Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dead Saint in One Act (or, otherwise in Roma)

No, I didn't eat on the plane while en route to Rome, which I had read was better for you; and I must say indeed it is: I didn't feel that horrible bloating that overcomes one at 33 thousand feet. Landing into rainy-one-minute-sunny-the-next Rome, I found that the Leonardo Express (we're talking train) into town was not running, even if attendants were letting people board. Take the bus! They kept saying. A young lady behind me noticed my yoga bag with mat inside, struck up a conversation, and before you could say Asana, we were sharing a cab and winding our way into the Eternal City. 

After stopping at my hotel for a shower and shave (oh how blessed), I made my way over to the Vatican Museum, which I had not seen since 1985, but found that I was too late to enter. What to do? Go church hopping, of course, which I did after walking back across the Tiber towards the Pantheon, finding caffe gelato along the way (yes, the only thing I had eaten in 18 hours besides an apple), finding my way into Sant'Andrea delle Valle, which Puccini set as the first act of Tosca. What I didn't see the last time I was here last year (how could I miss him?) was the dead saint, which made me think of another opera: Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thompson, which lead, of course, to the title of this post. (Yes, you have to live in a musician brain to understand that lateral transition.) I can't get enough of the place, with its golden lighten streaming throughout. 

I'll make another stab at the Vatican Museum tomorrow afternoon, when the line is nonexistent (one hopes) and the weather more clear (so one hears).  

Thursday morning, I join my Umbrian Serenade Comrades at the airport for the journey to Spoleto. Am I excited? Yes. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Umbrian Alchemy

San Francesco Museum, Montefalco 

Breakfast at Hotel dei Duchi

On the way to our concert in Spoleto 

Unforgettable Tabarrini Rose at Ristorante Apollinare

Faux Symmetry 

17th Century Palazzo in Spoleto 

Delectable Antipasti at Il Panchiolle 

Duomo Porch where an informal concert is given

Founder Paulo with fellow bass John, post-concert in Trevi, Italy

17th century mural in our rehearsal space

Duomo in Spoleto 

Incredible Carbonara at Il Tempio del Gusto 

Wonderful 4 star hotel in Spoleto 

Walkway in an 18th century building next to the hotel 

Radicchio, apple & pine nut salad 

Roman fountain in Spoleto 

Roman aqueduct in Spoleto 

With Paulo at a reception at Hotel Gattapone 

Arches in Spoleto 

Amazing antipasti at the farewell dinner at Hotel dei Duchi 

Another view of the Duomo piazza 

In a little over a week, I'll be getting on a plane at JFK and flying off to Rome for two days, and then traveling to Spoleto, Italy, for the next thirteen, where I'll be singing with Umbrian Serenades, which was founded by Paulo Faustini. It will be my fourth time, each time being a transformative experience. I chalk this up to the power of music in a beautiful setting with wonderful people—and yes, incomparable food and wine. It sounds simple, but it's more than that; singing in a 17th century rehearsal space during the day, dining under the stars at night, performing music in 12th century spaces—all this creates an Umbrian alchemy that illuminates from within, connecting dots both inside and out, and draws a magical circle around everyone and everything. Simply put: Umbrian Serenades changes your life.

Photo Credits: Daniel's Dinky iPhone, Umbrian Serenades 2013

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grand Central Station

I hadn't been in Grand Central for quite a while (since last September if I remember correctly), but was there today to stop in at Li-Lac chocolate, which also has a store in the West Village. A place of comings and goings, I stood in the middle of the room and thought about everyone who had been there at one time or another, passing under the constellated ceiling, which gives one wonder. And to think they almost tore the place down.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Rose

The roses out front of the Brownstone had their big fling in June, and are now back to business with more blossoms in July. They amaze me every year with their fragrance and beauty. Such is the life of a rose: they only bloom when they are good and ready. We should all be so wise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chartres Cathedral

Built rather quickly after a fire, Chartres Cathedral was constructed according to the precepts of Sacred Geometry—or so one learns while researching the internet—the matter not being generally known. Being in it is like walking through a nautilus shell: one hears sound rather differently. Of course, that may be my imagination, but so it seemed in the time that I was there with Mr. Husband. It's truly one of the most inspiring places I have ever been in, and when in Paris again, we will makes the trip to see it again. The windows alone are extraordinary. Alas, we did not hear the organ, which is nestled high upon the transept. A guided tour, which is given at noon (don't be late), is worth taking, being given by an Englishman who has doing just that for the last 30 years or so. Really. It's an incredible place which you must experience yourself.