't whether you, personally, are an anti-Semite, but whether a policy of targeting the academics of one and only one country - Israel - is anti-Semitic. There's also the small matter of an academic union requiring of people a political declaration as a precondition of their being extended the usual courtesies and advantages of scholarly cooperation. What a disgrace to the profession the NATFHE decision is.


Brookes News Update

Are dark clouds forming over the US economy?: How has the US economy roared ahead while undergoing a monetary slowdown? I think the answer lies in President Bush's cut to capital gains taxes. Nevertheless, though a recession can be delayed it cannot be avoided
Savings, jobs and Professor Quiggin's bad economics: The absurd and long-ago discredited economic fallacy that taxation can expand the demand for labour by putting the unemployed on the public payroll is reemerging
Liberal Party trips up on labour market reform: Who the hell is advising the Liberal Party on labour markets? It seems that not a single Liberal Party official has a clue about how these markets function
Google censors critic of Islamofascism: The well-known columnist Arlene Peck has been censored by Google for "hate speech". And what did this speech consist of? Criticizing ACLU and the US-based Muslim organization CAIR that is allegedly the `legal arm' of HAMAS, an Islamofascist terrorist organisation
Lefty journalist bashes Republicans as "reactionary" over illegal immigration: Stephen Ellis, US correspondent for Murdoch's `Australian' seems to think that the debate about illegal immigration that is now raging in the US is a handy weapon to bash Republicans with by referring to the so-called "reactionary wing of the party" that opposes open borders
Leftwing journalist slimes US conservatives on civil rights: According to Elliott the Democrats has always been the `traditional supporters of minorities `. This is pretty rich as well as being lousy history when one considers that the Republican Party was the Party of abolition and the Dems were the slave Party
Journalists smear President Bush over NSA spying program: It's reached the point where no reasonably informed person can take the media seriously any more, at least as a source for news. Anyone who values honest reporting can only be appalled at the bigotry and out right dishonesty of leftwing journalists
The latest dangers in cyberworld: The problem is, a supposedly innocuous Internet website where people can post their pictures, chat, and post their musings about the universe. The trouble is, mySpace attracts individuals who want to sexually exploit teenagers



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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