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Massenet and the crossed phone line: Dial M for Murder

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

French opera composer Jules Massenet once experienced an untimely mix-up in phone lines at the precise moment he was dashing off the finishing lines to an opera.  Stuck on the last scene of his opera Thérèse he called up his collaborator from a hotel phone to brainstorm together. Unfortunately, the lines got crossed, and a terrified eavesdropper listened in on their conversation. Katherine Bakeless related the anecdote in her book, Story-Lives of Great Composers:

“The last scene didn’t come out right. He called up his collaborator who had written the words, and said:

‘Cut Therese’s throat and it will all be all right.”

The wires had crossed, and some total stranger heard him. The strange voice said,

 ”Oh, if I only knew who you were, you scoundrel, I would denounce you to the police.”

The collaborator answered Massenet: “Once her throat is cut she will be put in the cart with her husband. I prefer that to poison.”

The strange voice shouted, “Oh that’s too much! Now the rascals want to poison her.”

[Bakeless, 138]

Unfortunately for Massenet, SKYPE had not yet been created.Or else the suspicious citizen could have seen with his own eyes that the “murderer”on the other line was, in fact, famous French composer Jules Massenet who was having a bit of trouble with his opera and that newly invented machine: the telephone.

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Review: “Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment”- a MUST SEE Exhibit at the Getty Center

Review: “Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment” at the Getty Center

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

 All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez

This Enlightening Cultural Cocktail recipe includes: Splashes of Sculpture and Infusions of Drawing!

Juxtaposition is the name of the game at the Getty’s exhibit on Edmé Bouchardon. Sculpture and Drawing. The Sacred and the Profane. Aristocracy and the Common Man. Juxtapositions work seamlessly in this vast exhibit, co-organized by the Musée du Louvre, providing a window into an artist of the Enlightenment, who was truly a Renaissance Man.

The son of a provincial sculptor, Bouchardon first studied under his father and then under sculptor Guillaume Coustou. Winner of the Prix De Rome, Bouchardon lived in Italy for a decade. His Italian sojourn proved to be a formative part of his career; Bourchardon immersed himself in classical works, refining his technique while copying the masters. While in Rome, he gained a commission to sculpt the bust of Pope Clement XII. Bouchardon worked in the orbit of Europe’s elite, from the Pope to Louis XV, although the Versailles court did not always appreciate his talent.

Despite his associations with the powerful, Bouchardon found inspiration in nameless street vendors. In addition to Bouchardon’s august sculptures, the exhibit includes his drawing series on humble street merchants, Les Cris de Paris.In The Woman with a Headscarf  the voluminous folds in the sitter’s headscarf have a sculptural quality, imbuing the anonymous street peddler with dignity and gravitas. Bouchardon’s virtuosity in each medium not only informs his work, it elevates it.

Bouch 6

Edme Bouchardon,

Head of a Woman Wearing a Headscarf

Red chalk

The journey through the exhibit includes renderings of noblemen and street vendors, as well as interlaced images of the Sacred and the Profane.Right around the corner from the Virgin of Sorrows is a mischievous mythological schemer: Cupid Carving a Bow from Hercules’s Club. Slowly viewing the exquisite sculpture from a 360-degree vantage point enhances the experience, as do Bouchardon’s red chalk drawings in which he prepared his sculpture for a three dimensional viewing.  Bouchardon’s Cupid is especially brazen, having pilfered the weapons of the God of War (Mars) as well the club of the strongest hero (Hercules) The self-satisfied grin on the visage of the naughty Cupid contrasts with the pathos of the Virgin of Sorrows. Bouchardon evoked atmospheres of tragedy and mirth with equal finesse. Similarly, he created works in sculpture, drawing, and coins with dexterous aplomb.

Bouchardon Cupid 3

Cupid Carving a Bow from Hercule’s Club 1750,

Edme Bouchardon, marble.

Musée du Louvre,

Département des Sculptures, Paris.

Bouch 5

Virgin of Sorrows (detail)


Edme Bouchardon,

tonnerre stone



Bouchardon’s contemporary, art critic Charles-Nicolas Cochin, hailed Bouchardon as “the greatest sculptor and the best draftsman of his century.”

