2,000 Miles for Thanksgiving Dinner

by Sam Black

I don’t know about you, but Kathy and I chose Lake Superior/Duluth as a place to live back in 1995, and our Oklahoma and Texas family members wondered what went wrong in our brains. Therefore, at least once each year, we point the car south on Interstate 35 and drive one thousand miles to visit family, then drive one thousand miles back to the north to find our home. Getting family to come to Duluth, even in the ‘abundant warmth’ of high summer, has been a challenge for two and a half decades. 

So we read two cozy, Scottish mysteries going down and back, and enjoyed watching the blue herons and white egrets on the lake just behind my sister’s home. As part of our holiday ritual, we assembled a gorgeous, 300 piece puzzle based on a painting called The Monarch Tree by California artist Paul Heussenstamm. Now you know what I did locally in Oklahoma City this past week.

        
New York: Metropolitan Opera Live in Duluth

I hope you were part of the modest audience for the Metropolitan Opera production of The Exterminating Angel last week. The British composer/conductor Thomas Adés produced this opera in 2011, based on a 1962 movie by Luis Buñuel with the same title. A dozen people come to the home of a wealthy couple following an opera performance, and find that they are unable to leave the reception. Several days pass before the guests finally break free from their self-imposed bondage. What do you do with a dozen (or more) people who cannot free themselves from their own sense of being stuck in time? Welcome to 2017 and the politics of the United States. 

The music was very high and very low, the drama between characters was quite tense, and two deaths occurred during the feigned imprisonment. Live opera is always captivating, and these Met matinees, ten times each year, are exceptional. I am particularly fond of newly created operas, although most of the broadcast season features well-known staples of the operatic repertoire. Thanks to the Marcus Duluth theater for bringing these HD broadcasts to Duluth.

DSSO offers its first POPS event of the season

Meanwhile, this is a week with a POPS concert by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. Singers connected with the Lyric Opera of the North (LOON) will join the DSSO Saturday afternoon (note the 3:00pm concert time!) for a December holiday special. After the concert, guests are invited to wander through the Bentleyville light show in the Bayfront Park next door. 

Duluth Playhouse and a classic Christmas tale

This very Thursday - when The Reader starts appearing - A Christmas Carol will open on the main stage at The Duluth Playhouse. You can watch Scrooge, Cratchit, and Tiny Tim express their emotional issues with local actors in all the roles. This will be on stage through December 17 if you plan to attend.

The Rose Ensemble returns to Duluth

On the 14th of December, The Rose Ensemble will revisit music from Malta in a performance at Pilgrim UCC on E. 4th Street. This very gifted group of singers from St. Paul will share mostly unaccompanied choral music from the Renaissance generations of musicians who lived on the island of Malta. If you adore choral music as much as I do, every performance of The Rose Ensemble is a required event. 

Tickets for all of these events are available online, as well as at the door before the performance. I look forward to seeing you at Duluth-Superior music-drama-artistic venues during this coming active month of December.