Friday, July 29, 2011

La Donna Musicale at SoHip

La Donna Musicale performs early music composed by women. Laury Gutierrez, the director and viola da gamba player; as well as Laura Gulley on violin, form the core of the group. They have issued four CDs and a fifth compilation disc. Laury does extensive and meticulous research to make for exquisite concerts. Her dedication is to be admired.

Every year La Donna Musicale participates in the SoHIP Summer Early Music Concert Series. Last night Shari Alise Wilson, soprano, and Daniela Tosic, mezzo soprano, harmonized beautifully. The very tall arched ceiling of Emmanuel Church's Lindsey Chapel was perfect for the glorious sound of the duo. After the concert Laury stood at the door with her viola da gamba and bid the audience good night individually. Such personal style. When will they issue their next CD?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boston Early Music Festival and Niobe: Queen of Thebes

This afternoon I had the pleasure of listening to soprano Angelique Zuluaga sing works by B. Strozzi, Buxtehude, Purcell, etc. She lived and sang extensively in Colombia. We were lucky to have her in Boston for the BEMF. Harpsichordist Bernard Gordillo performed beautifully on an instrument on loan from La Donna Musicale. Laury Guitierrez, the director of la Donna was in the audience. She will perform twice in the BEMF and again in the SoHIP Early Music Concert Series. Allison Guest Edlberg was wonderful on the baroque violin. She studied at Indiana U. as did the other two performers in this ensemble.

Niobe: Queen of Thebes, the baroque opera was truly incredible. The costumes, sets, chamber orchestra, singing, all of it was wondrous. Four hours passed by so quickly and I forgot to mention the acting and dancing. It was on of the best cultural events that I have ever attended. A kind friend gave me her ticket for the opening performance. See it if you can!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beauport

The Beauport Sleeper-McCann House on Eastern Point, Gloucester, is a real gem. It is a forty room mansion built by one of America's first professional interior decorators. DuPont, Rockefeller, Henry James, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Okakura Kakuzo, and John Singer Sargent were house guests. Henry Sleeper mixed American antiques with kitch that was contemporary to his lifetime. Sleeper died in tremendous debt and it was great fortune that the McCanns bought the house intact and left everything in place. It was bequeathed to Historic New England, then known as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. It is open seasonally to the public for guided tours.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester

John Hays Hammond Jr. (1888-1965) was an inventor, and was lucky enough to meet Thomas Edison, and travel to England as a boy. His father was a mining engineer. The son built the Castle 1926-9 as a gift to his wife. It is splendid overlooking the ocean with beautiful grounds.

Inside is his pipe organ; as well as his Roman, medieval, and renaissance art collection. There are stained glass windows and a covered court yard much as in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The little boys seemed to love the museum and the full body armor. It is possible to get there by public transportation on Saturdays.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Howling with Wet Wolves

Took the the commuter rail to Ipswich where I boarded the Ipswich Essex Explorer bus to Crane's Beach. Beautiful white sand and a spotless bath house. Then on to the The Clam House for an acceptable meal. The highlight of the day was a visit to Wolf Hollow , where I saw four wolves and one brown wolf/dog mix. There was a downpour so thankfully we were under a roof. The wolves got totally soaked and were very appealing. Cheese is their favorite food.

The director gave us a talk that lasted more than an hour and was very charming with explaining wolf pack behavior to the children. Wolf Hollow had been the idea of her late husband. It seemed a good deal for only $7:50. The Ipswich Essex Explorer bus cost $5 for unlimited rides including a walk on fee to the Beach. Tom, the driver, seemed to know everybody in town and was full of good cheer and excellent advice. The bus stops at so many other interesting restaurants, such as Woodman's, and historic house museums.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lobster at Kelly's Roast Beef

My generous friend paid for my sister to fly up to Boston to see me today. Jill and I took the Blue Line to Wonderland and walked to Kelly's Roast Beef. This beach stand has some of the best seafood in the Boston area. We walked along Revere Beach in the sun until we came to a small parking area and turn around point. We arrived at the airport just in time for her to take her flight back. It was a really fun time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Gardner Chamber Orchestra Par Excellence

Paula Robison led the GCO in a beautiful rendition of Handel's Water Music. Annie Rabbat always provides stellar performances on violin as does Jing Li on the cello. The woodwind section was exceptionally strong with Elah Grandel on bassoon and Kyoko Hida and Mie Shiraishi on oboe. John Gibbons is one of the great harpsichordists of Boston. Paula Robison is such a stand out on flute that is a joy to hear her perform under any circumstances.

Last Sunday Christopher Taylor attempted Bach's Goldberg Variations on a dual keyboard piano. It is an exceptionally challenging piece of music that Glenn Gould performed to near perfection in 1955. Taylor seemed challenged by the piece and Anne Hawley, the director of the Gardner Museum and Russell Sherman, his mentor, were in attendance. I liked the Water Music better but my friend Emily was thrilled to hear the Goldberg Variations performed live.