04. September 2014 · Comments Off on Because We Know Rigoletto Is REALLY All About The Oboe! · Categories: Videos

Daelli – Fantasy on themes from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto
Oboe – Malgorzata Suchowiejko

The Nutcracker, the December cash cow of ballet companies everywhere, will be performed without live music, a blow to Symphony Silicon Valley, which has played for BSJ for many years, as well as to audiences.


I was incredibly sorry to read this news, which came as quite a shock as I had not heard that this was a possibility. I knew the ballet company was struggling, and I expected to have them cancel live music in some shows and have cutbacks in others, but to cancel all live music in The Nutcracker hit hard.

I can’t imagine having to dance to a tape. There is no give and take, no adjusting to different dancer’s. If a dancer has a slight timing issue our conductor watches and follows that. Obviously a tape won’t do that.

Mostly, though, I hope the ballet company can get back on its feet and survive. The arts in San José struggle far too often for such a wealthy area. It’s a frustrating thing for all of us in this profession, and I think it shows San José (and the Silicon Valley) in a poor light. The arts are vital.

Yes, I’m biased. But still ….

04. September 2014 · Comments Off on Overlapping Jobs · Categories: Videos

I’m nearing the mid-point of Wicked, and I’ve had my two rehearsals for Rigoletto. I now have only 15 performances of Wicked to go and I don’t go back into the opera pit until the final performances on September 19 and 21.

It’s interesting to be playing such different sorts of music. Wicked isn’t difficult, once one figures out the vamps and cuts and remembers the tempi changes and meters. That comes fairly quickly, and especially when it’s a musical I’ve heard before. (When our younger son was in high school he was very into musical theater so we did a lot of listening and Wicked was pretty popular then.) While the musical isn’t hard, there is very little down time, and what time there is I spend swabbing instruments: the pit is usually cold which is a great way to get water in keys.

The opera … well … a completely different thing. Wicked is fun and yes, I can fall for the formulaic and my heart strings are tugged a bit. Formulas can really work, it seems. But the opera? It’s just an incredible work of music. It doesn’t have tremendously difficult things in it either, really, but it has a few tricky things that make me very glad I’ve played it a number of times already. I would never have decided to come in for the final two performances had I not known the book well already.

We don’t have an Opera San José video up yet (they do usually put something up after they do the final dress rehearsal), but here’s just a little bit of the stage being set up. I don’t know who the singer and orchestra are in this. Anyone?

This is the UK tour trailer for Wicked … it shows more of the characters which I enjoyed since I can’t see one thing (I’m under the stage).

… and then for a change of pace (hah!), here’s a video the Metropolitan Opera has provided on YouTube:

04. September 2014 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

“The oboe is regarded as particularly eloquent and lyrical.”
Tell me something I don’t know