April 4, 2013
I had the good fortune to get an invite to the dress rehearsal of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra's excellent production of Puccini's tragic opera Madama Butterfly. It was a lightly staged version with the orchestra on the stage and the performers on an intimate set right up front.
If you have the time enjoy these photos from the dress rehearsal or read my full review on THRLLD.com, but the short version is you should take advantage of this chance to see some world class performances in one of Puccini's most accessible operas. There are only two performances, tomorrow (Fri) at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Buy your tickets online.
April 3, 2013
If you've ever seen the popular musical Miss Saigon, then you know the basic story of Puccini's tragic opera Madama Butterfly. That's because the musical is based largely on Puccini's work. For two performances this weekend, you have a chance to enjoy the original opera performed in the unique concert staging of the Orlando Philharmonic at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. While two performances of an opera might be all that Orlando’s cultural scene can support right now, that is no excuse for you to pass on the opportunity to buy tickets to this beautiful tragic opera.
The story is thus: “Butterfly, a beautiful young geisha, sacrifices her family, her religion, and ultimately her life for an American naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton. He takes her as his bride for convenience, with no intention of bringing her home to America”.
The concert setting places both musicians and performers on stage. Yes, it is sung in Italian, but there are English subtitles. Lovers of Puccini’s music place this tragic opera among his best work, so you might be tempted just close your eyes and absorb the sound. But then you’d miss the costumes, the performances, and the addition of digital backdrops to this concert staging. It’s new for the Orlando Phil this year and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.
I’ll be attending a special press preview tonight at the dress rehearsal. Tickets for the public are still available on the OrlandoPhil website for Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:00 PM or Sunday, April 7, 2013, 2:00 PM.
April 2, 2013
|Statue of Juan Ponce De Leon in St. Augustine, Fl|
We're supposed to celebrating Florida's 500th Anniversary today, I must be remembering my history books wrong. I thought people inhabited the region from at least 14,000 years ago (approximate age of post ice-age Clovis people settlement in what is Florida today (via), pre-Clovis goes back even further (via)).
Choosing some arbitrary date based on the landing of one European who happened to be rich enough to draw some fame and support an army (and, more importantly, who turns out not to have had the best intentions for those people who already inhabited the land) seems capricious at best, malicious at worst.
I'm not denying history, I am saying, we need to more carefully choose which events from history we celebrate and observe. I think it's vastly more impressive that early settlers arrived from Asia on small boats and managed to set up the small communities that eventually grew into nations of people that lasted for thousands of years..
February 13, 2013
One of the great things about living in central Florida is the support for small businesses I feel from the community. My goal is to start regularly highlighting some of those companies to do what I can to give them just another ounce or two of support.
This week a small family owned business in Osceola County was profiled by WUCF's emmy award winning show ONE. Kissimmee Sticks makes custom baseball bats by hand. They're for kids and pros alike, but the quality is undeniable. They have bats in the Baseball Hall of Fame and a number of current and past players who've swung their way to glory with these Florida sticks in their hands. The story of how Mike Romack founded Kissimmee Sticks, sold it, and then ended up running the business again is just somehow very central Florida.
We wish them plenty of success as they continue their comeback into the major leagues.
January 10, 2013
Get yourself down to Old Town in Kissimmee this Saturday January 12th for the Chili Brewfest. A $20 advanced ticket gets you all the beer and chili samples you can handle plus a chance to explore one of Central Florida's best events. The event runs from 2pm to 6pm and you must be 21 to partake.
Buy online to save $5.