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Wise Men- Bernard Berenson

“No artifact is a work of art if it does not help to humanize us. Without art, visual, verbal and musical our world would have remained a jungle.” Bernard Berenson, I Tatti, Florence, 1952  

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“Shakespeare in the Gardens” at the Huntington

  This weekend, Cultural Cocktail Hour indulged in a scrumptious cultural recipe: 1 Part Gardens+ 3 Parts Shakespeare+ 2 Parts Wind Instruments Merrie Olde England found its way to Los Angeles at the Huntington Gardens. Museum-goers wearing floral crowns frolicked amongst thespians who enacted scenes from the Bard. Under the refreshing shade of the Loggia, the Chamber Music ensemble Ceora Winds performed Shakespearean-inspired music, including Felix Mendelssohn’s ethereal “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  As the winds played, an April breeze wafted through the trees  in blissful harmony. Leaving the grounds, Cultural Cocktail Hour spied a golf cart amusingly named “Pinkie”after Thomas Gainsborough’s painting in the Huntington Gallery. This playful little chariot looked like it had been left there by the mischievous Puck himself! Photos © 2015 by  Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Books: Italy and France

  Cultural Cocktail Hour is proud to present two books in a series by author Leticia Marie Sanchez Wonderful memorabilia for lovers of art and travel. These two books are a passport to cultural landmarks, a window to iconic images of theater, opera, sculpture, and museums. Enjoy!   Cultural Cocktail Hour: Paris This hardcover book contains images of cultural landmarks in Paris, including: The Paris Opera, the Tuileries Garden, and the Louvre.   Hardcover Price: $75      Cultural Cocktail Hour: Italy This hardcover book contains images of cultural landmarks in Venice, Florence, Spoleto, Assisi, and Siena. Hardcover Price: $75           To order either of these books, please send an email to culturalcocktail@gmail.com with “CCH Book Order” in the SUBJECT. Happy Reading! 

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Review: LA Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”- Standout Albina Shagimuratova- Do not miss

 Review: LA Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” Albina Shagimuratova delivers a A Standout Performance-  by Leticia Marie Sanchez LA Opera’s “Lucia Di Lammermoor” epitomizes everything that an opera should be: scenes of unrequited passion, arias between star-crossed lovers, and most importantly- a stellar, unsurpassed voice that rouses the audience at every turn. Albina Shagimuratova is by far the most gifted female singer to have performed on the LA Opera stage in recent memory. Photo, Left Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia di Lammermoor, Photo Credit: Robert Millard Singing Bel Canto Opera, particularly in a role like Lucia, is like swimming in the ocean without a life vest- the singer is completely exposed. Thankfully, Albina Shagimuratova and the entire cast of Lucia have the vocal chops to carry out their roles. A force of nature, Albina truly carried the opera with her undeniable talent. Range,

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Review: Le Salon de Musiques- A Must See!

Traveling through time without leaving your seat- Le Salon de Musiques by Leticia Marie Sanchez Photo Left: View of Downtown LA from Le Salon De Musiques, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion Imagine being able to step into an intimate nineteenth-century musical salon, hear a piece for the very first time, and then engage in spontaneous dialogue with the musicians. Fortunately, Angelenos now have the opportunity to time travel without leaving Los Angeles, thanks to Le Salon De Musiques, an original salon series created by French pianist and melodist Francois Chouchan. Chouchan is somewhat of a musical detective, searching for and unearthing brilliant compositions and bringing them to the light of day, much to everyone’s delight. For instance, at this month’s Salon, Chouchan discovered not one, but two pieces by Xaver Scharwenka, a German composer and pianist famous in his time, but whose

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Backstage at LA Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”- Madness, Police, and Daft Punk, Oh My!

Cultural Cocktail Hour had the opportunity to go backstage at LA Opera and explore the upcoming production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. There, French musician and composer Thomas Bloch, a worldwide specialist in the Glass Harmonica, introduced the press to this rare instrument, which adds a pivotal, haunting sound to the famous “Mad Scene” in Lucia. Bloch performed this instrument, even giving Maestro James Conlon an impromptu lesson. Photo Left: Thomas Bloch teaching James Conlon the finer points of the Glass Harmonica. LA Opera. Photo © 2014 by Leticia Marie Sanchez  10 Facts About the Glass Harmonica  Donizetti originally wrote a Glass Harmonica into the score for the 1st performance of Lucia. The musician who was supposed to perform the Glass Harmonica on opening night had not been paid and refused to perform. At the last minute, Donizetti had to rewrite

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Review: “Billy Budd” at LA Opera

Hanging… Onto the Edge of Your Seat   LA Opera’s Billy Budd by Leticia Marie Sanchez  LA Opera’s Billy Budd in a word? Intense. Three standing ovations. The opening night of Billy Budd provoked rousing enthusiasm from the crowd. When even the villain elicits fanatical cheers, you know that something has gone incredibly right. Liam Bonner as Billy Budd. (Photo: Robert Millard) Firstly, the set. The formidable chorus of sailors resembles a powerful tableau vivant. Producer Francesca Zambella stipulated that the set not include a ship, and yet the oceanic allusions, through Alison Chitty’s simple yet evocative bold blue motif correspond with the subtle, nuanced undercurrents in Benjamin Britten‘s score. It is no secret that James Conlon has championed the twentieth- century British composer by leading the centennial tribute, Britten 100/LA. Conlon’s deep love for the music was evident on Billy Budd’s opening

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Backstage at LA Opera’s “Billy Budd”

Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Editor-in-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez had the opportunity to go backstage on the set of Benjamin Britten’s seafaring opera Billy Budd which opens at LA Opera on February 22nd. Backstage at Billy Budd: 3 Fun Facts 1. Water and Britten Conductor James Conlon explained, “Water is an enormous element in Britten’s music.” Born in the fishing port of Lowestoft, England, Britten was influenced by his childhood panorama; as an adult, he set many of his operas in locales surrounded by water. For instance, Peter Grimes takes place in a fishing village.Death in Venice takes place in the Italian city of canals, while Billy Budd takes place on a battleship, the HMS Indomitable. 2. The Odyssey of the Set The set that you will see braved London storms, the Panama Canal, New York tempests- and (whew!) made it to Los Angeles

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This Week’s Top Pick in LA

Hearsay of the Soul, Werner Herzog Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300  www.getty.edu Closing April 20th This moving journey into interior worlds combines the landscape etchings of 16th century Dutch artist Hercules Segers with the music of cellist and composer Ernst Reijseger. For this pilgrim, sitting on the bench in front of the installation the experience felt intensely spiritual, a communion with haunting music and the powerful, evanescent flashes of nature.The experience called to mind William Wordsworth’s poem, the World Is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon” The world is too much with us; late and soon/ Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers/ Little we see in Nature that is ours Thankfully, Herzog’s piece allows us to escape the white noise, the constant distractions of the modern world. To take a journey into nature. To

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Wise Man: George Bernard Shaw

You use a glass mirror to see your face;  You use works of art to see your soul.”   – George Bernard Shaw                           Caravaggio, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome

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