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Month: March 2007

La Boheme, Act I and II

La Boheme Original Poster

Did anyone else develop an interest in opera – and La Boheme in particular – after seeing the movie Moonstruck? I sure did. The 1987 movie, featuring Cher and Nicholas Cage, is still one of my all time favorites. It’s amazing how music can affect the overall experience of a film. The music of Giacomo Puccini defines Moonstruck. Because of the movie, La Boheme (and opera) entered my life.

The story of La Boheme is centered around the love between Rodolfo (a poet) and Mimi (a seamstress). No happy ending here. Mimi succumbs to tuberculosis at the end. But it’s quite a journey – stunningly powerful, beautiful, and heartbreaking at the end. See this Wikipedia article for a full synopsis of the opera.

The performance here comes from earlier this year at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Here are Acts I and II. III and IV will be coming in a few days.

If you’re hesitant to try this out, at the very least download “Si sente meglio?” (track 7) through “O soave fanciulla” (track 10). Listen to them all the way through. Rinse. And repeat.

La Boheme

February 3, 2007
Metropolitan Opera, New York City

— Act I: In the four bohemians’ garret —
Questo Mar Rosso mi ammollisce e assidera
Pensier profundo!
Legna!
Si può?
Io resto per terminar l’articolo di fondo
Chi è la?
Si sente meglio?
Che gelida manina
Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì
O soave fanciulla

— Act II: Quartier Latin —
Aranci, datteri, caldi i marroni!
Chi guardi?
Viva Parpignol! Parpignol! Parpignol!
Oh! … Essa! … Musetta!
Quando men vo soletta per la via
Chi l’ha richiesto?

Metropolitan Opera Choir and Orchestra
Conductor: Carlo Rizzi

Cast:

Marcello (baritone) – Dwayne Croft
Rodolfo (tenor) – Marcello Giordani
Colline (bass) – John Relyea
Schaunard (baritone) – Aaron St. Clair Nicholson
Benoit (bass) – Paul Plishka
Mimì (soprano) – Cristina Gallardo-Domâs
Parpignol (tenor) – Meredith Derr
Alcindoro (bass) – Paul Plishka
Musetta (soprano) – Susannah Glanville

Nessun Dorma

If a human being can watch and listen to Pavoratti sing Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” and not be affected and moved, I’d like to know. I don’t think it’s possible.

If one – count one – person expresses interest, I’ll post an entire performance of La Boheme at NYC’s Metropolitan Opera House from earlier this year. Something about ol’ Puccini gets to me. Who’s up for it?

New Son Volt: The Search

Son Volt

So a lot of us know the story… Uncle Tupelo was one of the bands that ushered in the alt-country / “no depression” era – music that fused country roots with rock and punk sensibilities. The latter term, “No Depression”, actually came from the name of Uncle Tupelo’s 1990 debut album. Two alt-country icons emerged from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo. Jeff Tweedy went on to form Wilco, and Jay Farrar started Son Volt.

uncle tupelo
Uncle Tupelo

While Wilco – which started much in the same vein as Uncle Tupelo with albums like A.M. and Being There – have gone on to morph into a whole ‘nother beast… psychedelic, indie, experimental, even Beatles-esque at times. It’s a great ride being a Wilco fan.

Son Volt, on the other hand, has managed to stay more true to the country-based stylings of Uncle Tupelo. Not to put that in a negative light. Jay Farrar’s voice belongs in that realm.

With their most recent album, The Search, the band stays in that same framework, but does manage to stretch beyond it at times. One of the tunes streaming below, “The Picture”, reminds me a little of a Van Morrison tune, complete with the horns. “Action” has an Eastern vibe that would make George Harrison proud. My favorite right now is “Adrenaline and Heresy”, a slower piano tune that has Farrar lamenting “She said I still love you / I don’t know if I want to spend the rest of my time with you.” At that point the drums kick in and he ends the song singing repeatedly: “High on adrenaline / It’s a new day.” Nice tune. I’d play it for you, but I’ll stick to these three streaming tracks that were sent my way.

