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, October 31, 2010

1. Home Ice win

We were on the way home from "Peter Grimes"
- still as thrilling and profoundly moving as was the Dress rehearsal !
You do have several more option to see and be awed by this HGO Production !
And continuing at home to listen the voice of the AEROS,
we heard the good news Aeros won over the Stars, again, in their FIRST home ice winner!
And the heroes of this game are
artandhockey photo
1. HOU Fredheim, (1)(Buck, DiSalvatore), 5:03
Artandhockey photo
2. HOU Peters, (1) (Scandella, Noreau), 11:37
3. HOU McMillan, (2) (Peters, Scandella), 6:00
3. HOU Prosser, (2) (McBride, Kassian), 9:51

Khudobin stopped 34.
1 * HOU - 25 Warren Peters
2 * HOU - 6 Marco Scandella
3 * HOU - 30 Anton KhudobinPhoto

                                      We love them when they win, we 'hate' them when they loose...

WIN...yes, really!

the Aeros have a WIN
and even without the (trip was cancelled a few days earlier) busload of fans to cheer them on.
3 vs 1 over the Stars, who, or so we read, were tired after a long trip.
Scorers for Aeros
1. Scandella, (1) (Buck, Palmer), 11:20
1. McMillan, (1) (Fredheim, Earl), 15:43
3. Prosser, (1) (Palmer, Kalus), 2:12

And Buck fans (yes, YOU!) will be happy to note 'Bucky' has a point!
And for Kalus fans, Petr has added another one to his numbers. McMillan has his firsts.
And Scandella (Scandella proponents rejoice, for sure) has a goal,
Prosser, Fredheim and Palmer, the other "Newbies" did well with helpers.

Anton K, doesn't like someone here?-Jerina Photo
Anton Khudobin gets a penalty for interference (like this above - maybe, lol?)
but he stopped 29 of 30 SOG as the Stars outshot the Aeros.
This does remind us a bit of Aeros outshouting opponents and not scoring lately, doesn't it?
Maybe this flurry of shots without goals IS a sign of a tired out team?
Richard Bachmann in goal for the Stars was only able to keep 14 out. Could Krahn have done better?
But Aeros fans will take a win whatever the reason!
And this afternoon AEROS face the Stars once again - right here in the TC.

IF you are interested:
The Top Team in our division right now are
The Rampage Nr. 1, followed by OKC Barons Nr. 2,
Stars  Nr. 4 and Aeros still 10 th.
Khudobin  in 10th place among AHL goalies.
Our former soft spot and now Rampage, Beaudoin is in 5th place with 13 points.
Locke fans note, that Corey L. has earned 10 pts to date with 3 goals and 7 assists.
Barry Brust has 3 wins and 3 losses with a 0.931 SV%.
Marco Rosa in 8 games has  2 g and 1 a=3 pts.
Danny Irmen in Bolzano has in ,only 4 games, already 2 g +3 a=5 pts..
that rarified Alpine air seems to be doing him rather good, eh?
Kolanos and Rogers as of to date have not found new homes, yet!

Artandhockey photo
   And for today a

May your candies be sweet,
your costumes real spooky
and lots of fun had by all!

  And Aeros win again!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

From Erfurt we hear

Theater Erfurt presents a new opera honoring the American Pima Indian Ira Hayes, immortalized in that iconic photo from Iwo Jima, in an opera composed by Austrian Johanna Doderer (a great niece of Author Heimito von Doderer).
The composer traveled to USA and actually spoke with Hayes' brother and family, she incorporates Indian lore, but also injects some Japanese feeling, she invents, with the help of her librettist, a love interest, without which an opera just isn't an opera :-), even two such....but those are imaginary.
What is not, is the fate of this man, feted and then forgotten, dying as alcoholic.
Sounds like something worthwhile seeing/hearing..
but will an American Opera company take on this challenge?
For more go to Theater Erfurt website, alas it is written in German and the opera is also sung in German..
but the photos on view seem stunning in artful simplicity and fantastical lighting!


Because on the Aeros front the news are much less enjoyable:
Loss to Rampage 5-2.
Would that an hero emerges from the midst to be the saviour of the team...

