Monday, April 17, 2017


I kept hearing scurrying noises in the eaves of the house. At first I thought I was on the brink of insanity - but I crossed that brink years ago (I have no clue what that means - - use your own discernment).

Weird, unexplained noises aren't uncommon around here. After all, I have mice in the walls, 'possums under the house, and there are strange hoof-sounds on the roof late at night, which I'm positive have nothing to do with Santa Claus.

So on Easter morning I step out the back door and suddenly see a lizard emerge from the eaves and climb down the wooden post where the utility box is.

I photographically documented the event for posterity.
Then I emitted a Big Sigh of relief.
Lizards are definitely the lesser of many other evil possibilities.
I'd rather have lizards than rats...


Change of subject
One of the pleasures that I always indulge in during the Easter season is listening to a performance of the opera Parsifal by Richard Wagner (Wagner preferred to call his creation "a festival play for the consecration of the stage" - but that's beside the point).

Nothing stirs my senses and nourishes my soul more than this masterpiece of suffering, compassion, and salvation.
Speaking of suffering, the opera is nearly five hours long. It isn't merely a performance - it's an event.

Before we go any farther (further?) let me explain that Parsifal is an Arthurian knight, who is on a quest for the Holy Grail. The story traditionally takes place in the thirteenth century.


Since I'm not in the mood to excavate my old VHS tape of Parsifal, I decide to watch it on YouTube.

I select a performance recorded in Salzburg in 2013. Imagine my complete shock, when I discover that the traditional 13th century theme has been abandoned in favor of a "modern, updated" version. 

Instead of knights and maidens, the cast is arrayed in some sort of bizarre outer space costumes. They look like rejects from an Apollo moon mission casting call.

  the 2013 Salzburg production of Parsifal

Looks like the Space Cadets have seized some fat guy in drag

This updated production is beyond my realms of tolerance. I quickly turn it off in disgust  and search for another version.

My next discovery is a 2012 version of Parsifal recorded at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus - which is the holy grail of Wagnerian opera. The Festspielhaus is a theater built by Wagner solely for his own operas. The premiere of Parsifal took place there in 1882.

What could possibly go wrong?

I was nearly blown to the moon when I discovered that this production was also a new "modernized" version - - which apparently takes place in Nazi Germany! The singers were clad in SS uniforms and the stage was adorned with swastikas!

After I regained consciousness and found my tongue  I screamed What the freaking hell does an 1882 opera by Wagner have to do with Nazi Germany?!!??

 Here it is, folks: the 2012 Bayreuth production of Parsifal

I am a staunch traditionalist. I don't want operatic masterpieces to be "updated" so they "appeal" to modern audiences. I don't want true art to be usurped with carnival tactics and pseudo-intellectual psycho-babble garbage.

I am thoroughly disgusted with these pompous, "innovative" producers, directors, and set designers - who get a degree from Walmart University and think they can trample the course of tradition with their own demented versions of progress in the arts.

These gang-rapes of Parsifal must have Wagner revolving in his grave.

Have I said enough? 

Dammit, Jon, you're cute when you are angry. 


  1. You're downright adorable when pissed (angry, not drunk)

    I wonder if the Nazi version was due to the long run on Broadway of The Producers.

    Churches do the same with music. I want to hear glorious hymns and instead get "praise songs" which are not much more than ditties for children. I walked out of one church when I saw guitars and a drum set up front. Really? You don't get enough tawdry music in bars?

  2. It seems like every aspect of our lives is being updated, "improved", or bastardized in one way or another. It really irks me when traditional things such as operas....or church hymns...fall victim to these atrocities. Guitars and drums in a church would inspire me to exit quickly.

    I appreciate your comment. I doubt if I'll get many. Whenever the subject of opera comes up, most people are reluctant to say anything.

  3. I remember the first time I heard guitar in a church. 1971, in a trappist monastery in South Carolina.
    I'm sure Wagner is just pleased that people are still torturing themselves with his swooping and swooning and endless phrases of music.
    But if it makes you quiver....carry on.

    1. Wagner has never been one of my favorite composers - - but every now and then I get into a Wagnerian mood, and for a blissful but brief duration I become obsessed....

  4. That was weird. I blinked and my previous comment vanished into thin air.

    I think I said something to the effect of that I totally agree with you. All this nonsense about " artistic creativity " destroys the hell out of traditional opera and film. Some things should simply be left alone. I'm surprised that Austria of all places allows such rubbish on the stage.

    Interesting post none the less with a few good laughs tossed in thanks to your humorous descriptions. Cute little lizard though.

    1. I have lost several of my recent Blogger comments, and I'm not exactly sure how they disappeared. I keep telling myself I must have pressed the wrong "button".

      The Bayreuth productions of Wagner's operas have consistently strived to maintain his original artistic intent. I'm really shocked that in recent years they have abandoned tradition and tainted his creations with all of this "modernization" crap.

  5. The lizard looks quite comfortble in his surroundings. What are the odds of catching him in the act. He's a cutie. I think I'd keep him as a playmate for the kitties.

    1. There were lots of lizards in Texas and California - but I was really surprised to find them here in TN. I've always liked lizards. They're harmless...and they help keep the bug population down.

  6. My own daughter has spent many years in theatrical costume design and if a production calls for armor, armor is what it gets --even if she has to travel to find a tailor who is also a blacksmith. In a pinch, she'll learn metalworking herself! No excuse for presenting Wagner with swastikas and brown shirts.

    1. It's extremely reassuring and inspiring to know that people like your daughter still exist. The world needs more of them!

  7. I regard 'our' lizards fondly ... adorable, even. (Not so much Parsifal.)
    Seriously, I fear Macie and Grace are going to suffer heart attacks while trying to catch one. 'Love my girls, but have to root for the lizard every time.

    1. I should probably name my lizard Parsifal.
      I always go through heroic maneuvers to rescue lizards from my cats.
      I also do that for mice. I too kindhearted....?

  8. Cute lizard Jon! I don't like it either when classics are "updated" or modernized. Keep the original, that's what works. Some years ago I saw an "updated" version of a Shakespeare play that, wait for it, was set in Nazi Germany. What's with that?

    1. I've seen some bizarre productions of Shakespeare plays, too. I think it's a travesty when younger generations see these "updates" of classics for the first time, and have no idea what the original version is supposed to be like.

      Perhaps I'm just an old fuddy-duddy (naw, it's not possible...)but I prefer tradition in the arts.


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