Go check out the album on iTunes though, or buy it here…

Son Volt – streaming tunes from their new album The Search:

The Picture (asx – will launch in your mp3 player)

Circadian Rhythm (asx)

The Search (asx)

Son Volt
The lads in Son Volt

The End of the Revolution


Prince with Lisa and Wendy, Rolling Stone no. 472, April 1986 by Jeff Katz

Old school Prince die hards like me get a bit nostalgic when thinking back to the Revolution days. There was a certain dynamic and chemistry with the lineup – Prince, Bobby Z. on drums, Matt Fink on synth, Lisa Coleman on keys, Wendy Melvoin on guitar, and Brown Mark on bass – that in my opinion hasn’t been matched since. I don’t doubt for a second that every member of Prince’s band is and has been a talented musician. It’s just that the Revolution lineup seemed right. Totally subjective, I know, and it probably has to do with favoring the lineup that was in place when I discovered Prince’s music.

So the last official gig with this lineup took place on September 9th, 1986 in Yokohama, Japan. It was the last show of the Parade tour. Prince pulled out a B-side rarity (“Love or Money”), a heartfelt version of “Sometimes it Snows in April”, a killer jam on “Anotherloverholenyohead”, a preview of “Hot Thing” during “Head”, and so much more.

All in all, the Revolution played one helluva finale.

Prince and the Revolution
Parade Tour
September 9th, 1986
Yokohama, Japan

1. Around The World In A Day
2. Christopher Tracy’s Parade
3. New Position
4. I Wonder U
5. Raspberry Beret
6. Delirious
7. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night (Chant)
8. Controversy
9. A Love Bizarre (W/ Sheila E)
10. Do Me, Baby
11. How Much Is That Doggie In The Window – Lady Cab Driver
12. Automatic
13. D.M.S.R.
14. When Doves Cry
15. Little Red Corvette
16. Do U Lie?
17. The Ladder
18. Condition Of The Heart
19. Under The Cherry Moon

 

20. Anotherloverholenyohead
21. Love or $
22. Head
23. Pop Life
24. Girls & Boys
25. Life Can Be So Nice
26. 1999
27. America
28. Kiss
29. Sometimes It Snows In April
30. Purple Rain

What is the Revolution up to these days?

dr. fink

Matt “Dr.” Fink: The Doctor is still in. Matt is active in the Minneapolis music scene, churning out his brand of electro-funk. You can catch up with him on his official site and his MySpace page.

Wendy and Lisa

Wendy & Lisa: Wendy & Lisa haven’t slowed down since they parted with the Revolution. They have released several albums, and have played with Prince here and there throughout the years. Just this past weekend at Prince’s 3121 Rio show in Vegas, Wendy and her twin sister Susannah joined Prince for “A Love Bizarre”, and Wendy joined in on acoustic guitar during “Purple Rain”.

You can catch up with Wendy and Lisa’s latest happenings on their official site and their MySpace page. Also, there’s a bunch of W&L stuff on YouTube. Check out this video of Wendy, Lisa, and Susannah singing “Strung Out”.

brown mark

Brown Mark: Mark is still active in the music industry as a member of Cryptic. You can hear their latest on his MySpace page.

Bobby Z: There’s not much info on the web about what Bobby Z. is up to these days. Can anyone provide an update? G.?

Prince, Parade tour

Prince: As for the man, you never know with him. He’s been playing weekends at the Rio in Vegas since November, he tore shit up at the Super Bowl in Feb., and a couple of days ago, his web site was updated with a cryptic flash video showing a quick snippet of Prince standing over a globe with the words “Planet Earth” .. . “Summer 2007”. Album? Tour? Live Earth performance? Who knows, maybe all of the above.

He always keeps it interesting.

There is so much more

brett dennen

File this under the more I hear, the more me likey. I first heard this on Sirius a few weeks ago, and the DJ introduced it as a nice tune that sounds like it’s coming from the voice of an older woman. But the voice is coming from Brett Dennen, a young California singer songwriter fresh on the scene.

Brett may be young, but his music sounds mature and developed. See what you think…

Brett DennenThere Is So Much More (mp3)

Buy So Much More

Check Brett out on MySpace and his Official Site.

