Reviews are in, and they are fairly positive. No mention of yours truly, but I only had one true “solo-solo” so I’m not at all surprised. I still think I played well, but you know me and those doubts! I’ll always have ’em. It’s in the blood.

Rich Scheinin
David Bratman

I do think the program worked. When I saw Ellington on the program I wasn’t thrilled, but this work is, in my little opinion, really wonderful. It was new to me, and I loved sitting there enjoying the first three movements before playing the only one with English horn in it. (And even in that movement I played less than I expected; there was one solo that the maestro said shouldn’t be in my part, so I sat there watching it go by. No one else played the line, so I’m not sure what that was about. It certainly wasn’t in his own score, though, which he used rather than the rental score.) My part is actually in the second oboe part, but we “split the book” which saves symphony a doubling fee. (Aren’t we nice to save them money? I think so!) Then, following the fourth movement, I sat through three more movements. In some ways I feel like such a fool just sitting there, but I do have one of the best seats in the house!

I need an Oboe for my son. He has played Sax for 5+ years.
Now he wants to play Oboe. I do not want to rent.
Do you have one at a very reasonable price ?

I read this online. I’m just not sure what a person can say to such a question. I mean … sure, many could offer this guy an oboe at a reasonable price.

1) Someone could sell a horrible instrument for under $1,000. The price would be “reasonable” … right?
2) Someone could sell a Fox Renard for something like … are they around $3,000 now? That’s reasonable for what you are getting.
3) Someone could sell a professional model oboe for $7,000 and that’s not an unreasonable price these days for a professional oboe.

So I think he’s asking the wrong question. Or at least asking the question the wrong way.

I have suggestions for buying oboes. So does Martin Schuring.

If anyone wants to know what I think, feel free to contact me. I’ll quickly say, though, that you nearly always get what you pay for. You should buy an oboe with all the keys, doggone it … don’t skimp! The oboe should have the left F and low B flat, NO question. I also prefer the articulated C# even for the younger student, so you don’t regret missing that later one. (I don’t accept students for longer than one month if they don’t have an oboe with a left F.) You shouldn’t just order an oboe online and not have a trial period to test it out. If you are a student have your teacher have you help you with your purchase decision. If you do order an oboe online because they are so much cheaper than going through a reputable dealer, just keep in mind you’ll have to take it to someone to have it adjusted. I’ve never had a student buy an oboe at one of these places without then having to spend more money to get it adjusted properly.

Any questions? I’m here. 🙂

All in all, I give Simon Boccanegra 4 out of 5 stars and going to the opera 3.5 out of 5 stars; let’s be honest: movies cut to the chase, operas cut around the chase–not the ideal strategy to get guys in the seats, however phenomenal the singing.

29. September 2008 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: BQOD

I liked everything about The Fly except that there was no music.

(Yes, this is referring to the opera.)

Okay, okay, I really don’t believe it is … honest! But c’mon … I’m so weary of hearing what we have to change. I recently read one blog where the blogger has determined it’s all about how we dress and our hairstyles. Yes, indeed, younger people will attend if only we look better.


I hate white tie and tails. Really. I think it’s silly to dress in a costume like that, and I will cheer on an orchestra that finds something more appropriate for the 21st century. But do I think at 25 year old isn’t attending symphony concerts because he or she hates what we wear? Nope.

But NOW there’s this, which just made me laugh: it’s the darn name this time. Sinfonietta is too hard to pronounce. Wouldn’t ya know?

After 13 years, the Lancashire Sinfonietta, supported by Lancashire County Council, believes its name may not accurately reflect “who” they really are and could be reinforcing misconceptions among some people that classical music is elitist.

The Lancashire Sinfonietta is a unique professional chamber orchestra comprising over 80 ‘home-grown musicians’. It is the county’s only professional orchestra which includes members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Hallé, and has built up an excellent reputation among concert goers, albeit with a tongue-twisting title.

Richard Hooper, Executive Chair of the Lancashire Sinfonietta, explained:

“We are looking to revitalise our brand to reflect the next chapter of the Sinfonietta’s evolution. We recently hosted a committee discussion to start looking at how we develop and promote both the Sinfonietta and classical music more widely, both locally and nationally, across age groups. Then someone round the table ( a long-time Sinfonietta supporter ) stuttered as he said the word Sinfonietta and got the vowels the wrong way round… we looked at each other and said “maybe we should stop talking about logos and go back to the name itself.”

Whew! Easy to change “sinfonietta” to something else, don’tcha think? Although maybe “Lancashire” is another stumbling block. So maybe they should move to a new location too.

I read it here.

(As I find new reviews I’ll repost this so those who are interested can read them. I guarantee nothing about the quality of the review; I only guarantee it is about The Bonesetter’s Daughter.)

Reviews and blogs are coming in now. I don’t see the opera until the end of the month, and I’ve wondered if I should avoid reading the reviews.

Alas, it’s too late, as I’ve already been to the sites. So oh well!

Gramophone (Robert Hilferty)
Kinderkuchen for the FBI (Dr. B)
For All Events (Lynn Ruth Miller)
Blogolini (Dianne Nicolini)
The Reporter (Richard Bammer)
New York Times (Anthony Tommasini)
Civic Center (SF Mike)
Bloomberg News (Alan Rich)
LA Times (Mark Swed)
SF Chronicle (Joshua Kosman)
SFCV (Janos Gereben)
Mercury News (Richard Scheinin)
Opera Tattler (Charlise Tiee )

More … about the final dress
Opera Tattler
The Standing Room

As I find more articles and blog entries I’ll update this page, so do check it again! (Newest additions will be at the top of the list.)

29. September 2008 · Comments Off on Glass Disney · Categories: Links, News, Opera

I just read that Philip Glass is composing an opera on Walt Disney. Really. It’s based on the recent novel Der König von Amerika, a novel I’d not heard of before. You?

When I read that he was doing this opera I thought, “But this is about Disney and that must be about “the happiest place on earth, and I don’t quite think of Glass as “happy tunes man”.” But then I read this:

The story of the last days of Walt Disney, American Icon and creator of perhaps the most pervasive fantasy world on our planet, is surprisingly gripping and at times disturbing. But, on the face of it, how could it be anything else? The pulse of his life has to be the pulse of our own American culture. And, like other aspects of life here, it is unimaginable, alarming, and truly frightening. I am looking forward to beginning these collaborations with Gerard Mortier at the New York City Opera,” stated Philip Glass.

Well, there you go. Gripping and disturbing. Those I can hear ….

I just wonder if we’ll see Dumbo or Bambi or anything like that.

29. September 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

I’m at the bottom left of opera. I brought the low-life element to opera. It reeked from the streets.

-Woody Allen