>> Friday, August 31, 2007
Frederica von Stade sings Voi che sapete from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
She has always been my favorite Cherubino.
Frederica von Stade sings Voi che sapete from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
I snapped this picture of Steph looking out of the music room window of the Figarohaus in Vienna, nearly two years ago. It wasn't taken with a fancy digital camera, but with an ordinary 35mm with old fashioned high speed film.
For me, this photo says it all.
I wonder, do the French use their hands when they eat burgers at McDonald's? I forgot to ask.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
by Meilena Hauslendale
When we love someone in its truest of form, it is a pure love, a love with no conditions. Love out of purity can develop over time or be instantaneous in some situations.
When we love or care for someone unconditionally it is because we want to, not because we feel we have to. We don't love that person because of what they do for us. We don't love them because we want something that they have. We love them because we have a special place reserved in our hearts and in our spirits specifically for them. This love is unshaken because it is based on truth not on convenience.
It doesn't even matter if our love is reciprocated by the person we care for. It doesn't matter if they turn their backs and walk away. It doesn't matter if they choose to say nothing at all, because the love you have for them exists regardless of the circumstance and regardless of the condition. It is simply based on your strong sense of care for this individual. It is not based on power. It is not based ... It is based on love's purest intentions.
When we love someone unconditionally, we love them as they are, as they were, and as they intend to be. We embrace their past, their present, and their future as a fine intricate detail of who they are. When they speak, we listen to them. When they are still, we stand by their sides. When they need to be left alone, we leave them be, but we continue to love them even when separated by distance.
Unconditional love goes beyond just the emotions of love, it develops in the core of our being as it is there where we hold those close to us so dearly.
Please tell me that I'm not the only one bothered by these commercials! Is this what we've been reduced to? Are we merely ants in an ant farm? Apparently Visa believes we should be.
Steph, The Incurable Insomniac tagged me so I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself that supposedly you don't already know. I'm also supposed to tag seven people, but I don't have seven of my readers that Steph hasn't already tagged, so I'm only going to tag one.
1. I grew up in a very conservative Southern Baptist home, I graduated from a Southern Baptist university and married a minister. I was married for 18 years before divorcing in the spring of 2000.
2. I appear to be very conservative and "conventional", but don't let my conventional exterior fool you. I have some not-so-conventional thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and experiences regarding life.
3. I love history and politics and love to engage in discussions of both with people who are so-inclined. Steph loves history as well, but hates politics so I generally reserve my political discussions for Lauren. However with her being gone to France, I'm not sure who I'm going to talk politics with now.
4. I'm one helluva Southern cook.
5. I'm not afraid of using words like "hell", "shit", and even the "f" word, when the situation calls for it.
6. I'm an extremely honest and up front person. I hate playing emotional and mental games with people and when others try to do so with me, I refuse to engage. I grew up in a home where honest communication was stifled by such emotional and mental mind games and I have been determined that as an adult I would not carry that into my home or damage my children and other relationships with such.
7. The love of my life is female, but I am not a lesbian. Figure that one out.
The person I am tagging is Lauren, at Dear World.
I can't express how much I am looking forward to Steph's and my "hole in" night.
Tonight we are not parents, we're not counselors, we're not crisis managers, we're not cooks, we're not housekeepers, we're not web designers, we're not disgruntled Americans, we're not firefighters, or saviors of the world. We're friends, companions, lovers, dreamers...
Lauren's dad took this picture yesterday morning in the Oklahoma City airport just moments before Lauren went through security. Since 9/11/01, non passengers are not allowed to go with a passenger to the gate, so we stood and watched as Lauren made her way through the security check station, waving at her each time she turned around to check if we were still there. Finally she gave us one last wave and turned towards the hallway that took her to her gate and disappeared.
From left to right is Lauren's younger sister, Heather, then Lauren, and myself.
I recieved a phone call from Lauren about an hour ago. She arrived safely and is in her host family's home in St. Abraham, France. She was pretty tired, but in good spirits. She said that she spoke entirely in French with her host Mom when she came to pick her up at the airport, and her host Mom said that Lauren's French is already excellent!
More updates to come!
It just dawned on me at about 10:00 pm last night, after I'd already put on my pj's, that no one brought in the mail. Lauren always does that. Throughout the next several days we're probably going to find a few holes around here that used to be filled by her.
We're still waiting to hear word of her safe arrival in France.
