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!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Tartuffe equals guffaws

Yes, it's true.
This comic opera really made us chuckle, laugh aroar. Too amusing by far!
But also has some rather lyrical pieces such as this one presented in recital.
University of Houston Moores School of Music presented American Composer Kirke Mechem (1925- )'s Tartuffe based on the play by Moliere. Sung by students of the School with real energy as seen 1/29 (last performance).
The composer/librettist was present at the pre-curtain talk. He admitted candidly inserting several phrases from operas and works of masters he admires: Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven to just name a few. He also mentioned in a chat with us later, that his time in Vienna in the 50's and a 60's  had influenced him immeasurably to compose and write this opera the way he did. Having a living and breathing (and he was incredibly YOUNG  looking at 78!) composer to ask questions of, was an extra bonus greatly appreciated. How else would I have found out that my Wiener Luft (Vienna's air) was so influential to him :-)! Mechem managed well to follow in Mozart's footsteps as comic music composer with tongue-in-cheek humor! At least with this piece.
And it worked!
Having young singers with considerable histrionic talents helped, too!

Most slapstick acting combined with impressive singing came from Brandon Grimes, the Tartuffe on Sunday. To huge approbation by the enthusiastic, mostly young, audience. Who seemed to truly enjoy this musical spoof.
Meghan Garvin, Marianne (Orgon's daughter), and Nicole Woodward, Elmire (Orgon's  second wife) sang AND acted beautifully throughout. 
Kelly Balmaceda was a chirpy coloratura soprano suited to the role of  Dorine, the wise maid (surely based on Blonde by Mozart from his ABDUCTION)...was she sorta channelling Kathleen Battle?
James Rodriguez as Orgon managed with sonorous aplomb the pomposity and stubbornness this role requires. And caused quite a few laughs while doing so.
Tyler Tucker (Damis-Orgon's son) and Nicholas DeMeo (Valere-Marianne's lover)
were more than adequate in their portrayals.
Madame Pernelle, (Orgon's Mother) sung by steely voiced Devyn Werner provided more comic relief!
Laurence, Tartuffe's, and Flipote, Mme Pernelle's servants were silent roles.
The small orchestra (just 14 members) half of them wind instruments was ably conducted by Jake Sustaita.
Stage Director, and former opera singer, David Ward directed the cast with a sensitive feel for comedy.
Set design and bright lighting by Thom Guthrie; Richard Walsh designed the modern (1920's era) costumes.
Mechem's music, is accessible, tonal though in a more modern way. 
Other works, primarily vocal music, are: 
The Operas: John Brown (drama inspired by abolitionists), The Rivals, (based on Sheridan's play) , Pride and Prejudice  (Jane Austin the inspiration for it)and choral works such as this

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Love - Hate

Love it cold.
Hate it cold..

My mind loves cold weather.
Everything seems crisper, clearer and brisker!

My body does not.
Every time the temperatures dip below 45 F it rebels.
The Nose itches, drips.
I sneeze. Too often.
The Eyes itch, water.
And get bloodshot.
I get chilled to Bones which have turned to jelly.
Teeth chatter.
Joints ache all over!
The Skin feels like a too tight garment, which itches like hell.
The Scalp itches.
And no relief by scratching since even hair hurts that much it cannot be touched.
Fingertips, palms and soles tingle.
And do so, even if not 'gone to sleep'.
Feeling like a damp, cold, limp washrag! :-)!
On the positive side---NO hives, as yet!
Allergic to cold?  Sure looks like it.
On the Aeros front...
Love it when they play well.
Hate it when they don't.
As in another loss on the road vs. Rampage last night at the ATT.
To the tune of 5-2.
Rampage scorers:
Rallo, Wright, Thomas, Repik and Kearns (empty net)
And all fans went home with a free chick filet coupon :-)!
The two Aeros goals in the 2. and 3. period by Di Salvatore (Fredheim, McIntyre)
and a PP by McIntyre (Ortmeyer, Cuma) .
Kuemper in net. Loosing must be catching?
Didn't see the game, so can't comment on HOW the guys played.
But it just hasn't sat well with me for a time now.
Something... just can't put my finger on it ... IS missing,
despite the painful gains of points in OT and SO losses.
Do I think they can make it to the play offs?
Just don't know.
Feel rather negative about it all.

