Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Must Have Impeccable Musical Affinity And Some Talent

I am sorry that I have been away for so long a time, but working for an average of thirteen hours a day for the past week is not exactly conducive to blogging, so I have not been able to post much of late.

In any event, in regards to my rather lengthy title, I have been playing music on a boom box where I work, and every time someone walks into the room where I am laboring, they ask to what I am listening. I am usually enjoying the pleasures of Renee Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, or Magdalena Kozena's beautiful singing, but I occasionally have other things playing, such as Trans-Siberian-Orchestra. They all seem to enjoy whatever I am offering. I think that I should start charging admission to hear my music and give pre-performance talks, and it would become a recital!

One of the other perks of my job is that I get to play a Steinway grand piano generally whenever I desire. I feel that my piano playing is improving with my continued practice. I am trying to learn Johannes Brahams' Intermezzo in A Major, Opus 43, one of my favorite piano pieces to hear. Melody Brown's interpretation of the work on The 5 Browns most recent CD Browns in Blue is simply gorgeous.

That is all for the present. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Digital Television Is The Opera Aficionado's Best Friend

Today at five o'clock p.m. local time, my local PBS station is airing Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice from the Met's Live in HD series; however, they are broadcasting it on one of their FOUR digital subchannels. I probably shall not be allowed to watch it, (I really need a DVR!), but I just thought that I would let everyone know that my local PBS affiliate is not quite so bad as they were about airing operas before the transition to digital television.

The cast of this perfromance was Heidi Grant Murphy as Amor, Danielle DeNiese as Euridice, and Stephanie Blythe as Orfeo. Joyce DiDonato hosted the Live in HD transmission.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If I Were Less Occuppied...

...I would be blogging with greater frequency than I have been allowed of late. Because of my employment with my local theatre company, where I have been working almost every day of the past two weeks for usually twelve hours or more all of those days, I have been unable to do any posting about opera; as a matter of fact, I have not been afforded the opportunity to learn much about opera's happenings in the current month, either, for the simple reason that I have not had the time. If you wish, add to all of this that my family's computer is definitely crashing, so I have been hastily attempting to transfer all of my cherished downloaded opera recordings onto CD-R's, but this is taking more of my time that I do not possess to spare.

In other news about my life, I, from every other person who was eligible to accomplish this, have been asked my by theatre's Executive Director, whom you may remember is a good friend of mine, to pen a history of our theatre. He also wants me to be a contributor of written material for the theatre's newsletter. While these are both incredible honors for me, I cannot help but to think that there were better candidates he might have chosen than me. Nevertheless, I am enthusiastic about the possibilities that could arise from this notoriety that shall befall me.

It may further interest my readers to know that I am seriously considering taking voice lessons this summer. The cost of them, while it is no small amount for my means, is, I have been assured, very reasonable and competitively priced. I think this may help me to be cast in better roles in productions by theatres, and I may learn some things to help me sing better.

I shall terminate this post by saying that Poteet Theatre's submission to community theatre association competitions, John & Jen, won first place production in the state and in the region, and this summer they are taking the production to the national competition in Tacoma, Washington, and if they win, they will compete in the international competition in Monaco (Yes, that is right, the one in Europe on the French Riviera which is possibly most famous for Princess Grace. Pray hard that they win!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Did You Miss The Met's "Rusalka?"

I have exceedingly glad tidings to report if there was anyone among my readers who missed the Metropolitan Opera's broadcast of Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka starring Renee Fleming from March 14th. The Metropolitan Opera Uploads website, which is of no affiliation to the Met itself, recently added it to their list of RapidShare downloads one may procure along with several others. I had hoped they would, but I was beginning to despair since they had not added anything in so long a time. Rusalka comes in two parts (Part 1, Part 2), and therefore, it must be joined with a joining software before it can be heard on a media player or device. The two downloads did not take very long for me to receive, but download speed depends upon many variables that may affect another person getting it.

Here are a few pictures from the production:

This production starred Renee Fleming, Aleksandrs Antonenko in his debut at the Met, Christine Georke, Kate Lindsey, Kristinn Sigmundsson, and Stephanie Blythe. This visually intriguing adaptation of the fairy-tale of The Little Mermaid is by Otto Schenk, and I am not alone when I say the Met ought to have used it for one of their Live in HD presentations. Hopefully they will revive it soon, and perhaps Renee will sing the role of Rusalka again. Here's to hoping...
Thank you for reading.

What I Envision My Life to Be

As is customary of the people with whom I associate myself, who are mostly adults rather older than myself who are moderately interested in what I plan to accomplish with my life, during this time of year, I am usually asked whether or not I intend to further my academic studies by going to college. So many people expect that I should that any conversation held with these acquaintances usually drifts to that subject. How can I tell them that I am deficient in so many subjects without seeming to them to be a hypocrite? How do I iterate that I cannot possibly go to an university without it being free of cost to me? If they understand this, how do I make them believe that I wish to be fiscally responsible if I attended a college, which is to say that I do not want to procure any great amount of debt for myself? However, all of this is rather beside the point, and it relates little to what I wanted this post to say.

