Bob Dylan – Nobel Prize in Literature

dylandA big rave for Mr. Robert Allen Zimmerman from Duluth, Minnesota. The Nobel prize in Literature has been awarded to Bob Dylan. What an honor and so well deserved. An innovative and original American singer-songwriter, artist, writer, and now Nobel Laureate. What an extraordinary life. A hero from childhood. Well done to an authentic American hero.

A favorite – Love Minus Zero/No Limit

My love, she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true like ice, like fire
People carry roses
And make promises by the hour
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her

In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love, she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge
The bridge at midnight trembles
The country doctor rambles
Bankers’ nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night wind blows cold n’ rainy
My love, she’s like some raven
At my window with a broken wing

Bob Dylan 1965

Here is YouTube recording made in London 1965. I do believe that is Donovan we see at the beginning of this video. A little scruffy, a little off-key but the brilliance is unmatched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w1mCevu3sU

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Review of Lucio Silla at Opera Atelier Toronto

On Sunday afternoon, April 10, 2016, Opera Atelier of Toronto presented “Lucio Silla” in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The steel grey Ontario sky and frosty winds melted away inside the Hallsumptuous Elgin Theater on Yonge Street. Ticketholders were welcomed with tall, gilded mirrors and plush garnet carpeting. It is an entry designed for well-dressed people in evening gowns and pearls. The atmosphere is sophisticated. How funny than to see the concession stand selling M&M candies. At the opera? Sure! It is after all Mozart, I think he would have snuck a bag into the theater to enjoy with the show. The premier was in Milan Italy December 1772. Two hundred and forty-four years later, it was my turn to be present when the curtain rose.

Of all Mozart’s compositions, this one holds special meaning, I fell in love with this story the first time I heard, Giunia and Cecilio’s duetto: d’elisio in sen m’ attendi.

Giunia sings out at the sight of Cecilio “In Elysium await me, shade of all I own most dear, so that heaven soon, o God, soon may unite me to thee.”

Cecilio’s reply, “Adored, dear wife, in thy sweet countenance alone my faithful soul finds Sweet Elysium again.”

The libretto by Giovanni de Gamerra reads like baroque poetry. The lovers meet at the grave of Giunia’s recently deceased father Senator Marius. She thought Cecilio died too at the hands of Silla and was looking at his ghost. She came to find her way in the wake of Silla’s victorious ascension as Emperor of Rome. The moment these two lovers reunite is out of this world. The joy escalates through the rise of a trembling soprano as the musical notes leap with her heart. Her soul comes out of the morass to shake the heavens with its passion at the sight of him. Mozart composed love as music. The tone, texture, and resonance is so powerful it balances the heart chakra. These two are soulmates. Their hearts only beat for each other.

This opera is the one that opened me to the beauty of this theatrical art. Several years ago, I took courses in music appreciation of classical music and opera. I chose famed mezzo-soprano Ceclia Bartoli as the artist to study. By chance, I bought her CD titled Mozart Arias. Three arias and the duet from Lucio Silla are on the disc. Eventually, I acquired the CD of this opera with maestro Wien Nikolaus Harnoncourt. There was no DVD for rent or purchase. When a web search for the opera season turned up this production, I could not resist the chance to see it.

The 1,500-seat theater includes a balcony and traditional orchestra pit. The harpsichord player sits to the right side of the stage above the pit. This is where Mozart would have been at the premier. This instrument moves the story along during recitative or spoken/sung dialog telling the story. Conductor David Fallis led the Tafelmusik Baroque 30 piece orchestra of Ontario. There are so many moments during the opera when the players were not singing but Mozart continued moving the story and setting the tone with the notes. Up from the pit floated one graceful enchanting note after another. There is no separation between the power of voice and instruments. Each is as exquisite as the other is. Mozart moves us emotionally and invites us to understand the players most intimately by the language of his music. At sixteen years old, he showed incredible skill in this his eighth operatic composition.

HarpsichordTafelmusik Baroque string section truly sounded lighter in the strings. I wondered if the instruments were indeed from the baroque era, Marketing Manager Tim Crouch said, “In this case, the orchestra is using classical instruments, a time-period which happened a little later than baroque (though the same is true of our baroque instruments), and they’re a combination of original instruments and reproductions. Most of the string instruments date from the 18th century – restored to their original condition. Most if not all the bows are new, as are all the winds, brass, percussion, and keyboard. All new instruments are “copies” constructed according to 18th-century models and techniques. String instruments get better over time, while the others tend to deteriorate, hence the reproductions.” Everything and everyone gave a grand performance. An opera in a movie theater or on DVD is an option for viewing, but nothing compares when art is crafted live before the eyes.

