Sunday, July 25, 2010

Land Ho!

This post will be totally opera-free. Well, okay, I lied, because I cannot help myself, but it will be mostly opera-free.

As you may or may not know, my brother is attending the Merchant Marine academy and he's currently at sea. We are able to see where his ship is on any given day. He's on his way to the Mediterranean Sea, Kuwait, India, and Singapore. And I thought I was going to be the world traveler! I never really thought any of us would be, but I guess I thought wrong. :)

So here's a picture of where his ship is today. They left from the U.S. last Sunday and they've almost completely crossed the Atlantic! It must be really cool to be on the water with nothing around you for so long. Look, he's so close to Africa! How cool is that?



I was looking at the picture of all the ships on the sea, and you'll never guess what I found!



Yes, there is a ship named Elvira! :D I just cannot escape no matter how hard I try.

So I'm proud of my little sailor brother. He spends his days in the engine room which is 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a cool day. Hey, at least he's getting paid to spend time in a sauna, right? I hope he's having fun on out on the big ocean. He hasn't been able to contact us since last Sunday, so I can't wait to see what he has to say when he gets his email address...

Friday, July 23, 2010

50 and 15 - Happy Birthday, Susan Graham!

Watching Ms. Graham play Octavian at the Met last October made me believe that there is such thing as the fountain of youth. She's fifty today but she can still pull off a 17-year-old boy and make me believe it. Now that is talent.

Susan Graham is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and she's one of the most talented and electric performers in the opera world today. All the best wishes to her this year and all those to come!

I don't want to seem like a Youtube junkie or anything (I've been embedding so many videos on this blog lately!), but I have to share one of my favorite performances with you. Here's an oldie but a goodie from Sunshine Suzy's Cherubino days:

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Now Present the Winner of the 1979 Abominable Snowman Competition

Honestly, where do they come up with this stuff?

I've been having tons-o-fun surfing around Youtube for Don Giovanni fodder and since Kiri Te Kanawa is rumored to be "the best" Elvira of all time (along with Schwarzkopf, of course), I attempted to find a video of her. And find a video, I did.

If they had a competition for the worst costume EVER, this would most definitely win. I mean, is that a cocoon on her head? And is that a wedding dress with enough bows on it to induce nausea?

And yet, she still sings like an angel, so who am I to complain? Her Elvira is much less harsh than others (such as Bartoli's), but it's clean and beautiful and effecting. Her voice is perfect for this role in both construction and tone. She definitely uses her personal voice to its greatest advantage here. I love how so many different voices can sing the same role and draw so many different aspects out of the same character.

Either way, I present Donna Elvira in disguise as the Abominable Snowman. (She is totally going to win back Giovanni in that get-up...) Watch and enjoy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

[hoʊm]

What a wonderful ten days I had at NYOS! It was such a positive experience all around. I can't say enough good things about it! I learned so much about artistry and performance as well as got my butt in shape. I walked more than 5 miles a day for sure and I had a movement class every morning.

Surprisingly, I also learned about myself as a person. I wasn't expecting an opera boot camp to be a soul-searching experience, but it was. The things I learned in those ten days will most definitely resonate for weeks and months, maybe even years.

And it was so much fun. I got to hang out with people who love opera just as much as I do and who are committed to the craft. It was absolutely thrilling to have detailed conversations about the great singers of the past and Romantic operas and the difference between Baroque and Classical recitative. Nerdy, I know, but exciting nonetheless.

There's so much to look forward to! I'm glad that my summer didn't end with that program. Now I can take what I've learned and move into this dangerous territory known as Don Giovanni. I can't wait to see what I'll discover here in the murky depths of Mozart's drama. It will most definitely be an adventure.