Di Salvatore- whose name is suggestive of that. Saviour=Salvatore
Or Almond, who finally got a goal, but also racked up an impressive number of PIMS-hotheaded, shortfused,  no holds barred, acting before thinking when frustrated....or just still unseasoned?

Aeros need help...may the hockey gods look down and give their blessings!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Keeping the faith...

With the fervent hope the account of past glories for and by AEROS
will inspire  readers to keep the FAITH and,
IF read by players, YES, guys it CAN be done!

  • AVCO
The OLD Aeros, with Gordie Howe playing, twice won the AVCO Trophy of which three actual trophies exist; besides the one that is on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame, there are one each in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in Halifax. The trophy was retired after the WHA ceased operations in 1979.
1973 vs Nordique 4-0
1974 vs Chicago Cougars 4-0 

  • Harry HAP Holmes Memorial award :
From 1948 to 1971, the award was presented to the goaltender with the lowest goals-against average who appeared in at least 50 percent of his team’s regular-season games. Since 1972, it has honored the goaltenders (appearing in a minimum of 25 games) on the team with the lowest goals-against average at the end of the season.
2007-08 Houston Aeros
Nolan Schaefer
Barry Brust
  • John B. Sollenberger Trophy to player who scored most points-an annual award.
2005-06 Houston Aeros  to Kirby Law
  • Dudley Red Garrett Memorial Award, annually to the leagues' outstanding rookie player.
2005-06 Houston Aeros to Patrick O'Sullivan
  • Eddie Shore Award to best defense player, annually, chosen by coaches, media and players.
2002-03 Houston Aeros  to Curtis Murphy
  • Yanick Dupre Award annually to player, nominated by member clubs who best represents the spirit of Dupre with community involvement
2001-02 Houston Aeros  to Travis Roche and  2008-09 to  Brandon Rogers
  • Jack A. Butterfield Trophy honors the most valuable player of the Calder Cup Playoffs as voted by a panel of AHL coaches
2002-03 Houston Aeros to Johan Holmqvist
  • Robert W Clarke Trophy
2002-03 Houston Aeros  for Western Conference (playoffs)
  • Norman R (Bud) Poile Trophy
This Trophy, instituted by the league's Board of Governors prior to the 2001-02 season,
 is now awarded to the regular-season champion of the Western Conference
2002-03 Houston Aeros West Division
  • Thomas Ebright Award, presented annually for outstanding career contributions to the AHL. This award honors Thomas Ebright, the former owner of the Portland Pirates and Baltimore Skipjacks.
2008-09 Jim Mill

Gillies and Wellman are with the Wild,
and Brock McBride,center, will skate with the Aeros when they face Rampage in SA,
and Texas at Austin tomorrow and here on Sunday.

Santana: "Winning"

Calder Cup
2002-03 Houston Aeros 4-3 Dave Barr, Todd McLellan, vs. Hamilton Bulldogs
Championship Players
2002-03 - Houston Aeros -
Ladislav BenysekCavanaugh, Marc Cavosie, Sylvain Cloutier, David Cullen, Mark Cullen, Hnat Domenichelli, Chris Dyment, Jay Henderson, Jeff Hoggan, Zbynek Michalek, Curtis Murphy, Rastislav Pavlikovsky, Erik Reitz, Travis Roche, Jean-Guy Trudel, Tony Tuzzolino, Stephane Veilleux, Rickard Wallin, Kyle Wanvig, Johan Holmqvist (G), Dieter Kochan (G)\

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fool's gold?

Well, I have - finally - been able to see THE MET's RHEINGOLD.
Yes, that NEW Circe Du Soleil inspired set.

