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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Meet the Duke of Osuna

Goya’s Portrait of Don Pedro, Duque de Osuna, at the Norton Simon By Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Cultural Cocktail Hour had the pleasure of meeting the Duke of Osuna at the Norton Simon last week. The Duke is currently wintering in sun-drenched Pasadena, on a vacation from his Upper East Side pied-à-terre, New York’s Frick Collection. Accompanied by his entourage, Senior Frick Curator Grace Galassi and Norton Simon Chief Curator Carol Tognieri, the Duke met members of the press on Thursday evening. Allow me now to introduce you, fair readers, to the Duke. Here are some tidibits to help you get to know this bigwig.(His literal perruque is quite subtle and ever-so-tasteful.) 3 Fun Facts about Goya’s Don Pedro, Duque de Osuna #1 Check out the Letter When you are standing in front of the portrait,

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Where Turtle Doves & Thunderstorms Collide: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Cultural Cocktail Hour adores arts-fusion. On Friday night, I listened to the “Four Seasons” performed by the Salastina Music Society and left with a new understanding of not only the music, but also the charming characters populating Vivaldi’s masterpiece. This unique musical exploration, hosted by Brian Lauritzen, translated each note and instrument into a vivid character in the Sonnets of “The Four Seasons.” Who knew that in the Allegro non molto section of Summer, you are actually hearing a Cuckoo bird? The diverse birds in that whole passage make it an orinthologist’s delight! In Autumn there’s a chase-scene (not telling you how it ends), and in the adagio section in summer- violins play the role of gnats. Yes, Gnats! (Next time someone suggests that classical music is too rarefied, just combat that with the fact that a measure in the lofty Four Seasons

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Backstage at LA Opera’s “Magic Flute”- 5 Fun Facts

                                                               Mozart & Movie *Magic*                                                 Behind-the-scenes at LA Opera’s “Magic Flute“                                                                               By                                                              Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a

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Backstage at LA Opera’s Falstaff: “Let them Eat Parkin!”

                    Let them Eat Parkin!                 (It ain’t over till Falstaff sings)                  Behind-the-scenes at LA Opera’s Falstaff By Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark It ain’t over till Falstaff sings. The chubby British knight is opera’s favorite foodie. During a backstage tour at LA Opera, director Lee Blakeley revealed that Verdi’s opera about Shakespeare’s mischievous knight centers on appetite. Lust for food, money, and carnal pleasures. The feasts on Blakely’s stage illustrate the portly knight’s gusto for gastronomy, from plump turkey to Parkin cake. This sticky, traditional British dessert made of oatmeal and treacle dates back to the precise era when Falstaff would have cavorted with his merry wives of Windsor. The Parkin

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Cultural Cocktail Hour heads to San Francisco

A splash of ballet and a dash of Marie Antoinette. Shaken, not stirred. Your pre-Christmas Cultural Cocktail  by Leticia Marie Sanchez SAN FRANCISCO EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance. de Young Museum Closes February 17, “You live as long as you dance,” declared Rudolf Nureyev. The exhibition at the De Young Museum is a testament to the vivacious spirit of one of ballet’s most blazing stars. The exhibit showcases intimate photographs of Nureyev rehearsing, video clips of him soaring, and even ballet slippers donned by the dancer and his legendary partner, Margot Fonteyn. A close look behind the glass case reveals slipper toes well worn, naturally. One can only imagine how many times Nureyev rehearsed in his zealous quest for perfection. This fearless dancer was no stranger to conflict, including having a KGB hit placed on his life. The world of

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Exhibit Review: Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait,” 1889, at the Norton Simon, on Loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Review: Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait,” 1889 at the Norton Simon © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark A cool, distant gaze contrasts with the vibrating electric halo of blue brushstrokes surrounding the head of the artist. Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait, 1889” on loan from the National Gallery of Art and currently on view at the Norton Simon Museum of Art, contains a rare visual image in the lower left hand corner. Namely, the artist’s palette and paint brushes. During his lifetime, Van Gogh only depicted himself three times as an artist, including in the self-portrait now exhibited at the Norton Simon. At left: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 – 1890) Self-Portrait, 1889 Oil on canvas Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, National Gallery of Art, Washington      Van Gogh endured an existence of crushing blows, both romantically

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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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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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Cultural Cocktail Hour heads to San Francisco: “Masters of Venice” at the de Young Fine Arts Museum

Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power  By Leticia Marie Sanchez It was the best of times. It was the best of times. Stepping into San Francisco’s de Young Museum of Fine Arts is stepping into the Venetian Renaissance. Entering the exhibit you feel like one of the many pilgrims shown in the de Young’s reproduction of Bellini’s panoramic scene on Piazza San Marco. Gentile Bellini: Procession in the Piazza San Marco, 1496. The Masters of Venice applies to the city’s painters and power-brokers. Canvases of Venetian merchant ships made the city a maritime power. Canvases of avant-garde artists during the Quattrocento and Cinquecento like Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and Tintoretto pushed the creative envelope. The Venetian School revolutionized painting by shifting away from rigid wood panels, favoring canvases as a medium of choice as well as oil painting instead of

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Theater Review: A Noise Within’s “Desire Under the Elms,”- a MUST-SEE production

Electricity in Pasadena: A Noise Within’s “Desire Under The Elms” By Leticia Marie Sanchez For those in Los Angeles without power, head straight to A Noise Within’s “Desire Under The Elms,” the riveting production has all the electricity you need, and then some. Pasadena is no stranger to the works of Nobel Prize-winning American playwright Eugene O’ Neil. In 1928, the Pasadena Community Playhouse staged the world premiere of O’ Neil’s Lazarus Laughed. Directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, A Noise Within’s current, explosive production of Eugene O’ Neil’s Desire Under The Elms brings rawness to a narrative rooted in the myth of Euripides’ Hippolytus. It is a story steeped in ego, revenge, desire and the nature of human beings themselves. The strength of this production lies in the talent of its cast. William Dennis Hunt powerfully interprets the role of “tough

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