The Corner

Very Tough Outings in the Concert Hall or Opera House

At The New Criterion, I have a funny post — funny strange and funny ha-ha (I hope). It has to do with a performance of Winterreise, the Schubert song-cycle, and one of the bleakest, most painful works in all of music. I had to sit through it moments after learning that my football team (college) had lost a big game in a freakish, last-second way.

(As it happens, my pro team lost a game in a freakish, last-second way on Thursday night. This has been a cursed period for me.)

After reading my post, my friend Carol Staswick, who is also my editor at Encounter Books, wrote to me about her experience of Election Day 2012. You may remember that one, I don’t know. She was attending a performance of Lohengrin in San Francisco, where she lives. Her political views, I should point out, are not the same as her city’s.

I had turned off the news completely that day. During the first intermission, people were checking their smartphones and sounding a little too optimistic for comfort. At the second intermission, they were sounding even more cheerful, so I left. I no longer cared what happened in the opera. In the lobby, a small crowd was gathered in front of a TV, and they were celebrating. I knew it was pretty bad.

To be informed of Obama’s reelection by jubilant San Franciscans — that is indeed a bitter pill. Almost as bad as what happened to the Wolverines, and Lions.


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