"This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affectations glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Four Days at the Opera.....a LONG Post

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Or, my "home-away-from-home". Some of you already know my operatic tale..... I was one of the "few" who took to this form of art at an early age....8 - to be exact. My Mum (who adored opera -though mostly the Italian genre), took me to see "Rigoletto" when was 8. (See my last post for an appropriate musical intro to this wonderful opera.) Unfortunately, as an over-imaginative, only child, when Gilda (the heroine), sacrifices her life to save the Duke of Mantua - one of the all time cads (but a charming one) and her Father (who plotted to have the Duke killed - is discovered, her lifeless body inside a crude brown sack..... I thought, she had really been killed...and began screaming and crying. My poor Mum, picked me up and beat a "hasty retreat". She waited two more years until she took me to see "Lohengrin".... now, at 10, I was a lover of swans and all things Arthurian....although the opera was 4 1/2 hours long....I was spellbound. And.. the rest, as they say, is history. My mum, couldn't quite figure out why I LOVED German Opera so passionately and Italian Opera - not as much....and I guess we will never know. So, after many years of being a season ticket holder (Row P, Seat 117), and meeting the love of my life (who did the Supertitles for SF Opera)...and becoming dis-enchanted with the General Director, relinquishing my subscription....BUT....missing opera in my home town, I began volunteering in the coolest job possible... preparing coffee/tea and "goodies" backstage for Orchestra, Chorus and Principal Singers. I see all the rehearsals (sometimes the best part) and performances.... and have made some wonderful friends.

The Backstage Door...... the gateway to a wonderful, magical world.

The exsquisite main hall, empty now...but soon to be full of people, champange, life!

This Summer Season, we are showing three Operas: "Faust", by Charles Gounoud - a traditional French Opera.....
Opera #2.....and, my SECOND Favourite Opera ever.... "Die Walkure"...not enough space or words to explain.... Willow, you WILL get it.... (here are the Walkures" in their WWI parachuting gear...

Opera #3, Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West"...or, "The Girl of the Golden West"... truly, an Italian-Spaghetti Western, starring Deborah Voight .....

- and featuring a a real horse - the beautiful "Whizkid" - shown here with MOI....who feeds him carrots before the performances...

A little backstage humour...

A backstage look as the scene begins to take shape for "Die Walkure".

Costumes for "Faust"..

I have blogged more than most of you will want concerning this subject.....but, this is MY PASSION..... and I want to share "my world" with you. Yes, I do have photos with "stars" - but I respect their privacy, so must ask for their "blessing" before I post photos.... hopefully, more coming soon!
Love you all so much,
♥ Robin ♥

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Animal Wednesday "La Donna Mobile"

The weather has been too cold and rainy for me to go out exploring for "Animals in the Wild"....so I hope you enjoy this. The music: Verdi's "La Donna Mobile" (from "Rigoletto")- or: "Women are Fickle". I love this cat and dog.....representing the "hero" - or rather the "Anti-hero" - as the Duke of Mantua is one of the all-time Opera Cads! The heroine, Gilda, who loves the Duke (foolish girl), is betrayed by him more than once...yet still sacrifices herself for him....I mean really sacrifices...she dies for him! Ah, FOOLISH AMORE! Anyway, the part in this video where the dog rolls over, exposing his bare belly to the whims of the cat's claws is priceless! A good choice of music and editing to fit La Musica!

And....today, I will actually be at a rehearsal for San Francisco Opera's "Die Walkure". In fact, I will be 'working backstage' for the next four days. Opera "intrigue", backstage backstabbing and other gossipy items coming soon!

Con Amore,

♥ La Robina ♥

Sunday, May 23, 2010

D'Orsay Comes to the de Young

Today, I worked at the de Young, and as promised, I managed to "capture" some of my favourite pieces of Impressionistic Art. This will be a two-part show....the first part, from now until September, features works that represent "The Birth of Impressionism". The second part. from September until January 2011, has the "REALLY BIG, FAMOUS WORKS".

But, there are some real masterpieces here now and I will share some of my favourites with you.

