Tuesday Variety

Today is going to be a Miscellaneous Day, since I’m totally distracted with wrapping up the WIP and getting back into the day-job schedule, etc. Here’s what else I’ve been thinking about lately:

1) More covers! Just got this one for Duchess of Sin, the second “Daughters of Erin” book, which will be out in December. I love the red and gold colors, the dress, the holly! Speaking of the “Erin” books, Amazon says Countess of Scandal is shipping today, and it’s been spotted in some bookstores (sadly, not here yet!). I am so excited I can’t stand it!! We’ll be having the launch party (with giveaways) this weekend here at the Riskies.

2) The new Emma on PBS! I have read complaints of the series and Romola Garai’s performance, but I think if parts 2 and 3 continue on the same way she will probably be my favorite Emma. I like both the Paltrow and the Beckinsale versions (aspects of them both, anyway), but Emma is such a delicate balancing act, a perfect mixture of sweetness and acerbic wit that makes the story of the book just right. Paltrow leaned more to “cuteness” (as did the secondary actors), Beckinsale to crankiness (and fugly hats), where Garai has a little more of the mix down. Sure, Emma is spoiled and arrogant and bossy, but she’s also kind, well-meaning, and fun to be around, which is what makes (almost) everyone in Highbury love her and want to be around her. So I’m liking this Emma a lot.

I also wholeheartedly approve of the houses and costumes (especially love Emma’s coral-red dress with the teal-green sash, and all her pretty shawls). I was doubtful of Jonny Lee Miller as Knightley, but am coming around (the chemistry between Emma and Knightley here is palpable, which helps!). Miss Smith is pretty, sweet, and dumb as a box of rocks, as she should be, and Elton vain and silly, as he should be (can’t wait to see Christina Coles’s Mrs. Elton! She was such a good wicked-snobby Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre). I’m not sure Michael Gambon is not a little too robust for Mr. Woodhouse, but he’s good as always, and Miss Bates is excellent in the way you can see the despair behind the cheeriness with just a look. I wish Jane Fairfax was a bit more charismatic–as it is, I’m not sure why everyone is so interested in her. And Frank Churchill (aka Margaret’s whiny brother from North and South) is a dud. But I’m enjoying this version a lot, and am so glad Emma finally got the series treatment, instead of cramming it all into 2 hours! (Now if they would just do the same for Mansfield Park)

3) Yesterday in history–Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were married in a secret ceremony at Whitehall Palace in 1533. Er–happy anniversary?

And today in history, Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte had its premier at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1790. The cast at this performance was Adriana Ferrarese as Fiordiligi, Luisa Villeneuve as her sister Dorabella, Francesco Benucci as Guglielmo, and Vincenzo Calvesi as Ferrando. It’s theme of “fiancee swapping” didn’t in the least offend the sophisticated Viennese audience, but it was considered quite scandalous in the 19th century and was rarely performed until after World War II. Now it’s on Opera America‘s list of the 10 most-performed operas.

So, to sum up: Covers, book releases, Emma, ill-fated weddings, and opera! What did you think of Emma? What’s your favorite opera? (Mine is Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, or maybe Tosca). And what’s your favorite ill-starred couple of history???

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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