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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Young Verdi: Altar Boy

Verdi

By Leticia Marie Sanchez       Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark In honor of the 200th birthday of Italian Composer Giuseppe Verdi, Cultural Cocktail Hour will be sharing anecdotes about the life of this illustrious maestro. In his Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht relates a revealing incident from Verdi’s childhood. The seven-year-old Verdi, born into a modest family, once served as an altar boy at the church of Le Rencole. During Fête Day, the young boy heard the organ for the first time. Transported by the emanating musical harmonies, the child did not hear the priest’s request for water. Three times did the priest make his demand, to no avail. Enraged at the child with his head in the clouds, the priest struck a severe blow, pushing young Verdi down the three altar stairs, knocking him into unconsciousness. When

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Stradivarius violins and Madrid’s Palacio Real

By Leticia Marie Sanchez All Spain Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark One of the largest collections of Stradivarius violins in the world can be found in…Madrid. Madrid’s Palacio Real houses a collection of antique instruments by Antonio Stradivari that includes two violins, two cellos, and a viola. Four of the five instruments were commissioned at the same time, and this collection dubbed “the Spanish Quartet” is valued at more than 100 million euros. During the eighteenth-century, Madrid boasted more than fifty Stradivarius violins and a royal court of internationally acclaimed musicians including Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. King Carlos IV had a passion for the violin, an instrument that he studied as a young man in Italy. Alas, His Majesty’s musical enthusiasm did not translate into execution. Boccherini found the king’s technique rather

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From Playboy to Priest: Franz Liszt

From Playboy to Priest: Franz Liszt  by Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Screaming Fainting. Fighting over a pair of handkerchiefs and gloves. A dystopian scene out of Black Friday? No, just a day in the life of Franz Liszt. His female fans grabbed fallen strands of his hair, articles of his clothing, and broken piano strings. One lady snatched an old cigar stump thrown away by the pianist and encased it in diamonds, proudly wearing it as a necklace, despite its malodorous scent. Doctors classified these fervent outbursts as Lisztomania . Some physicians warned that it was contagious. One Munich newspaper announced in 1843, “Liszt fever: a contagion that breaks out in every city the pianist visits, and which neither age nor wisdom can protect against.” Married aristocrats- including Countess Marie D’Agoult and Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein-left their

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L.A. Opera’s “The Two Foscari”- A Must-See Production

           What Lies Beneath:                          Probing the Shadows of Power in LA Opera’s I Due Foscari by               Leticia Marie Sanchez Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, rued Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Or, in the case of Giuseppe Verdi’s I Due Foscari, uneasy lies the head that wears the corno ducale, the gemmed, scarlet Doge-cap. This rarely produced opera about Venice’s fifteenth-century ruler, Doge Francesco Foscari (played eminently by Plácido Domingo), has not been seen in the United States in more than four decades. LA Opera’s interpretation of Verdi’s rare jewel is a Must-See production, due to not only the talent of its cast, but also to the cinematic, visually engaging direction by Thaddeus Strassberger and scenic designer Kevin Knight. Even before the opera begins, a screen

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Review: Keeping an Audience on its Toes: “Framework” at MOCA- A Must See Production

Review: Keeping an Audience on Its Toes: “Framework” at MOCA A Must-See Production  by Leticia Marie Sanchez Text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Jean Cocteau once remarked, “The Louvre is a morgue. You go there to identify your friends.” Unlike Cocteau’s bleak categorization of museums, L.A Dance Project illustrated the vibrant possibilities of a living museum through their energetically innovative performance at MOCA on Thursday evening.  FRAMEWORK at MOCA Grand Avenue, July 19, 2012, photo by Christina Edwards, courtesy of MOCA.   The poignant sounds of the violin emanated from the gallery walls. Benjamin Millepied, former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet and choreographer of the hit film “Black Swan,” danced with Amanda Wells as 17-year old Colburn violinist Mayumi Kanagawa performed movements from Bach’s B Minor Partita and A Minor Sonata. The aptly named

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Venice Italy Summer 2012- Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Top 3 Picks including exclusive behind-the-scenes video at La Chiesa San Vidal

The Venetian Cultural Cocktail recipe is 2 oz Gothic,  a shot of violins, and an intoxicating golden liquor otherwise known as Gustav Klimt! Cultural Cocktail Hour‘s Travel Tips for Venetian exhibits Summer 2012 by Leticia Marie Sanchez All Photography, text, and video © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Pick #1 Interpreti Veneziani Chiesa San Vidal - 30124 Venezia These talented, passionate performers interpret Baroque, Classical, and Modern works almost daily at the Chiesa San Vidal. Cultural Cocktail Hour takes you briefly inside the Chiesa San Vidal, named after Doge Vitale Falier.  This now deconsecrated church once never seemed to catch a break. It was rebuilt after the ravaging fires of 1105 and 1696. The new facade, built in the 18th century, housed works by Carpaccio and Piazzetta. Now, the once forsaken church has been revitalized by the music of Interpreti

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Backstage at LA Opera: the scene behind the scene….

Backstage at LA Opera: Sneak Preview of La Bohème By Leticia Marie Sanchez All text and photography ©2012   Life Imitates Art, and art imitates life in LA Opera’s upcoming production of La Bohème. In Puccini’s opera about bohemian Paris, the two young lovers, Rodolfo and Mimi, will be played by real life married couple Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez.The operatic duo began dating in 2005 after they starred together in a production of, you guessed it, La Bohème. Pérez, a recent winner of the Richard Tucker Award, reflected on the moment when she first saw Costello as the leading man of her heart: “The moon was out, and I saw him, and I thought, I don’t know where he’s been.”   Costello and Pérez met at as students at the Academy of Vocal Arts.Costello emphatically pointed to the music

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Review: Simon Boccanegra at LA Opera- a MUST-SEE Production

          Review: LA Opera’s Simon Boccanegra A Night of Dignity and Glory by Leticia Marie Sanchez ©2012 Director Elijah Moshinsky’s Simon Boccanegra, now on stage at LA Opera, was originally created in 1991 for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and exudes majesty and dignity. The plebians, the ninety-nine percent movement in fourteenth-century Genoa, want to occupy the Doge’s palace and remove the patricians from power through the corsair hero of the masses, Simon Boccanegra. Moshinsky’s glorious production does not use any gimmicks or flash. Instead, through his elegant reverence for history and a beautifully refined set, the music and characters come to the forefront of the opera, riveting the audience as does Plácido Domingo in the title role. Even before Simon Boccanegra begins, a blue impressionist screen sets the stage, alluding to the oceans conquered

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A little Sibelius to soothe those affected by the Santa Anas: “Chorus of the Winds” from the Tempest. Op. 109

As you rake the leaves, turn on the lights, and look at the beauty untouched that is all around us- Enjoy!

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Eugene Onegin

tatianas-bath

Opera Review: The Visual Poetry of LA Opera’s “Eugene Onegin” by Leticia Marie Sanchez “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” During LA Opera’s psychologically profound production of Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” red skies foreshadowed emotional storms, from the passion-red sky faced by Tatiana the morning after she wrote her feverish note to Onegin to the blazing landscape faced by Lensky on the morning of his fateful duel. LA Opera’s production masterfully captured the poetic spirit of Tchaikovsky’s opera, bringing the interior life of Alexander Pushkin’s characters to the foreground through sumptuous visual poetry. This beloved masterpiece has never before been performed at LA Opera. Its debut on Saturday night led by James Conlon was nothing short of world class. The visually stunning production was originally created in 2006 by the late director

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