Puppy love is so adorable -- especially when you're talking about a real puppy. However, when one's attention is coveted by a grown man with the maturity of a puppy, problems can ensue. It's like having a six foot tall golden retriever who just wants to wrap his arms around you, lick your neck, and curl up beside you. How cute is that?
Some men have the "puppy" look down pat. They can look wounded and hurt, or just blink at you, with their tongues hanging out of the side of their mouths. They're always eager for a kiss, a swat, a poke, or a fuck. It's not that the men who want to be treated like puppies are so needy -- some of them are top executives -- they just really, really, really get off on all that attention!
Puppy-like emotions played a strong role in two recent arts events that could not have been more radically different. One was a documentary shown at Frameline 33 (the 2009 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival); the other an updated version of a classic opera. The common thread between them was one that took me completely by surprise: the role of the chorus in each production.
- "Ah! Let’s drink to love – to wine that warms our kisses."
- "The dawn is breaking in the sky and we must take our leave;
Thank you, dear lady for such a splendid party.
The town is still a-reveling; pleasure rolls on its way.
In slumber we’ll store up again the zest for further joys."
- "Bravo! Alfredo has all the luck!"
- "What you have done is shameful -- to strike down a tender heart!"
- "You have insulted a woman! Get out of here!
We’ve no use for you! We’ve no use for such as you! Go!"
Mr. Lomelí has something opera lovers crave: a voice that is naturally strong, well centered, and not just loud. His voice has a clarion brilliance that is very rare and, if handled carefully, will provide him with a major international career. Watching him perform with Futral reminded me of my early operagoing days, when I used to see Placido Domingo and Patricia Brooks perform in the New York City Opera production of La Traviata that had been directed by Frank Corsaro. Why? Both men had remarkable instruments, great vocal confidence, and the brute strength necessary to sweep their leading ladies up in their arms with as much tenderness as if they were lifting an infant.
Stephen Powell lent strong support as the elder Germont, with Leann Sandel-Pantaleo as Flora, Dale Travis as Baron Douphol, Austin Kness as the Marquis D'Obigny and Renee Tatum as Violetta's maid, Annina. The performance was conducted with great sensitivity by the company's outgoing music director, Donald Runnicles.
While the evening was an artistic triumph for Marta Domingo's production (and certainly for Ms. Futral as well), the excitement of hearing a young, full and healthy tenor voice like Mr. Lomelí's marked this as a debut that people will be proud to remember having witnessed. As it says in the libretto: "Attention must be paid."