February Adrenaline

Still can’t tell you officially what’s on tap for this summer, but I can drop hints. And will, shamelessly, over these next few weeks. Let the guessing begin!

Summer in February

This week’s unseasonably warm snap jerked me out of my midwinter complacency. You know how for most of you, warm and sultry weather just feels like vacation? Well, my seasonal rhythm has been programmed to the opposite settings. A chill in the air lends a feeling of calm and peace, with the knowledge that in the best of all possible worlds (hint… pay attention…) there’s plenty of time to do whatever needs to be done. Conversely, the warmth of the sun means showtime.

When it’s 70 degrees – even in February – I get a visceral punch in the gut with a little bit of panic around the edges. The mercury rises, and the adrenaline goes with it. Got to get ready!!!

So it is, that here in February, I am writing supertitles! A personal best, for I’ve never started this early. (Applause welcomed.)

And what better way to get the linguistic juices flowing than ongoing multi-lingual games of Scrabble! (More hints to be had here.) No, Rahree and I are not eating bonbons and playing board games all day. A couple of moves a day means that the pace is glacial, but it’s a fabulous diversion. Sometimes it’s a reward for surviving a particularly challenging meeting or phone call :)

I make up words when I get stuck, but I usually vet them via instant messenger with my native speakers across the Atlantic. If I can come up with a convincing meaning and etymology for my neologism, I usually get dispensation to use it.

Friday Surfing

Via The Good Musician: A young child says to his mother, “Mom, when I grow up I’d like to be a musician.” She replies, “Well honey, you know you can’t do both.”

Segue to one of my favorite moment from last weekend’s Super Bowl, this commercial with Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam. I find the approach to the topic just perfect. Relaxed, good-humored, and somehow respectful of and affection toward both worlds.

I’m obssessed with this blogger’s take on the upcoming San Francisco Opera season. Not because of what it says about SFO in particular, but the way in which his observations are uncomfortably dead-on in a larger context. I don’t agree with everything PJWV says, but I sure prefer his rantings and ruminations to what I usually hear.

A few excerpts for those who don’t have time to wade through the whole thing:

Re Season Opening Gala: They should switch to an hour of popular arias and then straight to the party. Or skip the arias altogether and just have the society women march across the stage in their usually garish and poorly chosen gowns. Warhorse, clothes horse – it’s not a night about music.

Re Idomeneo: This is probably my least favorite of the major Mozart operas, partly for semi-silly reasons, and yes, I’m talking about the lack of on-stage sea monster action. Sorry, I just have a sea monster thing, and if you’re going to tease me with frequent mentions of a terrible sea beast, then you’d damn well better put the thing on stage.

Re Opera Titles in Marketing: Then we have “L’Elisir d’Amore,” a title the Opera insists on translating, because while apparently “Die Tote Stadt” poses no problems as a title for an American audience, that same audience is incapable of figuring out that L’Elisir d’Amore means The Elixir of Love.

Re Warhorses vs New Rep: Here’s a conversation I’ve had way too many times: Me (to Opera-Lover): Are you going to [name of the season’s token “modern” opera]? OL: Oh, no. I hate modern opera! I don’t want to hear that! Me (too courteous to point out he/she hasn’t heard the music yet): Oh. Are you looking forward to [fill in name of warhorse]?OL: Oh, no. How many times do I need to see that?




The “clues” are good and well-hidden, Kim, but if you’ll allow me, I think I can crack you code!

“Best of all possible worlds” you say? Worlds… galaxies… solar system… planets… Earth? I got it! Philip Glass’s “The Voyage”!!!

Scrabble board #1… “Giorno” and “notte” huh? Night and day… Cole Porter song… OMG are we doing “Kiss Me Kate”???

Scrabble board #2… “Naxos”… let’s see… who came from there? Oh yeah, Bacchus! Vivat Bacchus! The Pedrillo/Osmin duet? I LOVE “Entfuerung!”

Great season…and let it be known that I solved the riddle… wait a minute…riddle? Are we doing “Turandot” as well? Wow! :)


Well, you get a prize, but it’s for creative linear thinking, which is no small feat in itself.

As for “the best of all possible worlds,” don’t ignore the obvious. Perhaps it truly is “possible worlds”… Voltaire… Alzire, ou les Américains (yes, look it up if you don’t believe me)… Verdi’s fabulous South American opera… Alzira.

And I’m surprised you didn’t consider the obvious notte/giorno combination, one with which I’m sure you’re personally familiar! Notte e giorno… faticar… Leporello… Don Giovanni! (Actually, Glimmerglass is doing “Kiss Me Kate” this summer, so we decided to table it for now.)

And yes indeed, Bacchus visited Naxos, but don’t forget who his mom is… our friend Semele…

And speaking of Turandot, what were you doing solving the riddle at 2:12 AM PST? Nessun dorma, indeed.


Kim, a certain conductor spilled some of the beans on his website, but I won’t tell… and is there any GARDENING involved?

Dark Violet

Kim, you’ve just made my day when I took a close-up look @ the pictures of the boards – i’ve never seen scrabble boards in other languages! Brilliant!

But Josh has also made my day as well with his creative guessing.

Looking forward to the formal announcement.


I bought 3 sets (Italian, French, German) decades ago at a (now defunct) foreign language bookstore in DC. It’s much better than trying to make do with an English set, because the frequencies and values of the tiles really correspond to the language. And there are umlauts! The crazy thing is that you’re allowed 8 tiles in Italian (offering endless possibilities), but only 7 tiles in German (meaning that you wait forever for the right consonant cluster:).

dr. pangloss

VOX (the reason to have XM radio) played Renee Fleming’s ‘Glitter and Be Gay’ this morning… indeed, the best of all possible worlds.

is there reason to hope??

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