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C Above Middle C Facing Cancer & Finding My High Notes

Bone cancer in my cheek ended my operatic career and brought me face to face with mortality, disfigurement, the meaning and uses of beauty - and a rediscovery of life worth living. C ABOVE MIDDLE C is my memoir about facing cancer and finding my high notes. Here is a preview:

Twister
The first suggestion of Osteogenic Sarcoma must be treated like a tornado warning over the Emergency Broadcast System–gravely and immediately. Time can be spared only to gather loved ones and make for the storm shelter, there to huddle, amazed and alert, marshalling what human resources there may be, for the time coming, impossibly soon, when nothing will ever be the same again.

Pirate
"Mom! Mom! I just saw a pirate! Mom! Mom look there’s a PIRATE!"
Here's the thing. The pirate is me.

ESSAYS


Profiles in the Arts

Juan Diego Florez riffs on Rossini and stardom / Download
The Peruvian tenore di grazia talks frankly about Pavarotti, his special
brand of bel canto stardom, his debut in L'italiana in Algeri at Washington National Opera,
and all things tenor.




Rachel "The Little Prince" / Download
"The Little Prince" alights in New York City, at NYCO,in a new opera by Academy Award-winning film composer Rachel Portman. For her first-ever operatic score, Portman turned not to the vast library of operatic literature (comparisons to Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges and Menoti's Amahl and the Night Visitors have been suggested) — but "to hear the sound of the sand."


Catching up with Mark Adamo /Download
A conversation with Mark Adamo is always a wonderful adventure.
I spoke with Mark recently, after the successful premiere of his second opera,
Lysistrata, at Houston Grand Opera. We spoke about life after Little Women,
about a new opera--and other matters musical.


 

Charles Wuorinen: New Wine, Old Skins / Download
"It’s very simple. You don’t need a lot of music appreciation. You don’t need a lot of people telling you what to listen for. All you need is familiarity. Everybody hears music in his or her own way – and all that is required for that to take place, in a way that is individually meaningful, is for the person to hear the thing enough times."




The Making of Gotham / Download
American Composers Orchestra innaugurates its Orchestra Underground series with a new collaboration between composer Michael Gordon and the acclaimed Ridge Theater.


 

 

Portraits That Mean Something / Download
Sculptor Jane Robbinsis an Artist-In-Residence at London's Saving Faces Foundation. She describes the exquisitely vulnerable relationship between artist and model. "You are dealing with people's lives here, in working with these patients. You can't be a kid." One of her adult models, a facial surgery patient, is "a Kurd, who was beaten by a Turkish soldier in the jaw with a rifle butt when he was very little. His jaw never mended at the time. So it fused as it healed, and hasn't grown since then." She will sculpt his portrait, once before, and once after the surgery to rebuild his face, which will change his life. She will come to know him — the way he was, the way he is, the way he may become — inside as well as outside — and her art will help him to see himself, perhaps as he is seen.

Lori Laitman Large / Download
Composer Lori LaitmanAcclaimed art song composer Lori Laitman goes grand with the world premiere of her new opera, Come to Me in Dreams, at Cleveland Opera. The work draws upon three of her existing song cycles: I Never Saw Another Butterfly, The Years, to poems by Sara Teasdale, and Holocaust 1944, which uses poems about the Holocaust by five different living poets. Said Laitman, "I actually think this will be a new genre — a song cycle opera — rather than a hybrid of disciplines."

Marlene Dumas / Download
Rembrandt of South Africa
When South African painter Marlene Dumas first conceded her penchant for the human form,
at Capetown’s Michealis School of Fine Arts in the 1970’s, the figure in art was anything but hip.
Abstract Expressionism dominated and Conceptualism was coming on. But Dumas had found her passion early and has followed it ever since.....


Explore the world of Marlene Dumas at The Saatchi Gallery, London.



Liner Notes

Bravo, Domingo! / Download
Highlights from the Career of Tenor Plácido Domingo
On the 30th Anniversary of his Metropolitan Opera Debut, this Double CD with Liner Notes by Kathleen Watt offers 34 tracks that plumb the deep Deutsche Grammophon catalogue of Placido Domingo's recordings for highlights of a triumphant career....

