In Lazy Languor Motionless

I’m currently spending a nice long weekend up at my niece’s in Minnesota. She and her family moved farther away from the Twin Cities a couple of years ago – they’re in Chisago City. Or Scandia. Or something, it’s unclear. Way way out. But here, I get to be Uncle Eric, not lifting a finger (the best help a guest can provide, often, is to stay out of the way) except to pull his credit card out, which he’s delighted to do. Younger niece was here visiting too, but she’s off to the airport right now. I have a couple more days to go. More about this later.

Last weekend I got to play a really fun production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Utopia, Ltd. As I said before, the show itself is pretty bad, but there’s good stuff in it and this was done in a really fun way. The opera company, named after the show, but founded over a decade ago, presents bare-bones productions on a local college’s recital stage, with the orchestra on stage, but usually crammed off to the side. Here, we got to spread full out and the cast performed in front of us. Also, in a twist that could have only come from this mind and this director/impresario, the largest role, King Paramount, was performed by the conductor. Somehow, Will Remmers made it work. It was modern-dress, no sets (some projections) and Will even gave it a Beatles framing (kind of) and played electric guitar while conducting, singing and acting.

Our buddy Rachel, a lovely actress who runs Forbear! Theater in England, a not dissimilar company, came over to play Princess Zara. She was fantastic, and Will even wrote a new aria for her, based on text of a cut number for which the original music has been lost (if it ever was written).

Yes, that’s me, immediately to the right over the conductor, playing horn.

I’ve worked with Rachel in most of the shows I’ve done at the G&S Festival in England, and she’s had a lead in every show I’ve conducted there (Constance, Mabel and Patience, to be specific). For this summer’s Ruddigore, she’s playing Mad Margaret, so I managed to grab a slice of her time that week to run through the music along with Martin, who’s playing her love interest, Sir Despard Murgatroyd.

So that was totally fun, and the performances were a hoot, and very well received. Many friends came, including my nieces’ cousin from the other side of their family. (She didn’t come to see me particularly, she just sees a lot of shows!) I was happy to revisit the show, which I had a large role in 20 years ago. And lovely to be playing horn, of course, although I wasn’t in tiptop shape.

A lot more G&S coming up for me, mostly attending, but… Blue Hill’s Pirates is coming up and I’ll be seeing that twice (two sets of principals). Up in Connecticut, Troupers Light Opera’s Yeomen is in a few weeks – I conducted them for three seasons about 10 years ago – and I’ll be staying overnight with my buddies Vance and Craig. And my own dry run concert of Ruddigore for the NY G&S Society is in mid-May – which means I need to pin some stuff down as soon as I get back from Minnesota. And there’s a G&S thing in Baltimore I’m going to (no new roles for me, unfortunately, but I’m singing the Yeomen Lieutenant and Sorcerer’s Sir Marmaduke, both fun). And then prepping for the big show in August.

Other news, let’s see… the co-op share conversion (from C to me) has hit a snag – the co-op lawyer needs a particular form that proves that C paid off the mortgage. I think we already have that form, but he doesn’t think so. I need to get on that as soon as I get home – it’s frustrating, because the back-and-forth about this is being relayed through my lawyer to him, with side trips to the bank that held the mortage. Well, I will attack this with renewed energy after this weekend. Along with other projects, like renewing my training at the gym and trying to lose some weight and maybe getting out on my bike and maybe maybe getting on the ice again soon.

Again, more once I get back. Happy Easter or whatever you celebrate this weekend!

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