• A Tale of Two Bohémes

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    The recent crisis at the Met has raised so many questions, as has the demise of the NYCO, the near-demise of the San Diego Opera and the Rome Opera’s uncertain future. Are grand, starry opera productions in the style of those high-profile companies still viable in today’s economy and culture? Are they nothing but soulless, overblown spectacle that isn’t worth trying to save? Or are they the very heart and soul of the art form of opera? Read the rest of this entry »

  • For Libr 200 – My Interests and Goals

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    Hi, everyone, I’m Jordan.


    Of all the information communities I’ve looked at so far, public and academic libraries intrigue me the most.


    As it’s clear from the majority of this blog, I have a passion for opera. I see as many opera performances as I can and constantly listen to recordings and read books about the art and history of opera – most of which I find at libraries. I love orchestral art music, too, of all types. My BA from UCLA is in Music History. And I couldn’t have earned it without the various books, recordings and documents I found at libraries, particularly the magnificent Music Library in the Herb Alpert School of Music. I still visit it fairly often. I love exploring their collection of countless scores (and different editions of scores), countless books of history and analysis, and countless sound and video recordings, both classic and modern, in every possible form. Nor do they have any shortage of journals or electronic resources. If possible, I might like to explore the Music Library as part of this class. I’ve often fantasized about becoming a librarian or circulation supervisor at an institution like that one.


    But music librarianship isn’t my only interest. I might also like to explore the field of K-12 school libraries, or the children’s departments of public libraries. I’ve always related well to kids and enjoy working with them. I’ve even created a volunteer program for classrooms, Opera Quest, to introduce young people ages 8-12 to the word of opera – I’ve presented it at four different schools with resounding success every time. I also love children’s literature and have written drafts of several children’s books of my own. Working with kids in a library setting is another path I might like to explore.


    Another goal of mine is to work with people who have special needs, either children or adults. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, as I discuss in this blog post from 2013. I’d love to help other people on the autism spectrum, or parents thereof, find information that helps them understand and learn to manage their disorder or their children’s. I only hope I can do this in a library setting.


    I’ve never worked in a library or any other information community before. I still have a lot to learn about the field. But I hope that over the next few years, with the help of all the courses I take, I can put my interests to good use and make my goals see some light.

  • Why I’m Studying Librarianship

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    Why on earth, some people might ask, is a passionate opera lover with a BA in Music History studying librarianship? Why didn’t I try to become a Music History professor, or an author of books about opera?


    Because I wouldn’t be a passionate opera lover if not for libraries. I’ve written about that fact before (see “Opera at the Library: My Tribute”). Ever since I first discovered opera, libraries have been my main recourse for sound recordings, videos, DVDs, and books of all kinds that provide insight into the world of opera and classical music. Not to mention the educational Opera Talks that my local libraries present every year in tandem with the LA Opera’s season, culminating in an end-of-season concert featuring singers from their Young Artist program.


    I still don’t fully know what it’s like to be a librarian. I don’t know everything that studying librarianship will entail. I’m just getting started. But I’d love to spend my life helping library visitors find the wealth of passion-cultivating information that I have. If I can, I’d love to help a library expand its collection of opera- and classical music-related books, film and recordings, and to help promote that material. I’d love to be able to guide people with passions like mine to the exact types of books and information they’re looking for, both with the help of technology and with any knowledge of my own that goes beyond what computers know – this is why the idea of working for a school or university library appeals to me. I’d love to promote and take part in music education programs within the library, like the Opera Talks I’ve grown up with. I’d love to bring Opera Quest, the opera education program I’ve created for children, into at least one library, which I hope my degree will help me do. I’d love to eventually write books about opera music history, but not rely on them as an income source, and have them become part of the collection of the library where I work.


    In spite of all the music- and opera-history classes I took at Santa Monica College and UCLA, libraries have been the real source of my knowledge and passion, more than academia ever has been. By studying librarianship and hopefully finding a career in it, I hope I can help keep that source of knowledge and passion alive and strong for everyone. I hope I can play a part in helping people find their passion and identity through library resources just like I did.

  • Carlo Bergonzi (1924-2014)

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    I was 14 when I heard him for the first time. I was newly in love with opera and checked out a highlights CD of Madama Butterfly from a library – I had seen two videos of Butterfly at that point but had yet to hear a sound recording of it. The CD’s original case was lost, so I didn’t know the names of the singers, but I didn’t mind. The first track was Pinkerton’s aria “Dovunque al mondo,” and the moment he started to sing, this, more or less, was my reaction: “Oh wow! Oh my God! What a gorgeous voice!”

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  • “Don Giovanni” at the Mendocino Music Festival (July 18, 2014)

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    Don Giovanni: Eugene Brancoveanu

    Leporello: Dennis Rupp

    Donna Anna: Kelly Britt

    Donna Elvira: Youn Ryu Read the rest of this entry »

  • Character Study Corner: Lt. B.F. Pinkerton

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    In honor of the 4th of July, I’d like to discuss the most famous American character in opera, Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton from Madama Butterfly.

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  • CD Review: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1962, Gui)

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    Il Barbiere di Siviglia

    1962, EMI

    (Sesto Bruscantini, Luigi Alva, Victoria de los Angeles, Ian Wallace, Carlo Cava, Laura Sarti; Glyndebourne Chorus; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Vittorio Gui)


    This classic recording is one of the first studio attempts to present an “authentic” Barbiere. Though it predates Alberto Zedda’s critical edition of the score and some of the orchestration is still slightly “off” (e.g. a harp instead of a guitar in “Ecco ridente”), it completely lacks the interpolations, transpositions, excess embellishments and Read the rest of this entry »