This MUST SEE exhibit brings to center stage a relatively unknown artist whose work- in all mediums- is truly enlightening.

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Valentine’s Weekend at the Getty


Bouchardon Valentines

All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Bouchardon’s “Cupid” Stole My heart!

Look for an upcoming review on

Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment


Cultural Cocktail Hour

Glorious day, post-tempests in LA:

Getty Valentine's 1Getty Valentine's 2Getty Valentine's 5


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A Cultural Cocktail of Cirrus, Stratus, and Cumulus

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”

- G.K. Chesterton

Stroll through The Garden of Flowing Fragrance, Liu Fang Yuan, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Huntington mini cloud








Huntington clouds 2

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February Top Pick! Mozart and Mendelssohn with Pittance Chamber Music

 A mélange of Mozart and Mendelssohn creates an intriguing Cultural Cocktail!

Mozart PortraitPittance Chamber Music

Friday, February 3, 8 p.m.

Zipper Concert Hall
The Colburn School. 200 South Grand Avenue, LA, CA 90012

Featuring Maestro James Conlon Conducting Members of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra

MOZART Serenade No. 10 in B flat (“Gran Partita”) James Conlon, conductor

MENDELSSOHN Octet for Strings in E flat, Op. 20

Artists: - Leslie Reed, Jennifer Johnson — Oboe;  - Stuart Clark, Laura Stoutenborough, Donald Foster, Steven Piazza – Clarinet, Basset Horn; - William May, William Wood — Bassoon; - Steven Becknell, Kristi Morrell, Nathan Campbell, Philip Yao — Horn;- David Young — Double Bass; - Roberto Cani, Jessica Guideri, Ana Landauer, Lisa Sutton — Violin; - Brian Dembow, Shawn Mann — Viola; - John Walz, Dane Little — Cello

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Rachmaninov’s Retort

According to author Norman Lebrecht, in his Book of Musical Anecdotes, virtuoso pianist Sergei Rachmaninov was in the midst of performing a violin and piano recital in New York when his partner, violinist Fritz Kreisler was struck by a memory block.

A nervous Kreisler inched towards the piano, whispering intensely at Rachmaninov,

“Where are we?”

To which Mr. Rachmaninov cooly replied, “Carnegie Hall.”

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A Yellow Brick Road of Gingko leaves…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

and I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”- Robert Frost
Baldwin Coach Barn
Los Angeles Arboretum
All photography ©2017 Leticia Marie Sanchez
Yellow Woods
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Wise Man of the Day: Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Take a music bath once or twice a week”

- Oliver Wendell Holmes-

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Wise Man of the Day: Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon

“If the riches of the Indies,

or the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe

were laid at my feet

in exchange for my love of reading,

I would spurn them all.”

Francois Fenelon

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January 2017: LA’s TOP CULTURAL PICKS!

An exciting and vibrant month in LA in which to imbibe a Cultural Cocktail of Iconic Photography and a cornucopia of art! 

Two heavy hitters hit the LA Art Scene: Photo LA 2017 and LA Art Show

CCH is looking forward to:

PHOTO LA 2017 and checking out 1) photographer Grey Villet‘s intimate images of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, whose compelling story to marry in segregated Virginia in the 1960s 2) the work of Pulitzer-Prize winning war photographer, Tony Vaccaro in the exhibit ”War, Peace, and Beauty”, 3) Vintage prints of South African born photographer Norman Seeff who has made images of artists including Ray Charles, Andy Warhol, John Belushi and Joni Mitchell. 

LA ART SHOW: More than 90 galleries from more than 20 countries including: France, China, Spain, Mexico, South Korea,and the United Kingdom

photo-laPHOTO LA 2017

Jan. 12 – Jan 15

The REEF/LA Mart

1933 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

For information on tickets, please visit:


la-art-show-2017LA ART SHOW

Jan. 12-Jan 15

LA Convention Center

1201 South Figueroa Street West Hall

Los Angeles, CA 90015

For information on tickets, please visit:

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