Growing up in a college town was a unique experience. I've always been stimulated by the academic "electricity" in the air and the intellectual stimulation that can only be found in a city inhabited and dominated by a large population of university professors, educators, and college students. Because the city of Stillwater literally grew up with the university at it's center, (established as Oklahoma A&M, a land grant college in 1890), university life is everything here. At times it can be a little irritating that literally everything in this town caters to students. For example, it's really difficult to find a nice sit-down restaurant that isn't a sports bar & grill, and of course, pizza and fast food reigns. The median age in Stillwater is well below the national average, and because of the large student population the median income level is rather low, although the cost of living in Stillwater is higher than the rest of the state of Oklahoma. Housing is expensive, and again, caters to the student population.
The beginning of a new school term marks a transformation in town. During the summer the streets are relatively unclogged and the neighborhoods quiet. There are fewer cars with their windows down and woofers booming, and the campus buildings are literally uninhabited. However, with the new term, that all changes. It seems that within a matter of 24 hours the aisles at Wal-Mart are once again choked with kids whose shopping carts are filled with Top Ramen and 99 cent Totino's frozen pizzas, the fast food drive-throughs are lined up to the street with SUV's and pick-ups, and there are U-Haul trucks parked in nearly every driveway. In the evening one can hear the OSU marching band practicing on the lawn outside of the Seretean Center, and the campus is once again a-buzz with be-backpacked pedestrians, nightlife, and sorority girls sitting outside of the houses, talking and giggling. Young couples can be seen once again strolling hand-in-hand at Theta Pond, and "The Strip" reeks once more with the odor of beer.
Today I was reminded once again, why I love living in a college town. It started out as a difficult day as I watched my daughter walk down the airport terminal towards her gate which would take her to a jet that would carry her across the Atlantic Ocean, far away, for the next ten months. But when I returned to Stillwater, and drove down through the OSU campus, I was rejuvenated by the sites and sounds of a campus once again alive with young people and activity, and I was reminded that no matter what changes I experience in my life, life in my college hometown never really changes.
I really like this:
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great ~ Mark Twain
The day is nearly upon us. At exactly noon, central time, my little girl will take off from Will Rogers International Airport with her final destination being Rennes, France. She will arrive in Rennes at 2:45 p.m. on the 23rd and will be met by her host family, the Rouauds. I won't see her again for nearly a year.
This is a day we have worked towards for over a year now, and it has finally arrived. I greet it with a sense of pride mixed with a deep sadness. My girl is no longer a child. We have now entered into a new phase in our relationship. I've always known that this was inevitable, but nothing one can do or say can really prepare you for it. It happens and it hits you in the face like a cold bucket of ice water. I've had knots in my guts for three days now and I've had a difficult time sleeping, but no tears yet. Tomorrow I may cry.
I had absolutely nothing to do with this. (Guess who!)
When Beverly Sills passed away last month, after her second bout with lung cancer, I felt the loss deeply. As a young singer in college in the early 1980's, Sills was one of my mentors from afar. I owned several of her recordings and I used her ornamentations from Rossini's "Una voce poco fa" (The Barber of Seville) in my performance of the aria, and brought down the house with it when I sang it in recital.
Yesterday my friend Jaeson presented me with a belated birthday present. It was a DVD of the documentary on Beverly Sills, "Beverly Sills, Made in America". I watched it this evening and was again awed and inspired by the little black-eyed, dark-haired Belle Silverman from Brooklyn, with the bell-like tones, and absolute perfect pitch, every note in place and every melismatic passage executed with utter perfection. I was thrilled by her perfect execution of the most difficult Handel arias, which in truth, were composed not for women, but for the more agile and powerful castrati of Handel's era, and I was touched and moved by her tender and passionate performance of Manon's "Notre petite table". I shuddered to think that had this little girl, born in 1929, during the rise of Hitler, been born in Europe that the world might never have known her, for Hitler's regime would have murdered her along with the six million other Jews in Europe. Indeed, it was a blessing to us all that she was born in the United States and chose not to go to Italy to study but, instead, chose to stay in New York to study with Estelle Liebling.
She ended her singing career in 1980 and became the General Manager of the New York City Opera, the opera stage that she always considered "home". In 1988 I saw the NYC Opera touring company's performance of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte", and was touched and inspired once again by this great woman of the opera stage. In 1994, she became the Chairman of Lincoln Center and then, in 2002, of the Metropolitan Opera, stepping down in 2005.
