Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Fight for the Throne

Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) was his final opera. Of all of his works, this opera is one of his greatest and one of the most well-known.

The role of the Queen of the Night, which is sing by a dramatic coloratura soprano is famous for its difficulty. A particularly demanding aria is the Queen of the Night’s “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” (“The vengeance of hell boils in my heart”), which reaches a high F. Whether they can sing it or not, everyone takes a crack at this aria:

Florence Foster Jenkins was a wealthy socialite and benefactor of the arts in the first half of the 20th century. She recorded her renditions of classical vocal works to give as gifts to friends. Here she sings Mozart’s aria “Queen of the Night”.

Parrots like to repeat what they hear people around them saying. I wonder who this parrot’s owner is.

Now I don’t know why someone would make a child learn this aria, but listen to this boy soprano. He is very accurate with the pitches and without the dramatic intent, he performs this aria very well in recital format.

Now for the real deal. Diana Damrau is the best I have seen (I haven’t seen everyone one, so don’t be offended if you like someone more.) She is scary as hell and sings the crap out of this aria. Not to mention that she looks fierce.

Check out YouTube for more Queen of the Nigh clips. See a production of The Magic Flute, because it’s awesome!

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Reality Check

Well, the first sign you know it’s summer is when the only thing to watch on TV is Reality shows. Not that that’s a bad thing.

The three shows I am watching right now are The Bachelorette (ABC), Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for the Next Elle Woods (MTV), and So You Think You Can Dance (FOX).

Let’s start with The Bachelorette. First off, I think this season has been way more entertaining than previous. I have no idea why they haven’t had a bachelorette in such a long time. Well, I do know the reason. I guess the network thinks that if they put one guy with twenty-five hot girls, men will want to watch as well. But let’s get real. These shows are for women. And women want two things: to be entertained and to watch hot men. For those of you who don’t watch the show, I’ll give you a mini recap:

Deanna Pappas, the Bachelorette, was the last women standing on The Bachelor a year ago. And she and the other woman in the final two were ditched at the last moment. I didn’t personally watch that season. I stopped after they had the doctor from Fort Collins who was so boring I’d rather watch paint dry, and then the Prince Borgesi, who ended up ditching the girl he picked and dating the bitchy one we all hated.

This season has been great watching all the men fight for the girl. There has been lots of testosterone in the air and a couple of bachelor moments that were hilarious to watch. But now it all boils down to the final two. Last week, Jeremy was sent home, which I can’t even begin to express how happy that made me. He was so possessive, walking around like he owned her and falling so head over heels that when he was booted he got super emotional. He was too perfect, and honestly, I think he even might be gay. Anyone who spends that much time in a gym is questionable to me. When he stopped the car on his drive away from the Bahama resort where the rose ceremony took place, I thought he was going to kill himself. But rest assured. He was on the Bachelorette reunion where the men tell all. And he was looking glum, oh well. That’s the game.

Now Deanna is down to her final two. Jesse is a snowboarder who is a chill guy. He would be the kind of guy I would love to hang out with. And there is a lot of chemistry between them, but I’m not sure if it is more of a friendship with infatuation, or a romance. But Jesse is awesome. I feel like she has more chemistry and romance with Jason, the single father. He has been adorable and crushing on her from day one. And they look great together and can just be, which is so important. All I do know, is that Deanna said she is happy, in love, and engaged. If I had to place money on it, I’d say she will choose Jason. But who knows?

The Search for the Next Elle Woods

Now on to a more serious show. Many years ago, Broadway producers decided to start turning popular movies into Broadway musicals. This yielded award winning and/or nominated shows such as Hairspray, Xanadu, Cry Baby, Bride of Frankenstein, The Producers, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — just to name a few. With the success of The Producers winning numerous awards, especially Best Musical in 2001, and with Hairspray taking home the same Tony for Best Musical two years later, it’s no wonder this trend is in the now.

