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In the news: Live Classical Music helps veterans in California hospital

Today, The Los Angeles Times reported an uplifting story related to the health benefits of music.

Live classical music performances by a harpist and classical guitarist, improved the well-being of patients at a California hospital. The patients were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among other issues.Upon observing the significant changes in his patients, one doctor remarked, “It’s like an amazing miracle, and I don’t say that lightly.” 

Vermeer. The Guitar Player. 1672.

 

For the full story, please read:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ptsd-music-20120116,0,1657849.story

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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 the quickly drying and less-forgiving egg-based tempera. The ability to lavish layer upon layer of oil produced a richness of hue and a glossy dimension that distinguished these artists from their Florentine counterparts for whom Disegno, or design, was paramount. For the Venetians color reigned supreme.

Moretto da Brescia. Portrait of a Young Woman, circa 1540 

Not only does the exhibit give the viewer a sense of the Venetian Renaissance, it provides context to the paintings’ permanent home in Vienna. By a stroke of luck and excellent timing, the entire temporary exhibit (Closing February 12th) was transferred lock, stock, and barrel to San Francisco (as the only US destination) from Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, which houses the collection of the Hapsburg Empire.

Who is the gentleman surrounded by so many paintings? One of the first galleries in the de Young exhibit contains an intriguing depiction of Hapsburg mega-collector Archduke Wilhelm standing in his well-stocked Brussels gallery. This lucky man eventually owned many of these Venetian beauties.

Look closely at these “paintings within the painting.” Like a game of clue, you will discover nine of the Archduke’s paintings in the de Young, including Giorgone’s The Three Philosophers, Titian’s Christ and the Adulteress, and Titian’s Il Bravo.

This clever image at the exhibit’s opening encourages the viewer to embark on a treasure hunt through the galleries to spot the Archduke’s paintings. What once belonged to the Archduke, now belongs to everyone in the de Young, if only for another month.

Above, David Teniers the Younger. Hapsburg Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery in Brussels. Circa 1650

Do not miss Andrea Mantegna‘s “David with the Head of Goliath.

Mantegna set out to prove that painting was just as good as sculpture, and he certainly proved his point. The sculptural quality of this David sets it apart from every other work in the exhibit.

Andrea Mantegna. ”David with the Head of Goliath. Circa 1490.

 

 

The Fashion Police won’t arrest me”

The Sumptuary Laws of Renaissance Venice governed the manner of dress and required that citizens dress within norms governing each specific class. The rules permitted extravagant colors for the chosen few, like this red-garbed Procurator of San Marco, the second most powerful man in Venice after the Doge.

Bernardino Licinio. Portrait of Ottavio Grimani. 1541 

 

 ”Et tu Pentheus?”

Titian’s “Il Bravo” illustrates the moment in Ovid’s Metamorphoses when Bacchus is arrested by Pentheus, King of Thebes. While at the exhibit, be sure to get close to Pentheus’ armor. Its shiny dimensionality reflects Titian’s superb talent in evoking luminosity.

Tiziano Vecellio, “Titian.” Il Bravo. Circa 1520.

 

Who is the real voyeur, here?

Tintoretto’s “Susana and the Elders” depicts the Biblical tale of a virtuous woman spied on by two elderly lechers. Despite their futile attempts to seduce and slander, the men are soon proven prevaricators. The painting embodies the literal and figurative contrast between light and dark. Up close, one can admire Tintoretto’s skillful rendering of the luxurious jewelry, earrings, and the human body. It is a bit ironic that a morality tale about the pitfalls of voyeurism presents us the voyeurs, or viewers, rather, with an unabashed celebration of a voluptuous nude.

Jacopo Rusti, called Tintoretto. Susanna and the Elders. Circa 1560

Perhaps Tintoretto’s work reflects the nature of art itself. While contemplating a work of art, whether painting, music, or drama we become privy to a complete stranger’s exterior and sometimes psychological world.

