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Review: The Colburn Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Dancing and playing into our hearts The Colburn Orchestra and Dance Academy at Walt Disney Concert Hall By Leticia Marie Sanchez On Friday evening, the Colburn Orchestra had the audience at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on the edge of their seats. It was a night celebrating the trajectory of of love, from the sweet lightness of the music of Irving Berlin to the dissonant passionate struggle in Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” opened the program with enthusiasm and proved a fitting bookend to the intensity of Prokofiev.From the music of Bernstein, the music flowed smoothly to the music of Irving Berlin arranged by Scott Ninmer. The transportive choreography by L.A Dance Project Founder Benjamin Millepied added to the uplifting nature of the evening. Dancers from Colburn Dance Academy conveyed a soaring spirit of optimism, their

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Review: “The Originalist” at the Pasadena Playhouse- A Must See Production

Sparring with Scalia Review: The Originalist at the Pasadena Playhouse by Leticia Marie Sanchez All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez In Ancient Greece, theater played a central role in keeping citizens of the city-state politically informed. John Strand’s The Originalist, which is currently playing at the Pasadena Playhouse, harkens back to the days of civic-minded theater by delving into political issues and polemics in a way that is equally thought-provoking and entertaining. Beyond the highly engaging Beatrice and Benedick-like sparring of the two talented leads (Edward Gero as uber-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and Jade Wheeler as “flaming liberal” Supreme Court Clerk Cat), the play probes a deeper philosophical issue. In his program notes, playwright John Strand asks, “How did we become so polarized that we see our political opponents as demons? What happened to the political middle?”  The timely play

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Behind the Scenes with Vittorio Grigòlo: Master Class with the superstar Tenor

Behind the Scenes with Vittorio Grigòlo:  Master Class with the superstar Tenor By  Leticia Marie Sanchez All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez A master class with Vittorio Grigòlo offered an unexpected lesson in chemistry, conducting, and electricity. The charismatic opera star has been in Los Angeles where he stars as E.T.A Hoffman in LA Opera’s Tales of Hoffman. While in Southern California, Grigòlo led master classes with Angels Vocal Art, an organization that fosters emerging vocal talent. Singers auditioned for the chance to perform for the world class tenor. At the master class, Grigòlo told the students that opera singers are also conductors.“A conductor is not somebody who has a baton in his hand..It’s a tube that can bring energy from the stage, passing through the people in the orchestra seats and sending it through the theatre. Conductors and Semi-Conductors. Electricity. We bring

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Wagner, Robber,and the Flying Dutchman

                                                        Wagner, Robber, and the Flying Dutchman By Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark He not have been an actual thief, but Richard Wagner’s Newfoundland dog Robber successfully stole the composer’s heart. In Wagner Without Fear, author William Berger regales us with colorful tales from Wagner’s life, including his tumultuous journey from Riga to Paris. When the debt-ridden Wagner and his wife Minna decided to escape from present-day Latvia, the composer insisted that Robber join them, despite the great risk. Cossack patrols guarded the Prussian border, with orders to shoot and kill the unlucky fugitives who caught their attention. Miraculously, the pooch did not make a peep as they dashed

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Schoenberg to Strauss– Thanks but No Thanks

schoenberg

If you don’t have anything nice to say…. Richard Strauss’ caustic jabs about Viennese composer Arnold Schoenberg came back to haunt him. In his delightful Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht reveals that when Schoenberg was asked to compose a piece for his sharp tongued critic, he wrote back as follows: “Dear Sir, I regret that I am unable to accept your invitation to write something for Richard Strauss’s fiftieth birthday. In a letter to Frau Mahler…Herr Strauss wrote about me as follows: The only person who can help poor Schoenberg now is a psychiatrist…. I think he’d do better to shovel snow instead of scribbling on music paper. It seems to me that the opinion I myself and indeed everyone else who knows these remarks is bound to have of Herr Strauss as a man (for here is envy of a

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Review: Pittance Chamber Music

Pittance Chamber Music and the Chambers of the Heart By Leticia Marie Sanchez All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez Chamber Music comprises music that can be played in a large room or chamber, or as denoted by the French “chambre.” This week’s concert by Pittance Chamber Music suggests a second meaning: music that penetrates the chamber of the heart. The ensemble evoked a raw immediacy and poignancy through their talented performance and moving repertoire. Particularly moving were the pieces set to verse. Ralph Vaughan William’s “On Wenlock Edge” was set to “A Shropshire Lad” by A.E. Housman while Benjamin Britten’s “Folk Songs,” included the verses of 18th century Irish Poet Thomas Moore. Tenor Arnold Livingtson Geis sublimely captured the nuanced shades of love, death, loss, and humor in the verses which were simultaneously rooted in nature and soaring in spirit.

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Beethoven: In a Stew Over Beef?

by Leticia Marie Sanchez 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,

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March Highlight- Pittance Chamber Music- Free-Music Center Founder’s Room

A delightful Cultural Cocktail recipe: An infusion of R. Vaughan Williams+ a shot of Britten+ a dose of Korngold= a TOP PICK! And, it’s free! Sunday, March 26th 3 pm Pittance Chamber Music Presents Members of the L.A. OPERA ORCHESTRA with ARNOLD LIVINGSTON GEIS, tenor and PAUL FLOYD, piano Program: On Wenlock Edge,  R. Vaughan Williams; Selected Folk Songs, Benjamin Britten; Sextet, Op. 10, E.W. Korngold Admission is FREE Seating is first-come, first-serve Founders Room Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 135 North Grand Avenue, LA, CA, 90012 During LA Opera’s Open House Above left: Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams

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At the Descanso Gardens

All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez “Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world” Ralph Waldo Emerson      

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Outside of the Broad Museum…

All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez  “It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”- Rainer Maria Rilke  

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