Monday, August 26, 2013

End of Summer & Sunday Afternoon at the Met

Yesterday, I put on my white bucks and sauntered over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Mr. Husband. The plan was to have lunch and see a few galleries. I had not been there since returning from Italy and found myself searching out Caravaggio after viewing a disturbingly beautiful show on American paintings and photographs from the Civil War period. Wonderful afternoon in Gotham though- all in all. I have to get out my white shoes more often. 

Winslow Homer - Veteran Returning to the Fields

15th Century Sienese - Creation of the World


Flemish Gentleman

Artemisia Gentileschi- famous woman painter of the 17th century - Rome


Caravaggio frame detail 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta; Duomo di Spoleto, Italia

This is was my third time singing with Umbrian Serenades, perhaps the most joyous and inspiring 'sing' of the bunch, if only because my friend and colleague Paulo Faustini gathered an amazing group of singers together. Everyone showed up knowing the score (yes - double meaning there) and with the aim of having a great time, which is exactly what we did: eating, drinking and singing our way through three beautiful Italian cities!

Our first concert took place on the Porch of the Duomo in Spoleto, the very same place where I sang in 1985 as a graduate student with Westminster Choir as part of the Festival Opera Chorus, singing Bach Chorales, Spirituals and a bring-tears-to-your-eyes rendition of Danny Boy. We stood on - and in front of- the steps that you see in the third photo, the sound of 36 singers ringing out across the Piazza and into town. The conductor? None other than Joseph Flummerfelt himself, the arranger of Danny Boy and professor emeritus of Westminster Choir College. You haven't sung until you sing with him. 

I snapped quite a few photos of the Duomo this time around, finding things that had somehow escaped my eye in years past: beautiful ceiling fresco in a chapel, skull and bone tomb, marble carving in a doorway. The structure itself was built in the 12th century, with an interior that is quite 18th century. 

The main altar contains a fabulous fresco which I did not take photos of, but is very much worth seeing. Pop a coin into a box, and it will light up. I saw Caravaggio paintings in a church in Rome that were illuminated in the same way. Oh so very Italian.

Lastly- did you know that the great conductor Thomas Schippers is interred in a wall of the courtyard in front of the Dumo? My husband knew him. But that's another story. One that only he can tell. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I was in Rome for two days before joining Umbrian Serenades and traveling to Spoleto, where I stayed for two spectacular weeks: singing, eating and drinking in dolce Umbria. This was my third time in Italy, but the first time I set aside time to see Rome. Not the most comfortable place in summer (Umbria is a good 10 degrees cooler), but having lived through many New York summers, well... it wasn't hard at all. I just wore shorts and linen shirts everywhere, the rule being: if the church you are going into doesn't charge (like the Vatican does), no one is going to stop you at the threshold if you have bare knees or shoulders. 

Staying near the Pantheon, I visited the amazing building 4 times, seeing it at different times of the day. It had a huge affect on me. Couldn't get enough of it. To say that it was inspiring would be an understatement. Standing under its domed ceiling, I was ecstatic. I only wish I had been there during a thundershower so as to see rain fall through the oculus. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

End of Summer

End of summer? That's how it feels here in Gotham. We've had cooler temperatures and the light has changed. Before you know it, autumn will be upon us. 

What's been happening? I'm back from Italy (photos will follow in due course), and have written an article that will be published in a professional journal. Very happy about that! 

Today, I took photos of summer flowers after bringing them home from the market. Middle of the day dessert you might say. Feast for the eyes: I love the  blue-ish purple against the other colors in the room.

Nancy Lancaster reportedly said that a room needed three things: fresh flowers, candlelight and a roaring fire. Not sure about the fire, but I know I can muster the candlelight. 

May your end of summer be glorious!