First, I was truly thrilled by the casting, those strong, beautiful voices -
well matched and accompanied by rather convincing acting.
Terfel - F. St Aubin costume design - Met Photo
Terfel's voice is beautiful and so creamy.
And big enough he did not seem straining to be heard OVER the orchestra as so many have to, especially when the conductor lets it rip.
That said, Levine had the strength to keep the roar of Wagner's music in control and NOT drown the singers (UNLESS they were all individually miked.
Well then, all bets are off).
The other singers were almost equally good.
The Germans (Koenig, Selig and Siegel) among them - what a pleasure to actually understand every word sung (at which, BTW, Terfel did rather as well, often).
An outstanding, both in acting and singing,  performance by HGOpera Studio Alumnus Eric Owens as Alberich.
Stephanie Blythe and Wendy Bryn Harmer, Fricka and Freia, respectively, were vocally very good.
And as LOGE, Tenor Richard Croft (he's appeared at HGO in several roles) did well, very well.
Which was exciting to me having seen/heard him previously.
Here is Peter Schreier als Loge, Berliner Philharmics and Karajan
The ERDA of Patricia Barden....THAT was a special effect that stunned!
Here Contralto Ewa Podles as Erda and HGOStudio alumnus Greer Grimslay as Wotan in Seattle 2005:

Dwayne Croft, yes, the brother of Richard and an old Met acquiantance, was effective as Donner.
And the young Tenor who sang Froh, so it seemed to me, may have a future as Heldentenor!
But maybe that, too, was attributable to the placement of microphones?
What did not, in my personal opinion, come across well at all, was the techno special effects staging-
maybe it worked IN the actual theater-
but on the BIG screen it came across as kind of techno "movie" haphazardly done.
And the camera men were not quick enough to veer away from close ups when Loge, especially, had to keep hiking up his beribboned (looking so fussy) contraption/harness which enabled him to seem like ' a fly on the wall' way too many times. Unless, that thing itched and he jiggled it to scratch- just kidding, of course.
Others looked suspicioulsy like the bows of Japanese obis, on the back of Donner, for instance.
Those contraptions when shown early on on the Rheinmaidens without any costumes on, looked amusingly like hockey goalie gear..including the 'shin straps' (no, not chin straps - actually behind the leg straps).
Once in costume they were hidden well, on the other hand!
Path to Nibelheim - LePage/Fillon staging - Met Photo

There were some special effects I did like very much:
 the path to and up from Nibelheim, the lightning of sunup, sundown, the lightning of the 'bridge to Walhalla'-yes, those were beautiful done.
The eerie appearance of Erda, that was visually awesome, and a few other instances.

Gelb mentioned proudly in the introduction the large amount of money (?? thousands) that had to be spent to re-enforce the stage so it be able to hold up the 'machinery' for those special effects.  Was it all worth it?
So what's next? Opera in 3-D (deja vu - I've been around too long to find this innovative).
Go dig out your parents'  3-D glasses, young opera lovers!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The power of mad Mobs

Tossed and turned after attending the dress of PETER GRIMES, by Benjamin Britten at HGO.
So up early to write about it! Where do I start?

In a nutshell the story (after a poem by George Crabbe-a silent part in the opera):
Peter Grimes, an ambitious fisherman in love (?) with widowed childless Schoolteacher Ellen Orford, becomes the villager's victim because he seems (to them) not one of them. Grimes, perhaps mentally unstable already, he seems to prefer being alone. Mob hysteria takes over instigated by several villagers - foremost another woman, Mrs. Sedley who stalks Grimes, and hounds him deeper into insanity.

Britten's operas seem like onions to me, as soon as you have peeled away one layer, there is another, and another and another. There are stories or rather suggestive ideas within the obvious story! Never quite fully fleshed out - Britten likes to leave that to the viewers/listeners imagination to complete or fill in.

Ben Heppner Correction: Stuart Skelton (thanks to the Maestro who caught me out on this) as Grimes sounding quite lyrical a clip from the same production as put on at Opera Australia (same director etc.)

And we have layers:
Grimes/Orford - Orford, childless, sees something vulnerable, childlike perhaps, in Grimes,
Grimes sees her as part of his imagined future as rich merchant with house, wife and family for which he grimly strives!
Grimes/Balstrode - Sane Friend and/or mentor of death?
Grimes/Mrs. Sedley - Has she had designs on Grimes and was rebuffed?
Is that the cause of her stalking him relentlessly.
Or has her addiction to laudanum turned her into maliciousness personified?
Grimes/Ned Keene - Keene, supplier of laudanum, also of apprentice boys to Grimes, which he 'bought' from the workhouse. Is he really a voice of sanity? Or is he secretly fomenting the hysteria using Mrs. Sedley?

