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lunes, 13 de septiembre de 2010

Klingon Opera Debuts on Earth

To be honest, it wasn't clear what I was going to blog about this morning. I had a couple of potential stories sitting around. There was this one on some new kind of coating for windshield glass that could spell the end of ice-scraping during the winter. Cool, and potentially useful. Then, there was this story about a new postage stamp (remember, for "snail mail") issued by the Royal Mail in the UK that, when scanned with a smartphone app, triggers some cool videos about trains and history. Again, that is cool, but I'm not sure it will actually get people to, you know, start sending a bunch of letters again. Frankly, neither of those stories begin to compare with the first ever Klingon opera performed on Earth. Ah, yes - those are Klingon character masks pictured above, in case that was a little unclear.

Now, if you'll admit to being a mildly hard-core Trekkie, like myself, then this is really going to put your starship into warp. A group called the Klingon Terran Research Ensemble has put this opera together (yes, all in Klingon, and with a libretto co-written by the man who invented the Klingon language, Mark Okrand!). Let me guess. You're asking, "But WHY?" Well, from the opera group's website: "The Klingons are known as passionate opera lovers. However, very little is known about their highly evolved musical expression here on earth."Indeed.

So, to correct this, the group has written and staged an opera is called 'u,' which -- apparently -- can be translated as "universe" or "universal." Again, from the website: "Klingon opera uses the principle of musical combat. Beauty in Klingon music comes from the impact of two opposing forces. To quote a well known Klingon proverb qa’ wIje ‘meH masuv or ‘We fight to enrich the spirit.’ The Klingon orchestra is made up of various indigenous Klingon instruments, some that have never been heard on earth before. The Klingon Terran Research Ensemble has been set up further develop a coherent Klingon musical practice amongst human musicians."

To add even more geeky coolness to this, Mark Okrand even created a message to be "beamed up" to the fictitious Klingon homeworld.That message was sent more than four months ago. I mean, if we're really measuring based on what we know from the Star Trek universe, that's 36 light years away. I wouldn't expect the real Klingons to show up anytime soon. That didn't stop some Klingons from recording some responses.But luckily, we Terrans can enjoy the show. The opera completed a short run in The Netherlands. It's set to be staged again near Frankfurt, Germany on September 25th. Who wants to take a Klingon refresher course, grab a flagon of Klingon Bloodwine and a portion or two of Gagh (Klingon serpent worms...eaten while still alive), and come with me to Frankfurt?

While we're at it -- tell me, what's your favorite Worf line from Star Trek, TNG? I'll start it off: "Klingons do not allow themselves to be...probed."

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