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Met Opera Auditions- Western Region Finals- Zipper Hall

This past Sunday was yet another afternoon filled with wonderful talent. Opera Singers from across the Western Region vied for a chance to sing on the Met Stage at auditions held at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall.

Soprano Julia Metzler garnered the coveted first place! Congratulations! Other standouts included the poised, charming, and vocally impressive Katherine Beck who garnered audience acclaim for her rendition of Rossini’s “Una Voce Poco Fa” from the Barber of Seville. Tenor Brian Michael Moore was another audience favorite at the ripe old age of 25. These young singers give hope to the future of opera. Bravi!

Met Stage 3

Met Stage

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LA Art Show- *A MUST SEE* LA Cultural event

All Photography © 2018 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Strolling through the LA Art Show, there are delightful surprises around each corner, like the Earthenware by Picasso, who knew?

Picasso Earthenware

Picasso Earthenware 2




“Metamorphosis” by Erika Harrsch in which ”Extinct” Butterflies are created by currency made extinct by the  Euro


And an allusion to Rodin’s “The Thinker” lost in his phone

Rodin on the Phone

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Chagall at LACMA: dreamy and ethereal

Better 2 CostumeAll Photography © 2018 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

This lovely exhibit devoted to Marc Chagall (which ends Sunday January 7th) is filled with a host of costumed characters from “The Magic Flute,” “The Firebird,” “Daphnis and Chloë,” among others…

Chagall BestChagall YellowFLower Red Chagall Chagall Bright greenChagall flower loveliesChagall HarlequinDramatic Costumes

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LA Art Show 2018: Jan 11th- Jan 14th

LA art show 2018


LA Art show



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Sat, Jan. 13, 2018 | 11am – 7pm;

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 | 11am – 5pm


Photography and Logo © LA Art Show


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

First published by Cultural Cocktail Hour on January 21, 2011

by LeticiMarie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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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December Blooms

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”- Percy Bysshe Shelley

 (Photo snapped In the Huntington Rose Garden, December 2017)

Photography © 2017 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Huntington Rose


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Rembrandt- A Sassy Influencer

Rembrandt- A Sassy Influencer


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

gold gilded rembrandt

There’s a new gentleman in town who has recently arrived from England. Hailing from London’s National Gallery of Art, Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self Portrait at the Age of 34 has arrived at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena. At the opening night preview, Norton Simon Chief Curator Carol Tognieri revealed that this is the London gentleman’s first trip to the United States. Several attendees at the opening observing the painting up close, commented on the young man’s dewy skin.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait at the Age of 34; 1640; Oil on canvas; 102 x 80 cm,  On loan from  London’s National Gallery of Art

Unlike Rembrandt’s later self-portraits depicting wizened, furrowed brows, this is a dashing subject. The sumptuous gold frame itself warrants admiration. But don’t let the august, majestic pose of the gentleman artist fool you: Rembrandt was a sassy dude.

The full range of Rembrandt’s personality shines through the clever juxtaposition of two exhibits: the imperial aura of the self-portrait and the humorous, irreverent images in a concurrent exhibit: Rembrandt’s Prints of a Particular Spirit. In the former, Rembrandt portrayed himself as a gentleman artist. In the latter exhibit, one sees glimpses of a mischievous maverick.

One of Rembrandt’s favorite models was himself (due to the fact that he was readily available). In the prints, one can view the full palette of Rembrandt’s emotions.


A bit like a sassy selfie, no?

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait in a Cap, Open Mouthed, 1630Etching; only state, plate: 2 x 1-3/4 in. (5.1 x 4.4 cm); sheet: 2-1/16 x 1-13/16 in. (5.2 x 4.6 cm), Norton Simon Art Foundation; M.1977.32.010.G  © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Do not miss the juxtaposition of three expressions of Rembrandt: Self-portrait in a Cap, Open Mouthed, Beggar Seated on a Bank, and Self-Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap: Full Face, Head Only.  In this series, Rembrandt used his face to express a full palette of emotions: despair, surprise, and joy. His beggar was a metaphorical jibe, exposing his distaste for artists ingratiating themselves with their benefactors. Rembrandt, on the other hand, had a reputation for being contentious with his clients. The Self- Portrait in a Cap, Open Mouth depicts his madcap humor.


