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, October 28, 2013

Battling with Australian/American production of THE BAT ....

HGO presents a remake of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr. - seen on Sunday- with English libretto. This frivolous, frothy, oh, so Viennese Operetta emigrated (my guess is by force, by Mme director!) to New York.
Before I delve into the details and the singing, I must owe up being vastly biased.
Viennese born, bred, and fed Opera and Operettas from early on, well, perhaps not with mother's milk, but soon, I love my waltzes. And the societal and political parodies which find such fine and amusing outlets in den Operetten. Heard first via Radio...much later TV.
Even in post WWII Vienna, those frothy lilting sounds were everywhere. Street corners abounded with musicians; playing hurdy-gurdies, violins, flutes; and even vocalists. Yes, they did it to beg for alms, but for a child walking those streets it was musical heaven - my ears  then were much less discriminating ;-)! And from the tales of the years before my birth told me by my elders, music never left Vienna, bombs falling or not! Our wooden furniture bore scars by glass from splintered windows after bomb blasts. For years after, that side of the piece felt like a gigantic emery board.

So having said this, let me proceed to enumerate the pros and cons.

1. I liked the idea using silent movie lead ins and endings (which by the way some of the audience missed, they were in such a rush to get up and get going). I thoroughly enjoyed the updated parodies presented by actor (?) Jason Graae, remembered dimly {due to advanced age ;-) no doubt} as a funny Njegus in The Merry Widow (also in English). I am afraid some of the audience will have missed the hint to Peter Grimes (in a previous HGO production Peter Grimes was sung by Anthony Dean Griffey - now in this luxury cast singing Alfredo). 

2. The IMO outstanding performances of the day were Wendy Bryn Harmer as Rosalinde - sung with a beauty that, almost in a Viennese way, charmed;
and the athletic, debonair Liam Bonner as Eisenstein whose ringing baritone seemed created for just this role.

Photo courtesy HGO
3.  Michael Sumuel was an credibly bumbling Frank with his warm baritonal sound. 

4. Samuel Schultz a supercilious Dr. Falke with a crystal clear baritone.

5. The English singing chorus did quite well, but the absence of those Viennese accents, was felt. Alas.

On the other hand Laura Claycomb as Adele, was rather perfect in appearance;
Susan Graham as Prince Orlovski ( was SIR Elton John the inspiration for her make up and manerisms?),
and Anthony Dean Griffey as Alfredo (why make him behave in such slapstick manner?)
was a luxury cast, that did not quite live up to the promises.
The other cameo roles of Ida & Blind  weer sung bu current HGO Studio members Uliana Alexyuk and Reginald Smith, Jr.

Staging and sets were ...welll...  quite New York.
Dresses were amusing and - in the ball scene, finally provided a bit of that froth for which Viennese operettas are known worldwide.

I did feel that Austrian born Conductor Thomas Roesner, while trying his utmost best to infuse that lilting sound into the production, was, perhaps, hampered by the forced emigration of this quintessential Viennese piece to New York. Add the addition of  Astaire/ Rogers dance show (BTW well dances by Broomhead/Richmond), plus the occasional 'modern' music bits and pieces (Release me, let me go, for example), the zing and froth that so defines this Operetta became lost. 
Die Fledermaus has become The Bat, an American Musical...sigh!
Even if as well done, as we expect from any HGO production!!

OK, so maybe I am a bit too critical.
But -  to me, and some other Austrian-born people in attendance (we did commiserate together  during the 2. intermission) the production left us wanting for some Sekt to help overcome our loss; and bolster the felt nostalgia for that Wien I/we all knew with its array of dialects, accents and food which grew out of its multi-nationality over centuries!

And THAT simply does NOT translate into English. Especially when done so by Australians: Director Hume and Designer Roberts.. yes, from that country so often confused with Austria.
No, there are NO kangaroos in Austria - Oesterreich! Ooops, sorry just had to put that in!
Mea culpa! So there!

Just as some great Austrian Wines suffer by transportation to these shores!
And the delectable Viennese desserts, so full of calories but thus so full of unbeatable flavor, suffer when prepared according to the latest 'health" guidelines :-) or rather ;-(.

I am left with homesickness for my Wien, Wien Nur Du Allein, Sollst Stets Die Stadt Meiner Traeume Sein!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sweet Victory in Sugar Land - Newsflash

Yes, chers readers, I did go to the game by the Imperials vs Dallas Jr. Stars this afternoon.
But as my back started to act up (again) I left in the 2. intermission and ...
per TN, missed a whole lot of excitement - if you can call a seemingly bad injury to the scorer of 3 goals and being carried out on backboard,  followed by a fight, and a Dallas player being thrown out of game! Tja....I blame it all on the pesky PIB!
On the way home major traffic jam on 59! Should have stayed,  lol!

