19. February 2010 · Comments Off on Same Opera, Different Feelings · Categories: Opera, Ramble

Man, tonight was just one exhausting performance. Reeds felt the same. Oboe is the same. I’m only a few days older than I was on Tuesday. But by the end I was absolutely fried.

And for the second time during the run, someone on the road has pointed out that I forgot to turn on my headlights on my drive home. Ack! The brain, it is a’leavin’.

So now there is one more performance. I’ll miss this opera. Mozart sure knew what he was doing! After the final show there is a party and the orchestra has been invited (nice!). Odds are I’ll not go; I am such a hermit, and the thought of socializing after a 3 1/2 hour performance … well … it’s unlikely I can handle it. Singers are frequently extroverts. So are some of my pit pals. Me? I’ll probably go home, put on pjs, and crash!

19. February 2010 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

I do not play an instrument. I sing a little, but I really have no musical skills. But music is a very important part of my life, and I listen throughout the day constantly. A lot of what I listen to is classical music. To be placed in the middle of a great orchestra like Chicago for a few days, and to be almost in the position in which I remember Andre Previn called the “best seat in the house where the conductor stands,” is for me irresistible.

This afternoon I’m going to be in a rehearsal with some of the grandest orchestral players in the world and to be up close like that is going to be a huge thrill. So I do this for the thrill of being close to great musicians.

-Patrick Stewart

I read it here.

19. February 2010 · Comments Off on San Francisco Opera · Categories: Ballet, Opera, Ramble

Yesterday I received a second packet of season information from San Francisco Opera. Wow. Another brochure and everything. I wish they’d give us the option of only getting things online so we don’t waste paper and they don’t waste money. Perhaps they could even subtract a dollar or so from our ticket price. What an idea, eh?

We still haven’t renewed our tickets for the 2010 SF Opera season*. This means we’ve lost our chance in the drawing for a free season ticket. Ah well. What were the chances anyway? We do have to renew by March 15. I was hoping that, prior to that date, we would be given the opportunity to subscribe to the 2011 Ring Cycle as well, without the currently required tax deductible contribution of $460 that is added to each ticket. So far the only way we can get our season tickets to the cycle is by paying a whopping $2,000. (Yes. Really. $560 + $460 per subscription.) That simply won’t happen with our income. I do wonder if this means we lose the chance completely of seeing the Wagner operas, but one can only hand out so much money, right?

We will be renewing .. at least the 2010 season part. I’m just putting it off for a while longer, trying to get finances in order. But I will most likely not be renewing Opera News (from the Met) magazine. I’m tired of paper waste. I would happily renew if they had an option of “online subscription only” (again, a deal of even a few dollars off would be great … saving them publishing costs and paper usage). When will magazines get savvy to this? Am I just dreaming of something that will never happen? I wrote to them, suggesting it, and they said, “We can’t do that because some patrons don’t want it.” I suggested that they make online subscriptions an option, not the sole way of subscribing. I didn’t hear back. Oh well.

Speaking of opera, we have our final two Marriage of Figaro performances tonight and Sunday afternoon. Then I move on to ballet, with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Not quite the comedy Marriage of Figaro has been … but fantastic music, to be sure!

*SF Opera calls it the 2010-2011 season, but all the operas are in 2010, so I choose to call it what it is.

I’m watching the finals for the men’s figure skating. (I still fast forward if someone looks to be losing it … it just hurts too much to watch.) The man who is skating now (I want to call them boys, they all look so darn young) does some fine jumping. And then he does this stuff that I suppose is meant to be expressive. But what it looks like is, “Now I should shrug my shoulders. Now I should look sad. Now I should do this …”. He’s been told how to look expressive, but doing what looks expressive and being expressive are two different things sometimes.

It’s similar in music. I’ll hear a young student who’s clearly been told “Lean on this note, more vibrato here, rubato here …” but it’s all not natural. And that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it? Natural expression. Making sure it comes from you. Not your teacher. Not mimicking a recording. But from inside your own gut, so to speak.

Sort of like someone saying, “I love you,” but it’s clearly not from the heart.

False expression, in some ways, bugs me more than no expression at all. Maybe because it’s like lying. And I really hate lying.

Anyway … just thinking out loud here. Maybe I’ll write more about this later. Because how one achieves true “gut expression” is quite a puzzlement in some ways. And I had a student come to me, clealry asking me to give her the key to being expressive when she herself didn’t seem to be expressive even in her personality. And I’ve pondered this issue since then, or even before.

Okay … now I must prepare for the dentist. It’s only a cleaning, but I absolutely hate going to the dentist.

19. February 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Q:What one thing are you exceptionally good at?… A:playing clarinet, trumpet and oboe! ha

(Hmmm. I’m counting three things there.)