September 26, 2011

Seven Blunders

It is amazing that a man barely five feet tall, weighing barely 100lbs, and barely raising his voice his entire life had such a tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of people. I woke this morning, thumbed through a score, and out of the binding fell a photocopied list of Ghandi's Seven Blunders. Maybe one or more resonates with you...

1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle

Perhaps 'Diet without Protein' can be included as a 20th century alternative! Ghandi, we love you, but stop making your nutritionist so frantic. In the mean time, these probably fit just fine.

September 8, 2011

Want to watch him get high?

It's thrilling when high notes soar across the audience, as if waves of electricity are shooting from the very veins of the performer into the heart of everyone watching. High notes of course, especially for the tenor, take more than practice and scales.

In a fun clip from BBC some of my favorite singers gather and talk about the tenor high note, the spectacle, the drama, and the moxy it takes to pop them out night after night. Below are just a few points of view expressed in the video link:

Rolando Villazon, "In order to sing those notes, the tenor must be in total control of his instrument!"

Renee Fleming, "Our high notes might squeak and sometimes be unattractive, but tenors are under a unique type of pressure.

Juan Diego Flores, "Some people don't even care about the rest; they only want that note. You need good nerves to sustain a career full of pressure."

German Yodeler, "Vhats eez the big deal anyvay, weevs za high notes? Tenor must learnen to place die handen near mouth und squint the eyes. Dann, he has no problems."

Full Video,

September 5, 2011

When rejection hurts, take their head

What's that feeling when someone you like just isn't into you, that salty mix of embarrassment, disappointment, and sourpussness? No matter how many times you text, send that email, or bump into them, they simply aren't giving you the time of day. Arrrghh, the nerve!

With experience, we're able to shrug off rejection a little better, but no matter how good at it we become, somehow it still stings regardless of age. For most, looking and not touching drives us insane. After all, we made the cake, damn it, of course we want a taste every once in a while. And we deserve it, don't we? Hmm, but at what point is that little taste more like a whopping chomp? And when do we know if we've bitten off more than we can chew, swallow, and digest?

This photo says it all, capturing one of my all-time favorite moments in opera, "Du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund küssen lassen!" Roughly translated, "since you aren't into me, you no good scally-wagging dumpster muffin, I stole your identity on the Internet and threw out the sports section before you woke up... by the way, I'm going to cut your head off and make out with it."

This rich and totally cool photo by Richard Avedon captures soprano Karita Matilla as Salome, the short tempered Judean princess of Richard Strauss' epic tale of rejection, quick synopsis here. Blinded by desire, poor Salome shows us her psycho long before we know what we'd wear to dinner.

Granted , it's ok to be a little crazy and it's probably ok to share that crazy with future partners, boyfriends, gal pals, and lovers. BUT, let's get one thing straight, too much crazy too soon and you might as well tattoo "rejection junkie" across your forehead.

September 4, 2011

Invictus, the song for all

Let's agree, every once in a while a movie comes along that touches the heart, Invictus definitely had its moments. Portraying Nelson Mandela during the wake of apartheid chaos in South Africa, Morgan Freeman basically wants everyone who sees this film to leave the theater in deep thought and maybe in tears.

A stout and beefy Matt Damon, successfully leaves behind the boyish personae of his early career and triumphs as the captain of the South African rugby team, taking them all the way to the world cup. Did Damon actually pull off a champion South African accent...umm, yea.

Sure it's not an easy task to wrap up apartheid, the route to a World Cup win, and the complete afterglow of presidential election in 133 minutes, but actors, cast, and director Clint Eastwood (Umm, what??) are to be commended.

Not familiar with the Invictus poem, except the occasional reference via Oprah, I didn't know what to expect. Let's just say William Ernest Henley wrote one for the ages:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.