And the list goes on:
Lawyer Swallow: Another voice of sanity? Or a 'just' man?
Bob Boles: Does envy/hatred/what of Grimes lead him to push the crowds to mass hysteria?
Reverend Adams: truly a man of God? Or misguided zealot?
Auntie: innkeeper, brothel keeper.. can she really be that uninvolved?
The Nieces: Unconcerned "ladies of loose morals"? Or lethally mischievous teenagers?

You see the layers... you see the numerous interpretations open to the listener/viewer.
Was Britten influenced by what had happened in Germany?  The hounding to almost extinction of a people by people under a mesmerizing leader of doom.

Is the village a portrait of the nadir human beings fall when they do unconscious evil to others not understood?
The questions are endless and each person will answer them according to his/her own experience.
And this is just about the poem/contents of this masterwork.

In my opinion, it is Britten's most powerful, most thought provoking work.
He paints with music physical gales, thunder, lightening, stormsurge and the ensuing destruction only 'mother nature' can cause.
Then he turns around and paints with similar strong music psychotic emotions of a rabid, out for blood mob, slavering after its prey. He uses solo instruments (flute, harp, etc,) to emphasize moments of peace or wishful dreaming, elsewhere he uses the organ to enrich the furor of his music.
And he uses instrumental music for rather lengthy periods of time that have you on the edge of your seat panting for the unknown,  only to be stunned into chaos, once more. This is music that devours you and leaves you limp and drained, but serene and at peace as well.

Music that forces you back into your seat quivering in fear.
Then he gives a respite by symphonic pieces that lull you into peace..or so it seems.
Always there is the underlying danger of violence, of hatred surging through the tranquil normalcy of village life - just as he ends this opera with deceptive calmness after the violent and deadly events the night before which  the village no longer remembered  - a village that remains a latent cauldron of horror!

The huge chorus,  relentlessly surging towards Peter Grimes,
sweeps anyone who dares to show some sanity, into its flow.
Forcing them to join for their own safety.

One wants to escape this avalanche of  vicious sound.
One feels for Grimes, feels how he is driven into madness.
One wants to push against it, wants to stop it, make it go away!

And Grimes in the end -  escapes or did he?
We know the boat sank, but was he in it?
Did he find his final restful 'home' in the waters?
See there it is again, the answer Britten leaves to our imagination.
The friend, attending with me, felt, Grimes sailed to a far away island to start a new life and 'burned his bridges'-so to speak- by sinking his boat.

The setting: 
reminiscent of a high school auditorium with curtained stage center rear. I did not care for it much!
The costumes:
suitable to the period of time in whoich Britten composed the opera ..poor villagers clad starkly.
The lighting:
done as skillfully as one could produce storms and gales at sea indoors.
But for me, THE iconic performance happened in Santa Fe several years ago when Mother Nature took on that job, lightening, thunder, gales of wind lashing in sheets of rain ..what a night for that opera! Spell binding underscore to Britten's monumental music!

Now to the singers:
Anthony Dean Griffey (we remember him as Lenny from some years ago) delivered a stunning vocal portrayal of a simple man, dreaming to achieving peace by becoming rich and respected but turned haunted and hunted and finally insane. His tenor is more lyrical than others I've heard in this role. And that made his Grimes all the more vulnerable.
Katie Van Kooten, as Ellen Orford, sang, perhaps, the role of her life, rich, melodious, bell like and yet strong, touching all hearts.
Meredith Arwady as Auntie used her powerful richly shaded contralto extermely well.
Christopher Purves, was the strong and warm voiced embodiment of Captain Balstrode, trying to  reason, trying to be a friend ending adviser of solitary death to avoid a hanging by the hysterical vengeful mob.
Catherine Wyn-Rogers as Mrs.Sedley, sang (and whispered insiduously as the role calls for, at times) with aplomb, it must not have been easy for a  healthy woman to portray a decaying, drug crazed old woman, but she did it truly well.
Former studio artists, baritone Liam Bonner as Keene, and tenor Beau Gibson as Boles, made strong impressions - singing with conviction.
Patrick Carfizzi, sang Swallow and Joseph Evans was Reverend Adams, Robert Pomakov filled the role of Hobson-all smallish parts but very essential to the story.
The nieces were sung by current studio members Deonarine and Wheeler in matching outfits with exuberant youthful spirits.
Actor Marty Fleck portrayed the non-singing, non-speaking Dr. Crabbe with dignity.

