About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost feeling sorry..

for the Rivermen, loosing at home in shoot outs to Aeros yesterday and today to The Texas Stars-almost! And former Aeros, now Stars 'Soft Spot' got an assist.

The Aeros traded one BB for another BB.
I could not resist posting this :-), :-(
Yes, Barry Brust (Brusty) is sent back to sunny Florida and the Everblades, who will be delighted to have him back for more wins. Yes, Brandon Buck (Bucky) will again be Nr. 16 with the Aeros..and hopefully as successful here as he was there with the Blades. Why the BB trade? Well, Doobie has been returned from Minnesota.

WOW, a win over Peoria

electrified Aeros pull off a 5-4 win over Peoria ..all goals in the third period..they woke up all right. Speedy Di Salvatore 2 goals, one a PP, and Ironman Noreau got the others. RAU-WOW got the SO goal and made 3rd Star. Ironman Noreau with 2 assists, the others were Almond Joy, Avalanche Kalus and King Duncan (Milroy). Now, Dimples (Anton) had TWO penalties while stopping 32 shots on goal...delay of game and roughing... Testy, Almond Joy (he IS turning into a roughie?), Falk and The Rock (Rogers) got the others. So is THIS AEROS team doing a come-back-guyz thing? As did last year's team! Ironman now leads the AHL as the highest scorer among defensemen.... Defensemen Scorers..yes, you read right!Just a little tidbit: No one since 1996 has scored 4 goals vs. Aeros. So Peoria broke that record. And Aeros now in 5th place with 53 points.

Now to another winner:
MOZART's DON GIOVANNI at the University of Houston.

Below the final scene Commendatore vs Don Giovanni - traditional staging with the Don Giovanni of Welsh Baritone Bryn Terfel.
Playing to a packed house, one of the largest attendance I've seen there, the student singers and players demonstrated the quality of U of H's music program.
Julia Cramer as Donna Anna and Gabriel Preisser as Don Giovanni absolutely stole the show. Preisser was outstanding. His Leporello, Kyle Knappenberger, also stepped up and performed rather well.

Priscilla Salisbury's soubrette soprano was chirpily pleasant as Zerlina

well paired with the Masetto of Cruz Sanchez. (Above 'Batti, Batti' in a traditional staging).

Rebecca Heath's rather strident and, at times very shrill, knifelike soprano portrayed Donna Elvira in a Xanthippe type fashion. Hard on my ears, alas.
Paul Hopper was a milksop kind of Octavio, rather out played by his Donna Anna, and the Commendatore Michael Kessler's voice was beautifully enhanced by technology to sound as coming from the deepest grave as only technical help could make possible. Now it did seem to me, that the Music Director, Maestro Russell Young, conducted with a slower tempo than I have heard elsewhere. Perhaps to accommodate the still developing voices of some of the cast?
The staging was modern, set in Washington, D.C. with strong hints to on going political and other events in the 'rarefied air' of government ;-).

The Don, a Senator ( can you guess who)! Masetto, hints to 'Jo the plumber'.. and so it went.
All in good fun and the 80% young audience lapped it up, laughing all the way.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No fair weather friend be... but

a shut-out by the Admirals! And against a so-so goalie, yet!

not even one lonely goal,
not even one teeny goal.
What is wrong with this team?
Better Half and I WILL continue to attend games for the entertainment, um, value - well yes, it'll be fun to watch one way or another. And, of course, there are a group of players who deserve the enduring admiration of fans, as they, singly, skate their hearts out. So we'll be there on February 1.

Now on to better things, at least in my mind.
Saw the Ruby Cast at The OH! last night .. my feeling to the overall impression remains the same, however, the debuting Tenor John Rodger, while physically pleasing with a strong voice, had a too metallic and 'belegt' sound to my ears, admittedly not expert ears. Kevin Wetzel, also making his OH! debut sang Renato quite well. Soprano Lara Tillotson, making HER debut in the role of Amelia, presented a pleasing appearance physically and vocally. All of them, IMO, overshadowed by the huge talent of, as mentioned before, the Ulrica of Kristin Patterson. One more mention: as Primo Giudicce, local talent George Williams, sang somewhat unusually low for his rather bright tenor voice, so that I had to look again to put his name to the role!
A little sound bite by Sumi Jo as Oscar in more traditional garb and production! At the OH! Oscar was sung by Park in 'secretarial' attire!

Tonight is University of Houston's Mozart's DON GIOVANNI with Julia Cramer as Donna Anna, report follows.
BTW, Julia is making her Carnegie Hall debut soon! WOW, way to go, Julia!

Friday, January 29, 2010

How to do a big opera...

on a postage stamp sized stage?
For that, you simply have to attend Opera in the Heights"Ballo en Maschera" by Verdi, presented this weekend and next. Saw the Emerald cast last night and will see the Ruby Cast tonight, provided we are not washed out :-).
That IS the advantage of living in Houston Heights.. one need ever miss a performance of this Bijou Company.
It never amazes me how well and exciting the company performs the most beloved as well as the rarer operas. Which Maestro Weibel conducts with his usual flair.
Emerald cast included favorites: clear voiced Tenor Jonathan Hodell (memorable from Tabarro/Pagliacci), suave Baritone Douglin Murray Schmidt (Ditto and others before that), lovely Soprano Kirsten Hoiseth (Ditto) and newcomer, the young but power-house voiced mezzo Kristin Patterson as the blind witch/seeress Ulrika.
Below Park/Hodell, Hodell /Schmidt , Patterson/Hoiseth

all photos by Gwen Turner.
The staging is modernized. For example, the page Oscar becomes a bespectacled private secretary and is well sung by soprano Soo-Ah Park!
Others in the big cast and chorus (chorus master Calvin Fuller has them well drilled :-) are well known to OH! audiences: George Williams, Daymon Passmore, Taylor Rawley, Rachael Ross, Traci Davis and many more.
The house was packed..
OH! is fun.. the audience IS part of the action...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sad, so sad....

