Saturday, March 1, 2008

Marching along together

Before anything else, I must give credit to the Jefferson Performing Arts Society and Artistic Director and founder Dennis Assaf for a lovely production of "Tosca," (one of my favorite operas) last night. The opera was reset from early Nineteenth Century Rome to Fascist Italy of June, 1944 just before the Allies take over Rome. Sometimes updating the setting of an opera clicks and sometimes it fails miserably. To see Baron Scarpia strutting about on stage with menace while wearing the black shirt uniform of one of Il Duce's own was really quite pleasing and gave the tawdry tale of treachery and woe new relevance. Plaudits to Isabella Maderi, who played the title role of Floria Tosca, and Peter Lindskoog who was a truly evil Scarpia. Assaf held the baton as he led the orchestra through its paces and the melodic line he produced was memorable. Many opera enthusiasts hold to the belief that the staging must remain true to the composer'a and librettist's original intentions. While I do agree resetting is ill-advised in some cases ("Aida" and "Turandot" need to be cast in Egypt and China, for example), I am of a mind to believe that it can enhance the opera experience and bring it more pertinence for today's demanding audiences.
New Jazz Fest Poster revealed: The 2008 New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival poster was just announced and I must say it is one that I will have to acquire for my collection. The subject is my dear friend Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, as depicted by Douglas Bourgeois. Set in a lush Louisiana swamp with an old 45 rpm record player behind her and an old style microphone and stand next to her, Irma is seen through the artist's hands as an iconic and statuesque figure from the early Sixties, the time of her greatest popular hits. To view the poster go to
Fast blog facts: Since the beginning of the year I have had 51 daily entries, which means I have only missed a possible eight entries in the past two months. Today marks the beginning of my third month and the 52nd blog for Kosher Computing. I look forward to hearing from you with any comments and hope to continue providing you a bit of information and humor along the way.

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