16. April 2009 · Comments Off on Maybe, Maybe Not · Categories: Ramble

No one knows what will become of Susan Boyle and the rest of her story, but it certainly has touched a lot of people’s hearts. I find it fascinating to see how she has hit so many people. If she had been 25 and drop dead gorgeous I’m guessing we would have just looked, listened, and gone on our merry way. (Or judged her harshly because of her good looks; good looks have their advantages, to be sure, but we plain folk often get very critical … jealousy? Probably!)

I did read one blogger’s comment, which suggested that she can’t go anywhere with her talent. I’m not sure I agree. I think she could sing in musical theater. I think she could have character roles. I’m just not sure why she’d really want that life … but what do I know? I kind of think her moment of fame might be what she would be best to stick with. (But again, what do I know?)

I remember when I was thinking I was going to be a poet. (Hah! I look back and wonder what I was thinking and how I thought I was any good.) Someone suggested that I stick to just enjoying it. She said, “If it turns into work it might not be what it is now.”

So I just wonder.

I’d post her video here, but all of the YouTube videos of her request that we not embed them. But if you click this you’ll see the video is all over the place on YouTube.

And now I’ll leave that story alone. Along with the YouTube Symphony, which I’m done with. And I am wondering if I should be done with a particular baseball team too. Sigh.

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on I Wonder Why · Categories: Opera, Ramble

Carmen is a fairly easy opera for me. Now that the Aragonaise has been cut it’s especially easy. But I do wonder about the one somewhat worrisome line. What made Bizet put oboe and trombone in unison octaves? What made him give that to oboe rather than English horn? It begins on a low E flat, moves to E, then to left F, then to low C sliding to to low C#. It continues, but once I get that far I’m no longer fretting. What was he thinking? How much easier that would have been on English horn!

Still, I know I can do it. It’s just “Oh rats. There’s THAT coming up!” that gets in the brain.

You can hear it a bit here, starting at 5:16:

Or 3:41 here:

It’s not exactly a lovely bit of music for oboe. And you can barely hear it, truth be told. But of course to the oboe player, it’s the only thing going on. Funny how that goes. I can barely hear Carmen singing at that point. This is one reason I wish we had a monitor in the pit; it would actually help us with things like this, reminding us that there actually are real singers somewhere nearby. 😉

We had our final dress today. Opening night is Saturday. 8:00 PM. Come on, you know you wanna be there! From all I hear I think it’s a good show. Saturday we’ll find out what the people who can actually see and hear it think!

For tonight it’s rest, relaxation, yummy cream of carrot soup (made by yours truly) and, in keeping with the orange theme of today, which began here I’ll try to stick with a Giants game. If only they show some promise of winning a game. We’ll see.

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on And Here’s The Thing (more on YTSO) · Categories: Links, Other People's Words

With all the gimmickry, one still wants excellence. One still wants good music, good playing … depth. Or at least one wants that Magical Wonder that happens at some concerts.

Or at least I do.

And Greg Sandow, who looks to be not so snobby and critical as I (yes, I am a harsh critic, which is one reason I don’t write reviews!) writes:

But at the heart of all of this — at its artistic heart, where the music lives — something was hollow. The playing wasn’t wonderful. Nor was it, for the most part, scrappy or exciting, which could easily have made me love it, even if technically it wasn’t so great.

Read his complete post.

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

listening to the guy in the flat next door play oboe or some other loud wind instrument, he’s not bad but i wish he’d stop.

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on More Sesame Street Carmen · Categories: Opera, Videos

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on You Tube Symphony · Categories: Links, Ramble, Reviews

So they played last night. I read a few good things, I read a few “meh” posts. And I read the Times review. It included this:

Subtlety? Well, that takes more rehearsal time. The orchestra had basically two days to work. Monday they rehearsed from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., which is what a conductor can do when freed from union work rules with an ensemble of unpaid players.

Which then made me wonder: would a union member be allowed to participate? (Would we want to is another question!) Hmmm. I guess it would be against the union rules. And is the hall a union hall? Did they get special permission for this unique event? I didn’t read the rules; did it say no professional musicians? (I thought I heard that one professional one a spot, but maybe I’m making that up.)

But yikes … that’s one long rehearsal. Let’s say they took breaks every 3 hours or so. That’s nine hours of rehearsal. For a symphony set here we get four rehearsals of 1 1/2 hours each but a rehearsal has breaks, so we don’t even have nine hours of rehearsal. (Side note: I heard that SFS had three rehearsals for the concert Dan and I attended at Flint.) It’s not entirely the rehearsal time that one needs, but familiarity with the group, to really gel.

Tommasini also wrote:

The project is worthy, and in ways inspiring. Still, I wish the concert had been less gimmicky and more substantive.

Well, the thing really was a gimmick, right? Many who are suggesting that the classical music world has to change in order to survive think we need some gimmicks.

Okay, enough of that. It’s latté time. Then off to our final dress of Carmen. The rehearsal begins at 11:30 AM and the hall will be full of school kids. Hmmm. I wonder how this opera works for children. It does have a rather unpleasant end.

Oh yeah, that’s opera nearly all the time. Duh.

Um. Right. If the conductor starts moving in a funny way the orchestra starts to swing. And if he has the wrong music in his score the orchestra plays whatever is in HIS score, not what’s on their stands.

Oh … yeah … it’s just a cartoon. Sorry. Nearly forgot.

16. April 2009 · Comments Off on Total Cut & Paste · Categories: Announcements

I’m just gonna paste the whole thing, but you should visit the site too, just because I tell you to.

Woman breaks white-tie-and-tails ceiling
Italy has named its first female conductor of a major orchestra and she’s an American. Well, to be exact, a Chinese-born American. Xian Zhang has been named the Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. Maestra Zhang was a smash conducting the New York Philharmonic and recently smashed right through another glass ceiling in Germany as the first woman to conduct the Staatskapelle Dresden on their home turf. Her first gig with the ‘Verdi,’ when she won over the audience and musicians, was a massive concert of Strauss, Zemlinsky and Ravel. And she pulled it off seven months pregnant. Take that, maestros!