Archive for the 'Art' Category

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mice.jpgWould you travel 7000 miles to watch a stage full of pink and white mice singing the Wedding March from Lohengrin?

Well I did, and my reward—in addition to hearing sumptuous music performed in an acoustically perfect hall—was watching the reigning Lohengrin underscoring his stardom.

Gifted with a perfect stage name, Klaus Florian Vogt also has the looks and the voice to go with it. I’d been told that I was in for a treat by several of Vogt’s global devotées, but I was not prepared for the tenor’s ravishing opening notes as the mythic knight who arrives in time to save a medieval town from its political rivals.

The voice began high in the tenor register, in a long shimmering phrase and simply spun outward into the entire hall, celestial and pure. Unearthly in fact. Vogt’s voice is lieder light, and yet it has a gorgeous crystalline tone and relentless power. His voice stayed strong and clear to the very end, where in Hans Neuenfels’ brilliant production, Lohengrin rejects human society and moves on to find a better world.

Looking and sounding exactly as a Wagnerian hero should, the blonde, rockstar handsome Vogt (more…)

necklace.jpgI own two of the sensational, one-of-a-kind necklaces made by Dale Levy. From unique glass beads made on the Murano, near Venice, this designer crafts wearable art so luscious you will probably do as I did last time she was in town. Want some. Buy some.
Stop by Levy’s showcase at 838 Walnut Avenue on Sunday, Aug. 17 between 2 and 4:30pm. You’ll love seeing the work. Bring money!

moses_w_zooburbia.jpgTai Moses brings the backstories from her new book Zooburbia to Bookshop Santa Cruz, Tuesday May 13 @ 7pm.

Come listen, get your copy (a mere $14.95), and welcome the longtime Santa Cruz editor back to town!

The book offers lyrical and sassy tales of urban wildlife, and abounds with Moses’ uncanny eye for detail and sensitivity to the curious and powerful lives we share with other creatures. You know…deer, squirrels, raccoons, blue jays, feral felines, field mice, possums, hawks, bobcats, etc. etc.. Be there!

lou-harrison-by-eva-soltes.jpgLed by choir director Nathaniel Berman, UCSC’s Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble will join forces in a rare performance of modernist master Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro. Considered Harrison’s choral masterwork, this unusual music involves an Esperanto interpretation of the Buddhist Heart Sutra set to gamelan.

Berman’s sensitivity and musical expertise should power the choral group to a memorable interpretation. Santa Cruz area residents who knew the composer will find inspiration in this hypnotic creation.

Also on the program is music by two renowned Harrison associates, John Cage and Virgil Thomson.

Tickets — act swiftly!— are available at the UCSC Ticket Office (831.459-2159). Saturday, March 8 - 7:30 - Music Center Recital Hall.

[photo: Eva Soltes]

2theredcouchcropped.JPGProlific plein air painter Tom Maderos is expanding his gaze to include the figure in great Diebenkornesque gestures evoking the introspective after-hours of 21st century life. Specifically coastal California after-hours.

Some of Maderos’ explorations of the figure have been seen recently on the walls of Gabriella Cafe.

Come see an even wider swath of broad-brush figural work, at Iveta this Friday, March 7 —reception starts at 7pm.  See you there!

TOM MADEROS: FIGURE PAINTINGS    MARCH 7 - APRIL 1

IVETA ,  2125  Delaware Ave, Suite F
Santa Cruz, (831) 713-0320

Opening Reception: Friday, March 7, 7-9  PM

tombottoms.jpgDon’t miss the show of atmospheric new oil paintings by Tom Bottoms,  at Cafe Iveta through Nov.30.

Bohemian artistry at its best!

Cafe Ivéta is located on the westside of Santa Cruz, @ 125 Delaware Ave., between Swift and Natural Bridges.

mark-adamo-gospel-of-mary-magdalene.jpgNot the enigmatic companion of first century evangelist Jesus, but the woeful new opera by Mark Adamo, commissioned in a moment of cerebral lassitude by the usually stalwart San Francisco Opera. Adamo had six years to work on this so there is absolutely no excuse for the clueless visual and musical mishmash I endured last weekend.

Having waited all season for this operatic version of one of my favorite ancient sagas, I was dumbfounded to discover that Adamo had neither narrative insight nor compositional vision to apply to this opera. A few good singers had to endure the embarrassment of singing excruciatingly clunky lyrics (written by the hapless Adamo), and a set that can only be described as a construction site.

Standing on top of the site, or milling around (more…)

scala-ring.jpgDer Ring des Nibelungen—affectionately known to English-speakers as “the Ring,” is not only a transcendent marathon of four very long operas, but arguably one of the artistic masterworks of Western civilization. Hence, I can be forgiven for having saved up a chunk of change, flown to Milan two weeks ago and spent eight days in the fashion capital of the known world gearing up for a memorable musical experience.  After feasting my eyes on gorgeous people (okay, men), imbibing my fair share of an alluring crimson liquid known as Campari, and sampling a few choice pastas—I made time to dress up, strap on some high heels and click, click, click my way across the cobblestones to Teatro alla Scala (two blocks from my hotel). There I joined smartly-dressed pilgrims from all over the globe for four nights of ravishing opera conducted by Daniel Barenboim and written 150 years ago by the controversial genius Richard Wagner.

Wagner did not disappoint. He simply cannot. Barenboim was not only superb in guiding a super-sized orchestra through 21 hours of difficult music, but his expansive phrasing—each opera ran at least 15 minutes longer than any versions I’d heard before—coaxed nuance upon nuance, and deepened meanings at every possible chromatic juncture. The master and his interpreter were without question the stars of La Scala’s 2013 production. So now I can remove the gloves.

High on the possibilities of digital special effects, postmodern visual concept and staging overkill, the Ring’s director Guy Cassiers almost ruined (more…)

pars2nd.jpgIn his final opera, Parsifal—whose motifs had been built over a thirty-year period—Wagner fulfilled his vision of operatic “music theater” as something that would go far beyond the classical notion of a drama told in song and music.

The Parsifal of this season’s Bayreuth Festival—direction by Stefan Herheim and set design by Heike Scheele—was in clear and stunning resonance with Wagner’s intention, and used electrifying manipulation of sets, lighting, costume, movement, and voice to achieve a fusion of space, time, and music.

When this production was first mounted several years ago it produced shock and awe. This season the sight of crimson National Socialist banners unfurling swastikas from the ceiling, while the young Parsifal rises from center stage in (more…)

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