Since there were two casts for Elixir some folks like to attend two performances to catch all the singers. And some people go to all four performances! So here are a few more reviews I’ve now located:

Opera Tattler (from the final performance)
Civic Center (from Thursday night, I believe)
Examiner (a second review, this one from Sunday)

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on For Your Listening Enjoyment · Categories: For Your Listening Enjoyment, Oboe d'amore

… with Albrecht Mayer:

09. August 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Links

Or, of course, D sharp?!

I have a very difficult (impossible actually!) time believing this story.

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on A Concert Reminder · Categories: Concert Announcements

Hi Everyone,
Just a reminder that our next Lowell Trio concert is this coming Sunday, August 15, 3pm at Armando’s in Martinez, Pianist Margaret Fondbertasse & I will be joined by fellow San Francisco Opera colleague & fantastic cellist, Emil Miland, fresh from his Carnegie Hall performance this past Spring with Frederica von Stade!

Janet Popesco Archibald, oboe & English Horn
Emil Miland, cello
Margaret Wong Fondbertasse, piano
Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista Ave, Martinez, CA

Sunday August 15, 3pm $10 cover charge
We will feature some beautiful Romantic era pieces by composer Marie Grandval & Robert Schumann, as well as works by some lively South American Classical composers, including Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Hope you can join us!
best wishes,
Janet Archibald

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Just played my oboe for the first time in years and now my lips BURN!

09. August 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Ramble

Nearly all oboists know who John Mack was. And he made fun of me. So now, after all these years of silence, I’m going to tell you about it.

I am not tattling on the dead; when I say John Mack made fun of me I have a reason.

I went to what I think might have been the first Hidden Valley John Mack Oboe Camp (or whatever it was called). This was about 23 years ago, I think. I wasn’t fully prepared (I had young children, after all), but I did play for him. He had very little to say to me, and I’m sure he was very underwhelmed by what I did. But he did make fun of how I looked when I took a breath. Every time I did that, I lifted my upper lip enough that you could see my (somewhat large teeth). At the time I thought it was just weird that he would comment on that, but I honestly didn’t care what he said. I mostly considered the whole week a vacation. Later that day someone somewhat sympathetically talked to me about his comment, and I realized she thought he was being mean and silly.

But I’ve decided now that it wasn’t silly at all. Took me THIS long. How ’bout that?

And why might I come to this conclusion after all these years? Well, I just saw a video of an oboist who did what I probably was doing a short time ago. And it does look very, very odd. We oboists look weird enough as it is. This just added to the “weirdom”.

I sure hope I don’t breathe that way any longer! I never see videos of my playing, so how would I know? I DO know that I think about the time John Mack made fun of me rather frequently, and if it’s when I’m playing I make sure I don’t share my very large teeth with the audience.

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

2 tweets in a row today, since they go together:

My GF knows my taste so well I couldn’t deny that I was swooning over the oboe player they kept showing on the jumbotron.

I have never been attracted to an oboe player before. First time for everything.

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on It Looks Easy … Or Does It? · Categories: Reed Making

Reed Making Video … Quickly!

09. August 2010 · Comments Off on Elixir, Over & Out · Categories: Merola, Opera

So I’m done with Merola for the year. They have one more concert, the Grand Finale, but the “real” opera folks play that one. I will just be arriving home from a trip the day before, so I can’t imagine having the energy to get up to San Francisco to hear them, but I sure would have loved it if I could. I think this year gave us such a treat; what a fine group of singers!

And yet they, like yours truly, manage to have issues too. Today I arrived at the hall to see last night’s Dulcamara, Thomas Florio rehearsing with today’s Adina, Valentina Fleer. Clearly today’s scheduled Dulcamara, Sidney Outlaw, was ill. (Later this was confirmed.) On the second night of performances the tenor, Alexander Lewis, singing Nemorino, had to leave partway into act two and Daniel Montenegro had to jump in (he sang the previous night). It was clear Mr. Lewis was suffering, as we could hear him coughing. Poor guy. I was so happy to see and hear him on stage today, though, and he did a wonderful job!

To add to the hearing aid noise of Saturday night, Sunday’s performance brought in some attendees who, sitting in the second row, placed two bouquets of very fragrant flowers in the empty first row in front of them (I sit right in front of that empty row). I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle this, but I did survive. They were at the other end of the “pit” and I wondered if the strings were at all bothered. (Without those flowers we still are “blessed”. I smell what to me seems like a cabbage stench which I believe is from the bay water or some such thing. I don’t know if everyone smells it as strongly as I though; I have a very keen sense of smell.)

I never know, from year to year, if I’ll be asked back. The hiring order has been “real” opera folk first (they usually turn it down), then two other players who toured with Merola back when they did that sort of thing, and finally me. So far. You never know if you’ll remain on a list when you aren’t under any sort of contract. I do hope I get to do something next year; I really love hearing these incredibly talented young singers! I start to feel as if I know them, even while they wouldn’t even recognize me if they walked by me. (Shoot, I’d go to the post-performance reception listed below if I had the time and $$ … ah well!) You never know which of these singers will go on to do incredible things. I do recall playing in the Grand Finale (back when they had to hire and extra and I was miraculously called) for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, among others. (I should pull out my programs to see what other names appear!)

If you are interested in the Grand Finale here’s a bit of info:

Merola Grand Finale

Saturday, August 21, 7:30 PM
War Memorial Opera House
$45 Orchestra Premium and Grand Tier Premium | $35 Orchestra and Grand Tier
$25 Dress Circle | $15 Students
Merola Grand Finale Reception

Saturday, August 21, post-performance
War Memorial Opera House, Lower Level Cafe

To purchase tickets by phone:

San Francisco Opera Box Office
Phone: (415) 864-3330
Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm