Weekend Round Up – Opera in the Outfield, FFJ, Left-Handedness, Opera as Anti-Depressant, and Ex-iPhones

Opera in the Outfield,

Want to see The Marriage of Figaro with Lisette Oropesa and Amanda Majeski at a cheaper price?  You can.  The Washington National Opera and the Washington Nationals have teamed up to make it possible with “Opera in the Outfield.”  On Saturday, Sep 24, Figaro will be simulcast from the Kennedy Center to the Nats Park’s jumbo screen.  And the price is free; how’s that for a cheaper price!  Gates open at 5 pm and the opera starts at 7 pm.  There is also a contest online you can enter right now to win free tickets to the next Kennedy Center production, Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment.  Seating is available in the outfield and the stands.  If you haven’t been to Nats Park, parking is available, but the Green Line’s Navy Yard-Ballpark subway stop is right beside the park.  You will have to pass through security to enter the park;  I recommend checking the Nats’ Guest Conduct Policy’s 'prohibited items' list before attending if you are thinking of carrying more than a sweater and blankets with you.

Florence Foster Jenkins,

I went to see this film out of curiosity and because there is an opera connection with FFJ.  Ms. Jenkins became a celebrity by singing notoriously out of tune.  I think it is a good movie, though it raises some strong feelings in some viewers concerning how she was treated in real life, a point of some debate.  The movie will not convert any new fans to opera, but there is no question that Ms. Jenkins aided many young opera stars in developing their careers.  I liked the view of the 1940s world of the well-to-do in NYC, which Hollywood is good at recreating.  The scene featuring a young Lily Pons, played by soprano Aida Garifullina (winner of the 2013 Operalia competition), is an opera highlight.  And of course, it has Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.  The very balanced review by Ann Hornaday can be found at this link

Musicians and Left-Handedness,

Nicola Benedetti at Royal Albert Hall by Allanbeavis, Sep 2013.

Nicola Benedetti at Royal Albert Hall by Allanbeavis, Sep 2013.

This article on left-handed classical musicians caught my attention because I saw Twitter posts saying that two of our greatest composers were left-handed (Guess who? See the article. Ok, their last names begin with B and M), and I always wondered how musicians deal with being left-handed, or if it matters.  The data is not exact, but about 10% of the world’s population is left-handed.  President Obama is left-handed.  According to a CNN report, the scientific basis for handedness is yet to be established, but involves more than simple genetic differences and seems to occur early in fetal development.  Sports seems to be one area where it can be a clear advantage.  If I am reincarnated, I pray I will return as a left-handed Washington Nationals baseball pitcher who can sing.  The last example of musician left-handedness in the article above is concert violinist, Nicola Benedetti, who clearly had a rough time initially dealing with hers: “The Scottish violinist claims she doesn't have any memories of before she played the violin, but she shared this early one in a 2010 interview: "I couldn't stop crying because, being a shy, small girl and left-handed, I kept holding the instrument the wrong way and felt terribly self-conscious."”  Ouch, it certainly matters, but it didn’t stop her and she will be the featured violinist with the NCO at the Kennedy Center, Oct 27-29.  The CNN report states that over a lifetime, handedness doesn’t seem to have much of a measurable impact.

Opera as an anti-depressant,

Ok, now for a little foolishness and fun. Take a look at this James Corden Youtube clip when he is visited by soprano Ailyn Pérez and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni of the Metropolitan Opera.  It cheered a sad James up, and I hope it does as well for you.

Ex-iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches,

This has nothing to do with opera, unless you use your Apple products to view and/or listen to opera.  However, the new iPhone 7 is expected to be announced on Sep 7, and I always wonder how to clear my old phones before disposing of them.  Maybe you do too.  At the following link, Apple provides their recommendations for what to do before getting rid of your old device: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201351.