Saturday, March 26, 2011


I once had stable ground to stand on, but now who will I have to turn to? No one. I am alone and hopeless. Tortured and…and…nothing. No words can explain what I am, or better yet what I am not. I am nothing and I have no one. I have lost everyone, everyone who ever mattered. I will be left here to rot away and die. Consumed by the hungry beasts who already are beginning to eat away at my soul. Oh, God… oh God please help me. Please help me find strength and light in a time where I feel like I have none at all. Help me to put the light back in my eyes. Help me to just be okay and take away this wretching feeling in the pit of my stomach. Be here for me and show me that I’m not alone in this cruel world. That I have someone who actually could care for a person like me.

But do they know I have no one to depend on? Do they know I am self destructive and tourtured? Do they know that I am hurt, angry, sad, frustrated, and most importantly… alone? No. Because they never bother to ask. They have no idea what I’m going through.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rise Stevens - American Mezzo Soprano

I first heard Rise Stevens in "Going My Way" alongside costars Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. 

Rise Stevens was the Met's leading mezzo from 1938 to 1961.
To begin with, her voice is simply gorgeous; her chiaroscuro is beautifully balanced, and her vocal control is fantastic (though a mezzo, she performs acrobatics one would expect from a great lyric soprano). There is also a rare natural intensity to her sound. Her Carmen ranks among the very best; contemporary reviewers described it as "earthy," "alluring," and "sublime." I prefer it to any other I have heard.

Her name is probably unknown to most of you. She is possibly the only major singer left from the glorious days of the Old Met.

She was born in New York City on 11 June 1913. From her debut at the Met in 193, until her retirement as a singer in 1961, she was not only the Met’s leading mezzo (virtually owning the roles of Carmen and Octavian), she was a superstar, appearing in opera, films, and in advertisements.

Here’s her biography from the Kennedy Center website; she was an honoree in 1990 for her “Lifetime Contributions to American Culture through the Performing Arts:”

“Mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens saved not only the day at more of than one performance of the Metropolitan Opera–in 1961 she saved the entire season. After the company had canceled its entire 1961-62 schedule due to stalled labor negotiations, a persuasive telegram from Rise Stevens convinced President Kennedy to intervene, and he ordered the Secretary of Labor to arbitrate the dispute. Just three weeks later, the entire season was reinstated on schedule. President Kennedy and the nation had been devoted fans of the Met’s reigning mezzo for almost a quarter of a century.

A pupil of Anna Schoen-Rane at the Julliard School, Stevens showed her famous independence and good judgement early on when she tuned down a tempting contract offer from the Met in the mid-30s in favor of developing her artistry in Europe. She returned to this country in 1938, making her debut with the Met on tour in Philadelphia as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. Later that same year, she made her New York Met debut as Mignon. From then until her retirement in 1961, she virtually owned many of the great mezzo roles, including Orpheus, Mozart’s Cherubino and Dorabella, Delilah of Biblical fame, La Giocanda’s Laura, and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Her Carmen, a role she performed more often that any of her Met predecessors, was described as voluptuous, earthy, and white-hot in her alternating moods of passion and anger. Millions more fell in love with Stevens through her frequent radio appearances and the films The Chocolate Soldier with Nelson Eddy and Going My Way with Bing Crosby.

After her 1961 retirement from the Met as a performer, Stevens assumed several important roles in developing the future of opera in this country. She was named director of the Met’s brand new National Company, which was dedicated to taking opera to hundreds of American cities where opera was not available and to giving many young singers–and designers, conductors, and directors–their first chance at professional opera performances. She also served as president of the Mannes College of Music (1975-78) and rejoined the Met to direct its National Council Auditions from 1980 to 1988. For her numerous activities “in the discovery, training, and championing of young American singers,” Stevens was honored by the National Opera Institute in 1982.”

My bet is that those who remember her at her peak will find it hard to believe that she’s not better known today. For those of us who came after, the magnitude of her career can only be guessed at by examining the historical record. Her early career would be exceptional today; it was virtually unheard of in the 1930s. And there aren’t many opera singers today who appear in advertisements or Oscar-winning films.