Apologize for the cloudy look of photos-those glass sections are rather banged up!

After the second period Imperials led by 1 (4-3). And managed to catch up in the Third to end 5-3. Sort of an evening after having lost to Dallas Jr. Stars the evening before.

Crowd favorite SUPERMAN dropped the puck clothed in a brand new signed Imperials away jersey! Imperials Head Coach Jarod Palmer (ex Aeros) - we are reminded of the Aeros by the banners on the wall :-)!
 looks benignly on from the far left side:
Imperials goalie Anderson (Nr. 1), seemed not quite up to snuff in the first, letting in 2 easy (for the Stars) goals. But he regrouped well;  and by the end had 22 saves.
Here he waits for the face off - ready to catch what may be coming at him!

The game was a bit hard to follow.
No program, and the opposing team only sported Numbers no names on their jerseys..
However, with a bit of research I am able to report:
Imperials scorers: E. Bordak 3 (apparently out with injury-unknown how bad), Vladykosvoskiy and Spooner each 1 goal, Vladykosvoskiy also 1 assist, the other assists went to Simon and Bordak A - 2 each.
I guess a goal is a a goal, in English or Russian LoL!
On the side of the, IMO, faster skating Dallas Jr. Stars the scoring players are: Ledyanshin (?), Huspen and Burns - each got one.
The Goalie (from Ravensbruck, Germany) Steffan Muller had 29 saves of 34 SOGs.
His mask proudly sports the German Red Gold Black flag if you look closely-in the lower part.
If one expected a fast and furious play... sorry, not quite.
But the somewhat sparse crowd roared its approval when Anderson made another good save!
What struck me:
the players, as well as referee Larson were about the same age (methinks-give or take a year or two).
Anyway, the Imperials acquitted themselves well this afternoon.
I leave you with this image:
Enemies looking deeply  into each others eyes :-)!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Aida, the turquoise and lots of blue, and gold version Update 10/20

HGO honors Verdi's anniversary by reprising an AIDA of golden pomp and turquoise circumstances under the watchful eye of Horus :-), as envisioned by Zandra Rhodes, who IS responsible for design and costumes.

Which stunned years ago when premiered at HGO, and still does with this reprisal.  Only the singers are different, well almost all.

And if we think Aida we hear the Triumphal March from it's Act 1.
Amazingly, this opera. mostly known for its monumental scope, actually relies only on 3 major singers, Amneris, Radames and Aida. The other 3 soloists (Ramfis, Amonasro and the King) are just the icing on the cake. Dancers, huge chorus and super numbers could be seen as the whipped cream atop the whole confection :-). If one wants to see it that way.

The Amneris of Dolora Zajick will be remembered well by the HGO audience! If one believes in reincarnation, then one must believe Amneris to have come back as Zajick! She does own that role!! And is still a powerhouse on stage with her unique voice that can sound so seductive, yet still manages to threaten from the deep reaches of her chest!
Below her performance as Amneris at the Met in 2009:
The huge Chorus as usual well prepared and coached by Chorus Master Richard Bado, of acclaimed fame!
The masses on stage are filled out with non-singing supers, and Dominic Walsh Dancers who despite their costumes (as a friend remarked on the way home :Think "Cats") did rather well, although.. causing a few chuckles be same friend!

Liudmila Monastyrska As Aida delivered all that her critics promised. A powerful voice, that got better as the opera progressed and ended in fine softly delivered last song!

Riccardo Massi - Radames  here as Pollione from Norma, impressive in purple and gold, yup very impressive!! :-)
And he is equally impressive in turquoise (lol), a commanding present on stage with clarion sound, what more can one ask of a Radames. That he is a rather handsome man did him great service and the applause proved it, especially after Celeste Aida! We muts hope he will be asked back many times to sing us more Verdi!

Scott Hendricks, former HGO Studio member returns to the stage as Amonasro, the Ethiopian king, Despite the beggarly costume and half shaved (wig) head, Studio alumnus used his histrionic talent accompanied by stentorian singing to good avail. he still is as limber as we have seen him as Rigoletto.

