NYMysteries – April 13
I saw Francesco Rosi’s 1975 film at the Film Forum. It’s four hours long. A friend warned me to eat ahead of time. The film is based on Carlo Levi’s 1945 memoir about his one year exile, Christ Stopped at Eboli. The setting is Basilicata, a region in the Italian boot tucked between Puglia, Campagna and Calabria. The title suggests that nothing – hope, prosperity, fairness – goes beyond Eboli, the last train station in Basilicata. The film director was the esteemed Ruggero Mastroianni, brother of Marcello. The film reminded me of Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950) and of Franco Brusati’s Bread and Chocolate (1975). The three films shine an unwavering light on Italian foibles.If only the U. S. A. and Israel had the Italian ability to examine their characteristics with a critical eye.
I sat in a row in the middle of the theater. Staring at me from the back of seat, second one from the aisle, was a plaque dedicated to Elia Kazan.
Ever have this happen with a friend? You’re convinced you gave her the tickets and she’s convinced you didn’t? That’s what happened to our tickets for Joyce DiDonato’s Master Classes on Friday and Sunday. Who came to the rescue? Carnegie Hall! I called their help number and got help. I was instructed to show up at the box office with my printed-out tickets. I did. The clerk looked at my ticket. Unlike me, he could read. He pointed out very politely that I had two tickets, front to back for both Friday and Sunday. I met my friend in line. She was feeling guilty about having lost her tickets. And I was tempted. Yes, tempted to let her stew. What the hell, I told her I’d been a dope and case solved. We stood in line, jammed ourselves into a tiny elevator to the 10th floor. Raced gracefully into the enormous room decked with two funereal bunches of flowers and grabbed two perfect seats in the second row center. The magic began. Joyce DiDonato entered with four accomplished singers. She manhandled them one by one. Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano, Maya Amir, mezzo-soprano, Keymon W. Murrah, countertenor and Aaron Crouch, tenor. They trusted her. We trusted her. It was two hours of rich, professional advice coupled with affection and respect. Talk about living in the moment. I love everything about opera except opera.
Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder.
Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.
Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School? Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?