The opera calls for acting singers or singing actors and HGO found them!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Half full or half empty..

Being an optimistic realist my glass is always half full :-)!

Burning Issues?

The burning issues from Minnesota and  from Houston are such
that it feels more like a quarter full - it is early in the season though.
Not being 'expert' nor paid employee,
I do wonder about the situation with Wild and Aeros at the moment.
The Wild and the Aeros appear in a slump -
reading between the lines of bloggers and their responders,
the problems, maybe, lie with these issues:

Lack of direction? Causing player fatalism?
Lack of real talent? Perhaps not really, just not well applied.
Player frustration when facing faster and better opponents? Seems to be.
Lack of motivation? Cannot tell.
Lack of inspiration? Maybe, early injuries and strange moves by management could have caused this!
Confusion over rules and regulations? Pretty sure, that it IS for players and officials alike!

Lack of direction? Not here, new coaches seem to have direction.
Lack of real talent? Well, maybe not in abundance, but there IS some!
Player frustration when facing faster and better opponents? Sometimes, yes!

Lack of motivation? Does not seem to be.
Lack of inspiration? Not here, with new coaching staff!
Confusion over rules and regulations? As above, yes!
Real support from up North?
That has been a question in the last season and seems to continue despite the new staff!
Of course, esteemed readers, as always feel free to address the issues and make your suggestions.
If you are optimists, or pessimists or realists - do express yourselves!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Austrian Bass Baritone Martin Achrainer

sang the title role in a controversial Don Giovanni at Linz - disguised (lol) as Pop Idol (Achrainer in red shirt).
Born in Kitzbuhl, Austria, he has made a name for himself appearing in such diverse/provocative productions as the Mozart's DG at Linz,  as First Soldier in a homoerotic Strauss' SALOME directed by Brigitte Fassbaender, whose greatest coup de theatre (oh boy!) is the infamous "Dance of the Seven Veils." Rather than remove her own clothing, Salome strips Wilde, dons each garment and then lets Herod take it from her. The freaky, sensuous pas de deux culminates in Wilde's nudity. Wilde's body doubles for the usual papier mache severed head of Jochanaan, and when Herod orders the necrophiliac's death, it comes at her creator's hands.
But also in serious pieces such as Kepler in "KEPLER" by Philip Glass at BAM and others.

Houses in Europe are mounting such daring productions hoping to draw in the younger crowds so used to sex, nudity and violence from TV and the movies.
In the interviews (roughly translated) following, the opera going public's comments range from "It's an update" to "Mozart's Music is being abused" ;finally to "Mozart surely meant it this way", by the director/producer.
If you ask me, as if any director would, some of these "current improvements" of old favorites are purely and simply in atrocious taste.. anything for a few moments of fame!
But the music of the great masters will outlast even these degrading, debasing abuses, or so I truly hope.

Fussball, nein Football..

Am Samstag war das Fussball team der Univeritat von Missouri, Columbia zu sehen,
im Fernseher, nicht persoenlich.
Die Mizzou Tigers haben gewonnen! 
Rah, Rah, Rah, Missoura... Mizzou Tigers!
Der "Kicker", ein sehr junger Bursche (sieht er nicht aus wie 14?)
Grant Ressel, ziemlich beindruckend, 
wie er den Fussball ueber eine sehr lange Strecke zwischen die Goalstangen kickte.
Tat ein bisserl Forschung und fand heraus,dass seine Kicks 99% der Zeit ins Ziel trafen.

Da sass also Bessere Haelfte, tief in das Spiel seiner Alma Mater vertieft,
bewaffnet mit MIZZOU Hemd und Kaffeehaeferl.
Mit einem Ohr dem Football Spiel  zuhoerend,
mit den anderen hoerte ich dem Hockeyspiel der, leider wieder verlierenden, Aeros zu.

