All posts by CurlsnSkirls

... a rusty sewer of some years, working to better those skills.

Supporting a Singer, or a King

Photo credit:

See Joyce DiDonato’s excellent blog post for thoughts on support and breathing for singers… and for those who know singers in any genre of music!

The same things apply to anyone who has to give a speech.  Rather nice that the King had such a supportive wife and teacher.


“The King’s Speech” updated

The book, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, is thus far very interesting.  Pieced together from Lionel Logue’s diaries and letters, it chronicles his life.  Alas, not much about his methods of teaching, which I had hoped for, but many other details, nonetheless.  A good read if the movie intrigued you.


“The King’s Speech”

Here’s an extremely interesting and insightful discussion between someone from the British stammering organization and actor Colin Firth, who describes his own experiences with speech problems.

Haven’t yet read the book of the same name written by the grandson of the Australian therapist who worked with the King, but said copy should arrive soon.  It promises more insights into how to work with singers, who face many of the same fears.

A “well-furnished mind”

Quote below is from an article by David Brooks, Columnist, New York Times

“If you want to get highfalutin about it, this strain started in the 19th century when Ralph Waldo Emerson and other lesser lights offered audiences recipes for self-improvement. The man and woman of character, they said, must possess a well-furnished mind. You may be a salesman or a farmer or a housewife, but you have a responsibility to be familiar with the best that has been thought and said.”

Just found this marvelous column in Nancy Lindemeyer’s Journal.  Kind of expresses my thoughts about artists, too.


An Art Nouveau Valentine

Photo credit: Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Yours truly loves to go into the Freer, at The Smithsonian, and just sit quietly in Whistler’s Peacock Room, absorbing the glorious golden gloom, and a favorite portrait… so this gray afternoon we  did just that.

Not wanting to “waste” the visit, we crossed the Mall for a glimpse of The Hope Diamond’s new setting.  Not our style, those cool colors, but a quick turn round the gemstones got the warmth back just in time to paddle over the Potomac for closing night of Signature’s Sunset Boulevard.  The things they do there are absolutely fabulous.


A Complete Lord Peter!

Meaning the character Dorothy L. Sayers created, of course.  Having seen and enjoyed Ian Carmichael’s version for BBC years ago (there are two versions with different actors), yours truly was delighted to find all Sayers’ writings collected into one paperback, and available at a favorite used book store, Selected Works.

DVD sets are also available of the Carmichael version, and Amazon has some excellent comments about them.  This author feels Carmichael is by far the better of the two actors in capturing the spirit of the character.  That said, the other version includes stories that the Carmichael series doesn’t.

Decide which version you like.  Or try a local library to see if they’ve got a set.  Or add them to your Netflix list.  If you’re a British mystery fan, you won’t be disappointed.

Interpreting Granados’ “Tonadillas”

Photo credit: Detail of (The White) Duchess of Alba, Goya, 1795

“The words, it’s all in the words!” Soprano Licia Albanese kept repeating during a coaching of the death scene from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly about 10 years ago.

With Granados, yours truly studies the words continually, the piano accompaniment, and has done considerable reading and listening to Granados himself. In addition to simply learning the music. For 30+ years.

Is she a slow learner? No. As one’s character grows, so does one’s experience, and understanding. So more can be brought to bear on one’s studies. The mark of a good composer is one who always has more to say.

However, how the singer interprets musically the emotions evoked by the music is totally personal.

This author’s taken you on an exploratory trip through one composer’s song cycle, but you must make your own journeys, Dear Ones.

Have fun! All the best!