28 May 2011

Belated birthday greetings to a late (and truly great) American diva

Thank you, Opera Fresh, for reminding us that Beverly "Bubbles" Sills was born on 25 May 1929... although she passed away in 2007, we still like to commemorate her birthday because her singing has given us so much joy over the years. Here is a lovely audio performance (with still photos instead of video footage) of Bubbles singing the stuff we love so well -- Händel -- followed by other gorgeous clips we found during our YouTube ramblings... call it our Love-Händels playlist...

If you love the music of Händel as much as we do, no encouragement will be needed, I'm sure; but if you think Baroque music is stuffy, difficult, tedious, unfeeling, or worse, let me help you to change your mind with the following selections. Please enjoy while refreshing yourself with delicious tea and snacks... total running time of all clips together is about an hour, just the ticket for a perfect peaceful pause:

“Ah perchè, giusto ciel” from Rodelinda by GF Handel
Beverly Sills (25 May 1929 - 02 July 2007)

“Piangerò la sorte mia” from Giulio Cesare by GF Handel
Leontyne Price accompanied by Davud Garvey
08 Oct 1978

“Piangerò la sorte mia” from Giulio Cesare by GF Handel
Inger-Dam Jensen in a regie-style Danish production -- do not be deterred by the modern staging, listen to her voice and watch her expressions -- she is brilliant.

 "Scherza Infida" from Ariodante by GF Handel
Tatiana Troyanos; recorded in 1971

“Scherza infida” from Ariodante by GF Handel
Susan Graham, SFOpera, cond. Patrick Summers (featuring Rufus Olivier Jr, principal bassoon)
Summer 2008 season -- note that this is a rather distorted, totally unauthorized recording from a live performance at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House; it remains an important historical record nonetheless, and I hope my pals at the Opera won't be mad at me for posting it. Ariodante is one of La Graham’s signature roles, and we were so lucky to hear her (several times!) in this incomparable role debut.

Got your tea ready? Go to it... we rarely regale you with videos, but we want you to understand how strongly we admire these selections and  hope that you will make a musical teatime out of them today.

Our personal tea selection for this playlist:
{Blend 1018 from Edwards Premium Tea}

So Happy Birthday, Bubbles, and thanks to you, Leontyne, Inger-Dam, Tatiana, and Susan for this wonderful musical massage,
xo, Dustin
{Trix waves from the kitchen where she is making our tea}

Looking ahead to June

San Francisco Opera is about to open its RING season {swoon!}... it's almost June, which is National Iced Tea Month here in the USA {swallow!}... and we're almost ready to get back in the saddle with our posts {so true!}. Thank you for keeping one eye on the blog (if you happen to be Wotan, you only have one eye to do this with).

Until soon, sending you tea-stained Wagnerian kisses,

{the image at left is courtesy of San Francisco Opera; illustration by Michael Schwab}

05 May 2011

A Teacup for THURSday for a change (and because we were busy)

Did you miss us? Between The Wedding -- and recovering from The Wedding -- and dashing off to see long-lost friends, we couldn't chime in on Tuesday as we usually do, and for that we beg your indulgence (thank you). Since tea is known botanically as Camellia sinensis or Thea sinensis, today we are going to use the latter as a basis for sharing a Thea-cup on Thursday, thereby satisfying the alliteration addicts and kinda-sorta getting ourselves back into your good graces.

Reunions can be fraught -- will they think I look old and prune-ish, will I even recognize him, &c. -- so when they go really, really well, it is cause for jubilation of the highest order. In light of one such happenstance, today's teacup is another old friend from whom we have been separated for too long. Its saucer was of course NOT originally its saucer, but they met in the same thrift shop and have been together ever since. And now we are all together again, sharing tea and thinking about what makes friendships endure {insert silent reflection here}.

If you can read Cyrillic, please translate the mark for us, which, in our innocence, we probably display *upside-down* although the squiggle at top in our image looks like a swan floating on water (see picture at left)... of course it may not even be Cyrillic -- it's all Greek to us {ouch, very bad polyglot's joke}. We have asked several of our Centro-Euro and Russian friends to tell us what it means, to no avail. In the meantime, we shall just keep drinking wonderful teas therefrom and hope that the mark does not actually mean "not for food use."

HOT!! weather all of a sudden in our vicinity, which means Go Outside and Sit Under a Tree to Drink Tea. While sitting there you can compare/contrast (like a good school-kid) the historic significance of Princess Beatrice's very newsworthy headgear vs. the picture-perfect pageant which resulted in the resurrection of the Dukedom of Cambridge -- 1,500 words, double-spaced, on my desk by Monday.

See the pretty rose! Spring is totally, utterly here, roses aplenty and buzzing pollinators everywhere... but this particular rose is for a lovely little kitty who recently left this earth to go scamper in the sky -- fare thee well, Miss Patches, we miss you so much already.

Blowing you each and every a tea-stained kiss,
xo, Dustin