 

Performing Arts Features

Let's Face It — We're All Like That /Download
Too often staged as trifling farce, Mozart'sCosì fan Tutte is an opera that benefits, if ever an opera did, from a comprehensive back story. Mozart fitted Così's many charms so neatly into its eighteenth century scaffolding, that we can miss its deeper insights. And we miss much if we allow the folderol of this screwball comedy to meringue its mournful undercurrents. For this is the opera in which Mozart takes on all the big questions of the Enlightenment. And Così is neither as silly nor as sweet as it sometimes seems... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

This Old House / Download
When three-time Oscar-nominee Sir Richard Rodney Bennett sat down in 1965 to compose his first opera, he chose a Gothic thriller called "The Mines of Sulphur", which gets a good many of its shivers from the creepy house where it all takes place.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Ladies Man / Download
Composer Richard Strauss lived a long life crowded with splendid women. But he belonged to only one—his wife, soprano Pauline de Ahna—and she to him. This was so even though, as a rich and famous international conductor, Strauss enjoyed a considerable female following. And it was so even though his wife was a famously unpleasant harridan, and though he himself would become identified with an impressive queue of "other women"...
Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

"Candide" or, Cautiously Optimistic / Download
Even against the brilliant constellation of philosophers who lit up the French Enlightenment, Voltaire’s audacity dazzled, and Candide is his masterpiece.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Puccini's Wild Western / Download
Fanciulla at NYCO Ultimate Spaghetti Western? Frontier Die Valkyrie? No less an observer than composer Igor Stravinsky called Fanciulla  "...a horse opera, extraordinarily right for television, with a Marshall Dillon and professional Indians...." Despite reservations about Western literature ("...it's all a hotchpotch and sometimes in very bad taste...."), Puccini would ultimately develop from David Belasco's playThe Girl of the Golden Westone of the earliest and most durable Westerns in the genre's extensive canon....
Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

That Old Black Magic / Download
When is a sorceress not a sorceress—but just a woman with influence? It sounds like the start of a stupid joke, but it’s serious business. Why, in every age and every place, in archives and artifacts and popular opinion, are powerful women and sorcery eternally paired? The heroine of Handel’s Alcina is no exception....
Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Call Me Crazy, But... / Download
A good mad scene makes the gut flutter, fixes the gaze—we can’t turn away from it. The afflicted one becomes oblivious, and that sad oblivion distances us, protecting everyone. Lunacy becomes an invisible "fourth wall," that allows us to take in our voyeuristic fill, as we do in the darkened theater. We are riveted by madness. Despite all we know, by instinct or experience, about its terrible human toll, one fact persists. Madness makes great theater. Gaetano Donizetti’s masterpiece of bel canto tragedy, Lucia di Lammermoor, includes one of the most spectacular mad scenes of all time. It worked like a charm to seduce eager audiences—then, as now....
Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Lattice and Veil / Download
From Rudolph Valentino to the dream of Jeannie, Hollywood has been rabid to plumb the Turquophilia that so enchanted W. A. Mozart and other Orientalists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Western myth of an Eastern Eden is one of our most persistent fantasies.... According to personal journals and the correspondence of a few privileged Europeans who bore live witness to harem life, many fantastic images and practises did abound, in very deed. But when harem apartments of Topkapi, the Grand Seraglio of the Ottoman Empire, were opened to the public in the early 1970’s, the scant remaining vestiges of a once-terrifying Empire whispered with four centuries of other ghosts.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

The Magic Flute / Historical Note / Download
In 1791 Vienna, the Enlightenment was in full bloom, and at 35, Court Kapellmeister Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a lusty participant. By the end of that year, which for the young composer began in a whirl of breathtaking creativity, Mozart would be dead. But during that year, Mozart produced some of his most beautiful and powerful works, perhaps more by Fate than by coincidence. Even the most skeptical of scholars speculate that some prescience of his own death seems to have pressed Mozart to finish....Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