The moment that the artist reveals himself or herself to us, are we also voyeurs?

Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

de Young fine arts Museum of San Francisco

http://deyoung.famsf.org/

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive  San Francisco, CA 94118

415.750.3600  

 

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Rodarte to design costumes for LA Phil’s May production of “Don Giovanni”

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced that fashion house Rodarte, who designed the costumes for the film “Black Swan” will be creating the sartorial operatic look for Mozart’s libidinous lothario, Don Giovanni. The fully staged opera debuts on May 18th at Walt Disney Concert hall.  Guess who will be in charge of the set design? None other than Frank Gehry, the mastermind architect behind Walt Disney Concert Hall itself.

Not too shabby, LA Phil. Not too shabby, at all! 

 

 

 

 

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Woody Allen to perform live in LA with his New Orleans Jazz band

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band

Thurs. Dec 29- Royce Hall- UCLA- 8pm

For information on tickets, please visit:

http://www.uclalive.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=204

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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 as hickory” septuagenarian patriarch Ephraim Cabot. His physically and emotionally intimidating presence can be seen in his interaction with his children, particularly his youngest son, Eben. Jason Dechert successfully captures the complex spirit of Eben Cabot, a boyish youth simultaneously filled with hopeful integrity and intense edginess. When Eben steps away from the menacing figure of his decades older father, we feel him flinch at his shadow.

At the end of Act II, Scene II, when Ephraim pulls his young bride Abbie to the ground to pray for offspring, he intones, “An’God hearkend unto Rachel! An’ God Harkened unto Abbie.” Hunt’s forceful and moving interpretation of these lines render them chilling, to the point where we believe that he has the power to defy earth itself.

Eben’s older half-brothers, portrayed by Stephen Rockwell and Christopher Fairbanks, infuse comedy into the play’s serious overtones. “We’re aimin’t start bein’ lilies of the field,” the rustic Simeon quips about their desire to quit back-braking labor on their father’s farm.

Monette Magrath adroitly navigates the gray area with her nuanced portrayal of Eprhaim’s new bride Abbie Putnam. Not an overt seductress, she carries herself with the icy blond dignity of a 1940’s femme fatale, managing to elicit empathy for her character, a hardened orphan with the chance to gain a home for herself through marriage to an elderly man. Magrath successfully portrays the vulnerable cracks under Abbie’s cold, calculating surface; we get the sense that her passionate love for Eben is the only love she has ever known. Like Eben, who does not know what to believe from her conflicting behavior, neither do we. After a heinous murderous act, we somehow feel sympathy for the star-crossed lovers, like an 1850’s New England Romeo and Juliet, a testament to skill of Dechert and Magrath.

The original music composed for this production by violinist Endre Balogh (who also performed the pieces) adds a haunting element of foreshadowing to the tragedy, like that of a Greek chorus. The mid-nineteenth century New England dialect adds an immediacy and vibrant realism to the play, making the ancient myth come alive on the Eastern frontier.

Philosopher Frederich Nietzche deeply impacted the work of Eugene O’Neil, particularly his notion of Amor Fati: the acceptance of one’s fate in the world. A Noise Within’s electrifying production depicts three protagonists struggling against their natures on John Ioacovilli’s sparse set: Eben’s desire to revenge his deceased mother, Abbie’s desire for security, and Ephraim’s desire for immortality by creating an heir. The electrifying clash of these desires makes A Noise Within’s production one not to be missed.

