Friday, June 18, 2010

She's Still Here ! Carol Burnett

"She's seen it all and my dear, she's still Here!"

There are many, many times I just want to belt out I'm Still Here!  And, pity Georges, I sometimes do.

Yes, the song is hammy and no one can out ham it more than Carol, but who hasn't at some point taken inventory of their life and marveled that they have survived?

I especially like this clip because I love seeing the process an artist goes through in preparation for a performance.  Carol seems so vulnerable when learning the material.  Then she becomes more and more the star that we know as she approaches the performance.

Its very much like watching dancers with new choreography.  They stumble, they swear from frustration then on the night of their performance, they own it. The choreography is absorbed into their bodies and becomes the language of their art.

For a really interesting profile of Carol and her new memoir, follow this link: This Time Together - Carol Burnett. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Maureen Forrester: A great Canadian, an epic Talent

World-renowned contralto Maureen Forrester dies 

(From the Toronto Star)

Surrounded by her children, one of Canada’s best known contraltos died in Toronto on Wednesday from Alzheimer’s complications. She was 79.

Growing up with the CBC as I did, Maureen Forrester was a regular TV presence.  She was really my first exposure to opera.  I remember feeling particularly cultured when in grade eight I got to sing the father's role in our school production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.  (Only because my voice broke first). Performing as the witch's in that production (At the Met, not Queen Street School's) was one of her more popular roles.

“One of her funny songs later in life was bemoaning the fact that she always played mothers, witches, bitches, but never the bride,” said Gina Dineen, her daughter.

Forrester grew up in a working-class Montreal family and dropped out of school when she was 13. She started her singing career as a member of a church choir, singing during ladies’ tea time. Within years, she was touring Canada and Europe, where her rich voice startled the audience.

Forrester was well known for performing classical music and opera. She was especially revered for her interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies, but her family says she did everything in her career, performing in productions of Cinderella, Gilbert and Sullivan pieces and cabaret numbers. Her versatility was her specialty. The consummate performer even danced with Karen Kain on one occasion.

In addition to receiving a myriad of honorary degrees and doctorates, Forrester was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1990, and became chair of the Canada Council in 1983. She was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967, and received the Order of Ontario in 1990.

" Erbarme dich, mein Gott " , Bach

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Ignorance is Harper's bliss.

Mendelson Joe 
In an article today about Mendelson Joe in the Globe and Mail,  I was reminded of conversations  I have regularly with Georges about the sorry state of democracy in Canada.  This usually follows a rant about the Harper Government's disregard for democracy and the Machiavellian method he uses to maintain power.

Our displeasure isn't reserved solely for Mr. Harper.  Without the constant internal bickering and leadership vacuum of the Liberal Party, the nationalistic mandate of the Bloc and the shin kicking of Joe Layton, Harper wouldn't be getting away with it.  In the meantime, he plays the Cheshire "fox"  grinning over an unruly hen house.

I'm old enough to remember Mendelson Joe's career as a performer in the seventies and was surprised to read that he was a card-carrying Progressive Conservative working for Prairie populist David Orchard in the 2003 leadership race won by Peter MacKay.

Harper and Jaffer: before the love was gone!
“I was betrayed by Peter MacKay,” he says, referring to the deal between MacKay and Orchard in which MacKay promised, if he became leader with Orchard’s backing, not to seek a union with the Canadian Alliance. The deal was eventually broken when the PCs joined the new Conservative Party with Harper as its leader.

It seems every night on the news there is another example of how the Conservatives treat Parliament with contempt.  Whether it's showing complete disrespect for Sheila Fraser, proroguing Parliament (twice),  or spending over a billion dollars on a "ego" summit, the Conservatives know that they can get  away with it because we just don't care.

"If the G8 accomplishes anything, it will be to force Canadians to reflect upon themselves and their country . There's an opportunity here to realize that the real problem here in Canada is them.  If they’d show the enthusiasm for government that they have for hockey, they’d explore the betrayals, they’d expose the lies and the broken promises.”

RMR: Rick's Rant - Parliament and the Need to be Informed

Monday, June 14, 2010

Judi Dench - "Send In the Clowns" from Hey, Mr. Producer!

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