Music shopping, opera speakeasy, candy ploy

Largely house-bound day, about 5:30 p.m. I rustled the family up, insisting on a field trip to the record/CD store while they still exist. Music Millenium ("A place where the music and the people still matter"). I was on the hunt for a next opera CD.

I'd taken the kids there before, but it was several years ago and they had no memory of it. They found the candy section right away and started bargaining. "Can we get candy instead of music?" "NO! Go look around."

We went separate directions. Where is the opera section? Over in classical, duh. Down the stairs, then some other stairs. Gotta open a door then down OTHER stairs to get into the classical room, then opera is in a closet of THAT room. Like finding a brightly lit opium den.

Got there, browsed a bit, took some tips from the "Opera 101" book I'm reading. Side track: the author is bugging me. He loves using the phrase "the fact that", once using it in consecutive sentences (*wince*).

I've already got Maria Callas in Norma, the first opera CD I bought (bet Fanny Chicken can suss out why) and have listened to Callas' studio recording of Carmen loads of times, leading to seeing it a few weeks ago. Thanks, T! Madama Butterfly probably the next opera I'll attend, probably in a few weeks. Found a recording of ... Maria Callas performing THAT, nabbed it. Double CD (w00t!) with a bonus CD-ROM of material (wh@t?).

Back in the day (as kids like to say, I'm trying to reach their demographic - how's that coming across? Cool? Kinda molester-y?) I really like the interactive CD-ROMs put out by Peter Gabriel (still think about those), Sting 'All this Time' (Andrew & I joke about that one), and Prince's 'Interactive' (wish there were a smell-o-vision feature). Haven't tried the opera CD-ROM, but it's probably documents, not interactive games like "coax the diva to the stage after she received an underwhelming bouquet from her new paramour".

Also got a Callas opera buffet CD - more than 100 songs over 6 CDs! - that I'll use as a reference when the various operas get a mention in the Opera 101 book. Small doses. Looking at the track lists made me woozy what with all the languages that weren't American.

The Madama Butterfly did not have a price tag on it. Asked a clerk in the middle of the store for a price check. Clerk got nervous. "That's from the opera section."

"Can you look it up here?"

"Yes. But, it's from the other section."

[Non-verbal ??? on my face]

"There may be a special deal or something. They would know."

"I assumed the whole store would be connected to the same system." What is up with this opera ghetto treatment?

Clerk scanned it, $23.99. Thanked him, still baffled. But there are old-school rectangular red or white or orange price stickers on the CDs at Music Millenium, and the clerk wanted to make sure I was getting any sale they might be having that would not be reflected in the computer system. So, sorry for my faces, brother. It was $23.99 in the opera/classical register, too, this time.

Daughter got the new Muppet Movie music CD. Son picked nothing. Spouse got a few CDs including a greatest hits of Pink Martini. A new Decemberists CD sits in our home, so far unopened this last month. Tough for parents to find time to listen to new music, but why am I reluctant to seek out music by local artists? I have this threshold for only listening to artists after they hit the mainstream. Never hire me to be an A/R guy, I'd never go anywhere to seek out prospects.

Also picked up the new Patton Oswalt CD. No idea he had one. Why didn't he tell me?