You may not believe what I’m about to tell you, and I wouldn’t blame you. I have trouble believing it myself, nearly sixty years later.
IN WHICH I learn the subtle side of conflict.
Paul Dabuse was the toughest kid in the seventh grade and I knew this because I once saw him fight. It was enough to brand him in my brain as someone I didn’t want to mess with. Continue reading “Bullyland, Part II: Up a Notch”
This article will be in the “Chapters” section of my memoir-in-progress, Greatest Hits of Junior High, a Memoir of Friends, Bullies, Girls, and Catholics (Illustrated).Continue reading “Bullyland, Part I: Fast Learner”
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, Opera del West performance of Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon. Music by Jules Massenet, Libretto by Henri Cain. Artistic Director: Eve Kochen Budnick. Stage Director: Rebecca Kratzer. Cendrillon: Jennifer Jaroslavsky; Prince Charmant: JoAnna Pope; Pandolfe: Craig Juricka; Madame de la Haltiere: Suzanna Guzman; La Fee: Sulgi Cho.
August 11, 2019
Kudos to Eve Budnick, Artistic Director for Opera del West’s Boston Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End! She performed miracles in such a small performance space, turning it into a magical version of Jules Massenet’s opera, Cendrillon (Cinderella). The production included hefty vocal work by Craig Juricka as Pandolfe and Suzanna Guzman as Cinderella’s conniving mother. Jennifer Juroslavsky was stunning as Cinderella, based on her wide ranging mezzo and emotionally nuanced performance. Her pairing with JoAnna Pope as Prince Charming was splendid, particularly in the second half, when these two marvelous mezzo-sopranos came together. There was excellent choreography in this production by a set of wide ranging young women who imparted this tiny stage with a sylvan atmosphere. Such a fairytale-like quality was a large part of Massenet’s frame of reference and it lended excellence. The use of broad-based humor when appropriate (such as the scene with drunken sisters at the ball) kept the opera light.
Cendrillon included a spectacular South Korean lyric coloratura soprano, Sulgi Cho, as the fairy wielding a goodly amount of power over the fairy tale. Her soprano voice had a high tessitura and seemed pretty effortless most of the time. Her excellent makeup and costume made her look suitably otherworldly.
On a personal note, I think it’s a real shame that superb groups like Opera del West are limited to such tiny spaces that do not fully allow the dancers to be graceful and the opera singers to really let loose when the librettos require. However, such limitations will not prevent me from going back to future productions. I expect them to contain just as much magic as this one does.
This article will be in the “Special Features” (appendix) section of my book-in-progress, Greatest Hits of Junior High, a Memoir of Friends, Bullies, Girls, and Catholics (Illustrated).Continue reading “Why We Listened to Gene Pitney”
Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème started with a feud between him and fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who’d composed the immortal Pagliacci (1892).
La Bohème. Maestro: Anthony Barrese. Singers: Raquel González (Mimi), Todd Wilander (Rodolfo), Ashley Kerr (Musetta), Keith Harris (Marcello), Jean Carlos Rodriguez (Schaunard) and Lawson Anderson (Colline). Opera Tampa Orchestra and Chorus.
Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème started with a feud in the early 1890’s between him and fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who’d composed the immortal Pagliacci (1892). At that time this short opera was better than anything Puccini had written, including his earnest yet muddled Manon Lescaut (1893). So Leoncavallo was no slouch and definitely a formidable competitor. Nevertheless, Puccini’s La Bohème prevailed and quickly became one of the immortals in the repertoire while Leoncavallo’s version, although successful in its day, sunk into obscurity and is rarely performed today.
Why?Continue reading “The Straz Presents La Bohème”
The beauty of a how-to book is not just that it teaches you what you know nothing about, but also that it nudges you back toward something you have known about but never tried.
Had I read this book six months ago, it would’ve saved me at least six hours of labor. I was writing an article that initially involved recording a phone conversation. I then had to transcribe that conversation with my nimble fingertips. Had I known more about Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, I would have not spent so much time transcribing. Continue reading “STOP TYPING!”
You may not have heard of composer/conductor Robert Groslot, but he’s definitely worth a listen.
Continue reading “Review of Robert Groslot’s Violin Concerto/Concerto for Orchestra”
Here’s my review of a Blu-ray recording of John Coltrane’s “lost album,” Both Directions at Once, as it appears in Audiophile Audition (www.audaud.com).
I don’t get to say these words very often: here’s a review of the latest killer John Coltrane album!
Continue reading “Review of John Coltrane’s Both Directions at Once”
Chris Montez1 had it right. “Any old dance that you wanna do.” When I was 13 at Holton-Richmond Junior High2, attending class in wooden desks with dried-up ink wells, I used to go to the school dances that happened third Friday each month. They were called “mixers,” because that’s what the girls and boys were supposed to do. Mix with adults gaping on. Of course not many of us did. The concept of a sock hop, with minimal supervision and an outta sight disk jockey, was yet to be in Danvers, Massachusetts. Continue reading ““. . . the Twist, the Stomp, the Mash Potato too . . .””