Legally Blonde opened on Broadway in April 2007 starring Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods. After over a year of workshop-ing the show, previews, and performances, Bundy is leaving the show, probably to work on a something new that will hit Broadway in the next year or so. After the success of having an “American Idol” type show to pick the Danny and Sandy to star in the revival of Grease, MTV jumped on the band wagon to find the next Elle Woods on Broadway. They held auditions all over the country and narrowed it down to the final ten. From the get go, there were some I loved, some I hated, and some that just aren’t Elle. But the one I am rooting for the most is Natalie Lander. Natalie and I went to middle school together and were in a group of five girls that hung out constantly. We went to different high schools and began drifting when we went off to different colleges in different states, but she is one of those people that whenever I see her we pick up where we left off. She is extremely talented and adorable (only being 5 feet tall! 9 inches shorter than myself…).

Two weeks ago I went with another friend to watch the show at her parents house with a group of forty or so Natalie fans! It was a blast! We booed, laughed and applauded as she sung and danced and was passed through to the next round. Last week they finally voted off Cassie S. who is a stupid jappy (jewish american princess) diva from Los Angeles. She really just was not talented and had an awful additude. They also did a surprise double elimination getting rid of Celina, the rocker chick. Celina is very talented, but just not right for that particular role. This week they eliminated Emma, who looks a bit like Reese Witherspoon, but came off as an ice queen. I’m sure she isn’t actually a bitch, but that’s what the competition brought out of her. Also, how can someone who wants to be a Broadway star be a smoker? It’s absurd to me.

Now there are five girls left:

Lauren

Lauren is the youngest of the bunch. She is 18 years old and boy can she belt out a tune. She is extremely talented, but I think she may need a bit more expererience and just worldly wisdom that comes with age before jumping into a Broadway show as the lead.

Next we have Amber, a high energy bubbly girl who has a lot of talent. Her acting is very natural and she has a great voice. She has been one of my favorites for a while now, and even though she has been in the bottom for the past two weeks, I feel she can bounce back and maybe win this thing. I also think that she would look awesome as a blonde.

BaileyAlso in the running to be Elle Woods is Bailey. Bailey is a southern belle who can get rid of her accent pretty easily when performing the scenes they give her. But Bailey has the “Disney Princess” thing going on which gets boring after a few minutes. I prefer characters to be multi-sided which makes them more human and therefor more interesting to watch. However, Elle Woods would not talk shit about other girls no matter how much she wanted to, and in the confession segments, Bailey is caught putting down her competition quite often.

rhiannon

Rhiannon was not one of my favorites when I first saw the elimination from the 15 to the top 10. But over the course of the show, she’s grown on me. However, she is pretty goofy and comes off as ditsy. Also he performances have never had the wow factor. I doubt she will win the role, but she seems like a sweet person and she is talented, so she will get roles elsewhere once she isn’t so green.

And last, but not least, is my lady Natalie. I am really hoping she wins this. Hands down, she was the best last week for the “Shake Your Junk” dance. And knowing her off the stage, I can only say positive things about her as a person and as an actress. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any information that you don’t already know. She can’t give her friends and family any spoilers of who goes, who stays, and ultimately who will be the new Elle Woods on Broadway. Kuddos to Natalie for making it this far, and here’s hoping she takes it all.

If I had to pick who I would have win, it would be Natalie or Amber. They are the most convincing as the fun, spirited, bubbly girl as well as a Harvard grad student, which are both key components to Elle’s character. Also, being the oldest two of the bunch, they have the maturity and probably more stamina than the others to carry off eight shows a week as a lead in a high-energy show. Bottom line: I hope Natalie wins so I can go watch my friend perform as the LEAD in a Broadway show!

The next show that I can’t shut up about is So You Think You Can Dance. The talent this season is extremely good, and the choreography is great! My one gripe is that everyone has weird names and if your name is normal, or semi-normal, it is spelled strangely. Think about it. There is a Kourtni, Katee, Kherington, Thayne, and Chelsie. The bizarre names from the top 20 are Rayven, Comfort, Twitch, Gev and Marquis. Either they think they are cool by picking strange names or strangely spelled names, or they’re parents were just cruel. But enough about what they are called, onto the dancing!

