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The Curse of the Poodle Strikes! or, Step Right Up and Prove Yourself a Fool

I can think of no forum better positioned to betray one's own ignorance than one's own blog. (Well, all right: The New York Times editorial page is even better, but only the Professionally Ignorant have access to that.)

You may recall that I declared myself perplexed by the presence of a large poodle prior to the arrival of Mephistopheles in the new Los Angeles Opera production of Berlioz' Damnation of Faust. I am traveling tonight and for my airplane reading I brought along my recently acquired copy of Randall Jarrell's translation of Goethe's Faust. And what to my wondering eyes should appear in Scenes II and III of Goethe's original, but the infernal poodle -- which proves indeed to be the chosen form by which Mephistopheles infiltrate's the study of the good Doktor Faust.

So there you have it, friends: Don't go spouting off about operas without familiarizing yourself with their literary antecedents. At least I have been reminded of what I have in common with Socrates. Like that formidable Greek, All I Know Is That I Know Nothing.


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