Vancouver Mountain Majesty

Since I’m in Vancouver for the week, I’ve been thinking about my favorite Vancouverite cartoonist, Angela Melick of Wasted Talent!

Copyright Angela Melick

Copyright Angela Melick

This is kind of like New York last week, nasty winter suddenly giving way to mild spring…  Though we don’t have the same sort of majestic natural setting…  One stereotype I’ve formed about Vancouver thanks to Angela is the importance of extreme outdoor sports…  so will bust out my hiking boots!  Or walking boots at least…

Maybe she’s the only Vancouverite cartoonist I know, actually…  But you can see her depiction of her town by looking through her Vancouver tag!

Putting the Canadian in Canadian Opera Company

So I’m in Vancouver, Canada for a week, and considering the last opera I saw was the Canadian Opera Company‘s performance of Semele at BAM last week it seems fitting to discuss their forthcoming season, which, fittingly, features the world premiere of a Canadian Opera!

In October, COC will give the world premiere of Barbara Monk Feldman‘s short 2010 opera, Pyramus and Thisbe.  It’s based on a tale from antiquity so the COC is presenting it alongside two short, similarly classically themed, pieces by the grandfather of opera, Claudio Monteverdi: a scena for three voices and an aria, which is the only fragment to survive from his second opera, L’Arianna, performed below by Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci:

Here’s hoping I can make a return trip to Canada for this interesting early opera/premiere opera combo!

Alice’s Adventures in Opera

Another big anniversary this year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!  What better way for us to celebrate than with Unsuk Chin‘s opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?  Below, the Mad Tea Party scene performed by the Seoul Philharmonic:

The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated this sesquicentennial with a staged performance in collaboration with the Los Angeles Opera.  This was the work’s belated LA premiere, since the LA Opera was one of the original commissioners of the piece, which ultimately premiered at the Munich Opera Festival in 2007.

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho for Los Angeles Philharmonic

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho for Los Angeles Philharmonic

The reviews I’ve read have been excellent, which is pleasantly surprising as I’ve heard mixed things about the opera with its bristly, modern musical language and elliptical, playfully obtuse libretto by David Henry Hwang.

The production, by English director Netia Jones, matched that darker tone by animating illustrations from British satirist Ralph Steadman‘s 1972 edition of the book.  Jones has used this technique with the LA Phil before, animating Maurice Sendak’s own Where the Wild Things Are illustrations for a performance of Oliver Knussen‘s operatic adaptation of that work.

At any rate, an interesting recent development is that the Royal Opera House in London has commissioned a sequel opera by the same team of Chin and Hwang, based on Through the Looking Glass!  This is scheduled for the 2018/2019 season, so I wonder if that will add fire to the second wind that Wonderland seems to be having…

The Late Children Speak

Just a quick post about tomorrow’s New York Comic and Picture-Story Symposium event with Marguerite Van Cook talking about her new multi-generation autobiography The Late Child and Other Animals adapted into comic form by James Romberger.  Beyond the author’s own childhood, the book starts with her mother’s experience living through the Nazi bombing of the UK port city of Portsmouth, and subsequently having two children on her own when her soldier husband dies en route back home.

The Late Child and Other Animals by Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger

The Late Child and Other Animals by Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger

It sounds like an interesting life story and story-story, and the team of Van Cook and Romberger have created some real lovely, trippy art before in 7 Miles a Second, another autobiographical comic created with artist David Wojnarowicz before his AIDS-related death in 1992.  I’ve been planning a separate post about that book for a while, so tomorrow’s event comes at a good time to learn more about Van Cook and Romberger’s collaborative process, and about this exciting new book too!

7MilesASecond-Wojnarowicz

Costumes & Horror on Halloween

Girls with Slingshots Halloween costume comic

Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

Halloween is usually a fun opportunity for webcartoonists to dress their recurring characters up, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of that yet among the comics I normally read!  Where’s the holiday spirit, guys?

That being said, Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto is a reliable source of Halloween themed story lines and this year it’s built around a librarian-organized, kids’-book-character-themed costume party!  Lots of great costumes so far, but I thought the comics-themed couple costume at left was especially appropriate for us…

Aside from Halloween story lines, here are two seasonally appropriate comics.

