Friday, July 24, 2009


Pardon me, boy, but ... if the show is called "Peasant Opera," and was written and directed by someone named Bela, and is set in a "humble Hungarian village," what lyrics would you be expecting in the John Denver parody? You in the back there? Nation's Newspaper of Record?

Her confession cues the entrance of that cowboy (Tamas Deak), sheathed in black leather suggestive of Johnny Cash, an ensemble perhaps not ideally suited to his entrance aria, a sunny John Denver song. ''Take me home, country roads,'' he growls. ''To the place I belong, Pennsylvania, mountain mama....'' (Pennsylvania?) We also hear snippets from ''A Whiter Shade of Pale,'' as the relationship of this mysterious figure to the family sheds a newly lurid light on the prospect of Roland's marriage.

Our critic seems to have been perplexed. Too bad no one on the desk offered to make espresso:

A theater review on Thursday about “Peasant Opera,” part of the Lincoln Center Festival, misstated a word in the aria delivered by the Stranger as he arrives in the Hungarian village that is the setting of the work. After singing “Take me home, country roads,” in a takeoff of the John Denver song, the Stranger continues, “To the place I belong, Transylvania, mountain mama,” not “Pennsylvania, mountain mama.”

Ja, that does seem to make a bit more sense, doesn't it?

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Anonymous Ben Hemmens said...

That reminds me of one of the most tragic interpreting mistakes I've heard. Dany Cohn-Bendit (the erstwhile student leader of Paris 1968) was giving a speech against the invasion of Iraq in the European Parliament. I can't remember whether he was speaking in French or German (he has sat for both countries), but he said the following, with great emphasis, in English: "make law, not war". And although this phase did not need any translation for English speakers, the Enlish simultaneous interpreter came over "make love, not war". I guess the indelible association of the speaker with the Swinging Sixties just couldn't be beat.

6:43 AM, July 31, 2009  

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