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This weekend Top Picks in LA: Jan 17-19

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a splash of Brahms and more than a dash of Art:

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AX BRAHMS PROJECT: Emanuel Ax & Robin Ticciati

Fri Jan 17 8:00PM; Sat Jan 18 2:00PM; Sun Jan 19 2:00 PM;

LIGETI: Melodien; BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012 (323) 850-2000

http://www.laphil.com/

 

LA Art Show

Jan16-19

LA Convention Center; South Hall J and K; 1201 South Figueroa St. LA, CA 90015

http://www.laartshow.com/

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Happy New Year to my readers!

 Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

In 2013, Cultural Cocktail Hour traveled through Andalusia, Umbria, Chianti, and Tuscany.

Wishing my readers around the globe a very HAPPY NEW YEAR replete with

Many Blessings,

Cultural Adventures,

and

Creative Inspiration!

Best Wishes,

Leticia Marie Sanchez, Editor-in-Chief, C.C.H.

 

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Meet the Duke of Osuna

Goya’s Portrait of Don Pedro, Duque de Osuna, at the Norton Simon

By

Leticia Marie Sanchez

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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, you will see a letter. This unfolded missive is signed from the artist to the Duke. El Duque De Osuna, Por Goya. (The Duke of Osuna, By Goya).

The symbol of the letter reflects Goya’s intimacy with the Duke.This scroll is like a modern-day email, a friendly little tweet. 

If the Duke of Osuna and Goya were on Facebook, they would totally be friends.

#2 No bling

Observe the Duke’s clothing. No flashy medals. No honorific decorations. As one of the most powerful men in Spain, he decided to leave his status symbols at home. Similarly, Goya approached this painting with a less restricted, looser application of paint. The Duke’s informal appearance underscores the relaxed rapport between these two chums.

#3 Rebel With A Cause

The Duke and his wife, Maria Josefa Pimental, 15th Countess of Benavente, were intellectual rebels at heart; they hosted salons with forward thinking playwrights, scientists and artists. 

(They often held salons in their French-inspired country estate, entitled, “El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna.” Which translates as “The Whim of the Poplar Groves of the Osuna.” A Whim! Who wouldn’t want to live in Whim? What does a whim look like?  I imagine there are inspiring breezes, balconies, and balustrades. But I digress.)

Thanks to their power and fortune, the lucky Duke and Countess-Duchess could bend the rules in their quest for the avant-garde. In fact, they were allowed to buy works (gasp!) banned by the Inquisition. Now that sounds just like a Cultural Cocktail Hour kind of party!

Lesson learned: Don’t judge a book (or a Duke) by his cover.

Painting Above: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828)
Don Pedro, Duque de Osuna, c.1790s
Oil on canvas
54 1/4 x 43 x 4 in. (137.8 x 109.2 x 10.2 cm)
The Frick Collection; photo: Michael Bodycomb

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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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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 may have been at least partially inspired by a mosquito-itch).

The whimsical cast of characters in this musical narrative include a dulcet turtle dove, dancing nymphs, Bacchus-imbibing peasants, a trembling shepherd, and of course, those thrilling thunderstorms.

Isolating specific instruments and passages allows one to listen to Vivaldi in a refreshing new way. Experiencing this concert beneath the warm hues of stained glass at the Church of the Angels only enhanced an already illuminating evening.

Photo Above: Church of the Angels, Pasadena

                         Site of Dec 6th Salastina Concert

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Happy Birthday, Maria Callas!

This week, Maria Callas would have been 90 years old

She was an opera singer famous for her coloratura- expertise in adding texture and color to each note with her agile voice.

Many critics have classified her as Soprano Sfogato - the unlimited soprano.

Another classification for her voice was Soprano Assoluta.”

The Absolute Soprano.

Yes she was.

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Cultural Cocktail Hour‘s musical favorites on Thanksgiving include:

Simple Gifts” from Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,”

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,”

and anything by George Winston.

How about you?

Wishing all my readers a beautiful Thanksgiving!!

Photograph Above: Autumn in Cambridge © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Beethoven & the Beef Stew- don’t try this at home!

