"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."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Birds - Animal Wednesday

Although it is grey and rainy here..(we actually set a record for June Rainfall), it is SUMMER where most of you live....so I thought I would post this. An interesting video - I am always so fascinated by birds...
The Male Woodpecker is gorgeous - but such a little "Devil"...chasing the other birds away!  His mate (litttle "plain Jane" - with no colour but drab brown) doesn't seem nearly as aggressive! 

I particularly love the "symphony" of bird voices in the background... how lovely to hear that!

HAW to one and all!


♥ Robin ♥

Monday, June 27, 2011

One MORE "Ring" Post

Taken during yesterday's Götterdämmerung ....the end of Cycle 2.  Pictured: the amazing Supers, our resident "Goddess", Nina Stemme (aka Brunnhilde), our *magician* of a maestro, Donald Runnicles.. 

I spent a lot of time up in the Balcony (known as the "nose-bleed" section yesterday......true, one cannot see much of the stage (but I have already seen it 6 times....in rehearsal and performance, so I know all that is happening visually), but, the sound , the sound is simply glorious....all of the vocals and the orchestral instruments are most strongly and clearly heard from here....

Ah, it was just amazing....

One more cycle begins tomorrow......saving a *special* photo for you all...later in the week!

Oh, the music you hear on the video is from the end of "Das Rheingold"....

Oh, Oh...one more photo... our Opera House, alight in "Rainbow Colours". This was done to celebrate "Gay Pride" Week....but it is also apropos to signify the "Rainbow Bridge" that leads *The Gods* into Valhalla at the end of "Rheingold"....

Love, from Valhalla!

♥ Robin ♥

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Animal Wednesday - Mockingbird Melodies

Ah, our warm, *Summery* weather has faded away as the SF Fog declared "two days was enough"! It's 30 degrees cooler...

Anyway, above is a small vignette of a Mocking bird (not *my* Mocker - but very, very like in size and song) serenading his neighbourhood!  Hopefully, this one does NOT begin at 3:00 a.m.!  HAW-HAW!
Happy Animal Wednesday!


♥ Robin ♥

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Updates

Front of House

Back of House

SF Opera Cast, Chorus and Orchestra take a well-deserved bow at the conclusion of yesterday's "Götterdämmerung".  This concluded 17 hours (more for those of us "Back-of House") of thrilling music.  The audience went crazy - standing, cheering, whistling....  (and this is just Cycle 1....there will be two more Cycles.) We had a bit of extra "drama" yesterday, as three-quarters of the way through, our tenor's (who plays "Siegfried") voice refused to "cooperate" and he was taken to a Dr. during intermission...but, heroically, decided to continue and sing his part in the final act.  Whenever the Opera's General Director comes out on stage before an act...one knows it is NOT good news..and everyone was holding their breath, wondering "who" was not going to be able to continue.

"My own" team had much to be proud of.... we provided food and drink to well over 200 people....and even on perfomance day, we had four of the principal singers come down and partake.  If I had a dollar for every heartfelt "thank you", I would be a wealthy woman!  A-ha-ha! 

Riding home last night, the bus was packed with out-of-town "Ring" goers....it was fun to listen to all the comments as they returned to their hotels - everyone was *buzzing* - some people humming various pieces of Wagner's Leitmotifs....

On other non-operatic news (aren't you thrilled)....  enroute to "Götterdämmerung" yesterday morning...I finally managed to capture "my" Mockingbird high up on the wires....

You will have to "embiggen" (as Lo says) to see him...  but it was the best I could do, halfway down my hill, carrying bags of groceries for the performance.  He has been singing just as thrillingly as our cast - trilling out his various *arias* as I departed for the opera at 10:00 a.m. and still out there, as I wearily climbed the hill to my home at 7:00 p.m. Our weather is GORGEOUS!  70 degrees - a rareity in SF this time of the year.  (We are usually socked  in with fog...)  So I KNOW Mr. *Mocker* is enjoying this....  me too!  I am taking a break from opera this week.....so perhaps I will be able to take a decent photo of my *Feathered Friend" for you!  Our lovely weather is supposed to last for another day....  sigh....heavenly!

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely last day of Spring!  Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice.


♥ Robin ♥

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Last Night's "Die Walküre"

OMG!  Yes, a trite three letter (modern) abbreviation....  yet, it encompasses all I (and the sellout audience) saw and heard last night.  By this time, you all know that "The Ring" consists of four operas...."Die Walküre

" is the second in the cycle...and definitely my favourite.  Last year, we had "Die Walküre" in our Summer Season - by itself.....it took my breath away.  BUT....this year, as part of the complete cycle...it is even more awe-inspiring.