Highlights from the opera seria are the carefully choreographed duel with rapiers between Cecilio and Silla’s guards. There was a startling time shift as the actors slowed the duel to a quarter normal speed. Cecilio is outraged as Silla attempts to take Giunia as his “prize” bride. The blades moved to the vocal and musical notes. Wow! Kudos to Jennifer Parr and Jack Rennie for fight choreography. The original opera included ballet dancers. In fact, Mozart wrote into the sheet music where the dancers are to come in.  This explained long periods of music on the CD. Finally, I understood as the artists of the Atelier Ballet graced the stage.

This opera is normally in three acts. A few arias were not performed. Apparently, this happens depending on the size of the stage and circumstances. As I learned this opera by ear, I knew a gap in my auditory memory. The missing parts helped the audience understand how vicious a man Silla was, and how ardently the couple are bonded. Their steadfast love beyond the corporeal becomes evident even to Silla and he has a moment of doubt as to what to do. He wants Giunia out of lust. He despises her rejection. He struggles even to understand how she could behave with such scorn. The missing recitative and arias helped inform the audience of just how despicable a character he was. The opera was fine, just some of the emotional strength was lost with the trimming.

In the end, Silla performed by Kresimir Spicer made a remarkable move by leaving the stage and coming right out in front of the orchestra pit. He pours out his confusion over what to do. He feels his conscience perhaps for the first time ever. He actually listens to the inner voice. He is a murderer. Yet, confronted by the strength of love, he hesitates. It was fabulous to sit there and witness this soliloquy. Mozart’s gift is the ability to draw out the part of their character the audience can identify with. Somewhere in the notes and words, the sway, tone and pacing, we sense the person there. We can feel their humanity whatever the character.

mozartThe performance was satisfying in every way. Artistic directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg brought the magic of this opera to the stage once again. I travelled many miles to see this. The only thing missing was Mozart himself. I kept looking at the harpsichord player and imagining what it could have been like, this small kid up there conducting the singers and musicians. He is one of the immortals. His body gave up but every opera season since his death, one of his operas is performed somewhere. What a remarkable achievement! Bravi a tutti!

Copyright 2016 by Frances Ann Wychorski

 

IL Volo Wallingford CT Concert Review in Italian

For the first time, I am excited to present for readers the concert review in Italian. In collaboration with the blogger: IL Volo Italian Fan Club here is the link to their page. How beautiful to see my words in Italian. So happy to support IL Volo in America and Italy.

Sprezzatura: IL Volo at the Oakdale Theater Wallingford CT

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Sprezzatura: IL Volo at the Oakdale Theater Wallingford CT

February 12, 2016

AllingfordUnder a frosty starry sky, IL Volo took the stage in a two-hour musical tour de force in front of a full house at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT. The Italian trio of Piero Barone (23), Ignazio Boschetto (22), and Gianluca Ginoble (21) wowed the crowd with a selection of Neapolitan classics, Broadway favorites, operatic arias, and hits from the 60s. Their singing style has been labeled pop, operatic-pop, and classical-pop. Pop? What other pop group travels with a 30 piece orchestra, a rhythm section and a dazzling light show pulsed to the beat. IL Volo last played here in September 2013. The group has been wicked busy with a win at Sanremo Music Festival 2015 and a third place finish at Eurovision last May. Their signature hit, Grande Amore, has topped 55.5 million Vevo You Tube views. Record sales of the CD Sanremo Grande Amore are at triple Platinum.

The group has been performing, recording, and touring together since 2009. IL Volo in English means the flight and this year, they will live up to the name. An ambitious 2016 tour began with 12 concert dates in Italy, in North America now for 34, Latin America for 20, and 12 in Europe. They bring to the stage all that is celebrated in Italian art, passionate bel canto (beautiful song), fare bella figura (style and poise) and sprezzatura. The appearance of effortless artistry, keeping it cool while working your tail off.