Top - Our "Cover Boy" Edouard Manet's "The Fife Player", 1866 . He is on all the programmes and the gift shop is even selling a paper, life-size version of his hat for children to wear.

Renoir's "The Swing". 1876

Gustave Callebotte's "The Floor Scrapers" 1875

Frederic Bazille's "The Family Reunion" 1867

My personal favourite Impressionist (though not his best picture - but je'adore Monsieur Pissaro....) Camille Pissaro's "Red Roofs" 1877

Lastly, you KNEW I would have a Claude Monet painting......I love his "The Magpie". 1868 - 1869 If you look closely, and see the Magpie perched atop the gate - he resembles (at least to me) a musical note and the gate posts represent a musical score. A charming moment in time...

Ah, mes Amies, I hope you enjoy this little tour....

♥ Madame Robin ♥

Friday, May 21, 2010


I was inspired by the wonderful Britt-Arnhild's Blog http://brittarnhildshouseinthewoods.typepad.com to do one on Colours. As you know, if you have been following my posts, San Francisco has had (and continues to have) an unusually cold and grey Spring. So, colours are not as plentiful as normal....still, I managed to capture a few today and hope you will enjoy coming along on my walk to the de Young. I am not working today,but visiting our new exhibit - Impressionism. We are the only museum in the States to show the magnificent Impressionistic art of the D'Orsay Museum in Paris, while it rennovates their 4th & 5th floors. AMAZING is not descriptive enough for all the TRUE masterpieces I saw today, and I will post in more detail on that at a later date. Today, come along with me as I walk to and from the de Young.

These first two were taken from gardens enroute to the de Young.

"Rent-a-Bike".... for those who want to cycle through Golden Gate Park.

The fountain next to the de Young...for those of you who read my blog, this is where the 13 ducklings were born last month. They are all gone now..to Stow Lake, nearby, but much roomier for ducklings and their parents.

Okay - I know there is nothing but GREEN here.....but, if you look closely, here are at least four shades of green....

A garden enroute home....a beautiful symphony of white, lavender and a few golden poppies - just beginning to bloom.

Last, but certainly not least, my "Cousin", the Robin, adding a bright spot of colour!

I hope you enjoyed my little journey of Colour on a cold, grey San Francisco day.

Danke vielmals Britt, fur die Idee!


♥ Robin ♥

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Animal Wednesday - Under the Sea

A mostly-gray, damp May makes me long for warm, tropical waters.... how lovely it would be diving underwater here....

The haunting music is from Saint Saens "The Carnival of the Animals".

Enjoy your day - may it be a warm and wonderful one.


♥ Robin ♥

Monday, May 17, 2010

Enid Arrives in San Francisco and "Young at Art" Photos

Despite the arrival of what I call "The Mini-Winter", where the foggy skies take up "permanent residence" 24/7 from May to August, it was a lovely weekend. First, the wonderful Enid (courtesy of Pam of Yorobobo) arrived, She was made welcome by some of my "Froggy Friends". I ♥ Enid! Thank you Pam!

I volunteered at the de Young too - and was delighted to find a temporary exhibit entitled "Young at Art" which displayed art (in all mediums) from San Francisco Public School children. The finalists will have their work displayed in Washington DC. Their ages varied from 5 - 18. I was astounded at all of the wonderful creativity. It gives hope for the future of Art...and of Artists.

These ceramic "Froggies" were created by 6 year olds. I wanted to capture them all in one shot...but probably should have come in closer so you could see the marvelous detail!

This wonderful painting, a finalist, who will be exhibiting in Washington DC soon is 16 years old. (The photo is hanging on a wall - I had no option but to shoot directly upwards.)

Last, I adore this SF mural - a group project by 5 year olds....they really captured the San Francisco Skyline with a real sense of style and flair!

Outside the de Young, the "Only in San Francisco" "Bay to Breakers" Race was run yesterday. Many actually 'ran' the race, many more 'walked', skipped and drunkenly 'staggered' through.

We had to turn away a few would-be intoxicted "Patrons" who wanted in to the Museum, wearing ONLY a set of Viking Horns. NOT a pretty sight....and no, I didn't photograph them.

Bravi to all the young artists featured above! Isn't it heartwarming to see their work?