New Steve Earle: Goodbye Guitar Town

Steve Earle

Sunset in my mirror
Pedal on the floor
Bound for New York City
And I won’t back no more

And so begins Steve Earle‘s new tune, “Goodbye Guitar Town”. He dropped into Austin’s KUT radio station last week for a nice interview and a couple of acoustic tunes, including this new one. Steve is back to his acoustic Townes Van Zandt-like, finger-pickin’ form with this tune. He’s called New York City’s Greenwich Village home for a few years now, and as he sings about in this song, NYC is home.

Listening to the interview got me excited about the new album (his first release for New West Records). He’s working with John King, who makes up half of the Dust Brothers (Beck, Beastie Boys). Steve said he’s “tested positive for Pro Tools“, which is a departure for him, and he’s working exclusively with John, vs. a band.

So there’s a lot to look forward to as a Steve Earle fan. Check out the full 38 minute interview here on the KUT Site.

Steve Earle: Goodbye Guitar Town (mp3) – live in studio, KUT Austin

Buy Steve Earle music:

Vote Sanjaya!

Good people of North America,

It is our solemn and sworn duty to ensure that Sanjaya Malakar – that spritely, effeminate contestant, and current member of the Top 12 on America Idol – continues to ascend to his rightful position as this year’s American Idol winner.

Tonight, at the properly allotted time, you must vote, vote, and vote again for Mr. Malakar. Tune into at least the last 10 minutes of American Idol. Check your local listings. Tell your friends and family, we must mobilize the masses!

For those who cry foul, no worries. There is no way the producers would allow it to happen. I’m sure the voting results have been manipulated in the past, and will be manipulated in the future. But let’s put the voting system integrity to the test. Vote on!

Yours,
Evil Ick

March 22 Update – It’s happening, people. The groundswell of support for the great Sanjaya is only beginning. Sanjaya breezed through this week, and is now a member of the top 10, who get to tour the country after the season. Yes, a Sanjaya tour!

Feel free to bookmark this post. This will be the Sanjaya Super Post, containing any and all things pro-Sanjaya! Let’s do this!!!

Join us…

March 27 Update: Oh Lordie, did you see our boy tonight? Working the pony-tailed-mohawk? Fierce, Sanjaya! I put in my 5 votes for our next American Idol, how about you?

sanjaya mohawk

A Johnny n’ Jesus Giveaway

Johnny Cash

On March 6th, Johnny Cash – Ultimate Gospel was released on Columbia/Legacy. 24 tracks of Johnny’s favorite gospel tunes, including three previously unreleased tracks. Whether you love you some Jesus, or you love Johnny Cash, or both, leave a comment below, and you may just win the CD….

Buy Johnny Cash Ultimate Gospel

Full Tune Stream-age:

Love & War

Michael Franti Yell Fire

It’s easy for me to measure how low long I’ve been married, or how long the war in Iraq has been going on. They both started in the same week. My wife and I just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary last week (the 14th). And today, of course, marks the fourth anniversary of the wonderful decision to invade Iraq (we were in Jamaica at the time, makin’ love, not war – t.m.i.? sorry).

3,220 American soldiers dead. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. “There’s been good progress”, our president said today… the same tired rhetoric we always hear from him.

But I’ll jump off the soap box, and let the music do the talking….

Bill EvansPeace Piece (mp3) – A sparse, beautiful piece by legendary jazz pianist Evans. Appears on several albums, like Everybody Digs Bill Evans.

Michael Franti & SpearheadLight Up Ya Lighter (mp3) – Franti speaks (sings) his mind on this anti-war track from Yell Fire!.

If you love this land of the free, bring ’em home, bring ’em home. – Pete Seeger

The Sandbox

THE SANDBOX: Garry Trudeau, creator of the cartoon Doonesbury, has a great site set up called the Sandbox. He created it as a place for military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan to share their experiences. It’s a military blog, aka a Milblog.

It’s easy to get sucked in and just read and read. It will make you appreciate these brave souls all the more. Check it out: http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox

Now can we please figure out a way to get these men and women HOME??