Every once in a while, I like to dump equal parts highbrow and lowbrow into a blender, hit the "whip" button and churn myself a delicious frothy cultural shake. Poured into a tall cool glass with a sprig of mint, this sort of hearty beverage can blast back that oppressive summer heat better than a psychotic penguin with an ice-cube gun.
On Saturday evening, I went to see the Santa Fe Opera's opening night performance of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes. On Sunday afternoon, I attended Billy McGuigan's rockin' hokey tribute to Buddy Holly, Rave On!, at the Albuquerque Little Theatre. I really can't say which one I enjoyed more. It was a sweet combo deal—each enhanced the other.
I loved the crazed bleak histrionics of the operatic story set to Britten's expansive, melodic music. The cast was perfect. The set was fantastic. Anthony Dean Griffey as the tragic fisherman, Peter Grimes, was appropriately bombastic and loony.
I equally loved Rave On!'s dorky vaudevillian celebration of one of the finest embodiments of the golden age of rock 'n' roll. At the end of Rave On!, Buddy (McGuigan) screams into the microphone, "Do you still believe in rock 'n' roll?!" I didn't even have to think about it. I shouted back with everyone else. I believe! I believe!
Anyway, I encourage you to mix and match your entertainment options as well. Life is too short to confine yourself to a single brow.
Peter Grimes runs through August 17. For details, go to santafeopera.org. Rave On! will play for one more weekend at the Albuquerque Little Theatre. For tickets ($25), call 242-4750.