Mia Michaels, as always, blows me away with each dance she creates. It is truly mind blowing to watch her pieces. They provoke your emotions and dazzle your eyes. This week, she choreographed two dances, one for Kherington and Twitch and the other for Katee and Joshua. Both incredible. My top three couples are Chelsie and Mark, Kherington and Twitch, and Katee and Joshua. I think my most favorite are Chelsie and Mark. They are just awesome in every dance they do no matter what style it is. And they have excellent chemistry, which is crucial to being successful. I also love Kherington and Twitch. They are beautiful apart and together. And they continue to improve each week even though they were awesome to begin with. Katee and Joshua are also in my top three couples. Will is amazing. But his partner Jessica is so blah. Hopefully soon they will get voted into the bottom three couples so that they can give her the heave ho and put him with someone who can match his awesome-ness.

I also am not thrilled but Thayne or Comfort. They are good, but they others are better. So unless they dance amazingly they are going to keep getting thrown into the bottom couples and then will eventually go home. And I won’t care. Just like I don’t care that Kourtni and Matt went home. After being in the bottom three for many weeks, she proved to be a clod and he was just there. Good dancers but not great. However, the other Courtney, Courtney G, and Gev are not the best of the dancers, but they have amazing chemistry because he is ga-ga for her. They are just great to watch, especially last weeks sexy salsa or whatever that was. The ass grab was hot.

The show gets better and better each week, and I was super excited that each pair did two dances this week. More dancing and less commercials is always a plus. Who will win? No clue. As in last season’s finale, Sabra was the underdog to Lacey whose brother, Benji, had won the season before. And she was up against the jumpers Michael and Neil. All four were excellent and any one of them could have won. If the top six is who I want it to be, I have no idea who will win. Will could win it all. But it’s too early to tell. What is obvious though, is that if you dance a Mia Michaels routine, Mary will scream. And I will be happy.

For more info the the shows, check out:

ABC: The Bachelorette

MTV: Legally Blonde: Search for the Next Elle Woods

FOX: So You Think You Can Dance

You can also go to IAmOnMTV.com and become Natalie’s fan!

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Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Well, if I write a post about my mom’s birthday, I can’t leave out dear old dad. So, here’s to you, Dad! Happy Birthday and I love you. Here is a recap of other reasons July 1st is so special:

Other important and/or famous people such as Estée Lauder, Sydney Pollack, Twyla Tharp, Terrance Mann, Dan Aykroyd, Princess Diana, Pamela Anderson, Missy Elliott, and Liv Tyler were also born on this day.

Not only is this my dad’s birthday, but it is also Canada Day, Ghana Republic Day, and many Saints days around the world.

July 1st is the 183rd day of this year and the half way marker of this leap year.

Some past famous days in history include the following:

  • 1858 – The joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on evolution to the Linnean Society.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins.
  • 1870 – The United States Department of Justice formally comes into existence.
  • 1881 – The world’s first international telephone call takes place between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States.
  • 1921 – The Communist Party of China is founded.
  • 1931 – United Airlines began service (as Boeing Air Transport).
  • 1962 – Independence of Rwanda.
  • 1972 – The first Gay Pride march in England takes place.
  • 1979 – Sony introduces the Walkman.
  • 1980 – O Canada officially becomes the national anthem of Canada.
  • 1984 – The PG-13 rating is introduced by the MPAA.
  • 1991 – The Warsaw Pact is officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague.
  • 1997 – The People’s Republic of China resumes sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.
  • 2000 – The Oresund Bridge, connecting Sweden and Denmark, opens for traffic.
  • 2007 – Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces. With the ban already in force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, this means it is illegal to smoke in indoor public places anywhere in the UK. The ban is also put into effect in Australia.

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