Joyce DiDonato’s recent blog entry, Refreshing Innocence, includes her views on how the arts can serve humanity:
“I think there was a reason the Busby Berkeley Musical’s were so popular during WWII and the Depression Era, as people longed to be transported out of their every day misery and struggle.
“I’m not so sure that we’re in such different times at the moment…
“I also think it’s important to simply let music/art/opera CARRY US AWAY from time to time. To allow ourselves to dream a little bit? To escape? To laugh? Maybe to cry? To remind ourselves of what innocence was like, and to allow things to CHARM us.”
“A lot of people get rigid as they get older because they think they should be ‘wise’. But the child in us, the source of playfulness and joy – that’s the source of all the loveliest things in life. The most creative people have this childlike facility to play. I do. But one or two of my friends think of me a little bit as ‘not grown up’. And I realise how trapped they are in the need to be grown up – which I’ve never felt,” he adds with a chuckle.” Recent interview in The Telegraph.
Did you know that John Cleese of Monty Python fame has had a production company for several decades, making training films for businesses? Quite good, to judge from what’s available on their web site. Just read the outline of what’s covered in any of the films, and you’ll realize why the company stays in business.
Any correlation between joyfulness and a well run business ?
Talk about a great pose! The above full page color photo in both the printed & online editions just shows what a natural Hodge the Cat is. Had better book an interview before his calendar fills up. . .
We can see it now – commercial endorsements, memorabilia . . .
Signature Theatre is always doing something first, and doing it better than anyone else. They didn’t win a regional Tony in 2009 for nothing. People fly in from around the world regularly to see their productions.
Moi was there closing night and talked afterwards with one of the stars, Florence Lacey, above, about her vocal technique. Norma comes out and has to nail a blockbuster number, the first of 3 in the show. Signature’s run was 8 performances a week; twice on Saturday & Sunday, dark Monday. That’s a lotta singing, even with a mike.
Ms. Lacey said, “Lots of warm-ups and scales…” Another member told me Lacey was also working with a voice teacher. Imagine! With her great career, into something like her 4th decade performing, still taking lessons. There’s a real pro, dearies…
The role reminded me of the lead, Turandot, in Puccini’s last opera, Turandot. The ice princess comes out a few times and has to sing killer arias, just like Norma in Sunset Blvd. It’s a role that has probably ruined more voices than helped careers.
Take a listen to this soprano, Dame Eva Turner, the only one yours truly’s ever heard whose voice blooms on all those high notes. You can hear that freedom. Go ahead, clamp on those headphones and turn the volume up high. No knives in the back from this real soprano.
Staying in good vocal condition takes technique, dear readers, all the time. As long as you’re performing. Whether opera or theatre, you gotta do it right. That is, if you wanna be around, and in demand, as Ms. Lacey is, at 60+… and Eva was, until 90-something!
Doing one’s homework for another Granados discussion, and remembering that Frank Marshall had been a pupil of Granados and accompanied singers, thus hopefully carrying on Granados’ traditions, and knowing that Alicia de Larrocha had been a pupil of Marshall, it seemed reasonable to look for and listen to YouTube examples of de Larrocha and Marshall accompanying.
Sorry about that long sentence.
The CD, The Catalan Piano Tradition, has Marshall accompanying Supervia (a guitar student of Granados whom he discovered during solfeg class) so that got a listen. De Larrocha is also on the recording, with Badia singing.
However, there weren’t enough with de Larrocha, and as Pilar Lorengar is a (shamefully admitted) new-to-moi lyric soprano, she needed to be added to The Library.
An excellently reviewed Decca double CD set was located via Amazon, and it’s just arrived, containing tonadillas from Granados’ set, all with de Larrocha …
Later, after listening …
Splendid voice has Lorengar; how she loves all the high A’s and occasional B-flats! And sings them radiantly, too. Yet I cannot agree with much of her Granados interpretation. De Larrocha is marvelous. More on that when we do just Granados.