Ain Anger, a new comer to HGO sings Priest Ramfis. He is a truly sonorous bass. The orangy (lol) pleated skirt of his priestly costume looked perfectly apropriate on his tall imposing figure, setting him apart from the other pleated skirted masses! I would not mind having him back, as well.

Bass Robert Gleadow is the Egyptian King, I am always a bit surprised when I hear such deep and yet, mellow, voices issue from slender men! This deep sound ought to burst forth from a  much bigger chest, right? Well, Gleadow, bass baritone, who has been here previously, did not disappoint and is am impressive King!

HGO Studio member Natalya Romaniw as priestess, sings beautifully from backstage or side stage.
And the Messenger is sung acceptably by Kevin Rayn. 

Maestro Antonino Fogliani conducts with enthusiasm and - I perceive -  real admiration for Verdi's monumental opera. And this was just the final dress rehearsal, when sometimes singers conserve their voices, which this cast seemingly had no need to do!
Sunday evening:
The big surprise this afternoon was TENOR ISSACHAH SAVAGE as Radames who will sing the role again November 1.  I was quite beguiled by this more lyrical voice than Massi. A real buttery voice, IMO. So if you can go on November 1!

The other event:
Dolara Zajic announced she has a cold, but would sing anyway.
The consummate professional she truly gave her best.
From a cold I, and several others, could not 'hear or see' a sign!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Research IS a good thing!

All those years I firmly believed that my joints could predict bad weather.
I am happy to report that I am vindicated.. 
today's WSJ says so.
It took real researchers to find it. 
Now that does make me feel better.
Because it is good to know that I was not so crazy after all, all those years. Tee Hee.

On the other hand, feeling nostalgic for the way we flew
is not for me alone, as you can find here.
Yes, indeed, the days of lounging at the piano bar in the air, are past.

The need to dress well for the trip!  Do I need  say more?

The clingy fashion, that reveals almost all, sure makes the arduous work of those dedicated TSA screeners so much easier. 
Their blue gloved hands are falling more idle these days.
I mean, what is there hidden, when the travel clothes let boobs fall out, cheeks twinkle down  below. And what in the world could one hide in the thin soled flip flops? Or on bare legs?

And speaking of the past, another article finds true value .

Yes, this mornings WSJ was full of good news,
unrelated to the current winds of change, or war,
in the Capitol ;-)!
Of course, I may have missed more good news to tell you about.
But for now these few ought to cheer you on your way ;-)

And THAT is a very good thing!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

OH! La Traviata and VIVA VERDI!

Well, we finally managed to see this opera.
2013 IS a celebration year of Verdi , everywhere. We saw Oberto in Milan earlier.

Opera in the Heights presented a version of La Traviata set in 2013 complete with iPad or equivalent. In today's dresses and suits.

Our cast in today's matinee (why matinee for an afternoon performance-that has puzzled me for awhile) was well matched vocally, IMO.

Julia Ebner sang Violetta movingly.  And reminded me of another opera icon.. in the video clip below: Maria Callas.
I have seen this opera multiple times, and yet, her singing and acting still brought not a few tears to my eyes.

Alfredo was tenor Christopher Trapani, with a pretty big voice although once or twice he didn' t quite manage the upper reaches. Overall he had Alfredo down pat.  A very youthful Domingo as Alfredo below:
His Papa, Giorgio Germont, was sung with a voice of strong, yet mellow, baritonal heft by Robert Aaron Taylor (sometimes also listed as a bass-baritone), and - while not quite as lyrical as it could have been, his solo  Di provenca.. was sung with deep feeling. Here Dmitri Hvrostovsky in concert.
Daymon Passmore, a Heights regular, was a debonair Barone, the off and on protector of Violetta. Sadly, there were few moments to enjoy his huge deep bass in a solo.
4 Chorus ladies as gypsies danced, and sang, their way into the hearts of the audience, while tenor Gerardo Nunez made a dashing matador ;-).
Photo by Gwen Juarez Turner
Accompanied by his attendants,
one in purple traje de luces (which really caught my eye ;-), Rojan Easo, also a tenor.
Megan Bertl as Flora and Maxim Bitner as Marchese, made a well-matched vocally, suitably interesting couple.
Lisa Borik, soprano, made her debut at OH as a modern Annina, more friend than maid.
I am sad to report that this afternoon was THE last performance.
A powerful production, beautifully sung, accompanied by an orchestra that out did itself, under the enthusiastic, authoritarian,  and - yes, lovingly - wielded baton of Maestro Carreon-Robledo.
A BRAVO to Opera in the Heights.