Rembrandt van Rijn Self-Portrait with Saskia 1636Etching, State I,  plate: 4-1/8 x 3-11/16 in. (10.5 x 9.4 cm); sheet: 4-1/4 x 3-3/4 in. (10.8 x 9.5 cm)  Norton Simon Art Foundation,  M.1977.32.027.G © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Look into my eyes…. Rembrandt the Romantic..

(Facebook Status: Rembrandt’s In A Relationship)

Self Portrait with Saskia is the only etched image of Rembrandt with his beloved wife, Saska Van Uylenburgh. In this image one can see a Dutch Motto “Liefde Barte Kunst ”(Love brings forth art). Additionally, this image includes a porte-crayon, a two-ended drawing instrument in Rembrandt’s hand, designating this as Rembrandt’s first self portrait as an artist.

Another gem to be gleamed from the exhibit is the connection of Rembrandt with berets. Rembrandt proved a forerunner in popularizing the beret among artists. Rembrandt’s contemporaries, including Gerard Dou, emulated him by donning the beret in their own self-portraits to denote their creativity.


I wear a beret, therefore I create…

Thanks for the fashion tip, Rembrandt!

Gerard Dou

Self-Portrait With A Palette, In a Niche,

1660-1665, Oil on Panel,

Height 31cm, Width 21 CM 

© The Louvre.

The beret as a signifier for an artist is not limited to the scope of art history; rather, Rembrandt’s beret has impacted pop culture as well.




Left: Pablo Picasso 

Not only have countless artists ranging from Picasso and Maillol to Hemingway donned the beret, but so did Snoopy as he stood next to his easel. Every cheesy flick or television show will inevitably use a beret as costume shorthand for “artiste.”



I may not be Rembrandt, but this beret means I can paint paw-fec-tly

Charles Monroe Schulz, Snoopy.

In today’s social media parlance, Rembrandt was a real influencer.

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“Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor” at the Norton Simon- a MUST SEE exhibit

Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor

A MUST SEE exhibit at the Norton Simon


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Stepping into the Norton Simon Museum for a new exhibition, the foresight of collector Norton Simon never ceases to impress me. Last year, perusing the sea of Picassos for the States of Mind exhibition, I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to delve into myriad iterations of Picassos work and thereby his creative process due to the deep collection acquired by Norton Simon. This month’s exhibition Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor once again felt like a seemingly boundless collection of a single artist, this time Edgar Degas.  With the exception of one loan by the Getty Museum, Norton Simon’s massive collection of Degas’ sculpture, drawing, and painting comprised the entire exhibition. A deep collection affords a viewer a rich window into the of the art of creation. Moreover, the curation by Emily Talbot juxtaposed Degas’ bronze modèles, painting, and drawing in an innovative manner that allows museum goers to see familiar works in a new light.

This exhibition coincides with two anniversaries: the centenary of Degas’ death as well as a 40-year commemoration of the purchase of the bronze modèles by Simon. Today, the Norton Simon Museum retains 102 works by Degas, three-fourths of which are sculpture. Most intriguing about this exhibit were the juxtapositions between sculpture and painting, which opens one’s eyes to illuminating perspectives on Degas’ artistic process. The exhibit unfolds thematically, down to the vivid colors of the walls chosen by Talbot: red in the first gallery, symbolizing energy and dynamism, followed by the calming green hue of repose in the second gallery where there are sculptures depicted receiving massages and relaxing in baths.

