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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Cultural Cocktail Hour in Paris: Backstage at Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera, Part II

Backstage at Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera Part Two by Leticia Marie Sanchez All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Charles Garnier declared, “I have two shows in my opera; one on the stage and one in the theater.” The most prestigious box, that of the emperor, was monitored by bodyguards. Nobles and industrialists had private boxes equipped with a curtain that came in handy for playing cards, ordering food, and engaging in amorous intrigue. On the ground floors stood working professionals, writers, and composers. Ladies were not allowed on the ground floor due to the tight conditions and bumping which resulted in occasional fisticuffs. Only prostitutes stood here as very few ladies in the nineteenth century worked as writers or composers. The very high chicken box nosebleed seats were called Paradise: one was close to heaven but could see nothing.  

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Cultural Cocktail Hour reports from Paris: Garnier and the Paris Opera

A brief history of Le Palais Garnier: Persona Non Grata and the Opera Bombs By Leticia Marie Sanchez All Paris Photography and Text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Persona Non Grata On the exuberant opening night at Le Palais Garnier, the Paris opera, one person was not on the guest list: Charles Garnier, the opera’s architect. In order to attend the inauguration ceremony with his wife, the landmark’s architect had to pay one hundred and twenty francs out of his own pocket. Persona Non Grata. Persona Non Gratis. Garnier’s status had changed from revered architect to social pariah due to the shift in Paris’s political landscape. Garnier had been selected during a competition in 1861 under the reign of Napoleon III. The opening ceremony took place fourteen years later, under a vastly different regime. The government of the Third Republic had an

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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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Review: Itzhak Perlman and Beethoven at the Hollywood Bowl

By Leticia Marie Sanchez The program notes for Tuesday’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl included a 1920 quotation from Italian musician and conductor Ferrucio Busoni, “With Beethoven humanity enters into music for the first time.” Busoni’s postulate also holds true for the humanistic performance of violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman who led the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s in an all-Beethoven program including Romance No. 1 in G Major, Romance No. 2 in F. Major, Symphony No. 8 in F Major, and Symphony No. 5. The indefatigable Mr. Perlman had the dual role of violist and conductor at Tuesday’s magnificent performance. Mr. Perlman’s sensitive interpretation of Beethoven had guts, soul, and heart. As a conductor, Maestro Perlman is easily the best one to have graced the stage of the Hollywood Bowl for his talent in bringing out the best in each individual member

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The tumultuous love life of Richard Strauss- part deux- Strauss versus Stransky

Since so many of my readers enjoyed reading about Richard Strauss’s unusual engagement to the libretto-throwing singer Pauline De Ahna: Strange Love: the berserk engagement of Richard Strauss  we will now continue onto his roller coaster marriage. Due to a letter mix-up, his wife Pauline de Ahna filed for divorce. In his book, Richard Strauss, Tim Ashley reports that while Strauss was working in England, his wife opened a letter from a female opera fan. The fan mentioned looking for a composer at Union Bar and asked for opera tickets. The harmless letter caused Mrs. Strauss to foam at the mouth. She contacted an attorney, telegraphed Strauss (who was working in England) to let him know that she was filing for divorce, demanded to draw their life savings from a bank, and prepared to vacate their apartment.  Strauss telegraphed his wife

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Strange Love: the berserk engagement of Richard Strauss

by Leticia Marie Sanchez Some men plan a midnight stroll by the beach. Others a calm picnic under stars… Richard Strauss‘ engagement to temperamental soprano Pauline de Ahna involved: 1. being shrieked at by a soprano, having a musical score thrown at his head, and ducking flying objects Elizabeth Lundy, in her book, Secret Lives of Great Composers, reports that after being conducted by Strauss in an opera rehearsal, Miss Diva Pauline went ballistic over a difference of opinion over tempo. “Pauline threw her score at Strauss’s head…the entire orchestra tiptoed.. so they could listen to the screaming, shrieking, and occasional thuds as objects flew around the room… The musicians announced that in respect for their conductor and in protest of Pauline’s outrageous behavior, they would refuse to participate in any further production in which Fraulein de Ahna had a role. “That distresses me,” said Strauss,

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Hans Von Bülow and leafy greens

Keep your rotten plants away from me! According to eminent music critic, Harold C. Schonberg in his book, The Great Conductors (Simon & Schuster 1967) German maestro Hans von Bülow cringed at the idea of being crowned, Apollo-style, with plants. When a committee attempted to present him with a laurel wreath, he rejected their tribute, saying, “I’m not a vegetarian.”

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