Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Two sides of the opera coin

 Young people hate opera.  No, no--young people totally dig opera!  Whatever: young people should like opera because it's good for them.  You're all wrong: opera's just completely dead.
 
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A do-it-yourself diva--and she's normal to boot!

"I'd abolish all music competitions. People should be judged on their merits, not against other people. And I'd like to dispel the myth that high art is snobbish – it just needs a bit of effort on both sides."  With sentiment like that, this diva clearly has her feet firmly rooted on the ground.
 
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Right Place, Right Time

I love this time of year. The trees have covered their spindly limbs just as we’re all starting to reveal our own. I went to a park in Penfield on that 80-degree day last week, wandered up the creek to where the trail ends and stood there on a log, shirt and shoes in hand, listening to the water, watching the little seed tufts float through the air. I wasn’t there more than 30 seconds when a heron soared over the tree line. It drifted down silently and then pulled up to land on a high dead branch right above me.
 
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Beijing's Bird's Nest saved by Puccini?

The Bird's NestThe Bird's NestDuring the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China staged eye-popping public ceremonies in the Bird's Nest, an iconic stadium built for the occasion. Last summer, singers in the Rochester Oratorio Society zipped by the Nest about two weeks before the Games began. It was thrilling to see it in person!Radio host abandons dignity to strike a poseRadio host abandons dignity to strike a pose

Now the Bird's Nest is in the news again. With seating for 90,000 spectators, the Nest has stood virtually empty since the Games ended.  But it may be saved by the arts; more specifically, by a production of Puccini's Turandot.

The fact that “Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou will restage his famous production of Puccini's "Turandot" at the stadium in October comes as a noteworthy development. Zhang's mega-production, which was originally staged at the Forbidden City in 1998, will include new and improved special effects in addition to the cast-of-thousands pageantry that marked its first outing,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

 

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Copland House now a National Historic Landmark

Copland HouseCopland House
 
You can walk in, touch, feel, and listen in the space where Aaron Copland wrote his memoirs and a number of major works.  
 
I’m a history geek, so I love the fact that Copland’s house in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., has been declared a national historic landmark by the National Park Service. It’s the only national landmark devoted to a American classical music composer. Copland House now houses a nonprofit organization that runs musical and educational programs. Check out the website. You can see pictures by clicking here.
 
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My forte is louder than yours!

"The day I enter a music competition is the day the New York Phil and Chicago Symphony duke it out in a steel cage Mahler death match."  What are the benfits of music competitions?
 
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Let's do lunch

The High Falls Business Association has teamed up with the Hochstein School of Music & Dance and WXXI to launch Hochstein at High Falls, a noontime summer concert series.
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Changes

There are a lot of changes here at the station these days. Most notably, Simon Pontin signed off for the last time last week after more than 30 years on the air. The outpouring of good wishes - and pledges - from the community was a good reminder of the importance of music in our lives. The act of sharing it is powerful, and we can attach a lot of emotion to the people who do the sharing.
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Commercial Alert

They seem to come in waves.
 
Classical music pops up in commercial advertisements and disappears for awhile. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t watch a lot of commercial TV, so when I happen to catch it in ads, I notice.
 
The other day, my ears perked at the sound of this ad featuring "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's Planets. Watch for the big bite in tempo with the music.
 
 
And how 'bout this classic?
 
 
 
What fun this must have been to put together! 
 
Thanks for checking out my blog. Incidentally, the opinions expressed concerning chocolate peanut butter cups ARE NOT endorsed by the WXXI Public Broadcasting Council, underwriters, or staff.  ;)
 
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Marian Anderson

The next time you visit Philly, check out the birthplace of American singer Marian Anderson.
 
The modest, nineteenth century, two-story house has Art Deco touches and a small basement, which the singer remodeled for enjoying music and hanging out with friends. Conductor Arturo Toscanini said she had “a voice such as one hears only once in a 100 years.”
 
In 1939, after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her sing at Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall, Anderson performed for 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial. 
 
 
 
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