DETROIT — I went and saw the opening night of Macbeth at the Detroit Opera House on Saturday. There’s always an excitement in the air on opening night. I remember one opening night seeing “Rocky” with my buddies at Showcase Cinemas in Sterling Heights when I was in high school. The entire theater gave it a standing ovation after the final scene. Yo, Adrian!
Any classic’s audience on the opening night of its run has an ambiance of a certain energy, a certain electricity, that only happens one time.
At any rate, Susanna Branchini as Lady Macbeth sang angelicly. She sang her arias like a sweet little bluebird from Heaven.
Stephen Powell as Macbeth was great. So was Burak Bilgili as Banquo. I love that name. Banquo. LOL!
But, Branchini’s Lady Macbeth stole the show. Giuseppe Verdi came in a close second. Third place in show-stealing was the orchestra itself, with special mention to Molly Hughes, the violinist with the maple violin. Molly the violinist with the maple violin is pretty cool. I’ve spoken with her a few times during various intermissions and before Act Ones.
I think the orchestra likes to have a bit of actual interaction with the audience. I jokingly asked the musicians near Molly if they could play “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, rather than just warm-up nothingness. (It would’ve been way cool if they’d broken into it during Intermission. So, let’s get it out there, lol.) It was then that Molly looked up and we recognized each other and smiled.
I told Molly it’d be cool if it was a double feature: first Macbeth, and then Tamburlaine the Great by Marlowe. She went along with it happily. Musicians are pretty cool. They are one of the least uptight people in my experience, by and large, lol. Marlowe and Shakespeare were both born in 1564 A. D, having a rivalry that foreshadowed Stallone and the Governator. A double feature would be splendid! I guess I need to compose a score! Marlowe once said, “Comparisons are odious.” He must’ve been tired of being compared unfavorably to Willie all the time. No one needs that kind of odium in their life. We are all beautiful in our own way!
Lastly, I showed her the artwork on the back of my tee shirt. “The Magnificent Man With The Hole In His Head VIII” by me and B.W.C. was the image I used to promote a documentary about me and my art by sheila franklin. “the king of pluto” won an Award of Excellence for sheila in 2004 at the Berkeley Film & Video Festival. sheila was delighted when she got the award in the mail. R. I. P., sheila. I need to get that award framed and give it to her kids. She and I were together for a long time. She died in 2014. I also need to get it on YouTube.
Anyway, the front of the tee has an axiom I wrote about art. “Art is eternal action.” I also told Molly how to track down this review, lol.
So, feeling buoyant from speaking to a cool acquaintance, off I sauntered from the orchestra pit back to Row R, whereupon I was accosted by an irate, white-haired gentleman in a white tie and tux – angry that I’d discounted the ambiance by wearing a tee shirt. I escaped back to my seat after a brief review of The Communist Manifesto to prove I wasn’t red. I told him I don’t like dictatorships, be it of the proletariat, the elite, or of some petty, provincially-minded county prosecutor who’s never read Alexis de Tocqueville and fires people based on their bumper stickers.
Luckily, my conversation with Molly was able to balance things out; and, thusly, I was able to enjoy the last two acts relatively unperturbed. They were just as strong, or stronger, as the first two acts. The cast and Verdi’s music by the flawless orchestra were absolutely electrifying. Those maple violins really are something. And Shakespeare’s story shines like Jupiter from its moons Callisto or Io! Or Europa!
And, hey, don’t worry, next time I’m wearing a tie. And it won’t be red.
Before I took the longish drive up to Marysville to take my Vietnam Vet buddy Ernest to see Macbeth, I ordered a large round pizza from Paparoni’s Pizza in Warren at 14 & Hayes. Having worked at Domino’s, I can vouch that a family-owned authentic pizzeria is on a higher level than the corporate drone shops that pepper the American landscape. I ordered my favorite combo that I came up with when I drove for Domino’s in Ann Arbor. Ham, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green olives. Extra sauce, too. You can get extra cheese, too, if you wanna be totally decadent, lol. They should dub it The Mikey Pie. LOL. It was the best pizza I’ve had in a long time. The best za in Macomb County, yo! We saved so much time by having za, we were able to see the Heidelberg Project before the opera. I love that place so much. It put me in a good mood for Willie and Giuseppe. Pizza and art go together pretty good. Well, pizza goes good with most everything. Well, not scrambled eggs, lol.