♥ Robin ♥

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Know Where I'm Going? And I Know Where I've Been..

A Portrait of Me - at Six Years Old

Dear KJ posed three thought-provoking questions on her blog today and I decided to answer them here.

1. What was your childhood?
I had a good childhood - an only child, and yes, spoiled. My parents had a strong marriage - a first and only marriage for them. I was well educated - my Father taught me to read before I started school - and my love of books has never left me. He was an Air Force Pilot, then retired and became a small Antique Shop owner. Mum was a Flight Attendant. The downside to my early life..... I was alone a lot. My Father working, my Mum away for days on trips. I did have someone to bring me home from school - not a "nanny" - we were comfortable - not wealthy.... Being alone so much, I developed my own language, read a lot, and lived "inside my mind".... you can guess that I had a
vivid imagination. So much so, that the Nuns once called my Mum in to let her know they were concerned about my "grasp on reality". (She told them - politely - to "get stuffed" - there was nothing wrong with me.)

2. What did you want people to understand about you?
That I was more than just a "pretty face".... I had a brain, was intelligent - had opinions that were relevant. I was funny, had a good (if a bit dry) sense of humour. I was not "stuck up", just shy.

3. Who was on your bus?
My parents - first and foremost. My pets. Animals in general.... I seemed to form a bond with them at a young age. Nature. Father Andrew D. - a priest I knew since I was able to formulate thoughts and with whom I was able to have long (sometimes argumentative) conversations with about God, Religion, Mankind. He always "heard" me and made time for me. "King Arthur" - yes, I was absorbed in anything relating to him....poetry, literature, music. The author E.R. Eddison - a man who rivaled Tolkien in his "Zimiavian World" - four astonishingly beautiful books that affected my life at 15 - and
still do today when I reread them. Music.....often a friend to me when I was by myself.

It's been a good ride - mostly a smooth road - a few bumps here and there....until last year, when the bus crashed into a boulder and fell over the cliff. But, I am standing up, though bruised and cut....and I am walking down the road again, looking up at the lilac twilight sky - and seeing that first sparkling star next to the silver crescent moon. There is life...there is hope and somewhere out there...there is love.

♥ Robin ♥

Monday, May 10, 2010

Animal Wednesday - A "Twibute" to Emily from "Wrobin"

The sun (finally) appeared and I was able to photograph something I have wanted to for quite a while...but was either too lazy to walk the 10 blocks or "Mother Nature" was too unruly. I have always adored this wonderful, fanciful, rain spout..... long before I became a "Blogging Girl" and long before I "met" the "One and Only Emily"! But, I digress.... now - I know YOU ALL - "KJB", Lo, (lolololo...), Suki, Joss, Mim, Pam, Willow, Vicki, "Dustin" and.......you, marvelous Allegra... and, of course, EMILY - the "wild, wascally and wonderful" Wabbit! (Anne, you KNOW how long I have known you.....there were NO BLOGS then!)

I hope this makes you smile....I know it made me do so the first time I looked up and saw him/her!

And now....from the "sublime" to the "ridiculous"...... a "Wild, Wooly, Wonderful - and yes, Wickedly Funny" clip from "Monty Python & the Holy Grail"..... just remember, people, the blood is "FAKE"...but, in the end, the Bunny triumphs! Emily, who is the "Wabbitt"? I know it must be a relative....

I WUV you all!

♥ Wrobin ♥

Monday, Monday

It was an extremely emotional Mother's Day Weekend...and I was hoping for a warm, Spring Monday to push past it. Alas, it was not to be......as you can see, the San Francisco Skyline is full of dark, ominous clouds..... and....it is raining and cold (50) as I write this. Actually, I am a lover of rain....but, we have had more than our share this year....sigh... well, at least the flowers, trees and birds are happy!
Still, Spring is slowly and gently weaving her spell.... these gorgeous blooms are in my neighbour's back yard. (I hope you can see all the levels of the yard... we live on a hill. After all, this is San Francisco!) They re-landscaped last year and it is paying off - plants blooming, birds happy..... "My" Mocking Bird makes frequent stops here.

