Friday, January 30, 2009

Is Blogging Supposed to be Private, And Plenty of Opera

Writing of the first thing my post's title concerns, I am wondering, based on periods of discourse with other people who know me, if blogging is private, which is to say, should I only comment on people's posts only if I know them personally, or should I follow their blog under the same parameters? Is communicating with others on the Internet limited to people one has met in the course of their life, or is that why people communicate on the Internet, to meet new people and hopefully friends? I am rather confused about what proper etiquette is in these situations. I hope I am advised one way or another soon because every time I comment on another person's blog posts, I feel that I am in some way violating their privacy. I sincerely hope that this is not the case.

Enough of that, however; let me direct your attention to something else. I have been blessed with the means to learn languages, these being Latin and Spanish (Do not be misled, readers, for I am not fluent in the speaking and understanding of these languages, but know that if any new Roman or Spanish speaking colonies mysteriously appear on the map, and I find myself in them, that I will be more than able to accommodate myself without the usual barriers of different languages between tourists and natives.), and in addition to these, I have a fair amount of vocabulary and a little portion of grammar knowledge within the lexicons of German, French, and Italian, though not in that particular order, and I am confident that if I were to travel to any one of these places, that I could speak with the locals about general things. I would like to tell all of you about an aid I have found in facilitating the acquiring of another language. The BBC has a language site that gives us the opportunity to learn the vital vocabulary of a language for tourists or those interested in expanding their comprehension of a language. To those of us who aspire to become opera singers, this will provide us with the basics of the language and the beginnings of a language, and it will encourage us to seek other opportunities to educate ourselves in the field. Aside from an exhaustive language dictionary and a curriculum on the specific language, this is probably the greatest way to accelerate our knowledge of a foreign language. At this time they offer French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, and a helpful guide featuring phrases in 36 different languages. To learn what they will teach you for free, you can sign up for their e-mail newsletter for whatever languages with which you want to acquaint yourself, and these come weekly. There are only twelve steps to make it simple for beginners, but you can enhance your experience by viewing helpful articles on local customs and local usages of words. The lessons are almost completely interactive, so there is really no reason to become frustrated and stop taking the lessons. As I said earlier, there is really no other better way to learn a new language outside of a course such as Powerspeak (formerly PowerGlide) or Rosetta Stone, which claims to be the fastest way to learn a language, guaranteed. I prefer Powerspeak because of the information it provides the student beyond merely the language they are trying to learn. If you visit their page, and you think that those courses are for children, think again. They have one of the world's premier linguistics professors as their developer of learning techniques; Dr. Blair's Diglot-Weave stories and narratives are, I think, the best and fastest way to teach a language. I have never used Rosetta Stone, and while I think it has marvelous potential, I prefer Powerspeak's methods best for an ultimate language and cultural immersion experience, but Rosetta Stone will do what they promise, and that is provide you with a quick way to learn a language.

Moving on, I have been privileged to have a channel from my cable service provider on television that plays nothing but operas and recordings by operatic artists. They play only audio, so that obviously degenerates from what you probably initially thought I had. Nevertheless, I am glad I have this luxury. I have been able to hear some recordings of Rebecca Evans', and I was wondering, does she still sing? She has a wonderful voice. I am going to search for her on the web. Other singers I have heard are Thomas Quasthoff, Regina Crespin, Luciano Pavarotti, Cheryl Studer, Jussi Bjorling, Robert Merril, and Alfredo Kraus, amongst other notable luminary singers, but in my opinion they play far too few of the more modern artists. I have been able to expand my listening horizons by a rather grand amount (I still generally dislike Russian vocal music, but this may be the result of my lack of interest and understanding of their difficult lexicon. However, there are some Irina Arkhipova recordings that are quite beautiful.), but I know what I enjoy most, and I want to hear some newer performances. Caballe and Domingo and Sutherland and Pavarotti recordings are played regularly, so I have nothing to worry about when I hear of a legendary performance from someone who was fortunate enough to have seen or heard it live, on the small chance that I would speak with anyone who enjoys opera, let alone anyone who remembers such historic occasions, where I reside and with the few people with whom I associate myself.