Friday, October 11, 2013


In der letzten Zeit hoere ich von vielen Freunden um die 40'er Jahre herum, dass sie, so scheint es zumindestens mir, auf einmal nur dauernd Sport betreiben wollen. Und das auch aufs ausgiebigste berichten. Nun, es freut mich, dass es sie freut. aber muessen sie denn taeglich den Ablauf beim Rennen, Radeln, Felsenklettern......allen lautstark sagen?

Was  die Herren der Schoepfung betrifft, kann ich es - fast - noch verstehen. Sie haben eventuell eine neue - auf alle Faelle juengere - Frau am Arm, und wollen daher rank und schlank und 'buffed' aussehen.

Aber es sind es auch die Frauen, die ins Rennen kommen. LoL.
Ja, sie rennen auf einmal alle.
Wollen auf einmal beim Marathonlaufen mitmachen,
sogar bei dem Biathlon oder dem Eisernen Mann (Iron Man competion in Hawaii). Vielleicht sollte man das umnennen.  Eiserne Person, vielleicht.
Oder Eiserner Mensch?
Mir kommt es vor, als ob sie alle mesmeriert wurden.

Und nicht nur bezueglich Sport, aber auch der Diaet gegenueber.

Na, bitte, haette eine(r) Celiac Krankheit, dann auf alle Faelle isst er eine beschraenkte Diaet. Warum aber froenen auch solche, die pumperlgesund sind diesem,  ist mir ein Raetsel. Denn anders als Wahn kann ich es nicht bezeichnen, wenn einer allem auf der Liste oben entsagt, ob er/sie es gar nicht muss!! 
Kein Tempura, Keine Torten, Keine Nockerl, Knoedel oder Tatschkerl, kein gutes Bauernbrot, Wachauer Laiberl, Semmerl....... usw.

Falls Sie, liebe Leser mit Rennen oder Radfahren oder ??? nicht genug haben, schlage ich Ihnen vor vielleicht folgende Sportarten ins Repertoire aufzunehmen:
Die Eleganz des Sumo

Hoehenangst ist dabei ein Hinderniss
Nicht fuer Nichtschwimmer, sag' ich
Zum Schwindlig werden, eh?
Ist das eine Ameise? Oh, nein nur ein Mensch
Luftbretteln? Schneebretteln?
Eine Art Roller Coaster?

Mehr aufregend als normales Radeln, ja!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Lately I have been thinking weird thoughts.
Well, weird in the way that they are disjointed and disconnected from my daily life!

Rummaging around my CD library seeking out symphonies by Mahler, Schubert, Dvorak, Beethoven, who all died before completing a tenth symphony.

Then pulling out recordings by Callas, then Piaf.
And then it hit me:
Piaf's voice, to me, is possibly the only voice that can beat Callas's .
Both singers have that rare raw, heart wrenching deeply felt sound.

And when it comes to concert music, I’ve always enjoyed listening to recordings more than live performances, and I have attended live performances in St. Louis, Houston and elsewhere. But at home  I can close my eyes and just enjoy. Or I can listen to it with my ears, while reading a book. Or I can sit with legs up, glass of the bubbly beside me and enjoy it all in my own personal space!
I can get up if I have to, twist around if I must, and not worry I may disturb neighbors at a concert! Sure, CD's are polished and edited to create that perfect sound balance. But when it comes to concerts I say why not! Perhaps, because I do not play an instrument and so am not mesmerized by what players do on stage!

Now when it comes to opera. I am of the other opinion.
Opera, as Theater, MUST be experienced live. Flaws and all.
The voice is not a perfect instrument, the voice varies with age, experience, health.. and yet can produce sounds that awe, stun and transport. Nothing, IMO, beats a LIVE performance.
And soon I will have them at the OH and HGO. I may then blog on the performance I have seen!

In a dire emergency, I can watch a DVD, if I must just,  that I not suffer withdrawal symptoms ;-).

And as I also enjoy hockey, I say the same for that. LIVE is better than on Television, but if that's all there is, I will condescend to watching on the tube, as long as it is a very BIG one, lol!
And that is now again possible, albeit by a drive to San Antonio
Rampage vs Icehogs
, or elsewhere, since our Houston team was moved north.

Now, I do admit, that I may travel to see opera in Santa Fe
Loretto chapel, mystery staircase
and other cities.
But would not as readily do so for hockey. 
Well, I have been an opera fan longer than an hockey fan :-).

