Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ooooh, I Love Opera!

Last evening I spent some quality time listening to some older recordings of mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.  I particularly enjoy her 1996 recording titled "Chant D'Amour; Melodies Francaises", where she is accompanied by the tremendously talented pianist Myung-Whun Chung.  While listening to recordings is not nearly as much fun as watching her intensely animated live performances, it is always a treat to hear her renditions of such lovely operatic music.  I have a 1999 recording of her duets with Bryn Terfel that I also like very much.  Hopefully I will remember to one of these days order in her most recent recording of her lead role in "Norma" by Vincenzo Bellini.  The reviews on her performance  vary from scathing to adulation, at least as far as far as her interpretation of the character and of the music, so I am really looking forward to hearing it myself.  There are few criticisms of her voice itself though so it should be a wonderful experience. That lovely voice has matured so beautifully over the last 15 years.

I am also trying to educate myself more about Canadian Art, in particular the Group of Seven.  Sigh.....to be honest I am not that excited about most of the works from that particular group of artists.  I am not denying their talents, it is more a matter of personal preference in style.  My son is giving a lecture on Lawren Harris at VAG in April and I would love to be there to listen to his take on this particular artist and his works.  While I prefer Harris' later, more abstract works, particularly for the way he has captured the colours of the Canadian north, they still don't thrill me.  The broad brush strokes and simplification of the content don't hold my attention. As a group presentation, his abstract works seem to all blend together in my mind into one big grey, blue, white and brown haze.  That is just me and I am no artist, nor am I well educated about any aspect of art, but I remember the first time I saw a small collection of the G7 artists at the Glenbow Foundation in Calgary and I remember feeling distinctly disappointed for the most part.  

Emily Carr's paintings leave me cold too, as far as eliciting any sort of response other than kind of a "yeah...so?", or maybe even a "meh....". I prefer the minimalist works of Saskatchewan artist Agnes Martin for their complete lack of pretention.

So, it is time to start educating myself more thoroughly in order to gain a better appreciation for Canada's best known artists.  At this time my ignorance knows no bounds and it is time to change that to at least some small degree.

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