almaviva90: (don alfonso)
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Hmm...early childhood memories all seem a jumble to me like flashbacks in a distinctly muddled order. I can remember various things but can't quite place them in chronological order. The most vivid and possibly earliest memory is one where I being pulled along by my mum from kindergarten (it was Wembley, if you wanted to know the name XD) to Cityplaza (yes, the very same shopping mall in Tai Koo) since we were in a hurry to meet her aunt and we were, as usual, already quite late. I think this was on a late summer afternoon (or perhaps late spring) and as I was being tugged along, I tripped and grazed my knee pretty badly on the pavement. I can't have been more than 3 or 4 years old at the time but I do remember it bleeding badly enough so that my mum had to go to a hair salon nearby (which she often frequented) and ask for a bandage or something.

And all this didn't quite help matters between my mum and her aunt, the latter of whom was pretty annoyed, I think while my mother herself was pretty furious that I had injured myself. She wasn't angry at me, by the way, she was probably more angry with her aunt who as I recall wasn't particularly sympathetic to the news that I had grazed my knee as a result of this mad rush to see her.

Another random childhood memory I have is of me locking myself in my room around the same time because I didn't want to play with my cousin who was a year younger than me and had visited us in Hong Kong. I remember holding this plastic ball in my arms and stubbornly ignoring my mother's entreaties on the other side of the door and my cousin's crying...it's kind of embarrassing remembering all this (God, it was just a effing *ball*, you silly girl!) but I have the feeling that I found my cousin annoying and wasn't used to sharing my things with someone who I had basically just met a few days before. And to be honest, even 16 or 17 years on, I don't think we still have anything much in common despite the fact that I'm only a year older than she is!
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Whoa...it's looks like it's really been a while since I last posted here...been busy with a myriad of things this past week. I know that I have to change that poem of the month thing in the sidebar but I really am stumped as to what poem suits this month. I thought about putting up a Christmas poem but decided that was waaaay too sentimental (and vomit-inducing XD) to do so. Anyone have any ideas?

Anyways...moving on. I've been listening to a lot of the band Queen recently for some reason. I once heard their very famous song, Bohemian Rhapsody and didn't like it at the time. Now I've listened to it again (after seeing the hilarious Muppet version recently) and really am fond of it. The weird Scaramouche bit in the middle is just made more funny (and makes more sense) now since I kind of know the basics of opera (which is what Freddie Mercury was trying to imitate/mock). Oh and yeah, Brian May is simply a god on the guitar. It's amazing that he also has a PhD in astrophysics though. Simply awe-inspiring. Is it just me or do the 80s seem like golden age for music, not only for rock and pop but also for classical and opera? Queen, ABBA, Air Supply, Elton John, etc, etc...the list goes on plus it was a great time to see opera greats at their prime onstage with the likes of Domingo, Te Kanawa and last but not least, of course, Thomas Allen. What an experience to have lived in the 80s, I think.

Hmm....what else? Oh yes...finally got to reading books again (it seems ages since I read a book properly and to the end) and bought a copy of a book I've been keeping an eye on: Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess - The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde. A fascinating read and a wonderful insight into how Wilde acted and talked in real life. It also gave me an idea on how damning the evidence against Wilde was in his libel suit against Bosie's father. Had I been in his shoes, I really would have escaped abroad and avoided suing the Marquess...but Wilde was defiant...and sadly very foolish in stating his innocence since the amount of witnesses testifying against him was quite shocking. They might of course have been a whole pack of liars but seriously when you get more than 10 guys testifying against you, you're in a bit of hot water, I think. There was an amusing exchange between Wilde and the overbearing barrister, Edward Carson QC, showing Wilde's wit and eccentricity. They were talking about a letter which Wilde had sent to Bosie in which the language was a little overly intimate, shall we say, not to mention suggestive. Wilde kept on talking about how his letters and words were meant as poetry above all else and was marvelling at how beautiful they were while the barrister must have been rolling his eyes sarcastically. Carson was reading them to both him and the court and the following exchange followed (I'm reciting this from memory but the main gist of it should be more or less right):

CARSON: [having read a line from the letter] And was that a beautiful line, Mr Wilde?
WILDE: Not when you read it, Mr Carson. When I wrote it, it was a beautiful line. You read it very badly.

