Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Something for Worship Leaders

 Considering how often the choruses and bridges of Christian Contemporary Worship music get repeated, I suggest that worship leaders have a Rosary to count those repetitions.

I'm only half-joking here. How can we Evangelicals criticize the Rosary for being repetitive when we do the same thing with our praise choruses?

Friday, November 18, 2022



A sad song, yes, but one of my personal favorites to play around this time of year. And Lee Murdock has become one of my favorite singers.

Friday, October 28, 2022

A Bit of Advice for Casual Conversations

 Never pick an argument with someone you barely know, especially when your intuition is telling you they won't like the thing you enjoy. This can only result in you feeling like an idiot and being tempted to try and win the argument even after it's over. I made that mistake yesterday evening, and am not all that pleased with myself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

When You Drop a Logic Bomb on Yourself

Earlier this month I was in the waiting room at the music school waiting for my turn with the accompanist. One of the other singers was a mezzo-soprano who singing None But the Lonely Heart in Russian. I instantly knew that she had to be a fan of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and this was confirmed the following Sunday after the recital.

How did I mage to come to this conclusion? Well, as far as I know there is only one such recording of None But the Lonely Heart in Russian*, at least this side of the Bering Strait. Said recording is done by Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Since that is AFAIK the only recording of the song in Russian, anyone who sings the song in Russian must have knowledge of Russian opera, and as such would also know about Russian opera singers, including Dima. 

Its rare that I make such successful guesses, but one must savor them when they happen.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*The sheet music I got was in German with English translation, I had to write in the Russian lyrics myself.


Who'd have thunk anyone would come up a dramatization of the life of Jesus that was actually great? 

I ranted before about the movie Son of God, which at the time I gave it a five out of ten; in retrospect I probably should have given it a one out of ten. But I'm not here to rant about a nigh-unholy half-baked piece of junk that insults our LORD by making Him so chill there's no anger in Him at all. No, I'm here to talk about the magnificence that is The Chosen.

The show centers around the life of Jesus, however, instead of a straight-up Gospel retelling, the makers of The Chosen opted for a seven-season TV-show told mainly from the point of view of the disciples. There is plenty of speculation to be sure, but it's done in such a way as to develop the characters of the disciples. Some bits have been telescoped and some original characters were added. The story is supremely realistic, showing how Jesus was seen through people's eyes at that time. 
What can I say? This show is superb. I can't really find anything seriously wrong with it. Really, my only quibble with the show is that it skipped over the forty days in the desert where Jesus was tempted by the devil, and there being a few anachronistic jokes thrown in. But the writing and characterization is top-notch. 
        For example, Matthew is portrayed as autistic. Whether this is true or not we don't know, but Matthew had been a tax-collector before Jesus called him. Tax-collectors were Jews who worked for the Romans and were infamous for charging more than was necessary and skimming off the top, and thus considered the lowest of the lowlife despite being rich. Rather than risk Matthew being an unlikable jerk, the writers made him autistic and very good with numbers. He has a tough time understanding other people's feelings and struggles to get along with people. 
      Outside of The Miracle Maker, this has to be the best portrayal of Jesus I've ever seen. Not very many films based on His life are able to capture His humanity along with His divinity in a way that makes Him relatable. Then again, this is a series so there more time to explore the characters. 

       Highly reccomended. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR at Madison Opera 2021

 I stopped doing full reviews of operas as I found them quite exhausting. But, I've let this blog lie fallow for months, and I felt like I did have a few things to say about the performance yesterday afternoon at Madison Opera. I won't do a big review, though, just point out a few things I liked or disliked.

Lucia di Lammermoor hs long been a favorite of mine. The story is based off Sir Walter Scott's gothic romance The Bride of the Lammermoor, which was in turn based on a real-like incident from the Seventeenth Century: Janet, daughter of James Dalrymple, Viscount of Stair, was bullied by her overbearing mother into breaking off her engagement to Lord Rutherford and marrying Lord Dunbar. Disaster struck on the wedding night, and while no one's quite sure what happened, the most well-known theory is that Janet stabbed her husband and died insane two weeks later.

    This was my second time seeing it live. Unlike the one in 2008, only one guy was wearing a kilt (Normanno), and the setting was updated to the 1880s. 

 I had not seen Ms. Jeni Hauser in fifteen years. Last time I saw her was Spring of 2007 when she was student teacher for my Sophomore Year choir class at Sun Prairie High School. I'd heard her over the radio in a recorded performance as the doll in Le Contes d'Hoffmann back in 2017, but it's not the same thing. So it was lovely seeing her again, if only from the nosebleed section. 

The Mad Scene is the big reason I love this opera, and Ms. Hauser did not disappoint. She came into the room in a bloody nightgown and a knife in her hand (which the understandably freaked-out Normanno had to wrench out of her grip). The director must have been reading or watching Hamlet recently because Lucia did an Ophelia in and started playing with flowers and throwing them around. Ms. Hauser made the singing seem effortless; I still have a beast of a time trying to work the coloratura in some of the pieces I work on. 

It's not everyday you hear someone praise a single member of the chorus, but I would like to give a shout-out to my voice instructor, Katie Anderson. Granted, I couldn't tell which one she was until Act 3 (I think she wore a purple dress in Act 2, but I can't swear to it), but it was fun seeing her antics in that Act 3 chorus.

If there is one quibble I have, it's that Normanno started off kind of weak at the very beginning. I could barely hear his high note in the opening chorus. He got better after that, but it was still annoying. I'm used to hearing Normanno loud and clear when he and some guards are searching the premises for Edgardo. 

Thankfully, my boyfriend wasn't shaken by this one as he was by Carmen and Rusalka

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Song to the Moon

 Another Halloween performance video (done on the 26th but schedules happen). Am strongly considering doing more performance videos even outside Halloween. Also, have been trying to figure out how to give the opera Rusalka a happy ending without going the Disney route. (I'd seen it before, so I knew what would happen, but it upset my boyfriend, hence why we're trying to rewrite the ending.)

Translation: Moon, high up in the sky, Your light sees afar. You travel over the world Seeing into people's homes. Oh moon, stay a while, Tell me where my love is. Tell him, oh moon, that my arms embrace him, That he, at least for a moment, should see Me in his dreams. Shine your beams on him, Let him know I wait for him. If this Human soul dreams of me, Let the vision awaken. Oh moon, do not fade.