Stege chooses to make his “odorous comparison” with SFO’s 2003 La belle Helene. Far more appropriate, however, would such a comparison have been, for those of us with long memories, to the original SFO production of La Grande-Duchesse... from 1971. That production was utterly spectacular with Donald Gramm as General Boum, Doug Perry as Baron Puck, Richard Stilwell as Prince Paul and Ann Howard as “la Grande-Duchesse.” In fact, the entire cast from 1971 makes this 2013 cast pale by “odorous comparison.”
One must also wonder how last year’s chief conductor Frederic Chaslin, originally scheduled to conduct it this season, would have fared? What really did happen to him anyway, in his hasty departure from the Santa Fe Opera? The SFO administration can’t possibly believe that we local opera-lovers/subscribers accept their makeshift explanation of his hasty-get-out-of-town/break-his-contract behavior?
Inquiring minds want to know! It was clear the Opera’s orchestra played its best under his musical leadership.
By the way, opening night was NOT sold out, and Wednesday night’s performance (July 3) had hundreds of empty, unsold seats. Allan Pearson
Cover, June 12:
Summer Guide 2013 Missed the Point I hope you will allow one more letter on the much-discussed issue of the Lady of Guadalupe. I think everyone missed the main point of the issues involved.
The letter writers condoning SFR’s action are all going back in history and even current events to justify the sacrilegious use of a religious icon and also to vent their prejudices and bigotry.
They talk about the injustices of the Spanish actions of 500 years ago like if it was the current descendants who are the guilty ones. They fail to acknowledge, however, the behavior of the British and the Dutch and other groups toward the Native Americans; which brings to mind the expression, “Where the English once were the Native Americans no longer are; where the Spanish once were the Native Americans still are.” This even includes the Native Americans’ behavior toward each other. The history of civilization is full of man’s injustices to man, and if “the sins of the fathers” are to be passed on then no one is innocent of their ancestors’ behavior.
The scandals within the Catholic church and other social issues are also being used as if these were unique to the church. Abhorrent behavior is found in every group of people throughout the world, including those of the writers and others who point the finger and blame the church for society‘s ills. There are over a billion Catholics and millions of priests throughout the world, and they certainly cannot be practicing or even condoning that behavior, and therefore should not be held accountable, let alone ridiculed or denigrated, for their beliefs and practices.
The above reasons, while they may vent frustrations about our social issues, should not be justification for offending people; a more important principle is involved, and that is RESPECT—a concept not clearly understood or even known by many in today’s society, and in my humble opinion, mostly in the younger generation. The propensity for confrontation, aggressiveness and retaliation leads to many of today’s problems. I would guess that respect is difficult to understand because many think it is simply being or putting up an appearance of being nice with a smile. Respect involves a wide range of behavior, which includes being sensitive to others’ cultures and the inherent beliefs and religious practices. I honestly think that if more people behaved like that, we would all be happier in our own lives and within the society around us. That is my dream, my hope, my prayer—what is yours? George C’ de Baca
The One True God I don’t mind if you make fun of other people’s “religions.” Just don’t make fun of the one true God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Marc Bonem
Horse. Beat. Dead.
Odorous Attached to John Stege’s opera review [July 3: “Going Dutch[ess]”] is surely NOT a production photo of the opera bouffe in question, [but] rather a photo from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, which has not been reviewed yet. Perhaps SFR could include a photo from the Grande-Duchesse production with its Figaro review this week to make matters “even-Steven.”