Artistic Anecdotes

Massenet and the crossed phone line: Dial M for Murder

February 21, 2017

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…

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Rachmaninov’s Retort

January 20, 2017

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…

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Howard’s End or Venice Beach?

September 19, 2016

No doubt, the re-release of Howard’s End has inspired readers to pick up E.M. Forster’s brilliant novel only to discover amusing gems that never made the film. In one such scene, protagonist Margaret Schlegel tells her soon-to-be fiancé Henry Wilcox about a…

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American opera singer Lillian Nordica’s Wacky Wedding

August 24, 2015

Soprano Lillian Nordica’s Wacky Wedding Crime of Passion or Fairly Typical Operatic Engagement? * You Decide. by Leticia Marie Sanchez Lillian Nordica, the first American opera singer to perform at Bayreuth, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase shot gun wedding. While performing…

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Giotto and Dante

February 11, 2013

One of the most illustrious artists at the forefront of the Italian Renaissance, Giotto di Bondone, enjoyed a friendship with his contemporary, the celebrated author of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri. Legend has it that one day, Dante made an impudent comment to Giotto about the…

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Escape from the Doge Palace: Casanova and the buttered Gnocchi

July 2, 2012

Cultural Cocktail Hour reports from the Secret Passageways of the Doge Palace, Venice. Escape from Doge Palace: Casanova and the Buttered Gnocchi by Leticia Marie Sanchez Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark In typical prison escapes,…

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The tumultuous love life of Richard Strauss- part deux- Strauss versus Stransky

August 9, 2011

Since so many of my readers enjoyed reading about Richard Strauss’s unusual engagement to the libretto-throwing singer Pauline De Ahna: Strange Love: the berserk engagement of Richard Strauss  we will now continue onto his roller coaster marriage. Due to a letter mix-up, his wife…

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Strange Love: the berserk engagement of Richard Strauss

July 18, 2011

by Leticia Marie Sanchez Some men plan a midnight stroll by the beach. Others a calm picnic under stars… Richard Strauss‘ engagement to temperamental soprano Pauline de Ahna involved: 1. being shrieked at by a soprano, having a musical score thrown at his head, and ducking flying objects…

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Jamming Django

March 4, 2010

Legend has it that prolific Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt enchanted Andrés Segovia with a jazz crepuscule. After the captivating performance Segovia asked if he could take a peek at the sheet music. Django laughed and replied, “I just made it…

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