Und da kamen mir Gedanken an Toni Fritsch auf.
Ihr wisst ja, DER Toni Fritsch, der in Carnuntum Juli 1945 geboren, (auch ein Krebsmensch und daher mir aeusserst sympatisch..tee hee!). 
Und ein Fussball Wunderkind war! Mit 13 wurde er in den Fussball Club Rapid aufgenommen. Nach 6 Saisonen, wurde er ein Mitglied des 1.Teams, und spielte professionell in 1964 in 123 Matches fuer Rapid, mit 15 Goals, er half Rapid 3 mal zum Oestereichischen Championship (1964, 1967, 1968) , Oesterreich Cup 2 mal (1968, 1969). Er war zwar klein aber enorm schnell. Als "Wembley Toni" bekannt, hatte 2 Goals, als das Oesterreichische Team England mit 3-2 schlug (1965).

In den fruehen 70's wurde er nach Amerika gelockt, wo er seine Kraefte als Placekicker den Football Teams zu Gunsten stellte. Ohne wirklich Englisch zu sprechen, war er bald ein Haushaltswort in  Dallas, San Diego, Houston und New Orleans. Sein Einfluss im "Football" ist bei manchen Kickers zu erkennen. Vorher war der Kicker halt einer der Spieler. Heute ist er ein Spezialist!

Ich habe ihn gut gekannt, er war ein Original,
stets lustig und hilfsbereich, stolz auf seinen Super Bowl Ring (Dallas Cowboys 1972). 
In 1979 wurde er in die Pro Bowl gewaehlt. 13 "Play Offs" Matches, geland es ihm Goals zu machen, ein Rekord, der erst 2007 von Adam Vinatieri eingeholt wurde.

Er starb mit 60 in Wien, wohin er nach seinem Austreten aus der NFL zurueckkehrte.
 Nach einem Mahl brach er auf der Strasse zusammen. Herzattacke.
R.I.P. Toni.

Searching for inner self.

Have YOU found your inner self yet?
That seems to be uppermost - or is it just another fad ?
Everyone is talking about finding themselves, lately!
We read about 70-90 year olds finding their inner self by becoming artists of 'installations', sky diving, ocean kayaking, running the Marathon, hanging out in foreign climes and doing 'their' thing.
On the other hand, we hear about young people dying!
In wars, by suicide, or of previously undiagnosed physical ailments.  Those, I am sorry to say, will never be able to find their inner self.  Unless you believe in an afterlife or reincarnation.

Do you see the women here?
Sort of a  "back in the future" finding of self, perhaps.

SO now early on a Monday morning I do ask myself this:
Have I found my inner self?
I have pondered that for a while now.
During my salad days - mumble years ago - I did try my hand and brain at many a thing.  Alas, none really led me to believe I am Master of it.  So here I am, a Jill of all (well some) Trades, Master at none, if you will.
But, let me tell you, I am having fun doing lots even though none too expertly.

Try the puzzle above, for one ...it is easy!

Leaving 'body' out of THAT equation,
never was into active sports ...
brain games, sure, physical games...nope.
Every time I tried, miraculously became endowed with two left legs and - bed rest!

Finally ceding - concentrated on watching others being physical instead which is rather satisfying...
let them sweat, let them practice, let them give battle, ..just let THEM do it.
I sit and watch and enjoy the entertainment-with tears rolling-
sometimes in joy,
other times in sadness or
pure frustration.

And that leads me to hockey in Houston.
Methinks, although it IS early in the season, that we are looking at a repeat of last.  Hard work, individual players going all out, giving their best (really?)  and what do we have - at least we do have some hockey action in Houston.
For the real McCoy one needs to head to Versus and ESPN or such,
unless you can afford to fly about the country to follow your star, ahem, Team.