Pictured above.....ACT I, Scene 2....Siegmund (the hero), Hundig (the villan) and Sieglinde (unhappily married to Hundig  - and about to fall in love with Siegmund...who happens to be her twin brother)!  Mein Gott!

Here are our *Twins*...Sieglinde (Anja Kampe) and Siegmund (Brandon Jovanovich)....falling in love. Both are attractive to look at, have stellar voices and can act!  Their love is so real and so compelling.... the audience even stopped coughing....they were spellbound!

I think that one of the reasons I "fell in love" with Wagner at 10 years old was the similiarity between the Norse Edda Sagas and the Arthurian Legends...
(I discovered those at 6...) Anyway,  "Die Walküre" has a Magical Sword (Nothung) which is pulled out of an Ash Tree and not a stone....still....there are many similiarites.

And of course....being the Moon Lover that I am....a FULL Moon plays a prominent part in this opera....

(From our 2010 production...)
And now....we come to the "infamous dog scene".. ACT II, scene 2....well, you know, most people were not privy to the backstage "drama" of the doggie tryouts!  But...YOU ALL were....and you heard about the *failure" of Doggie #3 to dash across the stage - on cue!  During the final dress (last Saturday), Dog #3 was still being given a chance....but.....alas...he could not deliver.  Last night, he was gone....and Milo (whom you saw with me a few posts earlier) and Doggie #2....dashed across the stage - on cue.....looking threatening!
(But still not as cool as Milo and Humboldt last year.) Below...it's Humboldt and me from 2010!

Here I am with Milo in 2011....  yikes...my hair HAS grown a lot!

I digress.... the doggies leave, Hundig (the villan) kills Siegmund (the hero) - but only because Wotan (the head God) shatters Siegmund's sword... (you know, this plot is so intricate, you really should see my earlier post on Anna Russell's take of "The Ring")...  anyway, Siegmund dies......and for me, this is the penultimate tragedy in "The Ring"....  I always cry...and last night, I was stunned to see real tears in Siegmund (aka Brandon Jovanovich's eyes too).... right before he dies.....you know, I totally lost it!

The final act of "Die Walküre" introduces to us to the 8 Walküren.....(Brunnhilde's Sisters)...cooly attired as Aviatrixes..... they sing unbelievabley STRONG and PASSIONATE.  It's all very sad....very moving, very complex....BUT...keeps you wanting MORE...which we will have tomorrow night when "Siegfried" (the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde) opens....

Love to all,

♥  A tired but exilirated Robin ♥

p.s. *My* Mockingbird was kind to me last night..he didn't begin singing until 5:00 a.m.!!!!  Ah...wunderbar!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mockingbirds! Animal Wednesday! HAW!

Ah, how I wish I took this picture......but, alas, I didn't.  However this little guy (captured in full-throttle-aria) does resemble *my* Mockingbird.  After an absence of a month or so (due to our wet and cold May), he has returned!  And he appears to making up for lost time by singing non-stop!  Oh Yes!  The other day, I was climbing the hill to my house (yes, I live on one of those SF hills).. and suddenly, Mr. Mockingbird was on a telephone pole wire right above me.  I stopped, put down my packages and just listened....(cos I didn't have my camera  with me)....  he sang (at least) 30 different varieties of birdsong....

I come home late at night after working "The Ring"...jump into bed, my head full of Wagner Arias, and fall asleep for two or three hours and then.....the Mockingbird decides I have had enough sleep and begins singing for me!  (At least I feel that way because his favourite 3:00 a.m. spot - is right outside my bedroom window!

This is not *my Mocker*.....but...his repertoire sounds very like.... and looking at the title of this YouTube video....  I guess *my* bird is looking for a mate!
Here's hoping he finds one!  ♥ To Love ♥

I hope you enjoy.....think of me tonight - at 3:00 a.m.!  HAW!


♥ Robin ♥

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Gift

Last night, at the Final Dress Rehearsal of "Die Walkure", I was given a wonderful gift from the SF Opera resident artist, Betty Guy!  Betty has been a fixture at rehearsals since well....before I was born!  Her watercolours are stunning... and we have become friends during my nine years (gasp) with the Company!

