Sunday, 17 July 2011

Placido Domingo and Rigoletto

I just finished watching the BBC production of Rigoletto, starring Placido Domingo in the title role. It's a sexy and moving production set in the actual historic locations the Duke of Mantua lived and indulged in. The larger point about this production is one John Doyle has repeatedly made in the Globe since the CBC decided Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are the sorts of programs the public broadcaster should be investing in, not the arts like this British public broadcaster's unique opera commission.
The people with the power to dictate what we see on Canadian public broadcasting should be leaders, not followers. The kind of producers who are willing to use taxpayer's money to present the kind of quality programming represented by this Rigoletto are clearly not afraid of what the majority who prefer soccer or game shows think about seeing real art on TV, and that clearly isn't the kind of leadership behind CBC's programming decisions. I'm not one of the Canadians Harper refers to when he talks about Canadians, and there are thousands of us who are denied quality shows like this Rigoletto because they are timid followers, not leaders. Fortunately, we still get PBS from the U.S., where this BBC production was offered.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Malcolm Forsyth

A quote in the Edmonton Journal obit today of Malcolm Forsyth from Malcolm's friend Rayfield Rideout that included the sentence, "He would listen." underscores what I will remember about the several conversations I had with Malcolm. I always felt he was genuinely present whenever I had the pleasure to meet him or to interview him. He was almost always in teaching mode, which meant it paid to be a good listener too.
His intellectual curiosity is also something I admired. One time I phoned him for an interview and during the start of our chat he told me he had just been reading Descartes' theory of the pineal gland being the seat of the human soul. What a cool way to spend your free time, I thought, knowing how much of mine I waste. I'm happy I knew Malcolm just a little, and know there are many others who knew him far longer and far better than I who will miss him for a multitude of reasons. I have a few reasons too.