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Is an opera singer allowed to smile?


This article originally appeared on Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2011

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

In 2011 critics blasted Anna Nebtreko, star of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena for daring to smile on opening night at the Metropolitan Opera. The audience wildly cheered Ms. Netrebko after a particularly grueling and moving rendition of the aria Al dolce guidami. Netrebko, who had been gazing upward, briefly smiled, causing the audience to erupt in more cheers.

The critics lambasted her for this gesture, which they claim caused her to break character.

Their negative reaction begs the question: for whom are singers performing: naysaying critics or their beloved audience?

What about the bond between a singer and the audience?

Opera celebrates the wide gamut of human emotions. Why should should natural feelings and spontaneous impulses be constrained?

When a singer is not allowed to acknowledge the connection with their audience or their own emotional triumph, that is a shame.

The critics should realize that one can have vibrant fonts of human emotions or one can have statues.

One cannot have both.

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Wise Woman of the Day: Beverly Sills

“Art is the signature of Civilizations.” 

–Beverly Sills— 

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Mozart’s Mug Shot?

Holy Cadenza!

Do you recognize this guy?

This photo represents a facial composite of  that 21 year old wunderkind Mozart, created in the around 1990s by the Bundeskriminalamt Wiesbaden—the Federal Criminal Police Office of Wiesbaden, Germany—from four portraits painted during the composer’s lifetime, according to the website Dangerous Minds.


What do you think?

Would you trust this guy with a Sonata?

Incidentally, Mozart found forgiveness for one of the few “illegal” activities in which he found himself embroiled. As a 14 year old, he created the first illegal copy of “Misere,” a piece heavily protected by the Vatican. Even copying the piece from memory (as Mozart did) was punishable by excommunication. However, when the Pope met the young prodigy, instead of scolding him, he lavished the youngster with high praise.

But, of course!

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In the news: Rembrandt found under ping pong table fetches millions

 Three brothers from New Jersey discovered a valuable Rembrandt under their Ping Pong Table.

Better than finding toxic mold!

Here is the news link:


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Met Opera Auditions- Western Region Finals- Zipper Hall

This past Sunday was yet another afternoon filled with wonderful talent. Opera Singers from across the Western Region vied for a chance to sing on the Met Stage at auditions held at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall.

Soprano Julia Metzler garnered the coveted first place! Congratulations! Other standouts included the poised, charming, and vocally impressive Katherine Beck who garnered audience acclaim for her rendition of Rossini’s “Una Voce Poco Fa” from the Barber of Seville. Tenor Brian Michael Moore was another audience favorite at the ripe old age of 25. These young singers give hope to the future of opera. Bravi!

Met Stage 3

Met Stage

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LA Art Show- *A MUST SEE* LA Cultural event

All Photography © 2018 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Strolling through the LA Art Show, there are delightful surprises around each corner, like the Earthenware by Picasso, who knew?

Picasso Earthenware

Picasso Earthenware 2




“Metamorphosis” by Erika Harrsch in which ”Extinct” Butterflies are created by currency made extinct by the  Euro


And an allusion to Rodin’s “The Thinker” lost in his phone

Rodin on the Phone

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Chagall at LACMA: dreamy and ethereal

Better 2 CostumeAll Photography © 2018 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

This lovely exhibit devoted to Marc Chagall (which ends Sunday January 7th) is filled with a host of costumed characters from “The Magic Flute,” “The Firebird,” “Daphnis and Chloë,” among others…

Chagall BestChagall YellowFLower Red Chagall Chagall Bright greenChagall flower loveliesChagall HarlequinDramatic Costumes

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LA Art Show 2018: Jan 11th- Jan 14th

LA art show 2018


LA Art show



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Sat, Jan. 13, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 | 11am – 5pm


Photography and Logo © LA Art Show


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Beethoven & the Beef Stew- don’t try this at home!

First published by Cultural Cocktail Hour on January 21, 2011

by LeticiMarie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

According to Norman Lebrecht, author of “The Book of Musical Anectodes” (Simon & Schuster, 1985), Beethoven flew off the handle when a waiter at the Viennese restaurant “The Swan,” brought him the wrong meat dish. Some artists are particular about their piano benches (Gould) while others are particular about their beef.  An outraged Beethoven hurled the dish, gravy and all, over the waiter’s head.

Just as the wrong meat could turn him into a raging bull, the right one could turn him into a loving lamb.  When his friend Ferdinand Ries sent him a particular type of roast veal, Beethoven kissed and embraced him, telling him “never had anything given him such pleasure as the roast veal, coming at the very moment when he so greatly longed for it.” (Lebrehct, 81)

Beethoven also adored bread soup, which he ate religiously on Thursdays. Woe to the chef who did not prepare it properly. He or she would have to duck from Beethoven-hurled Eggs Bombs. Yolks on the Cook!

Beethoven obviously felt all of his Senses, including his gastronomical ones, intensely. Perhaps that is why the wrong cut of beef could put him into a stew.

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December Blooms

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”- Percy Bysshe Shelley

 (Photo snapped In the Huntington Rose Garden, December 2017)

Photography © 2017 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Huntington Rose


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