I have determined what my problem is when it comes to higher education. Quite simply, I have taken it out of context; in fact, I now realize that college should come after I have completed all of my other duties and not before then. In other words, I should work with the mindset that college could be in my future, which is to say that I should work toward that goal. Nevertheless, there is a list of other goals that I must gain before then.

Therefore, for any who are thoroughly and genuinely interested, I here populate a list of my current priorities to achieve.

  1. Learn to drive and get my driver's license.
  2. Find a regular occupation to add to my weekly job at Poteet and my other odd jobs that I perform.
  3. Continue to study subjects at home from their source references.
  4. Save my accrued capital

Now I understand that this is a rather brief listing of goals, but these are so important to my current station in life that they seem to me to encompass all that is obstructing my path to improving myself in life. I should add to this list the reminder to me not to settle or to resign to things as they are because I do not seem to advance with my labor and study. Often people tell me that if I did nothing else besides what I do now that my life should not be in vain. I do not maintain that my life is spent in vain, but I am not pleased with where I foresee my life going if I retain my current routine, and people tell me that I am academically sound and in some cases brilliant only when they hear that I read the writings of Isaac Newton, Plato, Flavius Josephus, Blaise Pascal, Christian Huygens, Euclid, and many others besides, but this only makes me a walking collection of already learnt and proven facts and truths, which says nothing of me as an individual. Of course, I much prefer these persons to those who discredit me because I possess no college education or because I may never procure one, but both are in error in their visions of me, for, on the one hand, to hear some people speak of me, one might receive the impression that I am truly the best of men, which I know that I cannot be, and, on the other hand, to hear the opposite party tell it, I cannot aspire to anything until I receive a college education, of which I am reluctant to believe out of either fear for myself or else knowledge to the contrary.

In any case, I try to look to God for guidance and comfort in this time that taxes my patience. I must learn to improve that virtue within me if I am to become anything of worth in life.

Thank you all for reading.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MetPlayer Free Weekend

I was graciously allowed to listen to George Frederick Handel's Rodelinda featuring the all star cast of Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, Kobie van Rensburg, and John Relyea last evening. I am pleased to announce that it was just as excellent as I remember it being when I first heard it some years ago in a live broadcast. Because of my experience, I am considering purchasing a month's subscription to the service; imagine all of the operas that I could hear, ones that I wish I could have heard when I knew nothing of opera whatsoever. With an ever expanding catalog of performances available to the public who subsribe to the service, I would say that it is indeed an excellent way to experience opera. Think of hearing the premiere of Otto Schenk's Ring Cycle with Hildegard Behrens and James Morris among other legendary Wagnerians.

In other news, Elina Garanca, Anna Netrebko, and Joseph Calleja head up a new recording of Bellini's I Capuleti e I Montecchi. For this weekend only, Arkiv Music is offering purchasers the opportunity to obtain this new recording of the work, which Eric Fielder, their president, claims easily could be the best recording of the opera ever produced, at the price of $27.99 compared to the list price of $35.98. This may not be much of a savings, but for those aficionados who cannot wait to buy a new recording with their favorite artists, it gives them an excuse, even if this is only a minscule one, to buy it with some ease on their frugal conscience. I bought Renee Fleming's Homage: The Age of the Diva CD when it was first released for $16.00 at Best Buy (Yes, they actually had it, and I grabbed the last one on the shelf, which may have been the only one they had in stock to begin.), and I did not care that I paid close to full price for it because it was my first Renee Fleming recording; however, I digress from the original point of this paragraph. I think that this recording of Bellini's version of Romeo and Juliet is a fine one.

It is also worthy of reporting that Opera News' May issue, which is their annual travel issue, profiles Scandanavia. Some of the images of opera houses in the cold climates of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are especially picturesque. My ideal vacation in Europe would be to travel from country to country just to visit the summer festivals and the opera houses there. If I ever do that, which would probably require at least three months to do properly, I hope I am still young enough to enjoy it and not quite so old to miss the performers to whom I avidly listen today.

On an entirely unrelated subject, I often find myself surprised by how often I ignore classical music. This may seem rather difficult to comprehend since classical music is what created opera in the first place, but I find myself utterly amazed at some of the classical music selections for which Arkiv Music provides samples. Recently I heard a guitar piece played by Sharon Isbin that was simply gorgeous, and I thought to myself that if I had seen that recording on a shelf in a store, I probably would have instantly passed it, but now I want to expand my adoration for classical music into other subgenres and instruments. Let us not forget that opera was born of classical music.

As always, I thank all of you who devote your time to reading my humble posts.