"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."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Animal Wednesday - Andalusian Horses

One thing I have not yet told you all is that my FAVOURITE animal is a ....Horse.

I have been in love with these magnificent creatures since I was a child. In fact, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told the Nuns - "A Horse"!

My Father rode and started me out at 6.....and I took to it like I took to Opera (and baseball). We had many a wonderful day riding.... I love to ride - it is one of the few "sports" I ever exceled at.

I love all breeds of horses....but the Andalusian is one of my most beloved.... they originate from the southern section of Spain...Andalusia...hence the name. They are beautiful, graceful and intelligent.

Enjoy this video! HAW to all!


♥ Robin ♥

A Semi-Sunny Walk

Hello All..... yes, it's me...thawing out a bit from our prolonged cold and dreary Spring-Summer.

I am still struggling with this irritating ear problem....but I am now (finally) taking some decongestitants that I found in my medicine cabinet - and they seem to be helping.
I did take a brief walk from my house to the outskirts of the Presidio (where I do a lot of running/hiking) yesterday....so come along and enjoy the (gasp) sunshine!

If you look closely at the photo above - you can just see part of SF Bay....

Yes, some of the San Francisco HILLS! Must hike up this one to reach the entrance to the Presidio!

You can see the poor trees are still confused about the months of cold weather...they are usually much greener and lush by the end of June.

But these lovely beauties "greeted" me enroute home... a nice way to end my hike. Thank you for walking with me!


♥ Robin ♥

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer....in the City..

It's June.....it's Summer.....this means most of you in the 48 Mainland States are experiencing sweltering heat, humidity, thunderstorms..... "normal" weather. Here, in "the City by the Bay", it means the "Mini-Winter".... as we are surrounded on three sides by water, the heat generated by the inland cities ("normal" - like most of you) brings fog, cold, drizzle and REALLY cold - 50 degrees to us.... if you cross either of our bridges, Bay or Golden Gate, you will find the temperatures climbing (at least) 20 degrees higher. This year, the weather has been strange.....in many states..... and here, we have endured unbelievably cold, wet, damp days - on end.

53.9 °F
Overcast Today's current temp......
I guess partly because I am older, and suffering from the stress of unemployment and parting from my ex, I am struggling with all of this greyness. Plus, last week, I have lost most of my hearing in my left ear.... I think (and hope) it is "merely" an accute sinus infection..... but, it is uncomfortable (not painful) not to hear out of one ear... it does make listening to "Die Walkure" an "interesting" experience.... our soprano, who sings "Brunnhilde' has also fallen prey to the cold and has been singing (courageously) with a serious viral infection, is managing to continue on....
And so shall I.....it just has been a most difficult week. I have three close friends (you know who you are - "A", "S", "J",) who are undergoing struggles ....
I have, for most of my life been the "Go to Girl" for support....This is NOT a "feel sorry" for me post..... but, I feel the need to write it down, nonetheless....
it helps to know that others in my "Bloggy-Group" now know that I am a bit sad, a bit down, and....sigh....very, very cold.....
It will get better (I hope) soon...pray for sun and warmth - which is what this girl needs!
♥ A freezing Robin ♥

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HAW! - "Cats"

Another video...but, for you cat lovers, it is pretty funny - and great music! HAW!




I am not one of those who collect Angels in every way, shape or form available. But, I do have this one who I am quite fond of. He is old - over 400 years....
I bought him at an Antique Show many years ago. He is German and came directly out of a Church that was closed down. I haven't made any attempt at restoration....I prefer the old, fading, but original colours - from the soft blue of his robe to the extraordinary silver and gold wings. When I saw him, I had to have him.... He has had a place of honour in my living room for several years now. (The Rosary is an added touch of mine..)

When I look at him, I think about the "real" Angels I know - and have known.
I feel blessed to have met a few in my lifetime.... my Mum and Renee to name two.


♥ Robin ♥

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Animal Wednesday - One Day Late...

You know, it just has been one of "those" weeks... between trying to interview for jobs and managing the SF Opera Coffee Volunteers.....the hours fly....(where to, I am not sure).... but, I DID have an "Animal Wednesday" post.....and here it is...