The Lowell Experiment / Download
Tobias Picker’s opera Emmeline, presented by New York City Opera in its New York premiere, is based on the true-life tragedy of Emmeline Mosher. Told and retold by the townsfolk of her native Fayette, Maine, it has by now become folklore, its details blurred in the mists that hang between history and legend. Yet even the barest outlines of her story provide us with a clear window on the kind and quality of life Emmeline must have known, in the decades before the Civil War, in the infancy of the American Industrial Revolution, at the very center of the American transition from family farming to urban manufacturing as a way of life.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Salome: Femme Fatale? / Download
She’s been around as long as Western culture. But who is she, really? And is she really as fatal as all that? Some of the greatest sopranos ever to sing Richard Strauss’ Salome...could curl into come-hither poses along with the best of the Hollywood vamps.... They all danced the Dance of the Seven Veils. Luxuriously carnal, voluptuous and dangerous—femmes fatales all. Perhaps.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Lady Macbeth, a.k.a. Dearest Chuck / Download>
By some measures, the Lady of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth is nothing less than steadfast in her godly role as wife and helpmeet...She is his "partner in greatness," his "dearest chuck." She is all duty and skillful hospitalities, greeted as "hostess" by good King Duncan, who favors the exemplary way-station of her home.... What can have so pressed Lady Macbeth to unleash the furious disorder that even she realized—so soon and too late—would ruin everything.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Bohemia Recherché / Download>
Bohemia will flower anew wherever ardor is invoked by opportunity. For despite its usefulness as a social and cultural paradigm, Bohemia is fundamentally a state of mind, with all its power to seduce and transform. And as fleeting, after all.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Close Up on Madame Butterfly / Download>
It is as typical as it is unlikely that the name of playwright David Belasco should be inexorably linked with the fragile child-geisha of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Belasco chanced upon John Luther Long's poignant novella of colliding cultures...and fashioned from it the play that would evolve into one of the treasures of the operatic repertoire.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Two Mrs. Tabors and The Silver King / Download>
In March of 1935, Baby Doe Tabor was found frozen to death in her one-room shack, among her diaries, twelve thousand scribbled notes, and seventeen precious scrapbooks–many in code. In 1956, the year that Baby’s simple code was cracked, The Ballad of Baby Doe, by composer Douglas Moore, was first presented.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Orpheus, Eurydice, and the Underworld, From Here / Download>
...Sometimes, when the orchestra is tuning, and theatergoers are rustling into their seats, fragments of melody and hasty whispers rush together in a sound like the wind. Like an Aeolian Harp from somewhere beyond the golden proscenium. And in the enveloping hush between lights down and curtain up, hundreds of others like ourselves surrender collectively to preternatural possibilities. Then, certainly, the sense of the Orphic Underworld is not ancient but incipient, not allegorical but visceral, neither outside nor inside, but both.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

True Crime in Massachusetts / Download
Stage versions of the story of Lizzie Borden are all out of whack, differing in detail from each other and from history. Even the famous jingle is wrong: it wasn’t 40 whacks or 41—it was 19 and 11—which was plenty, of course, but hard to rhyme. The trouble with the Borden story as drama is this: there was no drama. It was the very dearth of drama–decades of it–that tightened a winding sheet about the family, entombed in their strange and stingy house, and culminated in that infamous, deranged and liberating August morning in 1892.
Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Ghosts in Opera / Download
Opera composers have never been afraid of ghosts. Benjamin Britten's chamber opera version of Henry James' novella Turn of the Screw may be unique in its plunge into Victorian Gothic psychodrama. But, from Monteverdi's Orfeo of 1607 to John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles in 1992, opera has unabashedly embraced supernatural beings, ghosts or otherwise..... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

The Once and Future Tannh?user / Download
In 1845, in Dresden, Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser made an auspicious debut. Revised for Paris, fifteen years later, it caused a riot. It’s the so-called "Paris" Tannhäuser which we usually hear, and it bears the signature of two distinctly different composers—both of them Richard Wagner.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Senta?Redeemer Redeemed / Download
Richard Wagner had set himself a mission to rescue the Holy Art of music from the ignominy of mere entertainment to which he felt it was steadily sinking. In May of 1841 Wagner began work on his poem for Der Fliegende Holländer, and by November he had completed the entire orchestral score. This was to mark the starting point of a musical and philosophical arc that would culminate in Parsifal forty years later, redefining the language of music forever.... Request a reprint of this article for your program notes.