I dare say that there has never been a more influential nor more loved American opera singer, than Beverly Sills.
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Heavy rains from the remains of Tropical Storm Erin drenched Oklahoma on Sunday, leaving at least two people dead and three missing, according to state officials and local media reports.
Authorities reported a woman drowned near Fort Cobb, Oklahoma, about 75 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, when she sought shelter in her cellar, which is the usual procedure for storms in tornado-prone Oklahoma.
"Evidently she went to her cellar due to the storming. She couldn't get the door back open," said Caddo County emergency management director Larry McDuffy.
Another person was confirmed drowned west of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, the Kingfisher County Sheriff's office told the Daily Oklahoman newspaper, according to its Web site.
As much as 9 inches of rain has fallen across a wide swath of Oklahoma, leaving roadways under 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was searching for three women whose van was swept off a road near Carnegie, Oklahoma, 11 miles west of Fort Cobb, according to the Daily Oklahoman.
This is some of the worst flooding I've ever seen in Oklahoma! Steph and I are fine. We live northeast of the areas were the major flooding occurred, but it has devastated the south central and southwestern parts of the state.
I've done this one a few times and most of the time I've come up with the same answer. I guess I'm fairly consistent.
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
I won't make it a habit to get too political on this blog, but I'm going to say it here and now with this. This video says it all for me.
Yes, I am a singer. With that said, I will state that it seems like forever since I've done any real singing, when in fact, it has only been a couple of months. But for me, that seems like a life time. I have been teaching over the summer, and that keeps the music fresh, but it seems that by the end of July, I'm itching to get back to it. Rehearsals for the new Chamber Singers season are only a couple of weeks away and I'm ready. This year I've been told that we're singing a piece which will feature me as the soloist with a choral back-up. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but Mark says he wants to perform it at the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association convention in January. I wear many hats, but my soul belongs to music.
There's another delightful person in my life. I wasn't blessed with only one beautiful and intelligent daughter, but with two. Heather is daughter number two and she began her senior year in high school yesterday. With her older sister being gone to France this year, Heather and I will have a lot of time together, just us, and I have to say that I'm really looking forward to that.
Heather is the type, that whenever she walks into a room, she literally lights it up. But when she's upset or sad, her entire face turns into a storm cloud. For that reason, Steph nicknamed her "Little Miss Sunshine & Showers". She is intelligent, articulate, artistic, sensitive, caring, compassionate, and down right gorgeous.
That's my Heather, and I'm so proud to be her Mom!
You know you have a great job when your office manager announces that we're having a Piña Colada day at work! From 2:00 to 4:00 it was happy hour and we all indulged in the frozen concoction and sat around the break room table munching on tortilla chips and salsa, and enjoying one another's company. Outside it was one-hundred-two-in-the-shade but inside we were giving ourselves brain freezes and having a wonderful time!
|You Are Impressionism|
You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.
From the beginning of Steph's and my relationship we have dreamed of one day living in Vienna. There have been times when the dream has been stronger than other times, but it has always been there, and often it has been that dream that has sustained us through some very difficult and stressful times.
Vienna represents a number of things to us, but most of all, it is home. In our heart of hearts it is this dream that sustains us, and when the world seems to be falling apart around us, we will often cuddle next to one another and talk of a time when we will be in Vienna sitting in Cafe Diglas, or Cafe Frauenhuber, or walking down the Kärntnorstraße, hand-in-hand as we did nearly two years ago when we were on location for the filming of Mozartballs. For ten years, even before we met, Steph has been doing research about a move to Vienna--what is required, what it will cost, the cost of living, regulations, visa requirements, etc., and she has been a member of an online ex-patriot forum ever since we returned from Vienna in September of 2005. We have made contacts in Vienna, and are now waiting for the day when we will be in the financial standing to make the move.
It is little wonder, that when I was recently attacked by someone close to me about my "unrealistic" dreams of moving to Vienna, that I took tremendous offense, and reacted with anger and indignation. How dare she? This is our life's dream! (We even have a huge map of Austria pinned to our bedroom wall on which we have pasted pictures and sayings from magazines--our "vision board", as we learned about in The Secret.) It was as if I was walking down the street carrying a large, beautiful, perfect, shiny, red balloon and she came along with her long, sharp, pin and maliciously stuck it. Her words were sharp, insensitive, and cruel, and I chose to end the conversation very abruptly.
