Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Readers!

First, today is Christmas Eve, and in Oklahoma we have snow. Six to eight inches of snow has fallen today, and there is no sign of it ceasing. Unfortunately, snow in Oklahoma invariably means that ice shall be present on the streets after the snow has melted, which will not happen for a while yet.

On Christmas Eve it is my family's tradition to drive to my aunt and uncle's residence and have a Christmas feast, but because of the inclement weather, which is worse this year than my father ever recalls it having been previously in his lifetime, we have reappointed our celebration, and we have scheduled it for my birthday, which is this Sunday. This is an interesting fact since my birthday has not fallen on a Sunday in many years, if ever, because of the saving grace of the modern Gregorian calendar, that being the concept of the leap year, which affects my birthday's chances of happening on a Sunday. I shall be twenty then, and I shall be afforded the excellent opportunity of celebrating Christmas with my family upon my birthday. Is there truly a better gift to receive than such that I have just described?

I anxiously anticipate tomorrow morning, for I long to see our family express their love to each other by presenting gifts to each other in commemoration of Christ's birth and His divine gift of salvation for mankind. I am grateful for the blessings that God has most graciously bestowed upon me, and I thank Him for all that he has done to provide for my family this year. His exceptional providence towards us has been monumental, and it is difficult to imagine my life and continued existence without it.

I also am ingratiated to the people with whom it has been my pleasure to acquaint myself through the various means I have at my disposal. In this first year of blogging I have found people who have given a part of themselves to me without reservation. I have met Chelsea, Kim, Leah, SarahB, Rae-Mae, and Samantha, who have all opened themselves and their lives to my scrutiny and inquiry, and in the process of this, they have become acquaintances who have developed interest in my personality, and they have taught me so many new things about opera, broadway, and, most importantly, life. I hope that I have given them something adequate in exchange for all of this that I have had the immense pleasure of receiving, and I pray that I have been a perfect gentleman toward all of them. When I first began blogging, I could not have hoped for better people with whom to fraternize. I pray that God may continue to bless them this Christmas, and I enjoy their blogs invariably.

In news concerning opera, the Met is considering reviving Franco Zeffirelli's [classic, flawless] production of Puccini's Tosca next season for reasons contrary to what may be assumed by those who have heard that critical acclaim is less than expected. Although they will not retire the new production, I hope the decide to revive Zeffirelli's production. I was able to see the new production on television recently, and while the singing was rather good, the production just did not seem to flow. It seemed that they were shorthanded on props, and the set seemed too large and devoid of details. I did not like the "jump" at the end, either. Their use of frozen motion at the finish seemed to leave something undone for my taste. I have not seen their former production of the opera, but it could not be any worse than I thought this one was.

In other news Julie Andrews, whom an adoring public, of which I am a part, thought could no longer sing, is giving a concert next year in London's o2 arena. I want to see footage of this event on YouTube, and if it is as good as I expect it to be, I hope she will release a new CD. I read this in my local newspaper recently, and I could not believe what I had just saw. Does anyone wish to speculate about the possibility of a tour? I would definitely like to attend that concert if it came my way. What do you think she will sing, and will it sound as good as we remember her voice had sounded before her debilitating throat surgery? I hope she sings some Broadway standards, and I have my reservations, but if only for the sake of memory, this will be an event to remember.

For your enjoyment I now offer some videos to help us celebrate the season in song.

I thank all of your for perusing my posts, and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Met Broadcast Season Has Arrived!

I am pleased to say that last Saturday I was able to hear the Met's broadcast of Puccini's Il Trittico starring Patricia Racette as all three heroines, no less, who is only the third soprano in the Met's history to essay such an endeavor, Salvatore Licitra, Heidi Grant Murphy, Stephanie Blythe, Saimir Pirgu, Alessandro Corbelli, and Zeljko Lucic. Though Licitra was suffering from a cold, it was a memorable performance, for all of the singing was done well, and the orchestra played with all of the emotion Puccini intended.

Neverthelss, despite such a preview of the coming season, I am looking forward to next week's offering of Jacques Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, which boasts a cast of Joseph Calleja, Anna Netrebko, Kathleen Kim, Ekaterina Gubanova, Kate Lindsey, and Alan Held. My expected favorites are Kathleen Kim, Joseph Calleja, and Kate Lindsey. Hoffmann is also a new production by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, and it is presented Live in HD.

Der Rosenkavalier is the beginning of my prospective highlights of the season. The cast, which is nearly one that I would wish for only in fantasy, is Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, Christine Schafer, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson. It is broadcast as a part of the regular radio broadcast season, and it is presented as a piece of the Met's celebrated Live in HD series on January 9, 2010, and I shall do all in my power to see it in my local movie theater. How could I have chosen a better cast to commence my Live in HD experience? I also wish to see Rossini's Armida at the theater since it also offered in the Met's Live in HD lineup this year, but we shall have to see about it closer to its presentation.

In conclusion I am thankful that I have a way to experience world class opera from the convenience of my home, and I hope the Met broadcast season never leaves us. Thank you for reading my posts, and I hope that God blesse you all with peace and joy this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Random Conversation...

While I was working at the church where I am employed, it became necessary for me to speak to the music director concerning the arrangement of chairs in the sanctuary for the upcoming Christmas concert, and I, in an attempt to create conversation, asked him about his musical preferences, particularly whether or not he knew of the female quartet Anonymous4. He replied that he did, and, moreover, he enjoys their music immensely. It turns out that he also listens to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on the radio, and he was elated to learn that Anonymous4 is scheduled to perform in concert in Tulsa next year. We continued to speak, and I learned that he also has a predilection towards Renee Fleming, so I informed him that January 6, 2010, is the date for the Met's Live in HD broadcast of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier with Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Miah Persson. I should very much like to hear Ramon Vargas in the role of the Italian Singer, but I am sure that Barry Banks shall perform excellently, but I digress.

The Music Director, who is the church's principal organist besides the music director, also related to me that he once accompanied soprano Leona Mitchell in a recital, to which I replied that I recalled an article in a recent issue of Opera News that divulged that she was desirous to perform at the Met again, and she would prefer to do so as Bellini's Norma. He also told me of a time not very long since that he saw Chanticleer perform live in San Francisco. They presented a concert here in Oklahoma City, and he said that they did not sound nearly as exceptional as he remembered them.

Such was the highlight of my day yesterday, and I was left wondering how many people with whom I am personally acquainted who have such stories to disclose? Ordinary life can often surprise one who does look for the most in it. I hope that I have sufficiently learned that moral.

Thank you for reading my posts, and may God continue to bless you in all things.