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Cultural Events LA: Weekend of March 17th

Los Angeles Ballet presents Swan Lake

March 17. 7:30 p.m.

Alex Theatre. 216 North Brand Boulevard.Glendale, CA 91203 310.998.7782




March 17 8:00 PM

Los Angeles Philharmonic. Neeme Järvi, conductor;Mischa Maisky, cello. Dvorák: Carnival Overture; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012 (323) 850-2000


Celebrating Norwuz, Iranian New Year at LACMA

Sun. March 18 11:00-7:00 p.m

Program includes: Musical Performances, Calligraphy, Story Reading,and Film Festival.

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036 tel 323 857-6000


For more information please visit:

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In the news: Art detectives possibly discover lost mural by…Leonardo Da Vinci?


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Art researchers in Florence claim to have found a strong clue that a mural entitled The Battle of Anghiari by  Leonardo Da Vinci lies hidden in a wall of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. Art detectives, led by Maurizio Seracini, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, drilled tiny holes in a fresco by Giorgio Vasari which lies on top of what they believe is a work by Da Vinci.

Clue #1: Black Pigment

Using miniature cameras and tiny endoscopic probes, the team has found the proof that they believe links the work to Leonardo: black pigment which matches the exact paint used in Da Vinci’s most famous work, the Mona Lisa.

Clue #2: Mysterious Message

Researchers point to another clue, a message painted on the Vasari work, which lies on top: Cerca Trova,” or “Seek and you shall find.

Is this a hoax?

Critics of the project accuse the researchers of trying to stir up some “Da Vinci Code” publicity. 

Florence’s Mayor says, “Carry on, Detectives!”

However, the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, has declared. “We need the courage to push on and resolve this mystery.” 

What do you think, my fellow Sherlocks?

For the full story, please read:

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Cultural Events LA weekend of March 10


LA. Theatre Works & The James Bridges Theater present a National Theatre Live broadcast

Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors HD film Screening at UCLA

Sun.March 11, 4 pm

Stand up-comedian Lenny Henry stars as Antipholus of Syracuse.
James Bridges Theater. UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television 235 Charles E. Young Dr. LA, CA 90095. For information on purchasing tickets, please call 310-827-0889 or visit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Pianist Abbey Simon performs at LACMA- free concert

Sun.March 11, 6 pm

Mozart: Sonata in A major, K. 331, Liszt: 3 Petrarch Sonnets, Chopin: Impromptus I-III.

No reservations needed. Bing Theater.

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036 tel 323 857-6000

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In the news: Levitated Mass “Rock star” begins its journey to LACMA


What weighs 340 tons and is the largest rock formation to be moved from two points since the Egyptian pyramid?

No, this is not a leap year prank!

Artist Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” is making a 105-mile journey to LACMA.

LACMA is even providing a mapped route of the massive boulder’s journey for Angelenos who wish to observe the rock as it travels to its new home at the museum.

Will this very unusual “Rock Star” garner fans? Only time will tell…

For the full story, please read:

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Video: Plácido Domingo makes a cameo appearance on Cultural Cocktail Hour

Cultural Cocktail Hour was thrilled to speak for a minute with Plácido Domingo!

Despite being swarmed on the dance floor by photographers & enthusiastic fans who dreamed of getting their picture taking with the Maestro, Mr. Domingo  graciously stopped by to talk to Cultural Cocktail Hour about the meaning of his name.

The majority of the 3-minute video provides a history of the LA Music Center and the accomplisments of Mr. Domingo.

Enjoy! Leticia Marie SanchezFounder and Editor-in-Chief

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Cultural Events LA: March 2, 3, 4

Heras-Casado conducts Strauss at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Fri, Mar 2 8:00PM; Sat., Mar 3 2:00PM; Sun, Mar 4, 2:00PM
Los Angeles Philharmonic. Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor; Martin Chalifour, violin. Beethoven: Egmont Overture (Except Friday). Matheson: Violin Concerto (West Coast premiere; LA Phil commission) Strauss: Ein HeldenlebenWalt Disney Concert Hall. 111 South Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012. 323.850.2000


Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination, 1200–1350

February 28–May 13
Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300



Capitol Ensemble at LACMA- Free
Sun, Mar 4th 6 pm
Haydn: String Quartet in D major, Opus 20, No.4;  Schubert: String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804, Rosamunde.
Bing Theater. No reservations
Stream Sundays Live. LACMA905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. (323) 857-6000

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Magnificat by Moonlight…

Cultural Photography © 2012 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

The Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena,basking in moonlight

after a performance of Bach’s Magnificat by LA Chamber Orchestra Feb 25th


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Cultural Events LA- Feb 25th

Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring 

Opening Night Sat Feb 25th 7:30 p.m

LA Opera.

135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s BACH’S MAGNIFICAT “Discover” Concert

led by Music Director Jeffrey Kahane

Saturday, Feb 25, 8 pm

Ambassador Auditorium, 131 S. St. John Ave. Pasadena, CA 91105

Tickets available online at, by phone 213 622 7001 or by fax 213 626 2157


Year of the Chimera 7.0 exhibit 

Glass Garage Gallery Fine Art Gallery. 414 N. Robertson Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90048

For more information on the exhibit please call 310-659-5228 or e-mail:

“The Doe Marriage” Copyright © Margo Selski & Glass Garage Fine Art Gallery. All rights reserved.