There are three things I won't let anyone mess with--my children, Steph's and my relationship, and our dreams of a life in Vienna. We don't know if our dreams will ever come true, but god help the person who tries to discourage us!
Slow down, you crazy child
and take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
it's all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize,..Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
that you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don't you realize, Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
This week is a full one as I help Lauren get all of the final details squared away before she leaves for France, and Heather starts her senior year of high school. Saturday I drove both of the girls to Pawnee to the Pawnee Bill Ranch so that Lauren could get pictures and gifts for her host families, and to spend a little quality time with them before Lauren leaves.
The Pawnee Bill Ranch was the home of Gordon William Lillie , who later became known as "Pawnee Bill", when in 1883 he created a Wild West Show that rivaled the popularity of the better-known Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. The ranch and mansion were built in the early 1900's and today include a museum as well as a large reserve where buffalo still roam. It's a great place to take one's kids to have some fun and learn a little about Oklahoma history and culture.
After our excursion at the ranch, we went into town and had a late lunch at one of the local eateries, called "Honest John Fibber's". This quirky cafe is located in one of Pawnee's original, historic old buildings and still boasts the original ornamented tin ceiling and wood plank floors. The girls and I had some of their incredible homestyle burgers and homemade fries! Major yum! And then we walked next door to the little antique shop and did a little browsing.
It was one of those days that won't go down in my memory as particularly monumental, but it's one I won't ever forget, because it was quality time spent with my girls, and as Steph often says, my heart took a picture.
Today marks the beginning of the last work week before Lauren departs for France. For those who are not aware, my oldest daughter is going to France, (Brittany to be exact), with Rotary International, for a year as a foreign exchange student. Lauren has been looking towards this for nearly two years now, and the time has nearly arrived.
As a mother, I look at this whole event with a mixture of emotions. Of course I share Lauren's intense excitement and mixed in that is tremendous pride for her achievements. But in there too, is a sense of sadness and loss. I won't see Lauren for nearly a year, and when she returns, she won't be the same. What is left now of the young girl will be but a memory, and in her place will be a young woman. Our home will feel empty without her, and when she does return, she will only be home a few weeks before she leaves again for college in Virginia.
I knew this time was coming, and now I can honestly say that there is nothing one can do to prepare for it. It's just one of those things that I must experience as it happens. I learn and grow with it. It's a new phase for all of us. In the meantime we will send her off with bright hopes and good wishes, knowing that she is taking the first steps towards her own life.
I love you, Sweetheart, and I'm so very proud.
I answered this survey on MySpace and thought it would be fun to post it here.
What is your favorite genre of music?
Classical Music, most specifically Western European music of the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic periods.
I also like Big Band Jazz and 1930's Swing Jazz.
Because of its symmetry and balance, grace and emotionalism.
Name your favorite band(s):
I don't really have a favorite Band. I do enjoy some of the old Big Band Jazz era groups, most specifically the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.
Name your favorite solo artist(s):
Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel, Arleen Auger, Elly Ameling, Alison Hagley, Patrice Michaels, Cecilia Bartoli
What is your favorite album?
Probably Patrice Michaels' Divas of Mozart's Day
What is your favorite album cover?
I haven't really thought about it.
Name your favorite song(s):
Mozart's Lied, Abendempfindung, and Shubert's Du bist die Ruh
Favorite CD you own:
Wow! That's a difficult one, but I would probably have to say the Deutsche Grammaphon recording of Mozart's Great Mass in C minor, K 427, with Arleen Auger, Frederica von Stade, Frank Lopardo, Cornelius Hauptmann, and conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
Favorite song on your computer:
I couldn't really say.
Favorite song you DON'T have:
How can one "have" a song?
Du bist die ruh (You are peace)
Thou art rest and gentle peace,
Thou art longing, and that which stills it.
I consecrate to thee, with my joys and griefs,
As thy dwelling-place, my eyes and heart.
Enter into me and close thou
The gates softly behind thee:
Drive other griefs from this breast,
Let this heart be filled with thy joys.
My world of sight thy radiance
Alone can illuminate.
O, fill it to the full!
Favorite instrumentalist (any instrument not mentioned above):
Favorite classical / jazz composer:
Jazz: George Gershwin.
None. I do not consider it music.