Aeros lost! Wolves won! 2-5!
The two lonely goals by Gillies (Frisky) and Daoust (The Scrapper).
It's becoming ever more clear, that without Daoust, Noreau (Ironman), a defenseman at that!
and Di Salvatore (Speedy) the Aeros would loose a lot more!
Even though several OTHER players have been luck to score. Nothing more to be said, alas!

Finally, I got IT...

or did I? At the least I got this director's (Neil Armfield) take on 'The Turn of the Screw' by Benjamin Britten.
It's my second view of this unusual opera, to say the least. My first one was :"Wait a minute what the heck is going on here?" and "I missed out on enjoying the music whilst too busy unravelling the plot-actually, WHAT plot?"
So, this HGO production did 2 things:
one, Armfield underplayed IMO the various hints on depravities, while emphasizing the spooky/ghostly aspect of the opera.
two: because I was a bit (little bit) familiar with the 'plot' I was able to concentrate more on the music - and - miracle of miracles actually enjoyed it, yes, enjoyed it. Amazing that such a small orchestra (ONLY 14 instruments) can sound so huge in such a big hall like the Brown Theater!
Yes, I have read, too, that Britten has based his work on the 12 tone scale, but, BIG BUT, what he did here sounded 90% of the times perfectly 'normal' ;-). And many times positively beautiful.. and so it should be. The sounds of celeste, glockenspiel, harp, etc. simply ask for that..reminiscent of Baroque music....no, it is NOT Baroque music. What it is, IS very ethereal at times. And when the sound begins to swell up out of the (open) pit it sure sounds as if coming from a much bigger orchestra.
Now to the voices, the crowd pleaser seemed to have been the boy soprano Michael Kepler Meosinging Miles, and here he discusses doing it for Opera Portland. Was he miked at HGO or not, I could not tell. Below a clip of Miles' famous aria MALO
After that, it was Tenor Andrew Kennedy, bewigged in fiery red for his role of QUINT, the villain of the piece (remembered fondly for his Capt. Vere of Britten's 'Billy Budd' at HGO earlier).. now what WAS Britten thinking to cast the villain as tenor? An interesting move IMO.
Tamara Wilson (of HGO Studio fame) was a spooky Miss Jessel suborning her considerable huge soprano into ghostly sounds. Amanda Roocroft was cast perfectly as the Governess, Judith Forst sang Mrs. Grose, the housekeeper (perhaps the most 'innocent' role of the piece) very well, and Joelle Harvey was the young Flora..all three making their HGO debuts and making them quite well.
I am not going to say much more-go see the piece and judge for yourself, except that the ending still left me somewhat hanging..Why? What? How?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photos BOLTS/THRASHERS 2:1 Final in SO

St. Pete Times Forum
Thunderbolt animating fans in near us
it's a bird..no, a mini blimp..floating in the forum an ad for Sweetbay, grocery chain
Bolt FANS? ...going crazy... NO, Going GREEN?

Let's go BOLTS, Let's go..

Johan Hedberg, Nr. 1, Thrasher Goalie, elegance personified

A Face Off 2.period
a theatrical 'Belly Save'
by Niittymaki, or in Bolt fans' parlance "Nitty Gritty"
Bolt's enforcer, Konopka, a little worse for wear ;-)

After a fight, Conference between Ref and 'Nitty Gritty'?

After 2. Period still only 1-1
Stamkos, or for Bolts' fans "Stammers"-
he did not, stammer, that is ;-)

Mascot Thunderbolt..Intermission feature

A rest before Overtime..

Going into Shoot Out.

Hedberg facing Kurtis Foster's slapshot, which actually shattered the glass behind the net.
While waiting for repairs, Hedberg skating up and down

Officials confering, to grant Foster the goal or not.. NOT!

Wildlife at Bonita Springs.......

As promised the pics to support the blogs written on the road:

Lagoon - home to the gators!

and birds of different feathers..
'black bird/ orange beak..................Egret below

Bonita Springs resort where water is abundant...

beach with palapa hut
where Eagles roam and nest.. ......Mama returning to feed...
..the eaglets

Disturbing news or not..

"Five or six affiliation agreements expire at the end of the season, one temporary affiliation agreement must be made permanent, three teams may be on the move and the Ducks still need to find an exclusive affiliate -- the AHL is about to undergo a serious facelift." That is an excerpt from SB Nation Hockey.. for more details visit their site.

And, no nothing was said about the AEROS.

Everblades Practice and Game Pix..

At Practice 1/20/2010
Barry Brust: Aeros pants/Blue Blades sweater awaiting...
Hartlieb, Nr. 9
Jan. 22, 2010
Germain Arena
Florida Everblades vs. Gwinnett Gladiators
The "Other Goalie!
"Bucky" Brandon Buck, is back,
proudly wearing Nr. 84..will he be the next Corey Locke?
(also always in sweater Nr. 84!)
BB waiting .. thinking maybe..."Get on with it ?
Where IS that puck?
Ah, got it?
No, that one went thataway!
Now, Go get it!
Here I am, no way will you get a goal!
Do I have to make that slapshot?

That's it, guys .. game's over!