In honor of Thanksgiving, Beethoven’s Beef Stew!

First published by Cultural Cocktail Hour on January 21, 2011

by LeticiMarie Sanchez

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According to Norman Lebrecht, author of “The Book of Musical Anectodes” (Simon & Schuster, 1985), Beethoven flew off the handle when a waiter at the Viennese restaurant “The Swan,” brought him the wrong meat dish. Some artists are particular about their piano benches (Gould) while others are particular about their beef.  An outraged Beethoven hurled the dish, gravy and all, over the waiter’s head.

Just as the wrong meat could turn him into a raging bull, the right one could turn him into a loving lamb.  When his friend Ferdinand Ries sent him a particular type of roast veal, Beethoven kissed and embraced him, telling him “never had anything given him such pleasure as the roast veal, coming at the very moment when he so greatly longed for it.” (Lebrehct, 81)

Beethoven also adored bread soup, which he ate religiously on Thursdays. Woe to the chef who did not prepare it properly. He or she would have to duck from Beethoven-hurled Eggs Bombs. Yolks on the Cook!

Beethoven obviously felt all of his Senses, including his gastronomical ones, intensely. Perhaps that is why the wrong cut of beef could put him into a stew.

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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

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Cultural Cocktail Hour went backstage to check out the animation at LA Opera’s Magic Flute a production that became a cult hit at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

Created by the British theater group 1927 (in collaboration with Barrie Kosky), the production combines animated film and live performers. CCH interviewed 1927′s director Suzanne Andrade and animator Paul Barritt.

 

Left: 1927 director Suzanne Andrade 

5 Fun Facts About  LA Opera’s Magic Flute

1. 1927

Theater Group 1927 derived their name from the year that the film “Jazz Singer” was released. Although this was the first “talkie” film (ie a film with sound) 1927 derives much of its inspiration from the silent film era.

2. No Theater Lights

No Theater Lights will be used in this production.Any reflection on the singers emanates from the animated films themselves.

3. Weimar Cabaret and German Expressionism

What was the Weimar Cabaret? Think German Gatsby-esque flappers.

Q: CCH:Did the era of the Weimar Cabaret and German Expressionist film influence 1927’s vision of the Magic Flute?”

A: Suzanne Andrade: “This time period did impact our style. For instance, the melodramatic forms used in German Expressionist film influenced the shapes of the bodies of our animated Magic Flute characters.”

4. Masonic Symbols

Much has been made of the esoteric Masonic Symbols in Mozart’s opera (For instance, the number 3 is a Masonic number: In the Magic Flute, there are 3 ladies, 3 boys, the 3 flats of E Flat Major).

Q: CCH: ”Did you intentionally  incorporate any Masonic symbols into your animation?”

 A: Suzanne Andrade: “While sitting in a pub Barritt and I debated adding Masonic leitmotifs. But we decided for the most part against it. However, Sarastro’s “all-seeing eye” (a Masonic symbol) will appear on screen. “

 5. Monostatos has a dog

I tested out this whimsical animation on the LA Opera Stage. Imagine the blocking for the cast, who are not only singing intense arias (like the Queen of the Night with her ferocious F6s) but interacting with fantastical creatures at the same time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Picks Nov 16th & 17th in LA

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe: a burst of Beethoven and a shot of 12th Century Music- enjoy!

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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Nov 16th and 17th

Hans Graf, conductor Alessio Bax, piano

DUTILLEUX:  Mystère de l’instant; MOZART:  Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor

BEETHOVEN:  Symphony No. 6 in F major, “Pastoral”

Sat. Nov. 16, 8 pm Alex Theatre, Glendale

216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale CA 91203

November 17, 7 pm. Royce Hall, UCLA 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095. 213 622 7001 www.laco.org


Gordon Getty Concerts

Music Inspired by St. Thomas of Canterbury & other 12th-Century Marvels

Sat. Nov 16th 7:00 p.m

Members of Los Angeles Master Chorale led by Grant Gershon.

Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300

www.getty.edu

 

 

 

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