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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gift Shop Hell

or--My Andy Rooney Moment

So here I am having a quiet evening at home, working my way through the Colin Davis 2001 recording of Berlioz' Les Troyens--the one recorded with Deborah Voigt, Ben Heppner and the London Symphony Orchestra. Research for what may be an upcoming Berlioz column. When what do I find on line? The following gift ideas, which reminded me of why some people wince at the mention of Classical Music.

Beethoven Rubber Duck
Rub-a-dub-DUB! Rub-a-dub-DUB. Bring the composer of the Ode to Joy into your most intimate space--the bathtub!--with this quality inflatable, squeezable effigy of the great composer.

Wagner Action Figure
Good for killing wabbits. Comes with its own beret and baton. Self-designed Festspielhaus playset is still in development, following the release of the Mad Ludwig Neuschwanstein build-your-own-castle kit and a matching Cosima doll.

Bach "Little Thinker" Plush Toy
Because it's not enough to be the composer of the Well-Tempered Clavier--now you can give this to your short-tempered toddler. Comes with a wind-up key that makes the doll play the Minuet in G Major. Wonder if it's in the Musician's Union?

"Carmen" Finger Puppets
Because you've always wanted to tell Don Jose where to stick it. For some reason, it includes a bull. A bull?! Wouldn't a doll of Zuñiga or Micaela make it easier to tell the story of this opera? Maybe a deck of cards? A free set of castanets? Some broken dishes?

Composer Coasters
Brahms, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, available for you to set your drinks on. Probably less absorbent than the score of the St. Matthew Passion or the Requiem. Not available in Berlioz.

OK. Back to the Trojans at Carthage. I think things are going to work out for Dido and Aeneas....
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.