Just for the sake of watching hockey I do go to games.
BUT even that has become something less exciting than in the years before.

It is:
Changes in rules?
Changes in players attitudes?
No real Soft Spots to root for? :-), ;-).
Change in my attitude-have I become too blase?
Am I bored? Is' ma fad?
I don't know.

'Nuf said.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Aeros loose to OKC

So, the curse now seems to have taken hold over OTR games as well!
Sad surprise upon coming home to hear about another loss. Aeros lost to OKC 2-5.
Correct me if I am wrong, but Aeros have yet to get a win vs OKC?

For 2 periods Aeros did not manage one goal. In the third (maybe after a talking to in the locker room?) the "Third Period" Aeros went back out and managed 15 SOG with 2 goals by Broda (McIntyre and Fontaine) and DiSalvatore (Wellman and Radja), but too late. BTW all the call ups were back in action plus the newbie Fischer!(previous post).
Who even had one SOG!
OKC had 4 goals in hand and got another one (of two SOGs) in the third to firmly lock in the win.
And remain in first place with 61 points!
Hackett was in goal for Aeros.
Danis for OKC.

Friday, January 27, 2012

David Fischer Aeros newest Dman

But for how long?
The newest man on the Aeros roster was signed to a PTO on January 26,
while C.J. Stretch was released on the same day.

Another Minnesota boy (born 19. Feb 1988)
Defenseman David Fischer was drafted by Montreal Canadiens. Earlier this season he skated for Florida Everblades, and fought!
David Fischer
Born Feb 19 1988  -- Apple Valley, MN 
Height 6.03 -- Weight 190 -- Shoots R
Selected by Montreal Canadiens round 1 #20 overall 2006 NHL Entry Draft

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
2006-07  U. of Minnesota             WCHA   42    0    5    5   14
2007-08  U. of Minnesota             WCHA   45    2   12   14   18
2008-09  U. of Minnesota             WCHA   31    2   11   13   16
2009-10  U. of Minnesota             WCHA   39    2    4    6   28
2010-11  Florida Everblades          ECHL   64    3   26   29   43   4   0   0   0   2
2011-12  Florida Everblades*         ECHL   37    4   21   25   36
2011-12  Houston Aeros               AHL    Statistics Unavailable

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rosemary for Remembrance

This morning the house smells like rosemary!
It is said: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." (Hamlet).

So I remember Rataplan.
Well, listening to La Forza del Destino (Verdi) helps.

Actually I think Verdi stole the idea from Donizetti :-) !

Opera lovers do remember Rataplan from
Fille du  Regiment!
Which Donizetti (1797-1848) composed and which was premiered in 1840.

Now comes Verdi (1813-1901) and his Rataplan from the Opera La Forza del Destino!
Which he composed in 1861 - 21 years after the premiere of Donizetti's Fille!
And that is surely plenty of time for Verdi to have heard, seen or otherwise discovered that tune and that idea!
Presenting this really rousing aria are :
Marianna Tarasova in 1990 (quite a favorite to my ears)
a modern version in set and costumes from Vienna with sexy Nadia Krasteva in 2008
and Elena Nicolai singing it in Milano (1954)

Somehow I think this one, too, was sneaked from Donizetti!
What do you say?
Maybe Donizetti sneaked it from the Czech folk song which is also often named as possible source for it!
But did he ever visit the lands in Moldavia, Bohemia, etc.?
To have heard it hummed, sung or played?
Who knows
"Wikipedia states: The Trapp Family Singers recorded a song titled "Carol of the Drum" (identified on the Decca record jacket as a "Czech carol") prior to their 1955 retirement. This song resembles "The Little Drummer Boy" in music and lyrics, except for replacing the lamb with an ass in the line "The ox and lamb kept time." This difference in lyrics may seem odd until one realizes that an ox and donkey are depicted in paintings of the Nativity going all the way back to ancient icons of the event. They recall the biblical prophecies of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 1:3: "The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib."

The one we all know and love, even if played continuously  ;-) during the X-mas seasons, was composed around 1958 by Katherine K. Davis (she, too, said it was based on a Czech folksong , but as classic music teacher she would have been as familiar with Donizetti and Verdi, wouldn't she?), H. Onorati and H. Simeone and became huge hits for many artists.