The trio consistently raise positive energy in their songs that often end on an up note. They are fun, warm, and gorgeous. Each singer is talented enough to carry an entire show solo, however, it is the ensemble harmonics that take them from good to extraordinary. They bring such skill to their singing, matching note for note and tone for tone creating a vibrato rich, subtle and tremulous. The sensation is similar to a tuning fork, when the quiver enters the body, it resonates to the core. They do stir the soul and conjure the spirit to lift, remembering what it may have been like to be young, carefree and in love. Music can do so much. Questa notte siamo stati stregati e ci ‘e piaciuto moltissimo. Tonight, we have been bewitched. We like it a lot.

A Wang Theatre Boston concert review for February 10th is available on this blog. Where previously Barone appeared PB IIsubdued in spirit, tonight he was more playful. A fan since 2012, the first time I saw him he reminded me of Topo Gigio. He talked with his hands and signed a big hearty thanks for coming to the show. In 2013, he perfected a stage strut with stars sparking from his heels. He likes opera and the character Cherubino from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro came to mind. “Narcisetto, Adoncini d’amor” (Little Narcissus, Adonis of Love). The sexy, sassy Barone. In 2014, he became picante, a saucy Sicilian who inspired me to visit the island and the ancient baroque city of Naro. Perhaps it’s time I let him grow up some more. No longer Pierito, almost Signor Barone. A lyric from the duet sung by Barone and Boschetto, ‘O paese d’ O’Sole, makes sense now, “This is the land of the sun, this is the land of the sea, this is the land where all words sweet or bitter, are always words of love…All, all is destiny. How could I have made my fortune in a strange place?” Home is Italy, they are here for a while.

Fan Follies

Beyond the stage show, there’s the people show that can be equally entertaining. The late comers who always seem to have middle row seats, wearing big furs and taking an age to get in their chair. The yakkers a few rows away that keep going during songs. The devotees who cannot sit still and give a standing ovation even for a wink.

The artists and theaters work together to present the best possible show to a live audience. They jointly decide on what they want from the ticket holders. The Wang announced at the start of the show it prohibits videotaping during the performance. Ushers were vigilant in stopping patrons using cell phones to capture the moment. Any fans posting live video from the theater had to work hard to publish on social media. But, there they are, little bits from rule breakers. The quality is rough and rushed. The Periscope app erases postings within 24 hours, however, there is ongoing controversy in the entertainment industry on video piracy of paid events. Is it fair, is it legal to live video stream during the show?

The Oakdale Theater box office manager said they request no professional photography or videotaping of live events. This venue did not prohibit casual recording. The 5,000 seat theater had a noticeable lack of ushers which brought out the cameras in the crowd. One fan got out of the chair and approached the side of the stage during the song, Delilah. We all watched as she recorded most of the presentation. It distracted the performers and seemed a bit audacious. Other fans in the front row routinely approached the stage to make contact with the guys. IL Volo were gracious and responded with care, but it became obsessive prompting a man behind me to make a comment not for prime time.

IL Volo have published several DVD’s of live performances recorded expressly for PBS distribution. Barnes & Noble Bookstores as well as Amazon.com are principal sellers of copyrighted material. Vevo You Tube is a jointly owned music video organization providing quality, copyrighted material at no fee to viewers. IL Volo are signed with Sony Music Entertainment, one of the joint owners. Every time a video is viewed on Vevo You Tube, the artists are paid. Anything posted to Facebook, the artists are not paid.

Heart PBBuone Cose ~ Good Things

Lo spettacolo é stato brillante! The show was brilliant. Outstanding memories are the fantastic fans met in Boston who drove 10 hours from Halifax, Nova Scotia just to hear IL Volo live. The fans in pain struggling down the stairs one ginger step at a time to hear the beautiful voices. So many came out on this cold cold night to be enchanted by sweet songs. The night sky let go a few stars to come to earth this evening. It wasn’t long ago, IL Volo told us,

Moonlight draws your colors in the dawn
While the sound of silence in the wind feels
Like an empty song

As the rain begins to fall down
Like a million tears
And the heaven shining
Through the clouds, girl
I can feel you here

Don’t you ever lose me
I could never lose you
Can’t you feel?
We are love
Like the Earth and ocean
We’re the same devotion you and me
We are love

Je t’aime, mi amor, io ti amo, we are love
Adoro te, tutto al mondo, we are love

We Are Love by Edgar Cortazar and Mark Portmann 2012 Interscope/Rentor/Universal Music

For general and ticket information click on the link to ilvolomusic.com

@FrancesAnnWy2016

Comments are always appreciated. However, this article is not to be reproduced or translated into another language without permission from the writer. The highlighted words link to previous blog articles.

