Sunday, October 23, 2011

Opera Season Begins

The Vancouver Opera season opened last night with The Westside Story. You're probably thinking, "Really? West side Story as an opera?" I did have those exact same thoughts. I couldn't really figure out how they were going to pull it off.

Well, the way they did it, was to not really have it in the standard or cliché way (fat lady singing?) I have to admit, that I was grateful for this. It would have been upsetting to hear the songs some other way but the way we are familiar with it. Maria and Tony's parts were the only ones that were done in that operatic way, but even on the movie version, it was already that way.

I have to say, though, that seeing it on stage was 10x better. To see it live was to feel its rhythm and its pulse -- it  was as close to actually being on the streets with the Sharks and the Jets.My favourite part was the dance hall scene. I loved the transition of Maria longing to go the dance, and pouf, she was at the dance.

Towards, the end of the show, I understood why this piece was chosen to be an opera -- it had a tragic ending.

I look forward to the rest of the season. Coming up right after The West Side Story would be Romeo and Juliet. It should be interesting, as of course, the former, was a "modern" version of this. After this would be, The Barber of Seville and it then closes with a big finish with Aida. It's a great line up for the season (controversial choices) -- they are trying to attract the "younger" set to come to the opera, after all.

[I love their cover design for this production: The "W" of the old Woodward's Building stood for the "W" in Westside. How nice, to personalize it to our city.]

après opera

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Giovane at Pacific Rim Fairmont

I have discovered a new drink that I will definitely make at home. 
Earl Grey tea with some Amaretto served in a brandy snifter. It was perfect night time finish.
Well, I'm back at this hotel (Faimont Pacific Rim) once again, this time, late at night to have dessert and drink at Giovane's -- their wine bar. There are so many wine bars popping up all over the place lately and this place looks inviting.

It is actually a café in the morning, and a wine bar at night -- basically, it's a casual place to hang out for a quick snack or drink. The pricing for nosh is reasonable - they have charcuterie, cheese selection, salads, pizzas, and pretty desserts.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

.38 Special

Last night, I was channeling Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde) and was playing a badass. (Well, as badass as I could be anyways.) For a birthday present, I took a friend to a target shooting range in Poco and did some target shooting.

Wow, that was a cool experience! It was my first time and it definitely was a different Friday night. Driving into their parking lot, you already hear the muffled but very distinct pop pop pop. They buzzed us in to get in the place. We picked our guns - I wanted an old fashioned, from the old movies type, a .38 special, while my friend chose something with more oomph - a 45 ACP.

It was quite intimidating to be holding a loaded weapon, but someone stays with you to show you the what, when and how. So, we put on our goggles and ear muffs and off we went. He showed me how to hold it when loading, how to put the bullets in, how to position my hands so that I don't hurt myself.

So, there I was, getting a bit sweaty, my goggles fogging up and all, and pop, I fire. I missed the target -- too low. I try again, and again, and again (50 rounds) and by the time I finished, I was actually a lot better. Yay me!

I don't think this will be my "to do" thing regularly, but I think it's a good thing to know how to handle a weapon. It is a bit pricey, but they do have specials pricing on certain nights (like ladies night, last night, which is free drop in fee for ladies).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Up the stairs to your left
The lobby  lounge when you walk in
I'm not really big on buffets -- I'd rather order exactly what I want instead of eating random food that just happens to be there. Oru is an exception, it is after all a seafood buffet at the newest hip establishment (Pacific Rim Fairmont).

Perfect view of the convention centre across the street

The light fixture with folded paper -
Oru is from the Japanese word meaning “to fold”
Everything they have, I want. Seriously -- everything!!! We're not talking just cheap frozen mussels and shrimps and salmon which are the common buffet fare. I'm talking about freshly shucked oysters (yes, here I go with oysters again), crab (already cut so it's easy to eat) with melted butter, seafood tom yum soup, bouillabaisse, very fresh mussels done in three different ways, paella, sable fish (cooked to absolute buttery texture perfection!!!). These are just my faves, there are so much more like butter chicken, halibut, sushi, wicked salad selection like shaved fennel and asian pear, and the list goes on.

The wine list is also well thought out. The waiter is excellent in suggesting an Argentinian 2008 Malbec that completes the meal. This he opens and pours in a very sexy and dangerously fragile looking Riedel decanter (apparently, we're not allowed to touch it ourselves).

Excellent service, perfect meal.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Orpheum: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra -- Ravel's Bolero

Going to a symphony is a beautiful way to spend an evening. Bramwell Tovey, the conductor, with his Brit accent, is a charming man (despite his slight itchy throat in last night's performance).

I love his little explanations. He delicately explains the frenetic sensuality of Mephisto's Waltz and tells us the background behind the Romanian Waltz. But my favourite and the "main event" is Ravel's Bolero. Ravel's Bolero is a catchy and hypnotic piece. He predicted that after hearing it, we would all go home and have the music playing over and over in our heads (yes, it is, actually). (Note that the link I put in is not the VSO)

The Orpheum: I may have mentioned before my regrets about my last trip to Italy. One is that I wish I have bought more leather goods (buttery soft jackets and purses) and the other is that I have not gone to the opera house. Well, I actually have gone to an opera in Rome, it is beautiful, but it is in a church and not in an opera house.  The reason I'm bringing it up again is because in going to the Orpheum Theatre, I remembered how much I love the architecture. It is opulent and ornate and feels like being in a different time. I can only imagine (or look in the internet) of how the opera houses in Italy would be (especially La Scalla in Milan).