One of the many, many things I miss about the East Coast are the "Fire Flies" or "Lightning Bugs".... the first time I ever saw them (as a child), I was enchanted. And I still am. I miss their haunting beauty - and this little video has just the right musical accompaniment. For those of you who recognise these "bringers of light and mystery", enjoy.....for those of you who have never experienced their "magic" - I hope that one day you will.


♥ Robin ♥

One More Opera Post....for Mim and Her Mum

I lied! I said I wouldn't be doing any more posts about Opera this Summer.....but, the wonderful, witty Mim
http://ammdh.blogspot.com/ just posted about her Mother - who was, in fact, a professional Opera singer. Mim included a photo of her Mum in the role of Marguerite - the tragic heroine of Gounoud's Opera - "Faust". I won't explain the plot - as Mim's Mum did quite a good job of it on her post. But, as we are doing "Faust" here this Summer, I thought I should show a few photos...

Pictured above are Patricia Racette (as Marguerite) and Stefano Secco (as Faust). In order to have "youth" and "love". Faust sells his soul to ..... the Devil.

After many trials and succumbing to temptation...

Maguerite, is "saved" and ascends the "stairway to Heaven".... without Faust... who must pay the Devil with his soul...

And....not to end on such a serious note, here are a few photos of some of the "Supers" in this production.


Hope you enjoyed this Mim.... it really is my last Summer Opera Post!


♥ Robin ♥

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Die Walküre at SF Opera

Die Walküre opened on Thursday Evening. It is one of four operas Wagner wrote as "The Ring of the Niebelungen". It is my favourite of the four and in fact, is my second most beloved Opera of all time. ("Tristan und Isolde" is my first.) I have been (as you know) privy to attending all of the rehearsals - so I already knew what the public was in store for. These days (sadly), most directors go for "spectacle" - there has to be a gimmick....and this production is no different. However, the sets actually work and do not detract (too much) from Wagner's haunting tale of Love, Fate, Gods, Goddesses, Mortals, Giants and yes...even dogs.

Die Walküre lasts 4 1/2 hours....so I will not explain the very intricate plot to you - but suffice it to say the pair pictured above (Siegmund and Sieglinde) are twins, seperated at a young age, who find each other and (gasp) fall in love. Here they are - with a sword (There HAS to be a sword, right?) and a HUGE Full Moon.

Wotan (Head of the Gods) and his favourite daughter, Brunhilde. (She is the leader of the Walküre - 9 Warrior-Maidens - who bring dead heroes to Valhalla.)
Here, they are having a little "Father-Daughter" fun in the "Board Room" of Valhalla.

Wotan is about to punish Brunhilde for disobeying him when she tried to save Siegmund's life. As you can see, the Walküren are dressed as WWI parachuters.... and when they make their entrance to the famous music
(mis-used in so many movies, cartoons etc.), they (well, actually, supers) really parachute in from the top of the stage to the floor.... so far, audiences love it and break into immediate applause.

Wotan's punishment for Brunhilde is to strip her of her "Goddess" status, make her a "mortal" woman, put her asleep on a rock, surrounded by a ring of fire. This way, "only" a hero can awaken her (with a kiss, of course)....this will not happen until the end of the third opera - "Siegfried".... but I digress..

Oh, and where are the dogs I mentioned? Well, they are not actually in Wagner's original script....but, a delightful addition to this opera. They run across the stage in pursuit of the twins (pictured above with the sword and the moon).... two large doggies - Humboldt and Milo (by name). And...here I am, with Humboldt, outside the stage door. The photo is blurry - but Humboldt's owner isn't the best photographer.

So, that's probably more than any of you (except Willow) want to know about "Die Walküre"! It's the third (and last) of the Summer Operas at San Francisco. No more opera posts from me until the Autumn! Ho-jo-to-ho!


♥ Robin ♥

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Happy Story - About a Kit....(Not Kat) and a Whizkid Photo

"Get out the camcorder and hardwood, tree-size teething rings - Martinez has a bouncing baby beaver.

The family of beavers that's taken up residence in Alhambra Creek downtown has expanded for the fourth straight year. A 3-week-old kit was spotted early Wednesday, paddling across the creek near its proud parents and siblings.
"I was so happy. Thrilled," said Heidi Perryman, the Martinez resident who glimpsed the furry, buck-toothed tot at 6 a.m., while making her daily welfare check on the beaver family. "

With all of the dark news of the tragedy in the Gulf, I thought I would share some brighter news with all of you. I know we are thought of as "California Crazies" by most of the world - and oftentimes, it is true....but we are also go to great lengths to preserve and protect wildlife.... I left the link if you want to read the whole story.