Unexpectedly changing the subject, I regret to inform my readers that I was not allowed to watch the Renee Fleming performance on the television show Spectacle, but I think that was acceptable since she probably did not incorporate much opera into the program. Immediately the question arises from the depths of one's brain, "How is a nineteen-year-old not allowed to watch something on television? If he desires, can he not simply turn on the TV and view to his pleasure?" In theory, yes, this is true, but inquisitive readers should understand that I live at home with my family, and this arrangement gives me the opportunity to be free of rent and all other costs whatsoever, one which I am sure anyone would accept even if they were required to sacrifice some of their freedom derived from independence, so I must acquiesce when my parents tell me that they do not wish for me to do something. My mother's reason for not allowing me to watch the program was that it was on the Sundance channel, and they, as she puts it, are one of the most liberal channels on television. With this assertion, I shall readily agree, but she did not judge the program I intended to peruse, only the channel upon which it aired. As you can read, I have mixed feelings on the issue.

Are any of my readers knowledgeable on the subject of ballet, or do they enjoy it? I dabble in the field since I receive mail from the American Ballet Theatre in New York, a company that annually performs at the Met in the summer and since I took dance lessons not very long ago, those of the ballet and musical theatre dance variety. If anyone is interested, and admirers of the art of ballet will be if they do not already know, I read somewhere that Julie Kent, a world renowned prima ballerina is retiring from the stage this year. I am quite saddened to learn of the development because she reminds me of Margot Fonteyn. She gives life to every performance she offers, and I shall be sad to see her leave.

On the Met's website unsurpassable tenor Placido Domingo has an interview posted. He speaks of many things about his career and his future plans. He is the kind of tenor I would like to, nay, I strive to become, the one that can seemingly last forever. This season, as if opera aficionados had not yet heard of it, is his fortieth anniversary with the Met, and he sings Maurizio in Giordano's Adriana Lecouvrer with soprano Maria Guleghina as Adriana. He tells much about his time at the Met, but the most important piece of information on the page to my knowledge is that next season he is going to sing the baritone role Simon Boccanegra in Verdi's opera of the same name at the Met next season. He says in the interview,

"It has always been a role that I adored: the music, the contrast between the prologue and the rest of the opera, the drama. Then there’s the love between the father and the daughter, which reflects Verdi’s tremendous feeling for any kind of scene that involved fathers and children—because he was an unhappy father, who lost his children when they were little. I always said, ‘Near the end of my career, I want to do Boccanegra.’ It’s not that I want to be a baritone, but I want to do Boccanegra. And here it is! But I’m still singing tenor parts. These are not my last performances—not planned in any case. You never know. Every day, when I wake up in the morning, I ask myself the question, Am I still able to sing? And so far the answer has always been yes."

Is Domingo near the end of his career? Let us hope that this is not the case; let us hope that he will go on singing, and singing well, until he is seventy-five as Kraus was able to do. Who could replace him vocally? He has over 150 roles in his repertoire (!).

Finally, it is my sincere prayer that God blesses you and keeps all of you in his protection. Until my next post, thank you for reading.


chelsea said...

I am of the mindset that if it is out there for you to read and the comment feature is on, then comment away! I commented on a person's blog who I had never met or talked to before, and she responded to my request. Now we're friends and visit when we're in each other's respective cities. I enjoy it when others comment on my blog as well. Gives me more desire to try and be better about posting. And this is all coming from someone who doesn't know you. :)

vivi said...

I very much agree with that. Blogging would be a rather boring thing if it was only for people you already know.
Actually, it never occured to me that somnebody who puts stuff on the Internet, so everybody can read it, could mind if visitors left a comment, after all , there are ways to keep a blog private, if one wishes to.

If I don't know that person, I wouldn't neccessarily comment on a post where he writes about his uncle's kidney failure ;-), but in general I believe every blogger, who decides to make his page public, welcomes comments very much.

Tyler said...

Thank you both very much! I shall keep this advice in mind, and I am glad you both commented.