And so Better Half and I will do, some of the time!
Not that we have THAT many stars to follow.
But follow we shall-hockey in various locales,
plus opera,
plus sitting-watching the waves roll in, or float down a lazy river..........
plus appreciating art in many forms (well, some of it for sure)

And that said,

I think I may be on my way to finding my inner self...
sometime, somewhere, somehow!
Maybe even this way... wee haw!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And in the end she dies

and so she did, Mme Butterfly at HGO.
Grandage Tony Award
Photo LA Times
The award winning team for RED, Grandage, Oram and Austin, director, set and costumes and lighting, presented a new take on this (seen for umpteenth time) opera.
It's a big seller and HGO is no different, it had to add an additional performance due to huge demand for tickets.
Martinez and Calleja (HGO Photo)
The stage was set simply, deceptively so, with a sweeping path in RED across it, bronze colored walls in the first act, silvery ones in the second. Lighting cast tree shadows delicately, during morning, day and evening. Costumes followed suit in light colors from white, to rose (Butterfly's over Kimono), to silver, grays and warm beige and browns. Understated  design reminiscent of, perhaps Japanese Woodcuts or Asian Paintings with fine brushes. A splash of RED was provided by Butterfly's obi and sleeve linings and red flower as she waits for Pinkerton to return. Patrons seated on the sides - for the first time in memory - were able to follow the action completely, since 98 % took place in the center of the stage.
Soprano Ana Maria Martinez, an HGO favorite since her Studio time, took Butterfly and made it her very own. I feel she was one of - if not the best- Butterfly I have heard/seen. Strong voice, flexible and graced by emotional shadings (when needed), her pianissimo floating delicately, especially in the initial love scene, she certainly had the audience spell bound...many, many bows demanded by it at the end!
A taste of her versatile voice as Rusalka (Dvorak)

Tenor Joseph Calleja as Pinkerton, sang easily with a warm, rich, open sound and -almost- made Pinkerton seem less of a heel!
He is here singing "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot

Levi Hernandez
Baritone Levi Hernandez (from Texas!) was a sonorous Consul, expressing well through his voice, the emotions of a man, not the official. I have always felt that Sharpless, the Consul, is a little bit in love with Butterfly as well.
But that is just my feeling.

Boris Dyakov, Baritone, made one of the most elegant Prince Yamadori seen in a long time, although his voice did not quite purvey the Prince's infatuation with Butterfly, as he pursues her for some time.

Tenor Rodell Rosel, as Goro, did sing with a clear fine voice, while Lucy Schaufer as Suzuki sang competently.
Tommy Ajai George, known to audiences from previous HGO appearances as well as at OH!, was a deep voiced authoritarian Imperial Commissioner, and Robert Pomakov a threatening Bonze.
Rachel Sorenson, as Kate Pinkerton was, in my opinion  luxury casting, her voice demands bigger opportunties to really shine.
Maestro Patrick Summers led the HGO Orchester with a deep understanding of the nuances of Puccini's music and paced the singers well.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The long and the short of ...


Just for Saturday afternoon fun.

 Chara , Wikipedia
The long: NHL:

Slovakian born Zdenko Chara at 6'9, 260 pds with the Bruins

Texan born Tyler Myers at 6'8, 227 (could  he grow some more?) He's only 20 ;-) with the Sabres.

Concord MA. born Hal Gill 6'7, 250 with Montreal

Now Coaching in Australia Steve McKenna (Toronto born) 6'8, 255

 Tyler Myers, Wikipedia
Hal Gill, Wikipedia

the short: NHL

St Louis, Photo?

Gionta, Photo?
 from Rochester, NY Brian Gionta at 5'7 173 pds New Jersey Devils

from Toronto Martin St. Louis 5'9, Tampa Bay Lightening

AHL as far as I know:
Daoust/Schlemko, Jerina Photo
from Quebec Our own Jean Michel Daoust 5'7, 175 pds

Goalies:  The long
Ben Bishop, artandhockeyphoto

Valiquette, Life photo

Ben Bishop (Denver) at 6'7 and 210 currently holds the record. When he is down in his butterfly, his shoulders are parallel with the cross bar, he could literally play the game on his knees.And we have seen what he CAN do.
Steve Valiquette , 6'6, 220 currently with Moskow is next in line-see photo right


The short:
Roy Worters (Shrimp) at 5'3, 135 pds
(he must have been strong, although goalie gear was not as bulky then)
played 1925-37 for Pittsburgh, New York and Montreal.
ENJOY and have a chuckle on me!

