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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Photos: Season Finale- Salon de Musiques: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

  Photos taken at the Season Finale of the Salon De Musiques at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion   by Leticia Marie Sanchez Music has a healing power, and, in the wake of tragedies in the headlines, I felt particularly hopeful after listening to the uplifting program by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and Robert Schumann at the Salon De Musiques Season Finale on June 12th. As Thomas Carlyle once remarked, music “leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for a moment gaze into that.” Through the talented direction of Founder Francois Chouchan, the Salon embodied the restorative capacity and deep humanity of a language that needs no words.     

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Review: “Made in L.A” by the Los Angeles Master Chorale

Passport to the Human Soul: LA Master Chorale’s Made in LA By Leticia Marie Sanchez LA Master Chorale’s Made in LA provided audiences with a passport to the human soul. The diverse program not only allowed concertgoers to experience distinct cultures, but also transported them on a journey to understand the human condition in all its complexity: solitude, pain, love and redemption. Prior to the concert, LA Master Chorale’s Artistic Director, Grant Gershon announced that in light of the recent tragic current events, the concert was a “response to nihilism;” the evening’s program was dedicated to “victims of hate around the world.” Made in LA opened with Morten Lauridsen’s Ave Maria, an uplifting antidote to violence, a work of art that brings us closer to celestial realm. The piece invokes the Virgin Mary, a figure who symbolizes one who has transcended

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A little intermezzo for your weekend

  Beyond Exquisite: Riccardo Muti conducting the “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana ♫  

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Bach and the Nanny-Goat Bassoonist

Bach…the Brawler? Did J.S Bach, the eminent composer of such celestial works as the Goldberg Variations, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Brandenberg concertos, and the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor have an alter ego? It appears that the clever Kapellmeister, director of heavenly choirs, and the composer of music divine, may have had a mischievous streak. As choir director in Arnsadt, the 20-year old Bach got into fisticuffs with a student named Johann Geyersbach. The brawl originated thusly: walking softly and carrying a big stick, Geyersbach approached Bach as he crossed the marketplace with his cousin. Geyersbach accused Bach of having insulted his bassoon skill, 18th century lexicon for “Come at Me Bro.” Bach denied having insulted him. Geyersbach retorted, “Whoever insults my bassoon, insults me.” He then called Bach a “dirty dog” and Bach drew his sword. The two

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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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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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January 21- Happy Birthday Plácido Domingo!: Video Appearance on CCH

In honor of Plácido Domingo‘s birthday today, here is a video clip where the Maestro made a cameo appearance, chatting briefly with Cultural Cocktail Hour Founder Leticia Marie Sanchez after his performance of Simon Boccanegra during an episode on the history of LA Opera. Wishing the Maestro health bliss and many more triumphs in the coming year!   

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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. Via: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/mozarts_mug_shot 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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