I believe she’s the subject of one of my favorite “singer stories.” A reviewer of one of her early Met Octavians criticized her for her “faulty” German accent. Soon after, Ms. Stevens is reported to have met the reviewer in question, and began to speak to him in fluent German. He said “Pardon me, Miss Stevens, but I don’t speak German.” She reputedly said “You don’t? But I DO!”

Here she is in an excerpt from “Going My Way”, the highest-grossing film of 1944, winner of Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Story, Best Supporting Actor, Best Song, nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. It’s also the only movie where an actor (Barry Fitzgerald) was nominated for BOTH Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for the SAME role. (He won Best Supporting!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Am a Scorpio......

Who Scorpio is: Let’s face it, pal, you’re looking at one of the most enigmatic signs in the zodiac - but also one of the most unfairly maligned. It’s true that Scorpios are intense, sensitive, magnetic, and powerful. And their secretive demeanor is legendary (though they’d prefer to be called discreet). But they’re as loyal as the day is long, exceptionally intuitive, energetic and will never pout or nag. In fact, you won’t even know they’re mad until you get that strange stinging sensation on the back of your neck and start feeling all poisony. You’ve been struck by the scorpion’s tail. Fierce in their convictions, Scorpios can be identified by their deep, piercing eyes and – unbeknownst to you – have probably hypnotized you into acting like a chicken on several occasions. If you think you know a Scorpio, think again. If you’ve managed to win a Scorpio’s trust and loyalty, you’re lucky. But watch it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That which is above is as that which is below

As I sit at my desk everyday darkness falls that little bit later.

Each day shows a new sign of Spring.

I'm not sure why but these last few days I've felt colder than I did when we had the snow and ice earlier in February.
At night when the house is silent and all except me are asleep I immerse myself in water. Physically and mentally. (Yes, I confess to being a shower/bath nymph) I could stay there for hours if I could, letting the water flow over me. And as it does I meander through the woods waiting to catch a flash of irridescence of a dragon or damselfly. Or dream of swimming in clear fish filled waters. Or having a picnic on a secret island with simple food such as cherries and a jug of milk.
Connection between ourselves and nature, is as my late night meandiring in the bath, also the theme of my latest painting as much of my work is.

I have named it 'As Above, So Below' This painting is about how we are all interconnected on the planet by a magic or lifespark that entwines us.

I called it this, as these words 'as above so below'came into my head as the painting took shape. It was quite strange really as it almost felt like something was telling me to call it this? The phrase seemed familiar to me and I had probably read it and locked it away in my store cupboard of a mind which I'm afraid I'm always losing the keys to. Anyway you well read folks probably know all about the origins of this phrase but I had to google it after it popped into my mind. And so I was quite taken aback when there it was saying the same as I was trying to portray just a of glimpse in my picture..

"The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. "'That which is above is the same as that which is below'...Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as...and so on, ad infinitum."

You can read more here

Be warned, you will lose yourself along corridors of dusty doorways leading to a maze of ancient secrets and an emerald stone tablet that reveals the magical secrets of the universe. Wonderful!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fat Tuesday: Mardi Gras

Don’t forget next week is “Fat Tuesday”- By definition, "Mardi Gras" (mär`dē grä) & "Mardi Gras Season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, ending the day before Ash Wednesday. From the French "Mardi Gras" (literally translates to "Fat Tuesday"), the term has come to mean the whole period of activity related to those events, beyond just the single day, often called Mardi Gras Day or Fat Tuesday

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Geese At Midnight

Half awake, half asleep, on the couch, I heard geese fly over.  At midnight.  A strange, and yet hauntingly beautiful sound.  There is a pond nearby, but I have never heard them at night.  It was, in a way, a quite reassuring sound.  Some people think it is a lonely sound.  I don't.  I find comfort in the sound of geese flying over.  Sometimes, I wish I could fly with them.