On this chilly, frosty morning, my goats were offered an operatic selection. I enjoy opera and am able to watch the Metropolitan Opera HD deliveries from New York in a town not far from Gullringstorp. I love to listen to several of my favorites while tending the goats and the stable chores. It was a wonderful background as I cleaned boxes, filled both hay and grain. The water buckets were all cleaned and refilled. Lots can be done quickly while the goats are outdoors.
This morning my ladies and gentlemen heard La Bohème , an opera in 4 acts composed by Giacomo Puccini. The world premiere performance was in 1896. Since then it has been performed all over the world in the greatest opera houses by the greatest voices in the opera world. Just to name a few: Placido Domingo & Montserrat Cabellè, Luciano Pavarotti & Mirella Freni, Jussi Björling & Victoria de Los Ángeles, Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazón.
ACT I. Paris, Christmas Eve, c. 1830. In their Latin Quarter garret, the painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are joined by their comrades — Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician who has landed a job and brings food, fuel and funds. But while they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, arrives to collect the rent. Plying the older man with wine, they urge him to tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation. As the friends depart for a celebration at the nearby Café Momus, Rodolfo promises to join them soon, staying behind to finish writing an article. There is another knock: a neighbor, Mimì, says her candle has gone out on the drafty stairs. Offering her wine when she feels faint, Rodolfo relights her candle and helps her to the door. Mimì realizes she has dropped her key, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the moonlight the poet takes the girl’s shivering hand, telling her his dreams. She then recounts her solitary life, embroidering flowers and waiting for spring. Drawn to each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave for the café.
ACT II. Amid shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet near the Café Momus before introducing her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. A toy vendor, Parpignol, passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former lover, Musetta, enters ostentatiously on the arm of the elderly, wealthy Alcindoro. Trying to regain the painter’s attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. Complaining that her shoe pinches, Musetta sends Alcindoro to fetch a new pair, then falls into Marcello’s arms. Joining a group of marching soldiers, the Bohemians leave Alcindoro to face the bill when he returns.
ACT III. At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a Customs Officer admits farm women to the city. Musetta and revelers are heard inside a tavern. Soon Mimì walks by, searching for the place where the reunited Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she pours out her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy. It is best they part, she says. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, is heard, and Mimì hides; Marcello thinks she has left. The poet tells Marcello he wants to separate from his fickle sweetheart. Pressed further, he breaks down, saying Mimì is dying; her ill health can only worsen in the poverty they share. Overcome, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell as Marcello runs back into the tavern to investigate Musetta’s raucous laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall their happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello. The painter and his mistress part in fury, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring.
ACT IV. Some months later, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness in the garret. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. The four stage a dance, which turns into a mock fight. The merrymaking is ended when Musetta bursts in, saying Mimì is downstairs, too weak to climb up. As Rodolfo runs to her, Musetta tells how Mimì has begged to be taken to her lover to die. While Mimì is made comfortable, Marcello goes with Musetta to sell her earrings for medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his cherished overcoat. Alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first days together, but she is seized with coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì dies quietly, and when Schaunard discovers she is dead, Rodolfo runs to her side, calling her name.
— courtesy of Opera News
Here you will hear and see two of my favorite opera performers, Roberto Alagna & Angela Gheorghiu
This first video is an interview with these two opera stars:
Here you can watch the entire opera La Bohème if you like:
My goats had a real treat this morning. They heard one of my all time favorite singers from way back, Sammy Davis Jr. What a crooner he was. I had the great opportunity of seeing him in concert many times during the late 60’s and 70’s in Las Vegas. Mom and I would dress to kill and walk down to the lobby of our hotel and into the show room at Caesar’s or any other large beautiful luxury hotel of the day. I remember my father handing the maître d’ some cash and we were escorted down front to the seats very close to the stage. Sammy Davis Jr. always gave 110% at his performances and the audiences always went wild. What a memory… I feel so fortunate for those days to have been able to enjoy , up close and personal one of the all time great stars of the stage .
Sammy Davis Jr. was born Dec. 8, 1925 which meant that he grew up during a most difficult time for the country, especially Afro Americans. He was literally born back stage at a theater and lived in a suitcase when a baby, as his parents were show folk. He started his vaudeville life at the age of 3 . He was singing and dancing and performing all of his young life. It was not easy for him as an Afro-American. He was a victim of racism most of his life.
This is what Wikipedia had to say about that:
Davis was a headliner at The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, but he was required (as were all black performers in the 1950s) to lodge in a rooming house on the west side of the city, instead of in the hotels as his white colleagues did. No dressing rooms were provided for black performers, and they had to wait outside by the swimming pool between acts. Davis and other black artists could entertain, but could not stay at the hotels where they performed, gamble in the casinos, or dine or drink in the hotel restaurants and bars. Davis later refused to work at places which practiced racial segregation. (Wikipedia)
They say that he became an “overnight success” after a performance at Ciro’s nightclub in 1951. Overnight?? That was a success (recognition) after so many years of playing dives and waiting for the “big break”.
He became a member of the famous Rat Pack and toured and performed with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. He was also a star of several Broadway musicals and even had his own TV show.
Sammy Davis Jr. was a real fighter. He survived a horrible car crash on the way back from Las Vegas and lost an eye. He was a “trooper” and continued his performing life. Very ironically and so sadly died of throat cancer on May 16, 1990 at the age of 64. Way too young and what a star we all have lost.
These are just a few of my favorites:
This morning I greeted my lovely happy goats with a trip down memory lane. Today they enjoyed with me, a wonderful sound from a group whose stardom spanned from 1928-1982. Most of their most famous songs were from the 30’s and 40’s. As a young girl and well into my teens, I was attracted to the sounds of the 30’s and 40’s. I was a bit of an oddity singing songs from that era when other young teens were enjoying Motown artists along with other artist of the day.
One of my favorite groups was The Mills Brothers. I never had the great opportunity of seeing them in person, but my husband has. He saw them in a night club in Gothenburg, Sweden during the 1960’s. He even had a chat with one of the members of the group. Wow ! What I would have given for that experience!
As my goats got fresh hay, straw and clean water and were milked, they enjoyed the following:
I know all the words of all their tunes so my goats got me singing also. Poor goats, they were my captive audience.
This post is a thank you to my daughter.
Last evening I got a tip from my daughter to listen to something on Spotify (I am trying to keep up to date with all the neat stuff out there). She is a classical music enthusiast to say the least and is the kind of person that has the same opera but by different performers or conductors. She knows her stuff, so I listened when she said look for Maria Callas singing my favorite opera La Traviata. The recording was a digitally remastered recording of a live performance given at La Scala Opera House in 1955. Maria Callas and Giuseppe Di Stefano are just magnificent.
My goats get music in the stable all the time and they really enjoy it, even my singing. This morning they were treated with Maria Callas in La Traviata.
I was fortunate to find this video on-line this morning.