Little Ghost is a cute monster mash story by Kate Leth, and its the first ongoing fictional storyline she’s serialized on her own website, though she also has several new monthly print comic projects out, including the new, ultra-Halloweeny Edward Scissorhands comic from IDW!

Little Ghost by Kate Leth

Little Ghost by Kate Leth

Also, Abby Howard, who I learned about through the Strip Search webcomic reality show and her hilarious comics at Junior Scientist Power Hour, is a big fan of horror as evidenced by her other webcomic, The Last Halloween!  I believe it was launched about a year ago after a successful Kickstarter…  At any rate, I started reading it, but it was  way too scary for me!  So that means it should be appropriate for anyone over, like, age 10 😛

The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

Even Abby’s latest autobio JS Power Hour comic is Halloween themed, about the big farm home she moved into as a kid and the mysteriously threatening happenings that followed…

Alright, hope you all enjoy these alternately cute and horrifying comics on this spoOoOoky Halloween!  Anyone dressing up as a comic character?

Muslims in America, Italians in Russia

In catching up on some NY Times arts coverage this weekend I found two Bizarro-Twins-appropriate articles I thought I’d merge into one…

Chronologically first, Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has a new album of baroque operatic arias called St. Petersburg.  Not a city we associate with baroque opera, but as Bartoli’s latest musicological excavation effort points out, as was the case all over Europe, the Russian court was home to several Italian composers patronized by emperors and empresses, alongside other artists from across Europe.  The pieces they composed basically followed Italianate opera conventions, though they were occasionally performed in Russian, but all 11 tracks on the CD are world premiere recordings so it’s certainly a rare set of materials.

 

Bartoli herself went to the Mariinsky Theater archives to peruse these scores, which were sort of hidden especially during Soviet times to suppress the history of Russia looking to Western Europe, a binary that’s relevant to this day.  I’d certainly like to know a bit more about those archival adventures!  (NYT article)

The other story I wanted to share was a conversation between three Muslim-American artists on how being Muslim, and depicting Muslim characters, influences their work.  The trio included Ayad Akhtar, creator of the Pulitzer-winning play Disgraced, currently on Broadway, Sundance award winning filmmaker Musa Syeed, and of special interest to us, writer G. Willow Wilson, creator of Marvel’s best-selling Ms. Marvel comic, of which the first trade paperback came out earlier this month!  It’s an interesting conversation in its own right, and Wilson talks to how the themes of assimilation and representation pop up in Kamala Khan’s own hero’s journey. (NYT article)

Ms. Marvel by Adrian Alphona, Copyright Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel by Adrian Alphona, Copyright Marvel Comics

Apparently the new Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani-American teenager from Jersey City whose own comic debuted in February of this year, is now Marvel’s top-selling female character, and that’s with competition from titles like Black Widow, Storm, She-Hulk, Elektra, and even her inspiration, Captain Marvel!  Not bad kid, not bad…

Panter & Kalman in New York

Two comics-ish events today and tomorrow featuring two interdisciplinary art, comics, & illustration luminaries.

At tonight’s New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium the underground-influenced painter, illustrator, and cartoonist Gary Panter will…  Actually, I’m not really sure what he’ll be doing, so here’s the official NYCPSS description of tonight’s 7pm event at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street:

Gary Panter attempts to invoke the unfolding lotus of the 1960s by thumbing through an old magazine missing pages – LOOK, Jan 9, 1968.

LOOK magazine, January 9, 1968

LOOK magazine, January 9, 1968, subject of Gary Panter’s talk(?) tonight

If you want something a little more structured, idiosyncratic illustrated book creator Maira Kalman will be at the New York Public Library for Books at Noon in light of her latest releases, Ah-Hah to Zig-Zag and My Favorite Things, both of which were inspired by items in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum‘s collections.

My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman

My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman

And in conclusion:  Hello again faithful readers!  Sorry for abandoning the blog!  Not sure if anyone noticed, but since I haven’t been thinking of comics & opera any less since my last update (all the way in June!) I figured I’d try to revive this hobby blog!

Since we last spoke, I’ve launched my own little webcomic at SebaSM Comics!  It updates twice a week with mostly autobio-ish gag comics, so I’ll be sure to plug those here too 😀

Ok, see you around!