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Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Windows of Venice…

Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: The Windows of Venice…

All Photography © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Video: Cultural Cocktail Hour welcomes you to Venice!

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Cultural Cocktail Hour reports from Paris: Da Vinci’s Saint Anne at the Louvre


The Louvre’s Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece

ending June 25th

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

For those in Paris, hie thee quickly to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate masterpiece, Saint Anne as the temporary exhibit ends June  25. 

Walking through the exhibit is akin to a stroll in Da Vinci’s workshop. An undeniable highlight of the exhibit is the abundance of sketches of the Virgin and Saint Anne that line the walls.

The drawings provide us insight in the mind of the master and the subtle conceptual shifts before he achieved his final result. The Louvre’s exhibit informs us of a Freudian psychoanalytic detail. Born out of wedlock and raised by his father’s new wife, Da Vinci experienced a childhood of two mothers, which could be subconsciously manifested through the dual mother figures of the Virgin and St. Anne

Da Vinci Code-breakers and mystery-minded souls will enjoy exploring the cryptic drawings recently discovered on the back of the painting.  In 2008, Louvre curator Sylvan La Reissiere used infrared photography to reveal the presence of three drawings: a head of horse, a skull, and a child with a lamb.  

Thanks to a massive 2011 Restoration (composed of an international scientific committee of sixteen specialists), the original colors of Da Vinci’s painting have been revealed, including the translucent mauve on St. Anne’s sleeve and the dazzling Lapus Lazuli of the Virgin’s mantle. After the excessive varnish was removed, one can see the delicate shades of light and dark and Da Vinci’s Sfumato technique which rendered the faces of St. Anne and the Virgin sweetly enigmatic.


Finally, the Saint Anne exhibit provides enriching context and evidence of Da Vinci’s lasting influence on the art world.

During the nineteenth century, the Louvre was a forest of easels in which painters like Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, and Eugène Delacroix would sit with their paintbrushes, studying and copying Da Vinci’s masterpieces.

Left: Odilon Redon, Homage to Leonardo Da Vinci, 1908





One of the most delightful parallels in the comprehensive exhibit:

Bernadino Luini’s Infant Jesus with the Lamb (1500-1524)




That is one little charmer you will not want to miss.


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Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, 2012: April showers bring May flowers

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, Spring 2012

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Tempests at the Tuileries, Paris, 2012

Tempest at the Tuilieries

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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Cultural Cocktail Hour in Paris: Nocturnal Louvre

Nocturnal Louvre

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez



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Cultural Cocktail Hour and the European arts scene- will be away in Europe this May


Cultural Cocktail Hour will be in Paris and Venice this month, reporting on the European arts scene.

Please check back on this site in June for reviews and photography!

In the meantime, please take the time to explore the different existing categories on Cultural Cocktail Hour, including my favorite, “Artistic Anecdotes”

Happy Spring,  everyone!

Leticia Marie Sanchez


Cultural Cocktail Hour

p.s. this month is Opera Month in Los Angeles- please enjoy one of the many opera offerings (see below)







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May is Opera Month in LA

May is Opera Month in Los Angeles

From the traditional to the avant-garde

The operas playing in Southern California include:

LA Opera’s Herb Ross production of La Bohème

opening May 12

starring Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez

Conducted by Patrick Summers

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

For full schedule, please visit

The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni,

the first part of the epic three-year Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy

May 18 to 26

Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

Starring baritone Mariusz Kwiecien

Costumes by Rodarte designers Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Stage design by Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry.

111 South Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012. 323.850.2000

The Long Beach Opera presents

West coast premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar

with libretto by David Henry Hwang.

May 19 and 26

Based on the life of Spanish playwright and poet

Federico Garcia Lorca.

For more information call 562.432.5934

or visit

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Backstage at LA Opera: the scene behind the scene….

Backstage at LA Opera:

Sneak Preview of La Bohème

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

All text and photography ©2012


Life Imitates Art, and art imitates life in LA Opera’s upcoming production of La Bohème. In Puccini’s opera about bohemian Paris, the two young lovers, Rodolfo and Mimi, will be played by real life married couple Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez.The operatic duo began dating in 2005 after they starred together in a production of, you guessed it, La Bohème. Pérez, a recent winner of the Richard Tucker Award, reflected on the moment when she first saw Costello as the leading man of her heart: “The moon was out, and I saw him, and I thought, I don’t know where he’s been.”


Costello and Pérez met at as students at the Academy of Vocal Arts.Costello emphatically pointed to the music departments at their respective public high schools as boosts to their current success. “We were both products of public school systems. We wouldn’t be in this career if we didn’t have strong music departments in the schools that we went to.” Costello and Pérez treated audiences to a musical interlude as did Janai Brugger, winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions who performed “Musetta’s Waltz.”

While the cast and director gave glimpses of the upcoming onstage magic, Director of Production Rupert Hemmings and Technical Director Jeff Kleeman explained the magic that goes on behind-the-scenes. Four forty-foot trucks had arrived with the Parisian garrets. While we see the stars on stage singing arias, the crew behind the scenes works without fanfare to create vast new worlds.

From the fifty core members of the crew to the dressmakers working at the costume shop to tailor the sumptuous costumes (the Simon Boccanegra gowns, for instance, arrived from London and had to be refitted), it is a team effort that results in majestic details of sight and sound. Sitting in one’s opera seat with a lorgnette or binoculars, one does not even fathom the fast-paced complexities, technological systems, and integration of automation. The seemingly invisible hand is what makes the production seamless.

The curtain falls. The audience applauds. But what happens to the sets after the production?

The sets are sometimes flown in twenty-foot airfreights, the largest box a 747 can handle, as was the case with the set of LA Opera’s “The Fly.” A police escort chaperoned the “Il Postino” set upon its arrival in Loredo, Mexico. With all of the international demands on the elaborate sets, it is only natural that an unusual situation may arise. Mr. Hemmings alluded to the mysterious disappearance of a costume container in a Rotterdam harbor. What happened to the gowns? Hemmings surmised that some “well-dressed pirates” now roam the Netherlands streets.

Above and Left, Backstage at LA Opera



Left, Costume Design for La Bohème

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Cultural Picks- the best of ballet in LA this April

Mikhail Baryshnikov

The choreographer from Black Swan!

This week, LA gets a double-dose of ballet

Enjoy this week’s Cultural Cocktail

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

April 13-15

Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

North American premieres of Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose as well as Amoveo,

Choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and choreographer of the award winning film Black Swan.

135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-0711


In Paris

April 11-21

Adapted from Ivan Bunin Directed by Dmitry Krymov

Performers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Sinyakina

with Maxim Maminov, Maria Gulik and ensemble. The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. 1310 11th Street  Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 434-3200

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