Soon I'll go and season a sauce with rosemary!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Talking or singing?

"Prose talks and poetry sings" as Franz Grillparzer stated.

I have known for some time now that I talk better than I sing ;-).

So I enjoy translating as a favor for friends.
Because every time I do, I research the subject to be sure the translation is as accurate as possible.
Even if the writing is in Kurrent, which - mumble years ago - I did know to write and read fluently.
Yes, even though it was not used generally after 1941.
But there were many relatives who wrote only that way in letters.
But have not practised for quite a while, of course.
Who still uses that now except as a hobby?
Plus individuals' handwritten versions are very hard to decipher.
Usually I am asked (as a favor) to translate from one language into another. 
Or actually compose a letter in another language following friends' suggestions re content.
Either one is fun to do.

Just because,  I  began {and quit :-)} to translate a favorite book of my youth!
I quit when I realized that my poetic talent was inadequate to do the great author justice. One's imagination/talent must take over to fluidly convey the meanings!
I do enjoy posting my scribbles here, but realize none are world shaking essays.
But-and that is important - it IS fun!
And it keeps those 'little grey cells' active
to use a phrase  often spoken by Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie )

Some things just cannot be translated as written, as computer translations do.
Which so often are a huge source for mirth, and truly make my day.
Since idioms and slang expression are non translatable.
Living languages evolve through daily use and inclusions of foreign phrases which may be adapted rather informatively :-)!
Monde und Jahre vergehen und sind auf immer vergangen , aber ein schöner Moment leuchtet das Leben hindurch.
Basta.. Blame it on this rainy day in Houston  :-)!
Monde und Jahre vergehen und sind auf immer vergangen , aber ein schöner Moment leuchtet das Leben hindurch.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A point gained

a game lost..
that's our AEROS!  :-)
With Hackett in goal.
But the rather 'Caliente' Rampage won this one as well

It's gonna be a long up and down road to play offs! 
Painstakingly accumulating points!

Look, I can hear already the excuses....
So many call ups.
Tired players in 3 back to back games.
You name and it will be said.
And I can hear the coaches remarks...
for confirmation I need only go read the quotes - in the official press.
They might as well just replay them!
Enuf said!

So another point is gained..

even though they lost to Texas Stars last night. Stars 4 and Aeros 3..SO Loss!
In their 8th shoot out loss. Which is a season (thus far) record in the AHL.
Only one other team, The Connecticut Whale has 5 SOL - a bit smaller!
And yet, the Aeros (53 games played) remain in 2nd place after OKC Barons (59) and ahead of Abbotsford Heat (53). Aeros Numbers thus far: W 21, L 9, OTL 3, SOL 8.
The miracle of last night's game was the huge number of saves made by Sunshine Kid Kuemper. Of the 49 sogs by the Texas Stars he stopped 45 which earned him the Nr. 3 Star.
Kuemper saves-no goal for Brule(artandhockey)
And despite the loss Mike Radja (a sorta Aeros newbie) made it to Nr. 1 * (2 goals).
Now if just all of those newbies the Aeros have hired on lately could be as examples to the 'old gang'?
Joel Joey Martin (goal), C.J. Stretch
and the newest newby Chris Clackson, all had assists lately.
Morin of Texas was the 2.*

We were not at Cedar Park, just listened, off and on, to the voice of the Aeros.
And how about  Kuemper getting 2 penalties for delay of game!
Someone please explain that - someone who actually saw what went down!
On the other hand he also got a 2. assist on the Fontaine goal in the 2. period.
Wayyy to go Kuemper!
And does he,  or does he not, channel a younger Barry Brust?
While Genoway's and Garbutt's penalties in OT did not result in PP goals for either side.
BRAVO, Kuemper for doing a yeoman's job last night!
But do practice a bit more on your shoot outs!
As all players ought to!
8 SOLs is nothing to be prouid of, just saying.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

La Scala of Tickets $-$$$$$

it sure seems that cultural companies around the globe - but especially in the USA - are introducing a 'dynamic  scale' for ticket pricing. 
LA opera will offer $18.00 tickets! Which seem almost on par with cinema ticket prices.
Popular by demand presentations in ballet, opera, concerts, will command higher prices.

