Support Classical Music radio with your Amazon purchase today!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ooof - too many leftovers

This isn't quite a cooking blog, but I have a LOT of leftovers, so I will post the occasional recipe for those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Whipped Sweet Potato Pie
4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup apples, diced
1 tablespoon brown sugar(to put into the mix)
1 tablespoon brown sugar(for the top)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup melted margarine
Mix all ingredients together, except marshmallows.
Pour into well greased casserole.
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake 375 for about 10-15 minutes.
Add marshmallows on top and bake until marshmallows melt and the top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes in total.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

RIP Richard Hickox

Hickox was a pro-active conductor who founded two orchestras,
Recommended recording: the City of London Sinfonia and the original instrument ensemble Collegium 90, with which he recorded the outstanding series of Haydn’s masses which he said gave him most pride and pleasure.

He is likely to be remembered above all as a champion of British music.

Thank you for all you have given us.

Classical Music will be playing selections from Maestro Hickoxs' career all week in memoriam. Please tune in.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sting + Elvis Costello + Barbara Bonney = Opera??

Two of my faves from my high school years (Costello/Sting 1983, folks) and one from my grad school years (Bonney) take the opera stage?
Well, we'll see, methinks it might be a "rock opera" but with Barbara Bonney on the soundtrack recording - this might be well worth a listen.

and I'm ok with that.

(reprinted from online)
Sting, Costello, but No Fat Lady

What do you after wrapping up the biggest rock tour of the last two years? After all in August Sting finished the grueling 18 month worldwide reunion of The Police that grossed way over $300 million. This week it spawned the bestselling concert video as well.

Most rock stars would just go home and relax. Not Sting. Last night at the landmark Theatre du Chatelet in Paris he opened in an opera — yes, an opera, a real opera — written by Elvis Costello’s long time musical director Stevie Nieve and his wife Muriel Teodori, and co-starring Costello and the eldest Sting progeny, Fiction Plane leader Joe Sumner.

Among the aficionados who turned out for the occasion: British pop legend Marianne Faithful, and film directors Mike Figgis and JP Davidson. Mrs. Sting — Trudie Styler — was front and center, as well, with actress daughter Mickey and newly minted best selling writer from the UK Simon Astaire ("Private Privilege").

It was quite an occasion too as Sting had only on the night before performed a showcase of music on the lute in the very same theater, playing selections from his album, Songs from the Labyrinth. He heads out next week to showcase this material on a tour of Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and other far flung locales.

Like I said, he could have just gone home.

But the opera, called "Welcome to the Voice," has been percolating for some time since Nieve and Teodori began workshopping it more than eight years ago. It was only when Costello and his band decided to join The Police on tour this year that the idea hatched for Sting to participate in the recording of Welcome to the Voice (already out on CD) but to put on a professionally staged version of it here.

The lead role of Dionysos could not be more perfect for Sting, who hasn’t acted in legit theater since his successful turn in "The Threepenny Opera" on Broadway nearly two decades ago. Dionysos is a romantic lead, a Greek steel worker who falls in love with opera and dreams of being with three of its leading ladies: Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Norma. Eventually he finds a real diva named Lily who entrances him just as much. The role, as defined by Sting incorporates not only his ever-expanding vocal range — impressive in a non rock setting — but his matinee idol good looks and athleticism.

Figgis, who directed Sting long ago in the cult movie, "Stormy Monday," was visibly impressed (as was the audience, which gave the opening night cast a ten minute ovation). "Did I know back then that he could do this? The answer is Yes!"

Costello plays the local police commissioner, a comic character. Joe Sumner, Sting’s eldest son, is his friend and enthusiast. In his black Russian hat and heavy greatcoat Costello looked like he was having a lot of fun up on stage even though he told me later he was battling a grippy flu. Sumner — whose voice is often compared favorably to his dad’s—turns out to be a natural leading man on stage, a possible find for Broadway producers looking to cast their next rock musical.

But it was the women of "Welcome to the Voice" who really set the Theatre du Chatelet on fire. The gorgeous throated, sexy divas who played the "ghosts" of Dionysos’s fevered fantasy were Marie-Ange Todorovitch as the "ghost" of Carmen, Sonya Yoncheva as Butterfly, and Anna Gabler as Norma. The magnificent Spanish singer Sylvia Schwartz won over not just a few hearts as Lily, Dionysos’s "real" object of obsession.

We’ve come a long way since days of songs like "Roxanne" and "Alison," of narrow neck ties, and thundering power pop. And even though Sting and Costello can do that any time they want, and make millions to be sure, that’s what makes "Welcome to the Voice": that much more of an achievement.

These two multi talented musicians may represent the last generation of rockers able to stretch beyond their original genres and take on other forms with so much success. (Costello has also performed with the Brodsky Quartet and a variety of pop and classical singers.) Bravo to both of them!

Welcome to the Voice: A work by Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori continues in Paris through next week, all sold out to the top tiers of the Chatelet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cats and Roomba vacuum

I am so buying one for Linus!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drag Queens have all the fun

"Casta Diva" by drag diva singer LaLa McCallan

As a former costume designer and continued opera afficianado, I couldn't let this one go by without sharing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Opera and Wine

So over at BOSSY's Poverty Party, we talked about wine.
ALWAYS a favorite subject for OG, although I think that means that I officially have become a middle-aged woman.
My 2 cents: 3-buck Chuck at Trader Joes - buy a case of it.

