26. April 2010 · Comments Off on More Reviews · Categories: Opera, Reviews

Reviews are coming in! Following Richard Scheinin’s, these are now up:

The Examiner has one here, by Eman Isadiar. SFCV is quite favorable, Joshua Kosman gives a somewhat mixed review, and blogger Emma Krasov is complimentary.

It’s nice to see this opera — and this opera company — getting such positive attention!

What did you aspire to be when you were growing up, and what other careers were you considering?

I loved to draw when I was a kid, so I thought I might become a cartoonist or illustrator. Once I got serious about singing, I considered transferring from Grinnell College to a conservatory, but I’m glad I stayed and got a liberal arts education and spent those formative years surrounded by people with varied interests and not just musicians. I think that helped make me a more well rounded person and musician—and if I ever had second thoughts about a singing career, I always felt like I could have done a lot of other things.

The above comes from an interview with baritone Thomas Meglioranza. I think it is a very important paragraph from a very interesting interview. (Thomas is also a bogger, in case you didn’t already know that.)

When people ask me about where they should go to pursue a music career I always recommend saving the music conservatory for graduate work. Making it in the music business is tough. There are absolutely no guarantees. In high school an oboist is often not only a big fish in a small pond, but is frequently the only fish in her pond. She’s been told she’s great by nearly everyone. When you hear that for four years you really start thinking you are as good, if not better, than every oboist out there. This is never the case. Really. There are plenty of great high school oboists out in the big bad world. High school students need to know that! So while you might be told by everyone around you that you will be the next principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic, so are a large number of other oboists at other high schools. And each professional orchestra only needs one, or in rare cases two, principal oboist.

So go to a university. Get a well rounded education. Mix with people other than those classical trained, blind-to-anything-else musicians. Find out if you have other loves. Give yourself options.

The music world I live in is a very wonderful one. I’m thankful for the musician’s life. I love playing with my colleagues. Shoot, I even get some sort of twisted enjoyment from whining over reeds. But could I live if it were taken away? Yes. And you can too.

Besides, if you do succeed in music, it’s helpful to know the non-performing folks as well. Make connections at school with people who don’t play an instrument. They are the ones buying tickets, after all. :-)

26. April 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Son totally mouthed the words to the songs at the play. Reminded me of how I used to pretend to play the oboe at school concerts.

I think these are high schoolers …?!

Nielsen WWQ, First Movement:

26. April 2010 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point.

-Joni Mitchell

I read it here, where Ms. Mitchell also calls Bob Dylan a fake.

Yikes. Some people get cranky when they get older.

26. April 2010 · Comments Off on Music Is Good For Our Brains · Categories: Links, Other People's Words

To those who suggest, as many do, that my brain doesn’t seem to function very effectively at times, I know exactly what’s wrong with me.

And I blame my parents.

Never during my upbringing did I hear the words that so many millions of children dread:

“You’re going to take piano lessons, and you’re going to like them.”

-Steve Lopez (author of “The Soloist”)

RTWT

Of course knowing that music has done good things for my brain makes me wonder; Just how much more of an idiot would I have been had I not studied music?! ;-)

The tone and sound that the oboe creates is quite possibly the biggest reason why many people will choose the instrument. Another attraction to the instrument could be that it is not overly difficult to learn how to play. The basics of playing this woodwind instrument are not too different from how other woodwind instruments are played. It is also an instrument that is not as expensive as other instruments that can run up a high bill and many schools will have room in their band for young people who want to learn the oboe, as the music is easy to acquire as
well.
It is also easily found in pawn shops or used music stores for people who are just starting out and are not sure that they are going to have a life dedicated to learning and playing the instrument. Learning the sheet music is fairly basic and simple, though it can take some time to gain control of the air they blow into the instrument. Learning how to use the keys properly can also take some practice and time, but in the end it is rewarding for most musicians who decide to take up the instrument. Few who wish to choose a woodwind instrument will not have the possibility of playing the oboe cross their mind.

Thoughts? ;-)

26. April 2010 · Comments Off on La Rondine · Categories: Opera

It treats the orchestra as if it were a character unto itself, commenting on the action or just sounding delicate and lovely, with influences of Asia and Debussy. The orchestra performed deftly on Saturday; the woodwinds, showcased by Puccini in his final act, were superb.

Operas aren’t about the orchestra, to be sure, but it’s always nice when we get a mention, and I’ll happily take this one!

But yes, Richard Scheinin does compliment the singers as well. RTWT

Mr. Scheinin is generally quite positive in his review. The start of the second act gets a negative mention but we in the orchestra can’t hear the chorus at all so if we aren’t together I’m not sure what to do other than continue following the maestro and hope things gel. (My husband did agree that there was a problem with the start of the act.) Sometimes I wonder if we see the beats slightly differently than the singers; you know how it goes sometimes … the “beat” can be at the top of the motion or the bottom. It might be a good idea to discuss this with singers sometime.

I am loving this opera. It’s certainly not a tough or stressful one for me, but does have some nice little solos that fit my style fairly well. The music is lovely. I’m so glad we are finally doing this opera!

We have no videos of the opera up (rats!), but here are the exciting scene changes:

Between Act 1 & 2:

Between Act 2 & 3:

So now I know why we have 20 minute intermissions! :-)