Of Mice and Men / Historical Note / Download
After a string of frustrations and some unlucky timing, Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men finally reached the stage in January 1970, supported by a Ford Foundation grant. It was a popular triumph. Ironically, it only exacerbated Floyd’s then-unfashionable reputation as a composer prized by audiences but coolly received by the critics.... Request

WORLD WATCH

Knowledge Management

Sharing The Wealth / Download
In practice, KM functions in corporations of the 21st century in somewhat the same way that Organizational Behavior functioned during the sensitive New Age ’80’s and ’90’s. Now it’s KM that sets itself astride the gaping maw between the realities of doing business, and the way things ought to be. KM proposes to shepherd power players to a better bottom line by leveling out the chaos in the corporate coliseum, deploying state-of-the-art technology, and by establishing a sophisticated dissemination paradigm which knowledge managers call…well…"sharing."

Life Style
An Accidental / Download
What does it take to become the world’s largest supplier of old & new china, crystal, silver and collectibles—to the tune of $70 million in sales? Bob Page, founder and president of Replacements, Ltd. is the man who would know, although he’ll tell you that being the world’s largest supplier of anything was never his intention....Echelon Magazine Launch /Cover 2003

FAMILY AFFAIR

The Girl in the Photograph / Download
I’ve read that there are still some tribes of unspoiled aboriginals somewhere in Africa who live so completely in a world of things—and without pictures of things—that their brains are simply unable to interpret the visual information in a three dimensional image on a two dimensional surface. What these people see of a family snapshot is just a small flat thing that they hold in their hands. That’s all. I have a photograph that I see in that way, actually....

 

TRAVEL


Cruising on the Staten Island Ferry / Download
Whether you’re planning to take the famous ferry to Staten Island for business or for pleasure, try to order up a day like today. In a clear sky of tufted blue, the sun is warm, the daunting New York humidity is down, a light breeze toustles alike the leafy treetops and lunchtime neckties along Whitehall Street. The Upper Bay sparkles against the jumbled architecture at the nether end of Manhattan Island, and a boatride is by any measure the perfect pick for an afternoon excursion. Best of all, this year, it’s free.

Flying with Fishes / Download
Cavorting with brilliant and witty sargeant majors, I’ve drifted to the far side of the quay where, unbeknownst to me, my shallow and hospitable coral reef has given way to a sheer rock face that plunges away many stories deep. Sinking below the surface of the bay, I see the scene of my nightmare, see my own shadow very small and far away, on the white ocean highway below, and I am suddenly, again, too high to breathe. But now I understand, and that, apparently, makes all the difference....

 

WEB WRITING

Writing for the Internet
is a special skill that must satisfy the demands of complex business content with the compact, attention-grabbing immediacy of ad copy:

IFI
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Patent researchers trust IFI CLAIMS® Patent Services
• Accurate, up-to-date, and thoroughly reliable databases
• The most rigorous U.S. assignee name standardization process in the industry
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• Comprehensive indexing for chemical patents

For 50 Years The Industry's Trusted Patent Databases

Content Editing
challenges the content editor to find the unique voice of the blogger and target the blogger's particular online community:

excitedutterances
...The KM task is to persuade busy lawyers that “endless small forms of practical ‘subversion’ taken up in the name of getting work done” will waste more time (read "money") than it takes to pay attention to the meticulously targeted questionnaires KM provides. We need to demonstrate that efficient knowledge management renders "gap-closing improvisation" unneccessary.

These guys should never have to punt. Don't they know that?

BUSINESS COPY

Brochures, Catalogues, Direct Mailers, Financial Reports...
All need clear, clean, persuasive copy. Written, edited and proofed:

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