If you didn't know who was talking or what the situation was, I think you could have sworn that this exchange cropped up in The Importance of Being Earnest or something, lol. I must admit that Wilde had guts to say that in court.

Also got a hold of a nice copy of E.M. Forster's Howards End (a favourite book and film of mine)...I think I'll be well prepared for the holidays to brush up on my reading.

Oh, and yeah...it's definitely been decided that I won't be continuing my internship after this month. That gives me time to focus on my history courses next term, hurrah!
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Can I say once again how lovely Thomas Allen and Felicity Lott are as an operatic couple? Brilliant singers and brilliant chemistry.

Watched the entire ROH '97 production of The Merry Widow - yes, the one that got me into opera in the first place - and I can see why I was drawn to it. Why? Because the acting from these two singers is marvellous...I almost forgot I was watching an operetta and was actually watching a play instead. One scene which I have never seen before on Youtube was so touching. It's the scene in Act II where Danilo (Allen) and Hanna (Lott) are teasingly suggesting places they might visit in Paris from the Pontevedrian Embassy to the more lively places like Maxims. Although it starts out all comedic and light-hearted, the atmosphere quickly turns into a very tangible sense of unspoken love between the two characters, especially so when he, in particular, doesn't want to admit it. You could basically live and breathe it in the air JUST by watching these two act. Such a beautiful moment. Flott and Allen can basically do everything - from comedy to romance to strained relationships, e.g. their Count and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and still make it seem so natural and non-wooden.

Okay, I'm rambling...I'm returning to internship work this morning...and despite not sleeping (I really can't sleep these days, damn), I think I'll manage (hopefully).

almaviva90: (Default)
I can't sleep...AGAIN.

So what am I doing now? Well, the title pretty much says it all...as for what or who I'm drawing -- at the moment, I really have no idea.

And who knew that opera could be so funny? If you told me a year ago that opera could be comedic, I would have thought you mad. But I'm proved wrong yet again when one watches operas like Le Nozze di Figaro or Cosi and operettas like Die Fledermaus and Die lustige Witwe.

Here I am trying to sketch and listen to Mozart's Cosi fan tutte at the same time and then I get slightly bored and play my copy of the 1996 MET Cosi with TA, Mentzer, Vaness and Hadley (I'm sorry I can't remember the baritone who played Guglielmo...oops). I get to the scene where the two officers are saying farewell to their lady-loves...and I'm giggling non-stop at the the antics the singers get up to. Guglielmo is overacting his 'despair' at leaving, Hadley's body language (he plays Ferrando) clearly tells Guglielmo to get a move on and isn't too keen to deal with his hyperactive and overemotional fiancee (played wonderfully by Susanne Mentzer; definitely one of the most prettiest Cherubinos, Zerlinas and Dorabellas around. Von Stade obviously gets first place over Mentzer for singing but acting-wise, I simply adore Mentzer who is simply adorable when she gets into character). Vaness as Fiordiligi is trying her best to play older sister but also is frightened at the news of her fiancee going away to war while TA, as usual, plays Don Alfonso with all the sly cynicism and charm. What always makes me laugh is when the two couples are tearfully saying their farewells, he's more interested in pouring the sand out of his shoe (the set does indeed have sand since it's set on a pier/beach) XD

And the Allen/Vaness/Mentzer trio of Soave sia il vento is sublime...so is Francisco Araiza's Un' aura amorosa on my Cosi CD. Sometimes I really prefer Araiza to great tenors like Pavarotti or Domingo for some reason. Domingo was basically the first tenor I listened to (when I bought a highlights CD of  Bizet's Carmen during QBS...we were listening to the darn thing in music lessons for some weird reason) but I wasn't really impressed with a tenor's voice until the first time I saw Araiza sing Dalla sua pace on the 1987 Don Giovanni. I liked Jose van Dam (the Belgian bass-baritone) as Escamillo but again, my mind didn't click with baritone voices till the introduction of a particular British baritone as Count Danilo on Youtube. Really, it's all Jeremy Brett's fault for getting me into opera since it was his singing of the English translations of the songs in Die lustige Witwe that got me looking for other singers singing the same thing. XD

Ah, but I've rambled too long...back to sketching!

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almaviva90

January 2012

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