The White Horse
"...Why the Verdi Requiem for Conspirare's first concert in Dell Hall? It wasn't really a question that required a lot of thought for Craig Hella Johnson...."
"...Exactly 50 years later, the void left in that space will be filled by musicians of the Austin Symphony and Chorus Austin. They will perform Guiseppe Verdi's Requiem, one of the most fitting pieces possible to commemorate the anniversary of JFK's assassination..."
"...What is it that Rick tells Ilsa when he's convincing her to get on that plane with Victor Laszlo? "It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Of course, he's referring to their romantic triangle in Casablanca as World War II rages, but his words apply just as well to a trio of lovers on the other side of North Africa in a war a few thousand years earlier – at least as imagined by Giuseppe Verdi and presented by Austin Opera in its latest staging of Aida. Oh, the positions held by Verdi's protagonists may be much grander in the scheme of things, but even though the warrior Radamès is leading Egypt's army in battle against attackers from Ethiopia, and both women contending for his heart – Amneris of Egypt and Aida of Ethiopia – are princesses, they're still the "little people" Rick describes, to our eyes..."
"...They consider themselves the most beautiful people in the world and they have a case. Herzog intersperses the most lovely and ethereal of Western music, music by Handel, Mozart and Verdi, with tribal chants..."
"...Bertolucci's characters are not only not heroic, they are often frail creatures unable to withstand the pressures of public opinion or the allure of decadence. Set on a vast farm owned by the landlord Berlinghieri family and tilled by the peasant Dalco family, the story spans the period between the death of Verdi in 1900 and the death of Mussolini in 1945..."
"...Serenaded by Verdi, Puccini, and other composers whose operatic works she treasured, a treasured friend of the Austin arts scene made her final exit from it Thursday. Jo Anne Christian, a crusader in the campaign to build the Long Center and a passionate patron and advocate for many cultural causes, died at Christopher House..."
"...Verdi: Messa da Requiem..."
"...Yes, the plot is riddled with opera clichés and Swiss-cheesy with holes, but it can still be entirely gripping. And the music is still clearly Verdi: brilliant, its strong melodies easy to enjoy even at a first hearing..."
"...What can a million dollars buy you? Well, if you're Austin Lyric Opera and a dozen other North American opera companies, it can get you a share of a heavily touted touring production of Aida, Verdi's powerful take on a love triangle that leads, inevitably, to death and despair amidst the swirling struggles of a war between rival nations Egypt and Ethiopia. A million dollars cannot buy you aesthetic pleasure, however, and while ALO must be ecstatic that demand for tickets for this season finale required the addition of an unprecedented fifth performance, this three-years-in-the-making opera turned out rather drab, in spite of the awesome set design and Priscilla Baskerville's gorgeously voiced title character...."
"...Verdi sure knew how to pack a punch. His Don Carlo, based on Friedrich Schiller's play about love and politics in 16th century Spain, is an opera lover's dream, bursting at the seams with complex philosophical tensions, powerfully effusive music, charismatic characters, and, most importantly, a resounding and pulsating heartbeat...."
"...Johnson was in the midst of preparation for the company's official debut in the Long Center – performing the vigorous and dramatic Verdi Requiem this Saturday (see "Verdi's Greatest Opera") – but he and Executive Director Erich Vollmer took a break long enough to discuss the company's extension into the larger world. All Part of the Plan..."
"...The concert proper began with a rousing, Technicolor performance of the overture to Verdi's La Forza del Destino, a CliffsNotes musical summary of the opera. Bay gave full expression to the dramatic emotional swings of the opera in the space of seven minutes..."
"...When their style is reproduced with respect for their virtues, silents can amaze you. At the festival, they run for 10 hours a day in the Teatro Cinema Verdi, an art-nouveau movie house with a huge screen..."
"...If all those ads for Verdi's A Masked Ball have you wondering just what Austin Opera is and what happened to that other company with those two words in its name – the one that's been producing Verdi and Puccini and Mozart and all those other music-drama heavyweights for more than a quarter of a century, well, there's no real mystery. The companies are one and the same..."
"...In addition to Indian Hills Farm (Sunset Valley and Downtown) and Georgetown Pecans (Barton Creek), freshly cracked pecans can also be bought from Sand Creek Farm (Barton Creek). All of the locals are selling them for roughly $12 a pound. [image-4] When I mentioned last week that fresh basil could still be had from two of our hydroponic producers (Wild River Farm and Lily Pad Farm), despite the freeze, I didn’t realize that Bella Verdi Farm also has fresh winter basil in the form of microgreens..."
"...Hardy paws the floor like a bull, readying for battle – in this case, with the armed guards about to storm his cage. It’s a kicky opening salvo, but we’ll soon see the same scene, or its endless variations, again: Bronson, fists ever balled, deliciously anticipating the fight, and then another slo-mo bare-knuckle brawl, set to a rousing soundtrack that ranges from Verdi and Wagner to blood-pressure-rising electronic beats from Glass Candy and the Pet Shop Boys..."
"...Although Packwood will continue to represent the gourmet food line for Hardie's Fruit & Vegetable Co., he has a new business called La Tavola (294-7734), which is Italian for "dining table." Through La Tavola, the chef will offer personal cooking classes, catering for small dinner parties, and home meal-replacement delivery services. Packwood and business partner Darrell Joseph are already growing some of the produce and raising small livestock that will appear in many of the La Tavola dishes at Joseph's Bella Verdi Farms near Dripping Springs....."
"...If the first months are any measure, the Long Center will indeed be a venue where every kind of arts group in the city is welcome. In addition to previously announced programs such as Austin Lyric Opera's Carmen, the ballet of Don Quixote by Ballet Austin, and Conspirare singing the Verdi Requiem, Dell Hall will feature everything from classical soprano Kathleen Battle to a Beatles cover band to a legendary mariachi ensemble to three redneck tenors to Nashville bluegrass wonders Cherryholmes..."
"...On the home front, conductor Johnson has lined up a suitably dramatic debut in the Long Center: the Verdi Requiem, a work all but guaranteed to rattle the rafters and stir its audience with emotion. For the occasion, Johnson will be bringing up some musicians and vocalists from the Victoria Bach Festival, where he's also the artistic director, to perform with the Conspirare Symphonic Choir, and he has four powerhouse soloists on tap: soprano Kallen Esperian, mezzo soprano Robynne Redmon, tenor Karl Dent, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn..."
"...Austin Lyric Opera has once again executed in bold strokes the staging of a classic opera in the vaulting openness of the City Coliseum. Last year's hot Carmen gives way to this season's cold Rigoletto -- Verdi's operatic take on Victor Hugo's drama of a treacherous and hypocritical Mantuan duchy in the 1600s, peopled with a lascivious duke, a wicked jester, several naïve beauties, plenty of nasty courtiers, and a most effective curse..."