Which has been the practice for quite a while in the pricing scale in Hockey when the opponent is a BIG name. If the contender is average the prices stay down - not exactly LOW, mind you, but down a few dollars (i.e. Blackhawks games mid level seats are priced at say 110 per, others at 75 per at the Panthers home).

And that IS a good thing.
Isn't it?
It sure shows that culture is no longer the exclusive domain of the rich. ;-)

Culture, of course,  is a non for profit thing.

But for Hockey it's a different ballgame!
Hockey is for profit!

Deja Vu again..

another at home loss in front of close to a record crowd.

Aeros 0 to SA's first goal by Kearns in the first period.

Aeros play catch up in the second with 2 goals by Newbie J. Martin, Medvec and Foucault, a bit later on, Fontaine with Medvec and the other newbie C. Stretch.
Is Kearns getting ready to score?
Martin returning to bench after goal?
Timmins and Fontaine facing the bull ;-)!
But SA comes back to even the score easily by Thomas with Wright and Cullen (back from the NHL) in the third and the game went into OT, where Kearns with Matsumoto and Yonkman make it a win for the Rampage.
Grumet Morris diving for pucks
Wellman skates desperately but is unable to finish with a
Others try their best as well,  but again, the at-home-curse strikes and despite 22 sogs, all but 2 stopped handily by Grumet Morris, Rampage out shoot them 33- 3 of which go into the net.
Pas De Deux


Medvec with 2 assists
Flashy save by Hackett.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Travel Woes...

SW Air is sardining more passengers onto their planes per articles in this mornings press.
"As part of the new interior, Southwest will add a row of seats, raising the maximum passenger load on its Boeing 737-700s from 137 seats to 143 seats. That gives the carrier a 4.4 percent increase in capacity without adding an airplane".
Net seatback pouches to save space and weight.
Smaller seat widths to 30-31 maybe!
Skinny people already enjoy the current seat width of 31-32 :-).
Legroom supposed to stay same which is great for short travellers :-)!
Plus thinner cushions.
Which will make more room, so they say, for carry-on luggage under the seat!
Which, of course,  is great for the ones who still lug on board suitcases plus several shopping bags or boxes!
BUT - and they really hype this - less incline in the seatback in front.
So maybe it will be easier to straggle out to visit the loo without waking the one in front who snores!

Personally, I really hate to fly anymore.

Pat downs even after one strips off every possible item not approved for getting through the scanner!
Limitations on what one can bring on board.
Long waits in terminals on horribly uncomfortable seats (if one can find one) before boarding.
Delayed flights and not only due to weather.
Luggage fees.
Food fees.
Special early boarding fees.
Seat preference fees,
and other not specified fees
What once was a glamorous way to travel in style has become a nightmare.
To better see that one does not carry anything objectionable, 
it would be best to wear the tightest and shortest clothes possible.
Which some do to the nth degree.
Which makes for some nauseating vistas ;-).
Those that shouldn't - do - 
and the sights are rather revealing, to say the least.
Enuf said....
After the next trip via SW I shall report on the comfort seats! ;-)!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo Post January 14 -17, 2012

Potluck Scene 1/14/12 for Opera in the Heights Guild and artists

The Met's Regional Competition In San Antonio 1/15/12
The Finalists and Judges

Soprano ( Co winner) Snouffer, A Judge, Baritones Dyakov and Diamond, Pianist, Tenor Touhy

The busload of HGO Buddies with  Studio Member Snouffer!
 Celebrating the Wright Goal
Taylor "Tebowing?"
Above and below: From the Rampage vs Heat game on 1/16/12
with emphasis on Krys Kolanos as a favor for his true blue Houston fans :-)
Kolanos hopping on the ice

KK at Face Off

KK in action behind Grumet Morris net
Goal by Heat or not? NOT!
A 'little' defense of Danny Taylor?
Believe it or not, KK in a scuffle

On 1/17/12 shopping for wines and crocs!
Driftwood at Driftwood Vinery
Bare Vines staked below Driftwood Vinery
And no, we did not buy all the wines produced last fall... just a  mixed dozen.

And FINALLY: a couple familiar Faces behind the bench !