Rantoul: Chill'n Rock Song "Lang und trotzdem Kurz" (Long and yet short-Rough translation)


Aeros put spring into their skates with corrections

Face Off

Buck chasing after puck

Big Ben Save!

Kalus going afer puck
Fast paced, respectable passing, agressive skating, chasing puck into corners and behind net... that was a good game to watch. Buck and Kalus chasing after pucks-see photos.
Speedy skating by Buck, Kalus, Almond and others.

Several Aeros (Buck and Earl) ALMOST had a goal, but Big Ben Bishop was just too....big....too good
Big Ben Bend
The so admired "Big Ben Bend" Bishop shut out Aeros
through 3 periods (36 sog) .
"Dimples" Khudobin made some spectacular saves (32 sog).
Both teams skated well, Peoria a mite more 'dirty' perhaps!
But the one fight 'MacAttack' McMillan (5 min penalty) had with Peoria's Cundari, alas, ended with Cundari the clear winner, for which he got 5 for fighting plus 2 for roughing, part of it sat by Reaves.

At the end of period 3 officials added one second but no team was able to score.

And so it went into a 4 on 4 sudden death Overtime after 1 minute of rest.
Neither team could convert their Powerplays into goals. Aeros had 7, Peoria 6 PP.

Peoria celebrates

Both teams managed their penalty kills well. Peoria which had several  concurrent penalties to kill in 3 on 5, 3 on 4 and 4 on 5 did IMO extremely well.
Aeros seemed energized, Wellman stood out with some fast reactions and kept puck in. But in the end after 2:25 into OT Cracknell with Spina and Boyle got Peoria on the board.
 For that he received Nr. 1*, Bishop with 36 saves in regulation was Nr. 2 * and Khudobin with 32 saves in regulation was named Nr 3 *.
Defense in front of AK

Last drop before OT

I really felt that neither team should feel guilty about their performance tonight. The Aeros showed their days
of rest - ahem - practice,  practice, practice under Coach Yeo gave them renewed courage and the believe in 'we can do this'! So, even if Peoria won in OT, Aeros proved that they can work together, can improve on previous failures and battle back.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Put Spring into your step...

Ah, the foibles of fashions!Now that is a shoe, isn't it?
                                       From  Christian Louboutin's Spring collection, thanks to WWD
Reminds one of Wagner (lol)   "The Lohengrin Shoe...when goes the next swan?"
Which  truly ought to be worn with this wedding dress-when the bride trips -waddles-(?) down the aisle

Just a funny morning while waiting for the next confrontation Aeros vs Peoria tonight and the inevitable ear- drum-busting air guitar music (Faugh)!
I like loud, but NOT that kind kind of loud!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seeing red?

Is "Game rage" akin to Road rage? 
Seems to this blogger that violence is increasing!

But then there are  brawls and other violent outbreaks the world over.
Riots, demonstrations, Street Fights...
Player fights (well, in Hockey they get paid to do it)!
Fans fighting fans (always has been in soccer)!
Parents fighting officials as happened recently right here in Texas!
People seem to fly off the handle quicker for lesser offenses, methinks.

Could this be related to frustration building due to recession?
Envy of highly paid young men, when many fans are loosing jobs in the real world? 
Diminished empathy accompanied by growing egotism?
Are we becoming desensitized due to constant exposure to violence shown by media?
Too much, too often, too quickly?
'Medically' induced 'short fuses'?
Parental control lacking?
Adult examples of mature behaviour lacking?
What are kids to think when seeing adults brawl with adults and with authorities?

One finds all kinds of clips on YouTube for example,
some of them posted within minutes of the event happening.
Take a hard and good look and then tell me was it all really necessary?

Just a few days ago, Players brawling in the stands at Canadian football game:

Two days ago, Hockey player having it out with taunting 'fan':

More brawls on video

Do you have enough, yet?  NO?

Then look at these soccer game fights:

Still not enough to prove my point?

Here's a fight caught on tape at a recent girl's soccer game in Rhode Island:

And do not tell me it is all youthful exuberance!  High jinx, high kicks, all in good fun!

I do not think so!