Performances: Dec 17th 2pm, 8pm; Dec 18th, 2pm

A Noise Within. 3352 East Foothill Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91107

(626) 356-3100

http://www.anoisewithin.org/

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Cultural Events LA: Dec 9, Dec 10, Dec 11

Family Art Night: A Head of Fashion- Fri, December 9- Norton Simon Museum Of Art

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Visit Nicolas de Largillière’s Portrait of Lambert de Vermont, c. 1697, and craft a fancy paper wig. Program free (with Museum admission) Designed for families with children ages 4 to 10 .411 W. Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91105 626.449.6840 http://www.nortonsimon.org/

 

 

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Sat Dec 10 Alex Theatre. 216 North Brand Boulevard. Glendale, CA 91203 8 pm Sun, Dec 11 Royce Hall 7 pm UCLA.340 Royce Drive LA, CA 90095 Jeffrey Kahane, conductor; Ralph Kirshbaum, cello; RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin; TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra; THOMAS ADÈS Three Studies from Couperin; RESPIGHI Gli uccelli (The Birds) For information about tickets, please call: 213 622 7001 or visit: http://www.laco.org/

 

 

Free Concert at LACMA- Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

Sun. Dec. 11 6 pm

Performing Bruckner: String Quintet in F Minor and other works to be announced. Bing Theater.No reservations. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. (323) 857-6000 http://www.lacma.org

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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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Cultural Cocktail Hour- Santa Ana Winds

                                             By Leticia Marie Sanchez

On Wednesday evening, vengeful howls whipped through the night air.  The city of angels was collectively roused by devilish wails. Tall oaks tumbled into swimming pools. One tree split a shiny silver Mercedes on Huntington Drive in twain. A Pasadena Shell Station crumpled like an accordion. Like cats in heat, the winds shrieked all night, hell-bent until they had achieved satisfaction. They were not gratified until trees blocked roads, the elderly shivered without warmth, and residents time traveled to a a medieval darkness, subsisting on candlelight.

 

 

 

 

Photo Left: Crushed Gas Station, KTLA

Photo Right: LA Times, Mark Boster

The name of these destructive winds, the Santa Anas, may, in fact, derive from Spanish settlers who called the winds Los Vientos de Satánas,  the winds of Satan himself. Allegedly, an Associated Press dispatcher in 1901 mistakenly entered the two-word name of an Orange County city to refer to the Devil’s Breath.

Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion have memorialized the Santa Ana’s proclivity to unsettle. Arborists now explain that Southern California trees are less rooted than their East Coast counterparts, hence their toppling. Apparently, many Los Angeles trees do not receive enough water to endure a battering like the one they received on Wednesday night. Perhaps the rootless trees symbolize the impermanence of some residents who come to Los Angeles chasing dreams, getting off of a bus for a flash of fame and a moment in the sun.

Despite the path of destruction, we should remember the Oaks who stood proudly the morning after the Devil’s Wind. Nor should we forget the children who rake mangled branches from their neighbor’s driveway or the worker toiling unto the wee hours of the night to restore power, limping after he alights from a precarious scaffold.

Let us not forget the trees that are still standing.

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Cultural Events LA: Dec 2, Dec 3, Dec 4

The Joffrey Ballet-Nutcracker

Dorothy Chandler Pavillion Friday, Dec. 2-2:00 pm & 7:30 p.m; Sat Dec 3- 2:00&7:30 p.m; Sun. Dec 4th- 2:00 p.m. 135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012. (213) 972-7211 http://musiccenter.org/

 

 

Los Angeles Free Music Society

Sat, Dec 3,7:30 p.m.

Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium Free; reservations required.

Call (310) 440-7300 or visit: http://www.getty.edu/museum/programs/performances/saturday_nights.html

 

 

Los Angeles Master Chorale- Sat. Dec. 3 & 10, 2 pm

Holiday Wonders: Festival of Carols

The program features holiday carols such as Joy to the World, The First Noel and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, as well as John Rutter’s three-movement Gloria sung by 62 members of the Chorale under Music Director Grant Gershon’s baton. Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 South Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012. 213-972-7282

http://lamc.org/

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Quote of the Day: Robert Burns

 ”Give me a spark o’ Nature’s fire,That’s a’ the learning I desire.”– Robert Burns

California Gold photographed Thanksgiving weekend in LA

Photography © 2011 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

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