30. June 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera, Photos

Dan and I were up in San Francisco for the past few days, enjoying both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. Today is a break, and we go back to see and hear Siegfried Friday night, and we finish it off with Götterdämmerung on Sunday. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the San Francisco Opera production. The singers are great … and that orchestra! They sound fantastic. I had heard a bit of grumbling via the web, although I’ve attempted to avoid all reviews. I sure have nothing to complain about.

I can’t imagine playing these operas! The first is “only” 2 /12 hours … with NO intermission! From then on you are talkin four or more hours. The singers do all of this by memory (with the help of a prompter, whom they readily thank when taking bows). I really don’t know how they do it! But then I haven’t a clue how singers do what they do, being a person of very little voice.

And then there’s the orchestra. The majority of them sit through every single act. (A few don’t play every act, and some do have the ability to come in and out of the pit.) Concentration has to remain incredibly high. As tired as they might be, they can’t step out for a breath of fresh air. They can’t stand and stretch if they need a moment to do that. They just work. And work. And work. And they sound incredible! Bravi tutti, and especially, of course, to the oboe section! (Sure, I’m a little biased.)

And to think we call it playing! Go figure.

In preparation for the Ring Cycle I have been watching a different production. I now feel as if I have WagnerBrain™. I suspect it is going to take some time to recover!

Prior to the first opera Dan and I met up with some other “tweets” (other opera attendees who are on twitter). It was pretty darn fun to see these people I knew by their twitter names. (Granted, I’d met a few before.) Dan had his camera so I’m going to guess he’ll have some nice photos. I just shot with my iPhone, so mine aren’t fab, but here are a few, giving you their twitternames if I have them:

@operatattler has dressed in costume for each performance, I believe! She is here with @mr_skot and @nffo

@operaAnt and @operaskank

A group photo … I’ll put up twitternames I have, but I am missing some … @Herzeleide, @operaskank’s wife Ann (Bob, does she have a twitter account?), @mlaffs, @gdanmitchell

@domb_opera, @dredbeveridge, @mlaffs (sorry about the eyes there … I’m not a great photographer, as you can see!)

After getting together Tuesday night we’ve been named (I think by Maura … @mlaffs, that is) #operaposse.

Sort of makes me feel sort of powerful. Or something.

Oops! It’s #ringposse … that’s sort of double powerful, you know? ;-) (And thanks, @joncaves!)

30. June 2011 · Comments Off on NewToMyEars™: Saverio Mercandante · Categories: NewToMyEars™

Saverio Mercandante composed a ton of operas. I’d never heard of him before!

Here’s a non-operatic work:

I didn’t find anything for oboe soloist, but I see both works for flute and clarinet. Here’s a clarinet work (chosen mostly because I like the photo with it. I’m silly that way.):

30. June 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

via Eric Whitacre: How do you get an oboe to play with more vibrato? You write “solo” above their part.

30. June 2011 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

My daughter plays the oboe and I used to tease her about calling the ducks

29. June 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Opera, Videos

… plus a bit of something else:

I’m guessing what we hear tonight won’t be quite like that!

29. June 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Just got my vuvuzela today. Now comes the realization that it is a much more difficult instrument than I expected (and I’ve played oboe).

29. June 2011 · Comments Off on WorldReeds™: Sheng · Categories: WorldReeds™ · Tags: ,

A Chinese Mouth Organ Performed by Hu Tianquan

29. June 2011 · 8 comments · Categories: Ramble


I’m Mrs Sandra Cowell from Paris,France.during my search for a Music instrument lesson teacher that would always take my son (chris) and I found you..Your advert looks great and it is very okay to me since you specialize in the area i am seeking for him… My Son would be coming to US (your city) Before the end of this month for a period of time and with his friend for 2 Months.he is just a beginner and he is 16 years old, i want you to help me teach lesson during his stay. So, kindly let me know your charges cost per week’s ,in order for me to arrange for his payment before he travels down to your side. I have also made preparation for his personal equipment he will be using privately at home after the lesson during his stay.

Please Advise back on;

(1). your charges per 1 hour twice a week for 2 Months?

(2).The Day and time you will be available to teach him During the week?

(3).Tuition address?

I will be looking forward to read from you soonest.

Best Regards,

Mrs Sandra Cowell

Just so you know, I actually do receive legitimate emails about lessons, but this isn’t one of those!

29. June 2011 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Nothing is deadly to woodwind players except our own instruments. My oboe will kill me long before your science does!

28. June 2011 · 4 comments · Categories: Videos

Let’s go a bit country, shall we? Here are the “Sleepy Man Banjo Boys” … and I must say I’m quite impressed!

Hmmm. I guess I should have a category for the amazing kids I see you YouTube. Someone want to supply a name, or shall I just go with AmazingKids™?