21. March 2009 · Comments Off on What’s It All About? · Categories: Opera, Ramble, Videos

Some time ago I played “Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme” when it began its short life in San Francisco (prior to moving to Broadway). I loved it. The conductor, Constantine Kitsopoulos, was a delight and so wonderful to work with (I wish I’d get to work with him again. Sigh.). Mr. Luhrmann was gracious and extremely energetic and a kick to watch in action. And all the singers we met were very kind. I was sorry that the production got slammed so much; I really enjoyed it and it’s a highlight of my little career no matter what the critics said. (It gets called “controversial” and I guess it’s because of using mics. Good thing no “real” opera companies ever [cough cough] do that sort of thing.)

One of those singers was this guy named Alfred Boe. He was introduced as “Alf” and of course some people giggled a bit at that. Or chuckled. But anyway … rambling on … he was, in the opinion of one of my colleagues, the best Rodolfo. I’m not a good judge of voice, but I did enjoy hearing him and certainly thought he had a wonderful voice. And he was quite nice, even to us lowly pitfolk. (Side note: I’ve read that he met his wife while singing in San Francisco.)

But he’s no longer Alfred of Alf, I guess. He’s now “Alfie”. (Maybe he always was and we just didn’t know? It’s possible.) I just read about him here. And it sounds like he’s doing quite well at what he does. Go good for you Alf Alfred Alfie!

So … here’s Alfie … with an oboe, no less (using, I believe, the thumb plate system).

But of course I’m mostly a sucker for those romantic Italian ditties …

21. March 2009 · Comments Off on Make vs Help … · Categories: Ramble

In one of my google alerts I read the title “Making Students Love Music”

That bugs me.

How about “Getting Students to Love Music” or, better yet to my ear, “Helping Students Love Music”?

There. I feel better now. 🙂

21. March 2009 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Carmina Burana without an orchestra is like Thai curry without peppers

-Harry Rolnick

I read it here.

Emanuel Ax has a blog. Who knew? Well, I guess Mr. Ross did, but he knows a lot more than I, so that’s not surprise. Drew knew too, but, well, that’s Drew. I think he spends more time online than even I do. And that’s a lotta time.

But anyway, Mr. Ax’s latest entry deals with applause. During pieces, not after. Or, well, he talks about the rules of “only after” too, but he’s encouraging applause during. Not just between movements even, but during.

Next week I’m doing Roman Carnival Overture and New World Symphony, and I’ll be playing English horn. I wonder what would happen if my fan (yeah, I think I have one … hi Mom!) applauded after my solos. I’m going to guess other audience members wouldn’t be terribly happy. But maybe she should try it and see? Oh … my sister will be there too (hi Carolyn!) … so two fans could applaud. That’s four hand applause. I might even hear it.

Truth be told, I really do wonder about all the “rules”, but I am not sure that’s one I’d like to have broken. Applause at the end of a movement? Sure, if it’s something that just screams for it. But during? I hate applause during jazz too, so you can tell where I’d fall on that one.

Oh … and while it’s true that people applaud after something in opera, our opera company pauses for that applause. Well now, there’s an idea! We can just pause if applause starts happening in the middle of a movement. Or maybe not.

Anyway, silliness aside, I’m curious what readers think. Would you mind if someone went ApplauseHappy™ in the middle of a movement because he or she just loved what someone on stage did? I’d love to hear about it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go check out more of Mr. Ax’s blog. (Oh! Here is his first post about applause, so you might want to read that as well. Heck, read the entire blog … I only see four entries so far. You know you can do it.)

Ack! I’d better get dressed. I might have a student in 30 minutes. (I write “might” because I honestly don’t know if he is planning on being here or not, due to a mix-up on my part.)