Classical Music

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Creature Comforts

24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 – World Philosphy Day: Task 3 How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods? My only salvation in stressful times: Creature comforts.  Lots of them.  And BookLikes! 2019 was a hell of a year in virtually every respect, and I don’t mean that […]

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My All-Time Favorite Gifts

24 Festive Tasks: Door 20 – Christmas, Task 4: What was the best Christmas / holiday present you ever received – the one that meant the most to you or gave you the greatest joy?  (This can be anything; objects / material gifts as well as something someone did for you, or anything else – […]

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Sleigh Rides

24 Festive Tasks: Door 16 – St. Lucia’s Day, Task 2: Compile a list of five or more carols, poems, short stories, novels or other pieces of writing that feature sleigh rides.   On the minus-twentieth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … Two Christmas carols, one orchestral dance, one fairy tale, […]

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My Favorite Books with Music as a Plot Element

24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 – Kwanzaa, Task 2: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration.  Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?   In no particular order, books (of all genres, except for artist biographies)* that I love where music plays an important […]

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The Beethoven Festival

24 Festive Tasks: Door 2 – Japanese Culture Day, Task 1: Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live. My home town, Bonn, in 1770 (i.e., 250 years ago next year) was the birthplace of classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  While you can’t escape this fact even when just […]

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Halloween: Incidental Opera

 … well, sort of.  I’m not sure whether Bonn Opera actually had Halloween in mind when they scheduled the opening night of their production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (based on Walter Scott’s Bride of Lammermoor) – it’s not overly likely, though I wouldn’t put it past them – but it of course fits the […]

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Halloween Book Bingo 2016: Eighth Update – TRIPLE BINGO (Nos. 3-5)!

  The Books: Bingo No. 3: Witches – Terry Pratchett / Neil Gaiman: Good Omens Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s hilarious end-of-the-world spoof: Armageddon as foretold in the nice and accurate predictions of one Agnes Nutter, witch.  (Time of Armageddon: Next Saturday. Place: Tadfield, Oxfordshire.)  Starring one demon named CrawlyCrowley (who’s got just about enough […]

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Halloween Book Bingo 2016: Seventh Update — BINGO No. 2!

  The Books: Vampires vs. Werewolves – Terry Pratchett: Feet of Clay (Discworld #19) Part of the Night Watch subseries and officially now one of my favorite non-Witches Pratchett novels.  And I also have a new favorite non-Witches Discworld character: the Night Watch’s resident female werewolf Constable Angua, who seriously kicks a$$ (or, um, prods […]

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Literature Reviews

E.T.A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman)

The first of three Tales of Hoffmann that were (partially) used in the libretto of Jacques Offenbach’s opera of that name; one of the works that cemented Hoffmann’s rank among the progenitors of the horror genre and also one of the (pseudo-)scientific narratives that, over 100 years later, would inspire the steampunk genre: The story […]

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Literature Movies Reviews

THE RED VIOLIN

A feast for the Senses … and the Everlasting Magic of Music “Cinque carte” – five tarot cards servant Cesca (Anita Laurenzi) makes her mistress Anna Busotti (Irene Grazioli) draw in 17th century Cremona when Anna, wife of the legendary violin maker Niccolò Busotti (Carlo Cecchi), asks her servant to tell her and her unborn […]

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IMPROMPTU

“You must win him as a man wins a woman.” Poor Mallefille – you really have to pity him. Not only has he become the lover of the woman who employed him to tutor her children (and whose reputation is hard to take for his pathologically jealous nature anyway); only to be dumped again in […]

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Holiday Splurge 2015

11:30 pm 3 January 2016 Holiday Splurge Themis-Athena’s Garden of Books   The way things have been shaping up in the recent couple of months, the holiday season ending today was most likely my last real reprieve from fairly major (not to say time-consuming and persistent) work-related unpleasantness for the foreseeable future.   This being […]

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Lake Constance: Lindau and Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ at the Bregenz Opera Festival

Back from a wonderful weekend: We’ve been going to Lake Constance to attend the Bregenz Opera Festival more or less regularly for some 10 years now, and almost every time I’ve come home claiming this was the best thing they ever produced.  This year was no exception.    We left home shortly after 6:00 AM […]

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Turandot

I’ll be off over the weekend to see this year’s open air event at the Bregenz Opera Festival on Lake Constance – Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, complete with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, 27 x 72 m (89 x 236 ft) Chinese Wall and terracotta army stage, and Chinese acrobats (click on any of the images to find […]

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