By Ken Martin

OPERA IS HERE: ...in the form of Trinity Lyric Opera Company, a jewel in the crown that is our Center for the Performing Arts. Patty and I attended their first offering, Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land”.

According to Executive Director Alan Thayer, all four performances were well attended. It was a good production with simple but clever sets and costumes. The singers, with the exception of the mezzo-soprano whose voice wouldn’t reach over the sounds of the over-sized (35 pieces – much too big for the venue) orchestra, were very good but really didn’t have much to work with musically. Most notable were the soprano and the bass. Copland’s music is very uneven and unmelodic and had none of the flowing arias that are usually expected of operatic productions. I didn’t find myself humming any of the music the next day. Even so, I am looking forward to future productions.

Maybe it is my imagination, but I kept finding similarities between the story line here and the movie, “Picnic” (William Holden & Kim Novak). Coincidentally, “The Tender Land” is 1952 vintage and “Picnic” came out in 1955.

Still in all, it was a good evening’s entertainment and the audience was enthusiastic. Alan Thayer tells me that they will be doing some of the more familiar classic operas next season. Stayed tuned!

RIGHT ON, KATHLEEN!: It’s about time somebody spoke out on the subject of jamming construction into every little nook and cranny of unused property in CV. Kathleen Childs hit the proverbial nail exactly on the head in her letter to the Forum (July 25). I hope it will encourage other citizens to raise their voices.

When are we going to wake up? All this building is overtaxing our schools, our energy availability, our water supply, our roads and our general quality of life. Who gains from all this? The county gets their taxes and fees, the developers get their profits and what do we, the residents, get – diminished quality of life! Certainly progress requires that a reasonable amount of construction will take place, but a lot of what is going on seems to be overkill and is destructive to our neighborhoods.

Example: Forest Avenue used to be one of the nicest streets on the valley. It was lined with large attractive pieces of property (some still exist). Now, with the jamming of apartment buildings in between single family dwellings, it has lost much of its former beauty. The street is parked up solid with the cars of the apartment residents and the apartment houses themselves don’t add much to the aesthetics of the street, especially the new three-story monolith at the end of Omega Avenue. And this is happening on more of our local streets.

MAC, the Planning Commission, and our Supervisors need to take a close look at what they are supporting here. Are they spoiling Castro Valley by approving all this? Progress needs to be tempered by common sense and concern for its effect on our community. When will we finally say, “Enough is enough!” Hopefully it will be before we reach total melt down of our neighbourhoods.