Happy Friday, All!


♥ Robin ♥

p.s. "Girl of the Golden West" opened on Wednesday...and Whizkid had his debut and did well. Here's a teeny photo of him on stage with the heroine "on board"...

Read more:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

HAW! Part II

Just received this from a friend in Germany....and had to share! ♥ Robin ♥

Animal Wednesday - The Executioner

I have always been a lover of birds and began watching them as a child. I was fortunate enough, through I lived in a large city, to be close enough to parks and to live in neighbourhoods with many trees, to learn about many species of these beautiful, feathery "fly-boys" (and "fly-girls"). My parents had a home where I could feed birds - so this enabled my chance to see them quite close, to hear and differentiate their calls, their movements and their migration patterns.

One of my favourites is the "Oregon Junco". (Or so I learned when I was 12 or so..)
Before then, I "named" them "Executioners" because of their "black hoods". They resembled the hoods worn by the men who executed some of my favourite people - Mary Stuart, Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Moore - to name a few. To me, they are and always will be the "Executioners".



♥ Robin ♥

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Half-Day at Half Moon Bay

Lest you think I live and breathe Opera 24/7, I don't. Yesterday, a good friend (G) picked me up and we drove down to Half Moon Bay. (Named because it is a crescent-shaped bay located about 30 miles South from San Francisco.) The fog (which was thick and billowy here), evaporated when we reached the little harbour. (If you look closely, you can see it lurking in the distance.) Boats bobbed up and down, the abundant wildflowers smiled and waved their faces in the gentle breeze.

We had brunch, strolled the beach, picked up sea shells. (Lori, I thought of you, but alas, no sea glass was to be found. I did find some lovely bits of abalone shell in luminous shades of pink and lilac!) Later, we found a bench, sat, talked and basked in the warmth of the sun. (I know you all remember what a cold and wet Spring it has been on the West Coast.)
At one end of the harbour, we sighted a seal, sunbathing on a small floating pier... I loved the shot (you will have to enlarge it) because he was positioned with his tail slightly aloft and he resembled a mermaid (well, to me he did) - or at least a fantastic sea-creature masthead on a galleon of old....

Sigh..it was a warm and relaxing morning....something I have not had too many of this year.

Of course, this being Opera Season, we drove back in time for me to don my "little black dress", attend the Final Dress Rehearsal of "Die Walkure"....where I was able to pose with one of the "Stars" of the Opera.....but, that post is for another day.


♥ Robin ♥

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"The Girl of the Golden West" or...."La Fanciulla"

Yesterday was the Final Dress Rehearsal for Puccini's "La Fanciulla"..or for those who do not speak Italian - "The Girl of the Golden West". The opera is being advertised here in SF as the "Original Spaghetti Western"... and I guess it is a bit funny to see an opera set in the Gold Rush Era, written and sung in Italian. (Supertitles in English, of course.) The music is wonderful, as are the sets...and, it is the only Puccini Opera where the heroine DOES NOT die! In fact, no one dies! Anyway, thought you would like to see a few photos... pictured above is Deborah Voight, who sings the lead, telling her Cowboy-miner friends about life and love.

Some of "the Boys" getting into character! And y'all remember Whizkid, the "Wonder Horse"....I posed with him a few posts back.

The set from the third act.....see that noose! Thar's a gonna be a hangin'.... (naah....the heroine saves the hero....didn't I tell you that no one dies)?

Here they go, up the backstage stairs - ready to make their entrance.

"La Fanciulla" opens (for real) on June 9th. We'll see how Whizkid performs as he makes his debut. Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse...cause it's pretty much all I have been doing the past week

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Animal Wednesday

Whew.....scrambling to post for "Animal Wednesday"! I had an exceptionally busy week at the Opera....and am heading off there again today and tomorrow. There are two large hounds who dash across the stage in "Die Walkure"....and I am on a "quest" to take their photos today - if their owner permits!

Thank goodness I now take my camera practically everywhere I go - so I can snap photos at will and save them....

I "captured" this beautiful guy in the middle of my street a few weeks ago - he had discovered some pomme frittes - and was about to move over to the curb and "dine" alfresco...

Enjoy your day, all!


♥ Robin ♥