I am reading a marvelous book - not for everyone, but some of you would like this. "In a Dark Wood Wandering"...by Hella S. Haase. A very powerful and moving story set in the fifteenth century, during the Hundred Years War between France and England.
Sending you all love on this wet Monday,
♥ Robin ♥

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Beautiful Mother

Most of you know that my beloved Mother died twenty six years ago last month. I was her only child. She adored me - and I loved her so. She was quite young when she died - and I have now spent more years without her than with her. At first, I thought I would not post about Mother's Day....it has been a sad day for me for many years... but, after some thought, I opted to do one. I know this would please her. She was a small town girl from Ohio, who married my more cosmopolitan Father (an Air Force Pilot) and moved to San Francisco. She LOVED to travel - and was a flight attendant for many years. (When she worked - for Pan Am - Flight Attendants were "glamorous" and stayed two or three days in every city they flew to. ) She flew around the world and visited every continent - but Antartica. And if she had lived longer, I know she would have landed there too!
I miss her so - but feel close to her still. I know she watches over me (as does my Father, dead now for seventeen years).
My own life has recently gone through an upheaval - in every sense of the word - and when I went to find a photo of her that my Father and I were not in, I couldn't find one. So, I chose this - one of her many, many, passport photos.
I know she would love this... showing her vibrant smile, her beautiful eyes.
I think of you Mummy, every day.... and I miss you. Miss our travel together....miss your advice, your support - even your scolding. You made me who I am today.... and I will never forget it.
Love, your Daughter,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

True Words from a Great Poet

" I dreamed of him last night, I saw his face
All radiant and unshadowed of distress,
And as of of old, in music measureless,
I heard his golden voice and marked him trace
Under the common thing the hidden grace,
And conjure wonder out of emptiness,
Till mean things out on beauty like a dress
And all the world was an enchanted place.

And then methought outside a fast-locked gate
I mourned the loss of unrecorded words,
Forgotten tales and mysteries half said,
Wonders that might have been articulate,
And voiceless thoughts like murdered singing birds.
And so I woke and knew that he was dead."

Alfred Douglas

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Animal Wednesday - African Style

Today, is a difficult day for me emotionally. Not much to say - but I loved this video of African animals sharing a watering pond. The beautiful Tchaikovsky music adds such an ambiance of peace and harmony..... I hope you enjoy it.


♥ Robin ♥

Monday, May 3, 2010

Protecting Our World...and It's Innocents

I came away from the wonderful Allegra's blog with such admiration for her strong stance on people participating to let the Government know that we, as citizens, are NOT happy with the recent "natural" disasters that have occurred. (The tragic mining disasters in West Virginia and Kentucky and the beyond-catastrophic oil rig explosion, which not only killed men whose bodies will never be recovered, but, is now bringing death and ecological havoc to the Gulf Coast.) This will ultimately affect all of us - but now, the most innocent - waterfowl, birds, plants, sealife - will die in the thousands.....perhaps more.

I am NOT, by nature, a political person....but, if we don't all start voicing our sentiments to Obama and his staff, nothing will ever be done.... our beautiful planet is in peril.

I was not strong enough to post a photo of an oil-covered bird.... but it won't be hard for you to find plenty of them in the news or on-line. Instead, I have opted to show some new residents in my neighbourhood......baby Sparrows... listening to their joyous chirping (in chorus with my Mockingbird and the ever-present Ravens and Finches) brings great pleasure..... I know it is a different scenario down in the Gulf now.

If you want to help by voicing your opinions, here are a few useful contacts:

White House telephone number for Comments: 202-456-1111
email contact: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Department of EnergySecretary Steven Chu http://www.energy.gov

Environmental Protection AgencyAdministrator Lisa P. Jackson http://www.epa.gov

Sending you all love,

♥ Robin ♥

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!

Today is May 1st. In Victorian times, the Lily of the Valley symbolised a "Return of Happiness"..... so my wish is that when you see these lovely, delicate white flowers, you will know that May is ushering in a month of warmth, of joy, of happiness. Spring is here and it will bring renewal to all our spirits and love into our hearts.

Happy May Day to you!


♥ Robin ♥