Anyway, I started thinking about operas that have wine drinking in them, and arias that are devoted to vino.

So here is my small list, which I will continue adding to.

Les Contes D' Hoffmann: the entire opera starts with a chorus to drinking, the "Glu, Glu"
Je suis la biere - We are beer
Je suis le vin - We are wine
(ok, techinically I am beer, I am wine, but the typical translation is "we")

Don Giovanni: The final act where the Don invites the statue to dinner.
"Vivan le femmine, Viva il buon vino"

The Brindisi from La Traviata
(link is a You Tube with the Pav and Millo: oh can;t go to any opera gathering without someone (usually who has had a few) breaking out into the Brindisi, which is actually NOT easy to sing at all.
(no amazon link for this one, but a great claymation video of the Choeur Bohemians)

Please feel free to add your own in the comments and I will add them to the post!

1 - How can you forget L'Elsier D'Amore?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Want to test a ringtone?

Hi all -

I have been playing with some software, and have an mpeg-4 ringtone of the bacarolle for anyone who wants to try it.

Leave a comment, and I'll track you down and send it out!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Poverty Party Post - hi BOSSY

say *that* 10 times quickly - better than red leather yellow leather for a vocal warmup.

You will see I have added the BOSSY'S Poverty Party icon on the right - if you aren't familiar with her humorous take on damn near everything, well you just go enjoy.

TPP is for those of us in the blogosphere who might want to save a few shekels now and then.

Todays example, while not opera-related, will hopefully tweak you into looking seriously at: YOUR INSURANCE POLICY.

So my auto insurance was with that cute little esurance gal: clever commercials, committed to a paperless business model, and at the time: LOW rates.

In the time I was with them, no claims, no accidents, no NOTHING. And in return?

They raised my rates. Then, as a birthday present (mine was last week) they raised them again.

Reasoning? live in Michigan. Um what? The state with nearly double-digit inflation, and the highest unemployment in the US since 2004?

Hell to the no.

So I made a few calls, and found a comparable company, with a less cute, more irritating spokesmodel - think "tricked-out nametag". and they lowered my rate for the SAME EXACT policy by $76/month, or $912.00 a YEAR.

Thats some savings, folks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Opera On A Dime - New York City Opera crisis - my thoughts

So there is one heck of a to-do on the opera lists about NYCO crisis, and well there should be. A lister proposed the following, and I agree, as you will see in what may be my longest posting ever on any blog...


an opera-l lister wrote:
> 7) Productions should have "minimal" sets but be innovative, try to "reuse"
> sets from the operas. I know it is risky but ideally they should design all
> the sets for all the productions in one shot. And the reuse them.
> Too risky...I can hear the critics (as well as opera-l folks) screaming about seeing the same tired staircase in Giovanni (painted black), Lucia (painted brown), Rigoletto (painted gray)and Cendrillon (painted gold)...minimal sets can sometimes be about as expensive as maximal can build beautiful, efficient sets inexpensively - lots of companies do it across the country...just not in New York City...better to share productions with other companies with very high scenic standards such as Santa Fe, St. Louis and others like that...
> But, in the end, it's all about the singing. If you don't have good singers - nay, great singers in an even, balanced cast - who cares what the set looks like? If the singer cannot draw you in musically and dramatically and connect you with all those little notes the composer put on the page...why go?
> And this CAN be done on a budget of $36 (let's round it up to $40 just to be safe) million a, Mr. Mortier, it's not enough to go wild and crazy, but we can life with that. Who wants to hang around three and a half hours just to boo the director at the curtain call? Not me!


Sign me up - back in the day when I was still designing, I costumed a Traviata for a cast of 70 on....$1700.00
2 people (my self and one of my best friends) BUILT all the women's costumes, including all the corsets/petticoats, the men wore their concert tails for Acts One and Flora's party, I built the country coats for Pere Germont/Alfredo, and damn it, we had a fine looking opera. All the fabrics were bought in New York, not your local craft store.

(anyone who wants photo proof just email me)

Thats $24 a costume, people.

And before you say "oh, it must have looked like garbage" I was famous for making really good looking period 'stumes on no money. Thats why companies hired me - because they knew it would look good and not break the budget. That meant they could spend money on, oh the orchestra and the singers. Just sayin'.

My friend (the one mentioned above) has always said he would design a Rosenkavalier for a dime if it had good singers, just so he could sit through the tech rehearsals and listen.

Back in the 1980's a terrible trend started where as a designer/stylist you were spit upon for spending less - I was actually fired from a film shoot (a modern day shoot) because I did NOT spend the entire budget, $6,000. On 2 characters, folks. 2.

Now I won't go into the whole union thing, because it is isn't my bailiwick, but opera productions don't NEED to have that expensive of production costs. They can look sumptuous and beautiful without breaking the bank. I know a designer who has designed for Ms.Fleming, and he brags about how many hundreds of dollars a yard her fabrics cost. But in a darkened theater, can you *really* tell? I say no.

;) - I think this just became a blog post.

Kelly Rinne

Music Director

Your gift keeps music on the air!