Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish listening to an opera singer named Kate Royal sing arias in a program that is very similar to the Renee Fleming album I heard and loved last week. In fact, this contains at least one of the same selections from Fleming’s album, the Herrmann aria from Wuthering Heights. We get several Britten selections, one from the Alwyn Miss Julie opera, a Carlisle Floyd, a Lehar, as well as Dvorak, Stravinsky, Messager, Korngold, Barber, and Walton – not a bad group of composers. She has a very nice voice – not as nice or well-recorded as Fleming, but it’s quite a lovely listening experience. Prior to that I finished Prince Igor, which is VERY long but very tuneful (and there was Stranger in Paradise for all to hear) and the 1955 stereo recording is kind of amazing in terms of its sound. Then I went to Ravel heaven with a double bill of L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortileges. The former, I think, is more dependent on being viewed rather than listened to, but I still enjoyed it. The latter is a real gem and an instant favorite – it’s as if Ravel and Kurt Weill had a little get-together and came up with this. I just loved every second of it. The two-CD set also includes two orchestral filler pieces by other composers – Rimsky-Korsakov’s Cappricio Espagnole and Stravinsky’s Le Chant du Rossignol. I’m no fan of the conductor, Mr. Lorin Maazel, but I have to say this is a beautifully produced and performed set and in the case of the Stravinsky, one of the best performances of that piece I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard most of ‘em. It’s one of the Deutsche Grammophon “The Originals” series of remastered albums and the sound is incredibly beautiful and perfect. And yes, that’s a rave. Coming up after Kate Royal’s album is another Elina Garanca solo album, then the Saint-Saens Requiem, which I’m looking forward to hearing. I also watched the first forty minutes of Otto Preminger’s film of Oscar Hammerstein’s Carmen Jones. I have never gotten more than ten minutes in without shutting it off but this time I’m finishing it, damn it all. And I’m enjoying it, especially the rather carnal performance of the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge. Harry Belafonte is a bit stiff, but we’ve got Pearl Baily, Brock Peters, and other good actors. Interestingly, the main titles, done by Saul Bass, contain rather irritating spelling errors – Broc Peters and Marilynn Horne. Herschel Burke Gilbert handled the musical chores, and the Blu-ray transfer is pretty nice with good stereo sound. I’ll finish that up tonight.
Yesterday was a lovelier than lovely day, save for the fact that we did not get a single order, which is very unusual. I got seven hours of sleep, answered e-mails, did some needed organization, taking a bunch of stuff to the garage, so the house looks quite spiffy again. Things do tend to pile up in a way they never do unless there’s a pandemic. Then the Darling Daughter came by and we had a lovelier than lovely three-hour visit that was lovelier than lovely. And shhh, don’t tell anyone, but she saw the cover of the new book and I showed her the first six minutes of project one aka Tonight’s the Night and she loved it and laughed quite a bit, so that was nice.
After she left, I went to the mail place and picked up a few packages, then came right home. I was, by that time, starving, so I made two ham sandwiches with lettuce, pickles, and honey mustard on hamburger buns – they were really good. And the Darling Daughter brought her homemade pumpkin loaf, so I had some of that, too. Then I listened to music, and I wrote a two-paragraph thing for the new book – I’d had the idea for it right from the beginning but didn’t end up doing it because I thought it might be too arch, but it wrote well, and I’ll read it to Muse Margaret today and see what she thinks. I know exactly where it goes and it would fit perfectly in that sequence and it’s kind of fun, I think. Then I watched the forty minutes of Carmen Jones. I also watched the first fifteen minutes of The U.S. Against Billie Holiday, but I really didn’t care for what I was watching. Really bad dialogue. Maybe I’ll try to finish it.
I did a quick Gelson’s run, and bought some water, more Diet Coke, some butter, and a little green salad for my evening snack. I came home and ate the salad, which was fine, and healthy, then it was back to listening to music. Kate Royal is wrapping up her program now – we just had the Herrmann aria and now she’s finishing with the Korngold from Die Tote Stadt. Korngold really knew how to write a soaring tune.
And I must mention the passing of my long-time friend Joanna Erdos. She’s an LACC gal who I met around 1970. She’s been the most loyal and true supporter anyone could ask for. She came to just about every Kritzerland show for ten years, she donated to every Indiegogo campaign, significantly so, becoming either a producer or associate producer on several of my projects, and for at least the past twenty years she was always at the Christmas Eve Do. Brain cancer was the culprit and it’s been ongoing since last year. She wrote me a few months ago saying how sorry she was that she’d missed some online shows, which was very sweet. I know she was in a lot of pain, so her passing is probably a blessing. She’ll be with the angels now and will fit right in, since she was an angel.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll read Muse Margaret the two paragraphs, if the proofed book comes to me, I’ll start entering those fixes, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax.
Tomorrow is more of the same, and then next week is all about project one aka Tonight’s the Night’s premiere showing and subsequent showings. We’re all really excited about it and I hope many of you will do our premiere performance on February 10, but I know some will wait until the Sunday slightly earlier show. But the cast party will really be fun and I will be very open to questions about how we did everything.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, read Muse Margaret two paragraphs, enter fixes if the proofed book is ready for me, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What topic that you don’t know much about would you most like to learn about? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that the Darling Daughter paid a visit.