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President’s Weekend Cultural Cocktail

LACMA is Free President’s Day

Mon- Feb 20- 12pm

Live music from 12:30-2:45

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA, 90036. 323-857-6000. Free, general admission ticket required | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.

Photo © Leticia Marie Sanchez

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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

Leticia Marie Sanchez


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 by the pirate hero of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, (our English word for buccaneer derives from Boccanegra). Seductive sea currents literally flow on stage while James Conlon conducts the orchestra, evoking Debussy-like waves. Simon Boccanegra represents a deeply personal memory for Conlon, and his conducting on opening night honored that memory. In a podcast interview on LA Opera’s website, Conlon revealed that watching Giorgio Strehler’s production of Simon Boccanegra as a youth so moved him that it became his favorite recollection of an opera production. Conlon did justice to that defining moment by shaping Saturday evening’s music into a dynamic character. For instance, when Boccanegra reaches for a poison-filled chalice in Act II, ominous strains of the strings hint at the nefarious culprit, who is not on stage. As the strings evoke the villain, a woman in the audience gasped, “Paolo.”

Michael Yeargan‘s sets poetically captured the themes of the opera. Black and white tiles adorned the stage floor, a metaphorical chessboard for the power plays in fourteenth-century Genoa. The first act takes the audience inside a striking hall of Doric columns whose heightened perspective makes us feel like we are stepping into a Brunelleschi-designed colonnade. In the last scene, a stark blue square, like an azure Rothko framed by Doric columns, hearkens back to the blue screen at the prologue, fittingly, as Boccanegra has gone full circle and sings of his memories.

Duane Schuler’s lyrical lighting envelops the audience in the darkened ambiance of political intrigue. Shadows herald the tragic death of Simon’s lover, Maria. In contrast, during the fortuitous entrance of his daughter Amelia (in which she prevents her beloved father from stabbing), a golden splash of lights illuminates the darkened columns. We can see and feel that Amelia is her father’s sunshine. The interplay between shadows and light underscore the emotional heart of Verdi’s opera.

The dark motifs blend seamlessly with the voices in this opera, the low voices of bass (Vitalij Kowaljow as Fiesco) and baritone. Plácido Domingo, renown for his prowess as a tenor, emerges triumphant in the baritone role of Simon Boccanegra. His voice radiates in the lower tessitura and he infuses the role of the Doge with equal measures of dignity and tenderness, particularly for his daughter wonderfully portrayed by Ana María Martínez. Although Ms. Martínez has sung with Mr. Domingo in other venues and has been conducted at LA Opera by the maestro, this production marks the first time that they have sung together on the LA Opera stage. A 1995 winner of the Operalia World Opera Competition, founded by Mr. Domingo, Ms. Martínez’s cascading soprano sound contrasts brilliantly with Domingo’s burnished baritone at the end of Act I, (“Figlia! a tal nome io palpito) when she sings “I will be your dove of peace.”  Italian Baritone Paolo Gavanelli flourishes in the role of the Karl-Rove-like mastermind (“You owe your thrown to me”) Paolo, and tenor Stefano Secco embodies the jealous young lover, Gabriele Adorno. One of the most powerful moments in the opera was the trio between Adorno, Amelia, and the Doge in the second Act (“Oh Amelia…ami..un nemico”). The intensity and emotional impact of this trio laid bare the vivid humanity at the core of Verdi’s opera. Chorus master Grant Gershon successfully guided the chorus of the Genovese crowd; their eerie hisses of “be cursed” to Paolo at the end of the Council Chamber scene proved a spine-chilling finale in Act I.

Left: Plácido Domingo as Simon Boccanegra.

In addition to Domingo’s powerful singing, his acting made the Doge of Genoa riveting to watch. Domingo embodied statesmanlike gravitas while radiating intense emotion for his daughter, the wellspring of his joy. Domingo literally threw himself into the role, in a way never before seen by other singers. When Domingo unpredictably threw the full weight of his body onto the ground, shockingly collapsing at the end of Act III, the painful thud made the audience jump in their seats. Did he just collapse? Domingo pushed the envelope, suspending disbelief. How the mighty have fallen, one thought while watching a powerful ruler expire before our very eyes.


During the final act, Fiesco warns Boccanegra, “The hand of the Lord has written your fate on the walls,” a clear allusion to the Biblical narrative in the Book of Daniel in which the writing on the wall  signals to King Belshazzar that his end is near. One of the most enriching symbols in Moshinsky’s production revolves around the various writings on the wall. In the prologue, the plebians have scrawled graffiti in favor of Simon Boccanegra. In contrast to the street graffiti, esoteric gold-tinged Latin sayings reinforce the rarefied atmosphere of the council chambers, as do the late Peter Hall’s sumptuous red costumes. In the center of the majestic wall, one word stands out. Dignus Summa. Dignified. Worthy.

That one word captures LA Opera’s production of Simon Boccanegra, the best work by the Los Angeles company to date: Dignified. Worthy of opera. Worthy of Verdi. Opera at its highest level. The enthusiastic standing ovations on opening night revealed the audience’s appreciation of this dream team production. Bravo to Conlon, Moshinsky, Yeargan, and last, but not least, the inimitable, unstoppable force of nature, Plácido Domingo.

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