IL Volo at The Wang in Boston

wangIL Volo, the Italian pop-opera trio, performed Wednesday evening, February 10 at the Wang Theatre in Boston. Piero Barone (23), Ignazio Boschetto (22), and Gianluca Ginoble (21) sang in front of a 30 piece orchestra including rhythm section. A pulsing light show syncopated with the music creating a dazzling sensory experience. The show opened with a Grande Amore overture, the song that won them the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival 2015. The almost primitive drum tattoo raised emotions and set the tone for two hours of great music.

The baroque theater on Tremont Street with its sumptuous red carpeting and tiered balconies is an outstanding setting for the young men decked out in sleek Italian leather jackets. The trio sang ensemble, duet, and solo performing well-known Neapolitan classics, Broadway favorites, operatic arias, and hits from the ’60s. Their last appearance in Boston was 2013. Success at home has kept them in Italy on an extensive tour in 2015. This was the fourth stop on the North American tour.

The first number was the Italian favorite, Volare. The performance was curiously flat-footed and despite the upbeat percussion, the energy was still coming up for the guys. Barone was noticeably still in his poise. He has his mother’s lively, flashing intelligent eyes. I met her while on vacation in Naro. He has the same willowy shape and quick, bright way of moving. The eyes turn down at the corner giving a contemplative expression. The trademark red glasses further obscure a connection. Having attended a concert each year since 2012, it was not the behavior remembered. It was studied, almost mindful movement. Barone has a progressively more complex operatic tenor voice now. When he finished his first aria, Puccini’s E lucevan le stelle, he opened his arms and soaked in the appreciation from the audience. We were wowed by his ringing, clear passionate voice. Is this the mature man, returned from Italy moving away from his once playful stage demeanor? The study of opera is a serious business and he seems bound one day for another stage. Several times during the performance, Ginoble draped an arm around his shoulders, laid a gentle hand and gave physical support. Could be jet lag setting in. His musical contribution was flawless. He shifts effortlessly from majestic to sotto voice. The technical foundation gives him form. Now, he needs to swell his song with emotion and tell the story through inflection, gesture, and tone. He is to be Serafino.

All our respectBoschetto provided comic relief with his spot on imitation of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone. The guys lampooned as Boschetto snorted, puffed, and spoke in that muffled, strangled voice. He even mimicked a pot belly as he shambled off stage. He is Scaramouche, a little skirmisher, one minute the trickster, and the next the wacky Maestro conducting the orchestra. His playful demeanor drops in song. He is a rare lyric tenor whose voice can soar around the theater. The first solo was, Tonight, Tonight, from West Side Story. He stopped the show with his second solo, Memory.

Ginoble was bright-eyed all night. At 8:05 p.m. Atlantic time, it was already February 11 in Italy and his 21st birthday. The audience joined in the festivity to wish buon compleanno. Cheerfully, he said, “Now I am legal.” Astonishing to consider he began performing at 16. Ginoble has a gorgeous baritone. He can sing dreamy crooners, Anema e Core (Heart and Soul) and a Spanish classic, En Aranjeuz con tu amor. He is Soave. Musically it means sweet and gentle. He is a skillful artist at home on the stage. A highlight of the night was a duet with Barone. The classic, My Way, in pitch perfect. The tenor and baritone harmonize with subtle vibrational tones tickling down to the toes. How soothing, how rich and rare. Cares fall away, nothing matters, it’s time to listen to music and be apart of it. Two beautiful people in sync.

Naro IVThe trio included their once trademark concert closer, O Solo Mio, with Barone taking a walk out into the audience. He stopped about two rows away and asked the patron if he could step up on the chair. He joined us and gave us a serenade. The Wang Theatre seats 3,500 and is known for superb acoustics. There was a roar from the balcony crowd that bounced around the walls creating a wave of cheer that wrapped us all in bliss. The final number was their own Grande Amore sung with great energy. What a night! Great fun, great theater, and a great show.

IL Volo are on tour in North America. There are plans for a European tour as well. Check out their website and make plans to attend a show. IL Volo Music.com

@FrancesAnnWy2016

Comments and opinions are always welcome. However, this article is not to be reproduced or translated into another language without permission from the writer.