Homework 7 / Exam 2

Your next exam will be on TUESDAY, 8 April 2014, in class (NOT Thursday 3 April 2014, as was tentatively planned). Questions will be drawn from all the material that we’ve covered from Ch. 3; I’ll send out a detailed list of topics after next class, after which we’ll have covered everything that’ll be on it. 

Your next homework assignment is due Thursday, 3 April 2014. It’s posted in the Assignments tab.

Your next rent check is due Tuesday, 1 April 2014 (note: this only applies to those of you who rent your own living quarters and also has absolutely nothing to do with AMS 210).

Here’s the HW7 assignment:

Section 3.3: 25, 26a, 28, 33ac, 35

Section 3.4: 6bc, 7a (only go up to the 3rd power of D — you may use a computer program (or calculator) to do the calculation, but be sure to show the setup for each part), 14ab

For the system in number 13, do part (a) in the book. Then set up the system in the form x’ = Dx’ + b using the change-of-variables method (as we did in class and as done in Example 5 of the text). Solve this system by iteration as described in Theorem 2, going up to the third iterate of x’ (don’t forget to start at the zeroth iterate). 

Due Thursday, 3 April 2014, in class. Don’t forget to staple, remove ragged edges, etc. Thanks for not bringing up papers in the middle of class today (or doing it really surreptitiously so that I didn’t notice), I appreciate it.

If you weren’t in class today, you missed some quality prattling (is that an oxymoron?). I’m not going to mention the artists I talked about, though. Sorry bud. Take your tears to another rodeo, sad clown!

Speaking of sad clowns, “Vesti la giubba” is one of the dopest arias in the game. It’s from Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. The melodic line that comes in at around 1:49 in this recording will make you shudder (don’t just fast forward to it though, ya bum). Leoncavallo was pretty successful (Pagliacci is a standard in the opera repertory), but he wasn’t a real big dog like his contemporary Giacomo Puccini. Legend has it Leoncavallo once told Puccini he was working on a new opera based on Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie bohème, and offered him a complete libretto (Leoncavallo was one of the few composers who were also librettists) to which Puccini could compose the music. The exchange went a bit like this (translated from the Italian by me, with inspiration from Claudia Cardinale in 8 1/2):

LEONCAVALLO: Hey, Giacomo, I’ve been working on this libretto, I think it’s pretty good. Do you want to write some music to it? I think we could have a hit on our hands! People are really digging the whole Bohemian thing.

PUCCINI: Nah b, I’ve been working on my own ish! Gonna shock the world.

L: Well do you have a libretto yet?

P: Hell nah. I’mma get my man Illica to write it. Maybe let Giacosa get in on the action. That dude is ill with the pen.

L: Hmm. Do you want to take a look at mine? I think it’s pretty good, I really tried to capture the vivacity of the human spirit that shines through in the bleakest of circumstances. These people have so little but they feel so much! It’s really —

P: Walk a mile in these Louboutins! No money, no family! Sixteen in the middle of Miami!

At that point Leoncavallo was really confused so he just went ahead and wrote the music for his version of La Bohème. Of course, Puccini came out with his own Bohème, which became one of the most popular operas of all time, while Leoncavallo’s version is now hardly ever performed. Just another opera-world anecdote that validates Omar Little‘s maxim “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

Puccini’s La bohème is performed so often for a reason — it’s ridiculously good. I was a quite a fan of Rent in my younger days, and I still like it, but now that I know La bohéme so well, a lot of the music in Rent is just silly. Not to mention the fact that Roger and Mark are so stupid for not just taking Benny’s offer of free rent and use of his dope future studio. Are you kidding me?? “You wanna produce films and write songs / You need somewhere to do it” — exactly, Benny! Yet these dudes couldn’t just swallow their pride. I still love Rent, though. What can I say? I’m a sucker for rounds

Anyway, La bohème is great. Listen to some tunes. The 1972 production with Luciano Pavarotti as Rodolfo is my favorite opera production ever. I got that ish on wax, son! I also have the 1946 NBC Symphony Orchestra recording, conducted by the legendaryArturo Toscanini; it’s notable for being the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor. (Toscanini was just 28 when he conducted La bohème’s 1896 premiere at La Scala in Milan.) My copy is not in great shape, though, so I don’t play it too often. Bummer. Toscanini was basically a household name in the  States in the 40s and 50s thanks to his gig conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. (Incidentally, Brad Pitt’s character (who is not a professional musician, just a regular 1950s dad) in Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life talks about how much of a perfectionist Toscanini was. You should watch that movie. You might not like it, but you’ll probably have a strong reaction to it, and even if you hate it you’ll be unable to deny its moments of rapturous beauty.) They used to broadcast performances from Studio 8H at 30 Rock, which Weekend Update fans will recognize as where Saturday Night Live is now taped.

I find it wonderful that a major network used to air weekly concert broadcasts. I wish they’d bring it back; it would be much preferable to the nonsense that’s on NBC, et al., during daytime on weekends nowadays. What the heck am I supposed to watch while I do my Saturday-afternoon ironing during the college football offseason? Of course, the nonsense is much cheaper to produce, and probably garners similar ratings to what a classical concert would, so I’m not holding my breath for a sea change. Actually, I am holding my breath right now, just for kicks. But I’m not putting off exhaling until live-recorded classical comes back to the airwaves. Okay, I just exhaled.

Uhhh, Pavarotti though —  1:15 on in this video… my goodness. There’s a reason he is one of the few opera stars anyone’s ever heard of. For a more recent take, you can watch this film of the entirety of La bohème, starring Anna Netrebko as Mimì (she sings Musetta’s Waltz (“Quando m’en vo”) in an above link). The past few seasons the Met Opera has been absolutely plastering Netrebko’s face all over their promotional material because she’s such a babe, so you may recognize her if you spend a lot of time in the city.

In honor of Pagliacci and poor Leoncavallo, a relevant Deep Thought from Jack Handey:

“You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who makes people happy, but inside he’s real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.”

Sorry for the crudeness, I was going to put a different one, but how could I end this email with another Jack Handey quotation when that one exists?