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Pictures at an Exhibition- LA Art Show 2016

La Art Show7LorgnetteLa Art show 10La Art show 15La Art show 14LA Art show 11


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Seeing Chagall’sMagic Flute was like running into an old friend.

Chagall and Klimt galore, plus a quite a few undiscovered surprises made LA Art Show a visual treat!

LA Art show 13LA Art show 1 LA Art show 5LA Art show 2La Art show 10

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CCH End-of-January Highlights

Cultural Cocktail Hour End-of-January Highlights

The end-of-January’s LA Cultural recipe includes: an Explosion of art, an Infusion of Impressionism, and a Shot of VerdiEnjoy!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark


January 27 – 31


hale_crimson_600The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement

Jan 23 – May 09

Huntington Library. 1151 Oxford Road. San Marino, CA  91108.

Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931), The Crimson Rambler, ca. 1908, oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 3/16 in. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Joseph E. Temple Fund.

lamcchVerdi Requiem: Los Angeles Master Chorale

Sat. Jan. 30th, 2 pm; Sun. Jan. 31,  7 pm

Grant Gershon, conductor; Amber Wagner, soprano Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano;  Issachah Savage, tenor Morris Robinson, bass;   Walt Disney Concert Hall.. 111 S. Grand Avenue  LA, CA 90012.

Photo credit: Jamie Pham

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Wise Man: Goethe

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  










Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Annunciation, Tate Gallery, London

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Review: “Made in L.A” by the Los Angeles Master Chorale

Passport to the Human Soul:

LA Master Chorale’s Made in LA


Leticia Marie Sanchez

LA Master ChoraleLA Master Chorale’s Made in LA provided audiences with a passport to the human soul. The diverse program not only allowed concertgoers to experience distinct cultures, but also transported them on a journey to understand the human condition in all its complexity: solitude, pain, love and redemption. Prior to the concert, LA Master Chorale’s Artistic Director, Grant Gershon announced that in light of the recent tragic current events, the concert was a “response to nihilism;” the evening’s program was dedicated to “victims of hate around the world.”

Made in LA opened with Morten Lauridsen’s Ave Maria, an uplifting antidote to violence, a work of art that brings us closer to celestial realm. The piece invokes the Virgin Mary, a figure who symbolizes one who has transcended human suffering. The singers of LA’s Master Chorale seamlessly expressed the rich resplendent harmonies; on stage, singers of a multitude of ages and races came together in unity, making it the perfect piece to open the concert.

Continuing the musical journey was the work of Dale Trumbore’s The Whole Sea In Motion, a composition that explored what it means to feel solitude in nature. Pianist Lisa Edwards evoked the waves that flowed in the lyrical prose of Anne Bronte, on which Trumbore’s composition was based. Water proved one of several themes running through Made in LA. For instance, Moira Smiley’s charming In The Desert With You, filled with onomatopoeia, provided a vivid and witty reflection on LA’s drought crisis.

In addition to water, the connection between poetry and music proved another consistent theme of the evening. In Matthew Brown’s Another Lullaby for Insomniacs, the hauntingly beautiful lyrics were reminiscent of Romantic poetry, centering on unrequited love with sleep personified as the elusive mistress. The tragic poetry of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis was powerfully amplified in Jeff Beal’s The Salvage Men, a complex work that explores the human condition. The Master Chorale delved into the nuances of the poetry of both Wilde and poet Kay Ryan in a way that was profoundly moving and healing.

A third theme of Made in LA was the Ave Maria, which also provided inspiration for two of the composers in the latter half of the program, Shawn Kirchner and Paul Chihara. Chihara’s Ave Maria/Scarborough Fair juxtaposed sacred text with folk song. The female oboist represented the earthly emissary, as she subtly heralded the music of Simon and Garfunkle. This overlay of modern and classic also occurred during the Renaissance, when composers would insert popular music into sacred texts, so Chihara is in good company.

The program concluded with the world premiere of Nilo Alcala’s Manga Pakalagian  an exuberant and at times hypnotic choral suite. The piece, which marked the first time that the LA Master Chorale sang in Tagalog, contained traditional music from the Southern Philippines, Kulintag, which dates back over a thousand years.

Made in LA’s ambitious program ultimately provided its audience with respite and relief, a sacred space to reflect on humanity and emerge with a sense of healing and hope.

Photo Credit: © Steve Cohn

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November Top Picks

The latest Cultural Cocktail recipe includes the music of the incomparable Morten Lauridsen and a splash of dance inspired by the color blue!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

12.12.10.Master ChoraleLos Angeles Master Chorale: “Made in L.A.”

Sunday, November 15th 7 pm

Grant Gershon, conductor; Subla, featuring Guru Danny Kalanduyan; Lisa Edwards, piano; 62 Singers.

Morten Lauridsen, Ave Maria; Jeff Beal, The Salvage Men (U.S. Premiere) Nilo Alcala Mangá Pakalagián (World Premiere) with Subla, featuring Guru Danny Kalanduyan; Paul Chihara Ave Maria/Scarborough Fair (World Premiere);Dale Trumbore, The Whole Sea in Motion; Matthew Brown, Another Lullaby for Insomniacs; Moira Smiley, In the Desert With You (World Premiere);Shawn Kirchner Memorare; Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012   

Photo Source: Ken Hively

Out of the BlueOut of the Blue

Sat. November 21

6:00 pm

Dance Performance

Free with admission

Norton Simon.  411 W. Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91105 626.449.6840

Photo by Whitney Browne

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A little intermezzo for your weekend


Beyond Exquisite:

Riccardo Muti conducting the “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana


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October Top Picks

The latest Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a Mozart-Marimba mixer, a dash of the Renaissance, and a splash of free art in Pasadena- Enjoy!

 Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart_1Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Mozart to Marimba

Jeffrey Kahane, conductor; Richard Goode, piano; Wade Culbreath, marimba; TIMO ANDRES   Word of Mouth (West Coast premiere); MOZART  Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major;   EMMANUEL SÉJOURNÉ    Concerto for Marimba and String; HAYDN  Symphony No. 88 in G major, Hob. I:88; Saturday, October 17, 2015, 8 pm Alex Theatre, Glendale Sunday, October 18, 2015, 7 pm, Royce Hall, UCLA

Edible MonumentEat, Drink, & Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

October 13, 2015 –January 3, 2016

Getty Center 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049



fall_header_landingArt Night Pasadena: Friday Oct. 9th

6-9p.m. More than a dozen participating venues include: Boston Court, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, and Kidpsace

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Downtown LA at midnight

Photography© 2015 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

A Midnight Stroll by the Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and MOCA

Broad midnight

D Midnight 3

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Must-See Performance: “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles” at the Getty Villa

Getty Villa by LeticiaGreek Tragedy in the city of Angels


Leticia Marie Sanchez



Intense. Riveting. Pulsing with life from beginning to end. During a time when the heartbreaking plight of fleeing refugees has garnered global headlines, the struggles of Medea and her family could not feel more timely. Playwright Luis Alfaro has successfully adapted Euripides’ Greek tragedy with “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles.” Now playing at the Getty Villa, the classic work is set among Mexican immigrants in contemporary Boyle Heights. Together with Director Jessica Kubzansky, Alfaro has created a play that is unnerving and powerful. The desperation of his characters is palpable. During the scene when the family emigrates to the United States, violence and atrocities are committed against them. Watching the characters onstage, caged like animals during their journey, we squirm. We want to look away. But we can’t.

Alfaro is particularly skillful at creating lively dialogue, witty barbs that humanize the characters, connecting them with the audience. As the chorus, Vivis Colombetti (Tita) proves a robust force with which to be reckoned- with a gesture as small as a mischievously deceptive Cheshire Cat smile, she seduces the entire audience. She proved that through a sharp, feisty tongue, a humble servant can rebel and claim power, standing up for herself. The entire cast worked well as an ensemble- from the exuberant Anthony Gonzalez as the earnest young child Acan to the introspective, trusting Sabina Varela as Medea.

Alfaro adeptly uses metaphors, weaving them as seamlessly as Medea weaves her garments. For instance, the flapping wings of the Guaco bird appear like bookends, heralding the play’s beginning and end. At the outset, Tita flaps wings which, like a transistor radio, changes channels with each flap, providing auditory slices of life of the neighborhood we are about to enter- the sound of an orgasm, a child’s laughter, breaking down barriers at the play’s beginning so that Angelenos who may have arrived at the museum in the comfort of air-conditioned cars are forced to confront individuals who may be invisible to us otherwise.

The costumes also tell a story: the young Acan wears a Mexican soccer outfit in the first scene and later dons trendy skater threads to illustrate his gradual assimilation. In addition to the costumes, the music enhances the narrative, underscoring the tension with each note.

What was especially noteworthy was the effective connection between the Ancient and the Contemporary. When Armida parades through the classic backdrop of the Getty Villa in her new dress prior to her immolation, it is a haunting link to the past, her proud strut through the ancient- styled architecture connecting Greek Tragedy and the present, the intimate with the grandiose.

Finally, Alfaro’s play achieves the unthinkable. He creates sympathy for Medea, no easy feat especially right after she has committed a heinous crime. Yet, at the play’s end, Medea flaps her wings upwards, a chilling apotheosis that demonstrates the power and victory in her destructive behavior.

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American opera singer Lillian Nordica’s Wacky Wedding

Lillian Nordica

Soprano Lillian Nordica’s Wacky Wedding

Crime of Passion or Fairly Typical Operatic Engagement? * You Decide.


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 in New York, Lillian attracted the attentions of an American suitor which vexed her beau in Hungary.

The gossipy hotel maid in the opera singer’s New York hotel suite reported the soprano’s every move to her boyfriend back home. Upon getting the scoop of the new suitor from the Chatty-Patty-cleaning-lady, Lilian’s Hungarian beau set sail for New York. As soon as he arrived in Manhattan, he showed up at the opera diva’s hotel room, not with a bouquet of freshly fragrant Magnolias for his lady, but brandishing the cold, steel barrel of a pistol.

He pointed the weapon at the opera star, threatening to shoot unless she became his wife. At the sight of the mad, gun-wielding Hungarian, did the fair Lillian shake in her dainty little 19th century booties? 

Did she call the police? Or pest control?


She immediately summoned her local clergyman.

According to Norman Lebrecht, Lillian actually got a wild Bonnie and Clyde-esque thrill out of the gun-toting behavior of her Hun:

“Influenced both by awe and admiration of so doughty** a lover, the fair Lillian went with him to a clergyman near by who married them.”  (Norman Lebrecht, The Book of Musical Anecdotes,  242)

What may seem to others as a crime of passion seemed rather like a day in the park to the Brünnhilde-singing soprano.

Perhaps the result of singing too much Wagner? Kids, don’t try this at home.                                                                                                                            

*Let’s Not Forget the Violent, Operatic Engagement of Strauss

** Doughty. Not pertaining to her paramour’s proclivity for munching Hungarian pastries or any dough in his wallet. An odd little Old English word meaning bold and brazen.

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