Favorite theatrical score:
Le Nozze di Figaro, by Mozart.
Favorite of anything not mentioned:
My favorite instrument is the human voice.
THE BAD STUFF
What's your least favorite genre of music?
Rap and Thrash Metal.
Who's your least favorite band?:
I don't have a favorite so how can I have a least favorite?
Who's your least favorite solo artist?
I really couldn't say.
Who do you think is the most annoying musician?
I think most all Rap "musicians", ( I can't even call them musicians), are annoying.
Who do you think is the least talented?
Too many to say.
Least favorite song:
I have a lot of those...
Most annoying song:
"Ra la ra" by Salieri. It gets itself stuck in my head every time I hear it!
Most repetative song:
Last song to be stuck in your head:
Did this survey just get that song stuck in your head again? (sorry):
Worst band that used to be good?
I have no idea.
YOUR MUSICAL BACKGROUND
What was the first music you remember listening to?
An old gospel singer by the name of George Beverly Shea.
What type of music do your parents listen to?
My Dad likes classical/Christian music.
Do you play any musical instruments, or sing?
I am a professionally trained mezzo soprano. I play the piano and used to play the flute & bassoon.
Do you take lessons for instruments or voice? If so, for how long?
I teach lessons.
Do you plan to / have you gone to college for music?
I have a master's degree in vocal performance & pedagogy.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Anna Storace, Beverly Sills, Julie Andrews.
Who was your first favorite band or artist?
Who is your most recent favorite band or artist?
What styles of music are you interested in learning about?
1930's Swing Jazz.
What styles of music do you already know a lot about?
The Baroque & Classical eras.
Do you know much about musical theory?
Uh...yeah. Quite a bit.
If you take lessons, do you like your teacher(s)?:
I still study privately on occasion. I like my instructor very much.
How many different music teachers do you have, or have you had?
1. Steve Maison
2. Jim Brown
3. Stanley Warren
4. Julie McCoy
5. Joseph Wiggett
6. Kate Butler
THIS OR THAT
Classical or Jazz?
Classic rock or modern rock?
Rock or Rap?
Emo or Punk?
Funk or Blues?
Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin?
Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?
Backstreet Boys or N'SYNC?
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Beethoven or Mozart?
Rachmaninoff or Debussy?
Duke Ellington or Count Basie?
Electric or acoustic?
Mandolin or ukulele?
Saxophone or trumpet?
Why do you like music?
It is the very essence of who and what I am.
When you're angry, what type of music do you listen to?
I usually listen to something calming like Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus.
Has music ever made you cry? When?
I remember one occasion in particular when I was rehearsing the John Rutter Gloria with my college choral group. We came upon a passage where we sang a great "Rex celestis", and it moved us all to tears, including our conductor. It was an incredible moment that I will never forget.
Has music ever made you laugh? When?
I'll never forget the time Steph and I went to see the Tulsa Opera perform Le Nozze di Figaro . The man who played the old gardener, Antonio, had us almost literally rolling on the floor with laughter!
Do you like local music?
Some of the best choral music around is performed by the Stillwater Chamber Singers, (of which I am a member).
What is the best show you have ever been to?
By all means, the best live performance I have ever attended of anything was the Tulsa Opera performance of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
If so, what type of music was it?
Do you enjoy being on stage?
I live to be on stage!
Do you like to sing, even if you don't consider yourself a singer?
I am a singer, and I live to sing.
If you could meet any musician and ask them for advice, who would it be?
I would love to meet Nancy Storace, who was Mozart's original Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro.
If you could just chill with any musician, who would it be?
By all means, it would be Mozart.
What instrument that you don't play now would you like to learn next?
Do you like foreign types of music? If so, what types?
I love music of the Middle East and India.
Yesterday I suddenly announced to Steph that I wanted to start keeping my blog again. I'm not sure exactly why I dropped the habit several months ago--perhaps life was getting too hectic and I needed to lay out for a while, or maybe the formatting was too complicated and it seemed like too much work. I don't really know, but now I have the sudden urge to start again.
Thanks to Steph, I have a beautiful new page and a fresh, new title. I chose the title for a number of reasons--F major is my favorite key for singing, my two signature Mozart pieces (Abendempfindung and Deh vieni non tardar), are both in F major, and F major is a peaceful, quiet key, just the mood I have endeavored to adopt for my life. It fits who I am and what I'm about.
So here it is! Life in shades of F major!