Tag Archives: Music

Sunday Evening/Monday Morning

It has been a usual Sunday  open homes, walking Miss Bella and some rubber gloving around the house and now I am lying on the bed reading blogs on my tablet and listening to music from the 70s on the radio.  The music being played is the flipside of hits. These songs are as good as the A side in most cases.

Among the blogs I read tonight was this one that really touched a cord – raising5kidswithdisabilitiesandremainingsane.  I am amazed at how this woman deals with the challenges she faces each day and I wonder if I could do as well in the same situation.  Do go and visit her blog I am sure you will be glad you did.

And now the midnight news is on with the pending crisis in N Korea leading the news.  Many commentators around the world have agreed that this demi-god is threatening the peace not only in that region but possibly in the wider world.  Let’s hope that common sense prevails before the situation heads into war.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Rigoleto Continued

As I said in yesterday’s post, Rigoletto was fantastic.  As part of the Opera Supper Club we were invited for drinks and nibbles prior to the show and then at the interval were plied with more wine, or in my case water as it was so very warm in the theatre.  This crazy weather we are experiencing makes it so difficult for organisers – it is autumn and it should be getting cold, instead of which we are having better weather than we had in the summer.  As my grandsons would say – go figure!

Anyway, the story of Rigoletto is no doubt known to you all.  The Duke Mantua and his jester, Rigoletto are cursed by the nobleman, Monterone  because the Duke has defiled Monterone’s daughter.  Meantime, Rigoletto is keeping secret the fact that he has a beautiful young daughter.  Of course, Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter falls into the clutches of the evil Duke, Rigoletto vows and plans revenge but in the end it is not the Duke but Gilda who is killed.

There you have it – Rigoletto in fewer than 70 words.  Do read the synopsis from the Met here.

After the performance we were once again treated to a look behind the scenes with the stage manager.  He explained how the props were moved up and down, how the revolving stage worked and also how all of this amazing scenery would be packed into containers on Saturday morning (“so if anybody is free on Saturday…”) and then shipped off to Auckland on Sunday.  Apparently it takes all day to dismantle and more than a day to install and to check that all is working as it should at the other end.

Much of the scenery had been hand painted including the marbled effect on the salon walls.  A magnificent chandelier had been purposely made for the production but had already been booked for hire by another organisation for use in its production.

And later in the year the whole set is to be shipped to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia for use by the Opera Queensland –  Lindy Hume, the Director of Rigoletto is usually based in/with  Opera Queensland.

And when the sets of the various operas are not being used, they are stored in containers in an open yard on the outskirts of Auckland.

Just a fascinating half hour and a perfect way to round off a perfect evening.

Earlier this week I asked what would your perfect day be like.  Now after this perfect evening I ask you what would your perfect evening look like.

Sunset

Ducks on the lake at sunset.

More Opera

As I have said before, here in New Zealand we have a world class opera company.  We have world famous opera singers joining the company for specific performances – Rigoletto currently being performed in Wellington has three singers from around the world and an Australian Director.  These people are brought in to encourage and educate our resident singers.

Upcoming talent is nurtured by the Opera company and from time to time we are delighted to be invited to listen to some of this talent.  Last night was one such time.

It was a bitterly cold Wellington evening with a strong southerly wind blowing so we were very pleased to get inside the theatre.  The evening started with drinks and nibbles (always in new Zealand) and then we were entertained by 12 Emerging Artists.

Music covered arias from Handel, Rossini, Gounod, Mozart, Puccini, Guestavino, Massenet, Britten, Monteverdi, Offenbach and of course Verdi with Bella figlia dell’amore from Rigoletto.

We were told that this is the first time that a counter tenor had been included in the Emerging Artists programme.  Have you heard a contralto tenor sing?  This is the first time I had heard one and it was quite beautiful and if you excuse the expression, I was filled with awe that such a very small man – he was about 5ft 6″ tall – could produce such a wonderful sound.  It was amazing.  He sang Puebilito, my pueblo from Guastavino.  I can only repeat – amazing.  I couldn’t find a recording of a male alone singing this but here is a beautiful duet.

There was a little lighthearted injection when two of the male singers sang We’re public guardians from Offenbach’s Genevieve de Brabant.  This complete with all the appropriate actions was greeted with laughter and applause.  Please click here for a great version of this duet.  It was a fund raising evening and look like lots of fun.

A few weeks ago I wrote about seeing Manon in an Opera at the Met production and last night we heard one of these young singers performing as Manon. She sang Gavotte.  This is from the time when Manon is the toast of Paris and is flaunting herself around town.

So a most enjoyable evening once again.  And now I am looking forward to seeing Rigoletto on Thursday evening.  Please watch this space.

Bouquet of roses

For the organiser of such a lovely evening.

Just Another Day in Paradise

 

Firefox crashed and I hadn’t saved my post so I have to start again and perhaps yes, a glass of wine would help.  The air was a trifle blue with the words that I said.  Last week wordpress played up and now Firefox.  Oh woe is me!

Glass of red wine

Image via Wikipedia

So with glass beside me I shall start again.

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain.  Not heavy rain but the kind that soaks one through while doing absolutely nothing for the garden or the plants in tubs and pots.

Rain on leaves

Lotte took one look outside and decided it wasn’t for her.  She ran back inside and stood at the side of the bed asking for a lift up.  Well she has very tiny legs and the bed is quite high.

Lazy Lotte

Far too wet out there - I'm better off here!

So no little companion while I had breakfast and got ready to start my day.

