Wednesday, August 26, 2015


During the first intermission of tonight's Götterdämmerung, I caught a glimpse of a familiar figure and turned to confirm my glimpse.

During the second intermission, I looked around for him and found him, and now I have Harrison Birtwistle's autograph. I am going to frame it with one of the curtain call photos from last year's Yan Tan Tethera.


Michael Strickland said...

Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, one of the Wagner great-granddaughters, or Angela Merkel at Bayreuth, as an object of OMG, OMG, OMG? No, it's Harrison Birtwistle. I am truly impressed by your devotion to the composer even though I know his music would not be my cup of tea.

Henry Holland said...

Lucky you! Did you say anything to him? I would have thanked him for Earth Dances, The Mask of Orpheus and The Second Mrs. Kong myself. :-)

Lisa Hirsch said...

Told him I'd traveled to hear the Birtwistle at 80 concerts and that I loved and admired his music very much, and hoped some US opera company would finally stage his operas.

Henry Holland said...

Punch and Judy would be perfect for one of SFO's smaller spaces that they use. Gawain would work at the opera house. I've given up hope that I'll ever get to attend a staged performance of The Mask of Orpheus or The Second Mrs. Kong anywhere, even though that's the stuff that ENO should be doing instead of dreary revivals of The Mikado (much as I like the piece itself) or English-language versions of La Traviata.

kalimac said...

Cool. Even though I'm not a Birtwistle fan, I'm more impressed than I would be by any of the people Michael Strickland named.

CruzSF said...

Congrats! Nice to know other adults get excited over autographs from adored ones.

Henry Holland said...

I swore off meeting my musical idols after two incidents:

I'm a huge fan of the rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I hung out after a 1992 show at the Wiltern here in Los Angeles, was excited to get Greg Lake's autograph. He comes out, hangs out with the fans for a bit. I asked him to sign a poster I had, I put it up against a wall. He snapped at me "Hold the fucking thing right so I can sign it". I died a little inside.

A few years later, I went to a meet-and-greet with the composer Nicholas Maw in London. I waited around for him to sign my CD booklet to his incredible piece Odyssey. I thanked him for his music and said I hoped his opera The Rising of the Moon would be produced again. He looked at me while signing the booklet and said something like "Why is it you Americans like to get things signed?" in a real condescending tone of voice. He then turned around and walked away. I couldn't believe it.

Never again.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Henry, that is too bad!

Re "smaller spaces that SFO uses," they don't really have one where they can stage an opera until the 300 seat theater opens in the Veterans Building early next year.

But given the asinine remarks Gockley and Luisotti have been making about modernist music, hell will freeze over, etc.