Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bocelli, Art, and Gabrielle Fauré

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to update this blog, so here's what's been going on.

Click Here to Hear the Nessun Dorma finale
The long awaited performance on Feb. 14th with Andrea Bocelli has come and gone.  It was a surreal experience for many reasons.  
  •  We didn't get a real rehearsal with the orchestra or Bocelli as we did for the Christmas '09 concert.  This was because Mr. Bocelli was in NY the day before our concert for his Metropolitan Opera 'debut'.  I'm not even going to comment on that.  Click the link and read the NY Times review which speaks for itself.  Then he arrived late for the short rehearsal time we did have on the day of the concert... and we didn't go over all of the pieces.   In fact, midway through the rehearsal they added a piece of music about 2 hours before the show!  
  • The conductor, Eugene Kohen, was a very nice man but a very strange conductor!  Some of his arm movements were nothing like I've ever seen.  He almost never cued our entrances and we needed the cues since we didn't have any rehearsal time.  To their credit, Orchestra Miami did a fantastic job and to our credit, we managed to not screw anything up too badly.  The videos show we sounded really good!
  • The stage of course was elevated, but the chorus was in the back of the stage, elevated even more - I'm guessing we were about 50 feet above the ground.  Getting to my seat was a challenge because part of the stairs didn't have any handrails.  A nice guy from the Bocelli road crew helped me but it was a little scary. I was smack in the middle of the first row, but once in my seat all was fine.
  • I'd forgotten what it was like to see 21,000 people looking at us on stage!  It was just awesome and yes, surreal.  The sound of their applause was overwhelming.
My FaceBook friend Laura came from New Orleans to see the show and she was thrilled that I got her backstage before it started.  She took some fantastic photos and videos, as did others.  The audience of course went wild for Bocelli - he has very loyal fans - but the highlight for me was hearing and meeting soprano Anna Maria Martinez.  She is just glorious and looked amazing in her red satin dress for Valentine's day.  The photos can be seen on my FB page and videos abound on YouTube.  Laura and I had fun and she stayed for another day which we spent at the flea market.

Pastel Classes  -  I signed up for this class at our local senior center and was pleasantly surprised that Daniel, our instructor, is a wonderful artist who knows how to teach.  I always said I could not draw a straight line and that is still true - but I'm learning how to draw curved lines that somehow morph into actual paintings!  I'm now in the second session of these 6 week classes and I'm amazing myself with what I'm able to do.  I can clearly see the progress from my early sessions and the challenge this week is a very difficult one.  We are using the portrait of Mary Cassatt's Girl with White Bonnet as the model for our drawing.  Drawing a face is much more involved than a landscape or still life and I didn't know where to begin, but another class member who is a 'real' artist gave me some hints and incredibly, I actually sketched in the face!  Now, it doesn't look like the girl in the Cassatt original, but it is a recognizable face of a child.  (The 'real' artist finished hers in the 2 hour class and it looked identical to Cassatt's!  I told her I want to buy it!)  When it's done, I'll post it here - but meanwhile, here's another study I did of a Van Gogh landscape.  (There's some glare on the bottom of the photo that's not on the original.)  Bottom line is I'm really enjoying the class, the other students and the teacher.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Gabriel Fauré wrote some beautiful music but I have to confess that other than the gorgeous Cantique de Jean Racine I'm just not a big fan of French romanticism.  The Master Chorale of South Florida is rehearsing Faure's Requiem and my plan is to rehearse and learn the piece but not sing in the performances because I think it will be too difficult for me to stand for entire performance which is what will be required.  Plus, I don't love the piece and further, our conductor has placed me in the lower alto part which for this piece means I'm actually singing the Tenor I part in the tenor register which is killing my voice - it's too damn low!   I'm not a second alto - if anything I'm a second soprano so this just feels wrong to me.  I can't sing it that low with any kind of decent tone and I don't think my one voice will be missed in the sea of 100+ so I'm opting out.  It will be fun to sit in the audience and hear what the chorus sounds like - something I rarely get to do.

But first, we have the Verdi Requiem coming up March 24th through the 27th.  I love, love, love the Verdi Requiem and am looking forward to being back at the beautiful performing arts center at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Saturday night is already sold out so if you are in town and want to see a great performance of a great masterwork, let me know and I'll be happy to invite the first 2 people who reply as my guests to the night of their choice - Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Boca!  

Next week I'll be in Tampa for the CCSVI Alliance Symposium and Walk.  See my previous post for more info.  Will report on that when I return. 

Addendum:  I finished the portrait - it needs some tweaking but basically this is it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tampa Symposium and Walk-N-Roll

Please click here to see my walk page and donate to this worthy cause

It's time to START NOW - March 4-5 will be an exciting weekend in Tampa for the first annual CCSVI Alliance Walk-N-Roll fundraiser.  I will be one of the speakers on March 4th and will be 'rolling' on March 5th.

Here's what's being planned:

Day 1 - Presentations by CCSVI treatment providers, Dr. Bulent Arslan, Moffitt Center,  Dr. Michael Dake, USF,  MS neurologist Dr. Stanley  Krolczyk, neurologist Dr. Mark Cascione, four patient perspectives, reception and silent auction. 

Day 2 - Walk-N-Roll (2 miles) on Saturday morning, from 8 am - 12 noon
             Food, friends and fun in the sun (get that vitamin D).

If you haven't already done so, please visit my walk page by clicking link on top of the page to read why I'm passionate about this cause.  As a fledgling organization we really need all the support we can get.  If you can't contribute but want to help, how about an in-kind donation for our auction?  Or if you have a business, why not be a sponsor?  Any support will be appreciated and used well - I promise you that.   Help us make this first event a huge success.  I'm counting on all of you.