I have told you before about Opera at the Met here in Brooklyn, Wellington.  Well today we were enchanted with Donizetti’s Anna Bolena starring  Anna Netrebko  in the title role.  This was really a tour de force.  It lasted 4 hours with only an 8 minute interval.  But what a privilege to see these fantastic artists.  Anna Netrebko was supported by Ekaterina Gubanova (Jane Seymour), Tamara Mumford (Mark Smeaton), Stephen Costello (Lord Percy) and Ildar Abdrazakov (Henry VIII).

Anne Boleyn

Picture via Wikipedia

We all know the story of Anne Boleyn and her marriage to and betrayal by Henry VIII so I wont belabour it here.  But look at this short video and see for yourself the mastery of these artists.

We also were privileged to see interviews with the stars and also with Marco Armiliato the conductor and with world-famous costume designer and former director of theater design at Shakespeare’s Globe theater, Jenny Tiramani.

A delightful way to spend four hours (10-2pm) on a wet Wednesday.

Then it was back to a normal day.  A quick lunch and then I helped my real estate friend set up a couple of apartments for photography.

“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.”

And I think that this day deserves my rainbow.

Rainbow

My rainbow

A Night at The Met

Last night I went to the opera at The Met and it only cost $NZ25 (approx $9.50).  OK OK so I didn’t travel to New York City but I did see a production of Don Pasquale.  This is part of The Met’s enormously successful Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of transmissions into movie theatres, which enters its sixth season in 2011-12.  It currently reaches more than 1,500 theaters in 53 countries.

It was almost like being there, with the added bonus of seeing what went on behind the curtains when the scenes changed.  We were entertained with various shots of the audience, settling down before the performance began and then during the breaks for scene changes.  And we saw the principals talking backstage with other cast members.

The music was fantastic as was the singing.   This performance featured Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien, and John Del Carlo in the title role.  The Musical Director was  James Levine. When this production premiered in 2006, the New York Times called it “brilliant” and “wonderful.”

Unfortunately I have since learned that Levine slipped while vacationing recently and has had to withdraw from all commitments with The Met.

The main benefactors are the Neubauer Family Foundation and Bloombergs and those of us who can’t get to The Met thank them for their generosity.  This was an encore performance from the 2010 series and the 2011 series will screen from November.  I am certainly looking forward to that.

We are told “The Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 stage season will feature the world’s leading singers, conductors, and stage directors in seven new productions and nineteen revivals, including a world premiere, a Met premiere, and the first complete performances of a new Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle directed by Robert Lepage.
The season includes the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, conducted by Marco Armiliato and directed by David McVicar (the beginning of an ambitious multiseason project to produce all three of Donizetti’s famous “Queen” operas directed by McVicar); The Enchanted Island, the world premiere of a Baroque pastiche with an original welcome… libretto by Jeremy Sams and set to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, conducted by William Christie and directed by Phelim McDermott; the Met debuts of Tony Award winning directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuff with new productions of Don Giovanni, led by Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi, and Faust, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; a new production of Massenet’s Manon conducted Fabio Luisi and directed by Laurent Pelly; and Robert Lepage’s productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the third and fourth installments of Wagner’s Ring cycle.”

These performances are being shown in bijoux cinemas around New Zealand.  another added bonus is that in these cinemas one may take their wine into the theatre and at intermission, one may have a meal.  We ordered ours before the performance as did most others, so the 25 minute interval was just enough time to eat our soup – Leek and potato and freshly baked bread.  Yummy.

Bowl of soup

Soup via Wikipedia

Transmigration

Transmigration – definition
To move from one place, state or stage to another

“Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger.  George W. Bush

Here it is 9/11 already  and has been for the past 19 hours – (7pm as I start to write this post).  So we have heard much of the tragedy from 10 years ago.

This afternoon with a friend, I went to hear the Wellington Vector Orchestra in concert.  The recital was entitled ‘The Transmigration of Souls” and this work took up the whole of the second half of the performance.

You may know this work commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and written by John Adams to commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragedy.but this was its introduction to those of us who live in New Zealand.  It is different and strangely moving.  The child’s voice reciting ‘missing’ following the recital of names of the dead is very poignant.  Added to this are the voices of the St Paul’s Cathedral Choristers and the Orpheus Choir.

“The Choristers numbers up to 30 boys and girls aged between 8 and 15.  The Choristers lead the Sunday Choral Eucharist or Choral Evensong once a month. Each young person learns to work as part of a team and to take responsibility for his or her own performance. Choristers are treated as young professionals and the Cathedral treble programme represents one of the finest musical educations available to young people in New Zealand.”

The Orpheus Choir is New Zealand’s premier symphonic choir of around 100 voices. The Choir performs regularly at major Wellington music venues with both international and national highly regarded musicians and soloists.

The orchestra is conducted by American born, Marc Taddei. who now makes his home here in Wellington. Taddei calls the work “the first masterpiece of the new millennium”.  And adds“It’s one of the most profound works ever written. The work won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2003 and in 2005 the premiere recording won three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition.”

Adams, the composer calls the massive work for large orchestra, choir, children’s choir and pre-recorded sounds, a “Memory space”.

“It’s a place where you can go and be alone with your thoughts and emotions. The link to a particular historical event – in this case to 9/11 – is there if you want to contemplate it. But I hope the piece will summon human experience that goes beyond this event.

“Transmigration means ‘the movement from one place to another’ or ‘the transition from one state of being to another.’ But in this case I meant it to imply the movement of the soul from one state to another. And I don’t just mean the transition from living to dead, but also the change that takes place within the souls of those that stay behind, of those who suffer pain and loss and then themselves come away from that experience.”

As a member of the audience I could feel the rage, the hurt, the surprise and the unimaginable all depicted through the music.  I was left breathless.  There were some comments that it wasn’t music but I think on the whole the audience was wowed by the work.

I am so glad that I spent a couple of hours on a September afternoon listening to the orchestra.