Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good evening, Father Strauss! Good morning to you, Strauss Junior!

I love reading composers' biographies! They are always so interesting. I'm reading Hans Fantel's The Waltz Kings and it is so intriguing/entertaining.

Johann Strauss I was an interesting guy. Very interesting. He had an equally interesting life. He was:

1. Locked up as a child by his master bookbinder. The bookbinder's wife felt bad and let him out. He ran away with his violin and fended for himself until a musician found him and took him under his wing.

2. Abducted (with his thirty-piece orchestra) by the Czar of Russia. The Czar made him give a concert. He did apologize afterward.

3. Father of ten children, the first of which was Johann Strauss II. He forbade Johann II to learn music. Johann II was to be Johann I's greatest rival.

4. Very sick on a long coach-ride back to Vienna. He miraculous survived the long trip, but just as they were in sight of Vienna, the horses spooked and the carriage smashed against a tree. Strauss emerged uninjured. Once in Vienna, he recovered (much to the chagrin of the newspaper writers; how anticlimactic!).

And so many more crazy things happened. I have just started reading about Johann Strauss, Jr, the composer of (among many other famous things) Die Fledermaus. He was an intense guy, much like his father. It's so interesting to watch families and what gets passed down from parent to child. Both Johann Strausses were extremely ambitious, determined, and musical. I'm looking forward to learning about the younger of the two.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chacun à son goût

I have officially been cast as Prince Orlofsky! YAY!

Excuse me while I go brush up on my Russian...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chopin & George Sand in Majorca

One of the great ironies of the world is Chopin’s trip with George Sand to Majorca. I’m surprised he would go at all. But that is beside the point.

The funniest thing of all is this: while they (Chopin, George Sand, and her two children) were in Cartuja, they stayed in a monastery. The place had been inhabited by monks just a few years before but the government had driven them out and repossessed the land for their own use. Now foreigners took up residence in the monk’s cells. What a strange place for Chopin and George Sand to stay!

I’ll be honest: I really don’t understand their relationship (yet). It is so utterly complex and the facts are muddled and cloudy; I can’t seem to get a clear fix on what actually went on. This relationship has obviously intrigued others; there are a great many books written on the subject and during the course of every thing written on Chopin, George Sand is brought up. And vice versa. They are both “famous” in their own respects. I suppose it is a curiosity that two celebrities (of two different worlds) would have had an affair, but the interest in this relationship seems to extend past that. I can’t put my finger on it. Not yet. This is one of my summer projects: figure out the Chopin/George Sand relationship.

Meanwhile, I’m excited to listen to the music that Chopin wrote while residing here. Majorca is so exotic— so singular a place. I cannot wait to hear what sort of music it inspired. More to come.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My semester is finally OVER.

I just printed out my honors project. It's getting bound tomorrow, I'm handing it in, and then I'm officially officially DONE.

I made it. Shocking.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't Dream It's Over

I just finished my semester-long Mozart project. YESSS!! What fun it was! And I learned so much... It's pretty much the best thing I did for school ever. And I think that's because I forgot it was for school. :)

I was so happy and relieved and sad (!) when I finished that I just sat there staring at the last line and there were tears in my eyes. Tears! I don't know where they came from. I swear, I have no idea. I didn't know how much this project meant/means to me. I guess that's what happens when you work on something for so long and then it's over. (Well, okay, there's still a lot of revising to be done, but the writing of it is done.) I spent so much time and thought-space and daydreaming on this. I can't help but feel attached to it.

And it's Mozart after all. I feel attached to anything connected to him. I don't know why; I just do.

Three days, three finals, and two juries to get through. I can make it! I will survive!

I don't want to rush it. Once this week is over, half of my friends are going home and I won't see them for another 4 months. :( Thankfully not all of my friends live far away. Still, I'm going to miss the heck out of some of them. Roadtrip!

So next year's opera is officially Die Fledermaus (in English). Auditions are the first week in the fall semester. I'm excited! This is going to be a fun show.

Friday, May 1, 2009


In a few hours, I will be seated in the (somewhat humble) seats of the Family Circle and listening to the gorgeous voice of Ms. Elina Garanca. I am super-psyched about La Cenerentola! I've been looking forward to it for months (aka ever since I bought the tickets last September). I saw her Rosina last season and it was stunning. Lawrence Brownlee should be fantastic as well. I've never heard him live, but I've only heard good things about him.
So I'm geeking out over Elina. There's nothing else to say about it; there are only noises. I'll give a full report when I return (although you might have to wait for it--I'm SWAMPED with work right now. I might not be able to watch my free opera on MetPlayer this weekend! It's that bad...).