Betty KNOWS what a "Wagnerite"  I am....and when she presented me with this gorgeous rendering of "Siegfried and Brunnhilde'" (drawn at the Final Dress Rehearsal) in their last happy moment together.... I was (almost) overcome with tears....  but I was working, so had to hold it together.    I only saw that she had Nina Stemme and Ian Storey (they sang the lead roles)  sign it....afterwards.    I spend a LOT of time backstage..and converse freely with the casts of the various productions...but I am not one to ask for autographs...  it's just not "me".....BUT.... this opera has so much deep resonance with me....in particular, this production... I will always treasure Betty's generous gift....

Sigh....two days Opera-free!  I plan on taking naps, cooking some "real meals' - working out - and just relaxing.  Our "Ring" opens on Tuesday - for real....no more rehearsals!  (I know you all are happy about that!  Ha-ha!)


♥ Robin ♥

Friday, June 10, 2011

Milo and Me!

Yesterday, in between rehearsals, I was dashing out to buy a latte....and who did I "run into"?  MILO,  one of the doggies working in "Die Walkure"! 
Of course, I was thrilled - and actully Milo was pretty happy too!  His "cohort" from 2010, the gorgeous white Humboldt (pictured on my sidebar) is not in the opera this year...so, the Opera is STILL holding auditions.... 

Here's the scenario....(in a nutshell) the hero is being pursued by the villan and his henchmen....the music is dark and dramatic...there is a storm....at the back of the stage, Milo and "whoever" suddenly dashes across the stage in pursuit of the hero..... well, last night, because the Final Dress Rehearsal is TOMORROW night - and they still have not found a good replacement for Humboldt, there were TWO "Contestants"! It was too funny....  the "storm raged", the music thundered, the hero and villan fought with swords....Milo dashed across the stage perfectly...."Contestant  #1"....a bit unsure,  trotted delicately behind....and  "Contestant #2 WALKED out... was alarmed with all the chaos and just stopped....  needless to say, "2" did not get the part...

Milo even has his own SFO Access Badge with his name and Photo!  Tres Chic!

So, now you all know the "latest" "Ring Gossip"!  And....this qualifies as a somewhat late Animal Wednesday post, right?    WOOF!     I mean: HAW!


♥ Robin ♥

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Sunny Walk in the Presidio

The sun finally decided to show himself today and....I had an Opera-free day - so inspired by Lo and Mim's blogs, I set off on a much-needed walk.  I am lucky to live quite close to the Presidio - it is filled with many hiking trails and lovely vistas, the air is fragrant with Eucalyptus.

I had hoped to come across some animals so I would have an "Animal Wednesday" Post....but wouldn't you know, I didn't even see one bird I could come close enough to photograph (though I heard many....but they were in a camera-shy mood)!  I was hoping on my way home to at least run into somone walking their dog....but alas....nope!

I did find these lovely lilac wildflowers to mark my way..

Many years ago, during an early morning hike, I did "meet" a Coyote in this very spot! Yes, in San Francisco! He was intent on watching something and when he finally noticed me, he nearly jumped out of his fur! Too bad I didn't carry a camera in those days....but I think of him and smile whenever I pass this spot!

I love this little brick bridge....  it had fallen into a state of disrepair the last time I was here - nice to see it has been lovingly restored. 

Last....enroute home, I snapped this gorgeous flower in my neighbour's garden....it stands alone, like a Sentinel, watching over the rest of his flowers....does anyone know what it is?
I came home refreshed and re-engerised ..... it was a wonderful afternoon.  Tomorrow...back to the Opera World for the next four days!


♥ Robin ♥

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Götterdämmerung" Opens Today!

Pictured above Siegfried (Jay Hunter Morris) prepares to awaken Brunnhilde (Nina Stemme) with a kiss.

When we last "saw" Brunnhilde, her Father, Wotan, had just  put her to sleep on a rock surrounded by flames.

Today, the final of the four Operas that compose "The Ring" will begin it's
5 1/2 hours of glorious love, greed, jealousy, betrayal and ultimately the end of the world.  "Götterdämmerung" translates to "Twilight of the Gods"...

Here is a little video "snippet" just released from Thursday's Final Dress.....
For those of you * in the know* - Gerd is the baritone singing next to Siegfried as they pledge "Blood Brotherhood"!   ;

As we say on any opening performance: "Toi, Toi, Toi!"

May your Sunday be warm and lovely,

Love from *Valhalla*,

♥ Robin ♥