DO NOT MISS these works during your visit:

1.         Degas’ copy of Rape of the Sabines juxtaposed with his sculpture


Degas got his start copying masterworks including Poussin’s Rape of the Sabines. This work serves as a point of comparison between painting and sculpture. The creative juxtaposition allows a viewer to see Degas’ dynamic energy and lines both on the canvas and in the adjacent sculpture.

Juxtaposed with Rape of Sabines

It is also a visual dialogue: violence against women in the Sabine narrative and the powerful response in sculpture underscoring the exuberant power of the female body.

Above: The Rape of the Sabines (after Nicolas Poussin) c. 1861-1862Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas © Norton Simon Art Foundation 

(Sculpture details below)





2.         Dancers in Pink

D in Pink

Curator Emily Talbot’s original perspective made me look at this painting in a radically new way. Instead of viewing the subject as two dancers, Talbot suggested that the painting represented a single dancer viewed in two parts. This idea corresponds with Degas’ intense focus on understanding the body in its three dimensional form.

Dancers in Pink Edgar Degas. c. 1886 Pastel on paper, mounted on cardboard. 28-1/2 x 15-1/4 in. F.1969.05.1.P © The Norton Simon Foundation






3.         Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen

little dancer aged 14Perhaps the most shocking detail I learned when walking through the exhibit was that in the immense sea of beautiful sculpture, only one was exhibited during Degas’ lifetime: Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. With its avant-garde use of real materials, such as human hair and real slippers, the Little Dancer caused an uproar at an 1881 Impressionist exhibition. Due to the horrendous reviews, Degas never again exhibited sculpture in public. Yet, in, the privacy of his studio close friends and visitors could see the world of horses, dancers, and bathers that was closed off to the public. The exhibit enfolds us into the private creative world of Degas.

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, Edgar Degas; Modeled 1878–81; cast after 1918 Painted bronze with cotton and silk on a wooden base; 37-5/8 x 13-3/16 x 9-15/16 in. M.1977.02.70.S © Norton Simon Art Foundation


 4   Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opéra

Dancers Rotunda

If you observe this painting closely you will see Degas’ fingerprints on the canvas. To me, this painting represents the tactile nature of painting, a delightfully surprising connection with the sculptural works in the exhibit.

Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opéra. Edgar Degas. 1894 Oil on Canvas  34-7/8 x 37-3/4 in. M.1968.25.P  © Norton Simon Art Foundation


5   A placard with a declaration by Degas to his dealer, Ambroise Vollard

After seeing a wax sculpture of a dancer go through 20 iterations, Vollard was stunned to see it one day as a ball of wax. Degas retorted, “You think above all of what it was worth, Vollard, but if you had given me a hatful of diamonds my happiness would not have equalled that which I derived from demolishing [the figure] for the pleasure of starting over.”

That quotation encapsulates the exhibit: as museum goers we are privy to an artist for whom the act of creating was sublime.

Sculptures adjacent to Rape of the Sabines: 

Fourth position front, on the left leg. Edgar Degas Modeled c. 1885-90. Cast1919-21. Bronze. Modeled c. 1885-90; cast 1919-21 . Copper alloy base: 6-3/8 x 5-1/4 in. M.1977.02.08.S  © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Spanish Dance.  Edgar Degas Modeled 1880’s, cast, 1919-21. Copper alloy base: 3-7/8 x 6-13/16 in. M.1977.02.15.S  © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Grande Arabesque, Edgar Degas. Modeled 1885-90; cast 1919-21  Copper alloy base: 7-3/8 x 13-9/16 in. © Norton Simon Art Foundation

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Wise Man: George Bernard Shaw

You use a glass mirror to see your face;

 You use works of art to see your soul.”  

- George Bernard Shaw















Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome

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Dazzling Lights on Travertine at the Getty Center

Celebration     at the Getty Center in honor of Pacific Standard Time L.A/ L.A

Photography © 2017 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

 dazzling lights on Travertine…

Getty Party 1

Getty Party 2Getty Party 3Getty Party 4



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