Of course, going somewhere where I can have both,
plus musea... that to me is the perfect holiday!
Which is coming up in December!
Tampa bay Lightning Home!
Florida, here we come!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Existential Crisis

Pperhaps. So, you think you know what that is, do you?

Have you read the papers recently? Anything that does not conform to the norm, constitutes a existential crisis. So what does that mean?

Perhaps Jean Paul Satre could explain it. Or perhaps Albert Camus. Even Soren Kierkegaard faced the problem how to describe existentialism. So who am I to try to explain it. After all every journalist of note is using it to describe everything from banking problems, politics and even questions of the human existence!

Perhaps this painting by Antje RIETSCH  represents an existential crisis. She title it Blattgestalt Nr. 1
Which somehow explains it all, doesn't it? The convoluted contortion just scream crisis to me!

Monday, October 7, 2013

GAME TWO Rampage versus Rockford 3-1

 A new day dawns
Antti Raanta
And Game Two of Rampage, versus Rockford, gets underway at 7 PM. The ice seems better, fewer falls;
and the air is more frigid in the ATT Center this night.
In pain
To the bench and ultimately off ice!
The game starts on a sad note, Rockford's Antti Raanta (net minder) lies in pain, but bravely gets up and stops some more ( 4 of 4 sogs) then finally limps off with the help of teammates.
And in  comes BUG Kent Simpson, who did yeoman service. He let in just 2 goals by Matsumoto in the 2. (on a PP) and 3. periods. Goal 3. was an empty netter by Petrovich.
Simpson says NO you won't

A quick sip and I am ready:Simpson

Veteran net minder Clemmensen has his moves down pat
And later, another Icehog left the ice injured. not an auspicious start for Rockford!

Over all it was fast game;
many, many sogs by Rampage; a  team high, we have been told, of 56!

Rockford only managed 25 even though they did reve up their shooting in the 3rd to 10, when one of the Broadhursts (Alex) got the only goal for the Icehogs.

Sadly, IMO and Better Half's, too, Kent Simpson did not get any Star.  
He should have. He was very active and successful.
Chers Reader you can tell I am pro Kent ( lol)
Icehog Viktor Svedberg (Nr. 8) at 6 ft 8 (the new Chara lol?)and 235 pds does not have far to reach to catch a stray puck ;-)!
He stopped 51; Raanta 4; and the 56th sogs was, after all, an empty netter.

Clemmensen stopped 24 and he did get Nr. 2 Star.
Matsumoto Nr. 1-deservedly, and Alex Broadhusrt the 3.
A little fighting to enliven the scene!Here a scuffle between Selleck (Rampage Nr, 15 and Rockford's Nr.6 Jared Nightingale.
Note: Selleck never lost helmet, Nightingale did!

Hockey is still alive and well in Texas.

Even though the Wild pulled out. 
BTW The Minnesota Wild lost both game, this weekend, in OT!

A little Hockey in San Antonio 2-1 for Chicago!

Woolly white clouds gamboled across an unbelievably blue sky on the way to our first hockey game.
San Antonio's New Hyatt
Which was Rampage versus Wolves. Both teams had a former Aeros on their rosters. Ortmeyer as 41 for Rampage, Locke  as 84 for Wolves.
Locke Goal in 1.
And - no surprise there, Locke snuck a wrap around the net, guarded by Dov Grumet Morris, for the first goal of the game. Wolves Jaskin scored again in the 2. period while the Rampages' Robak
Robak Goal in 3.
got one goal  during a PP in the third, to end the game with a 2-1 loss for Rampage. IMO the teams seemed to have trouble staying upright.. lost of spills and falls. In the 3. Rampage appeared to have found their ice legs (lol) and the game showed some more spirit.
No that one did not go in!

Bodies allover but no puck in net :-)
Over all the Rampage out shot the Wolves with 42 Sogs vs 23 Sogs. Credit and #1 Star went to the Jake Allen in goal for the Wolves, who has improved his game over what we used to see previously in Houston. Jaskin (for his unassisted goal)was the Nr. 2.
 and Robak the Nr 3.
Melee in front of Grumet Morris
 The crowd was a bit disappointing.. only 5671, but they sure were very vocal, those Rampage fans!  So it seemed much bigger! And before I forget, a little amusing factoid: The wolves had a Hanson (Christian) skating, the Ref was also a Hanson (Trevor) ... and I am sure (am I?) that neither was related to the Hanson Brothers of Slapstick fame. Tee hee. ;-)
Puck went that a way!
Will that be a goal for Wolves ?