About once a decade, my mother announces she wants to see a movie on the big screen. The last one was “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford. Before that, it might have been “In Search of Noah’s Ark.” She’s no film buff. So when she said she wanted to see “The Singing Revolution” over the weekend, I dropped everything and went to the Little Theater with my mom, my sister, and her Estonian friend Maarit.
Last night the Blue Cross Arena was transformed with the glitter, lights and elegance of a Viennese Ballroom, while Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra delighted the audience with a spectacular show of waltzes, opera and musical favorites. Rieu's showmanship exudes energy and enthusiasm, and flows through each member of his group.
The audience, which filled the Blue Cross Arena about two-thirds full, swayed in their seats, and danced in the aisles when the traditional Blue Danube was played. By the end of the evening the audience had been completely transformed into (as Andre referred to Rochester) "the happiest audience in the world."
Singers and audience members expressed mixed emotions before Madrigalia’s final concert of the season. It was the last one conducted by the choral group’s long-time music director, Roger Wilhelm. He received a standing ovation before anyone sang a note.
If you read much about jazz singer Andy Bey, you’ll come across references to the soft palate, his four-octave range and the way he “integrates the head and chest voices.” But I don’t understand much of that technical stuff.
Starting Monday June 2 at 8:00 p.m., WXXI will broadcast weekly concerts from the 2007-2008 season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s my privilege to prepare them by writing scripts, editing, hosting, and mixing the performances, which are donated by the musicians after they approve them. I attend each concert, take notes, and then hear it in the studio months later.
I can’t explain why, but performances that electrified the live audience occasionally sound flat on record. In person, the RPO’s Bolero (Ravel) had me on the edge of my seat, even though I’ve heard it a thousand times. On tape, though, it seems a bit ragged.
Bettye LaVette's playing the Lilac festival tomorrow. You should go.
My first exposure to her was the record "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise," which I bought sound unheard, based on the cool cover and the producing credit of Joe Henry. I knew immediately it was a major discovery. The glorious weather-beaten voice commanded attention, from the tenderest whisper to a full force gale.
"Ten years ago, coming out was an adult process. Now it's an adolescent process."
That's a quote from Jim Anderson, a former spokesman for Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York Magazine, about six years ago.
And the trend continues.
There are hundreds of area teenagers who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They are coming out at 12, 13, 14 years of age. Many adult gays and lesbians will tell you they knew their sexual identity at that age, but they didn't tell anyone until they reached their twenties (or beyond.)
Update: The New York Times has eliminated five full-time jobs in the culture department. One name stands out -- that of long-serving and much-beleaguered classical critic Bernard Holland. He's taken a buyout and is on his way out. His last day will be May 23rd. Read more.
Donna the Buffalo played the Lilac fest last night. The stage is nestled at the bottom of a grassy slope. There are tents along the top where you can buy fried dough and Italian sausage and beer. The sky was low and mottled, threatening rain that never came. There was a slight chill in the air. Dark planes glided by.
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