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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 9:06:34 AM PST
H: I would have heard him in Princess Mononoke, of course.

Along with the increasing acceptance of historical performance practice over the last 50 or 60 years, countertenors have becomes increasingly visible in the musical world. Back in the 50s and 60s, the great Alfred Deller was pretty much the only game in town--and, to a degree, Peter Pears. Today, we actually have countertenors like David Daniels appearing at the Met. More to the point, the countertenor voice itself no longer seems quite so aberrant. Most Western countertenors do not present themselves as indeterminate in gender. It's merely a high tenor voice, often produced as head tones rather than chest tones.

A great countertenor is the closest thing we will ever hear to the great castrati of the operatic world of the 18th century.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 10:38:23 AM PST
Hikari says:

David English recommended this a while back and I have just had a look (thrice, actually). It's an animated "Misheard Lyrics from "Oh, Fortuna!"

Facetious, yes. But funny as hell. A visit to the restroom prior to viewing is recommended because otherwise you might have an accident from laughing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 10:57:46 AM PST
C:I do remember the original in black and white on TV,ahead of its time.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 11:28:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 11:30:44 AM PST
Cavaradossi says:

I am familiar with the names, and some of the voices, of the countertenors who appear on Western recordings and in videos, but I haven't come across Mera before your post. I take it that he was very good in your performance of Messiah. I've noted with interest that even in regional opera houses in the U.S. the countertenor voice is being accepted, especially in baroque, and earlier, opera. Of course, even before the baroque opera revival, Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream was specifically written for countertenor, and that opera is somewhat frequently revived. Since Monteverdi's, Vivaldi's, and Handel's operas have become so popular in recent decades seemingly everywhere, there is plenty of call for this once rarely heard voice.

I think it gives a special color in choruses when used in Historically Informed Practice performances, but I don't usually enjoy it singing the alto solos in Bach and Handel. I'd rather hear a mezzo, for instance, in Messiah. That makes me, I guess, not a complete convert to the HIP movement.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 11:57:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 11:58:52 AM PST
Cav and H: I've been a proponent of HIP pretty much ever since I started listening seriously to Baroque and Renaissance music. For choral music before 1800, for instance, I vastly prefer English cathedral and college choirs because of the lack of vibrato in the soprano and alto voices that comes naturally from having boy sopranos and altos. Somehow, Palestrina or Byrd sung with mature female voices is all wrong.

Another relatively simple item but one with profound implications is the use of Baroque vs. modern violins--particularly in the solo works. The modern instrument and tuning are shrill and harsh in comparison. This is one of the reasons for the large numbers of recordings by Andrew Manze on my CD shelf.

Handel varied the casting of the solo parts in Messiah so many times over many performances that it's impossible to establish the definitive version. Do we default to the premiere? Later versions of some numbers--I always think of the gigue version of "Rejoice greatly"--can be even more agreeable. As to mezzo vs. countertenor--depends on the singer, in my view.

A matter of definition: since the very earliest opera (La Dafne) goes back to 1560 or so, and the very notion of opera looks forward to the Baroque, I'm not sure that one can talk about pre-Baroque opera. Monteverdi, for instance, is far more of an early to high Baroque composer than anything else. One could put the early madrigals in the late Renaissance style, but by the time he gets to Orfeo, the Vespers, and the Eighth Book of Madrigals, we are firmly in a Baroque style. It's quite fair to see the Baroque style emerging in Florence and Venice in the late 16th century, even as Palestrina is perfecting a high Renaissance style in Rome.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 11:57:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 11:59:10 AM PST
Hikari says:
Yes, I remember him doing well. It was my first ever exposure to a countertenor, and the general appearance & sound of Mr. Mera were both so unique to us that it somewhat distracted from the content of his singing. I'd heard the alto parts many times before but never quite like that.

As I said, this was more than 20 years ago now and he was still only a teenager. Which blows the mind in itself. He seemed very self-possessed for one so young. We had no way of knowing at the time that he was only 19 or that he would become one of the world's leading countertenors. We were in the presence of future celebrity and did not know it. It may have been his debut, actually, but we were clueless gaijin . .what did we know?

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 2:39:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 2:48:19 PM PST
Hikari says:
@Mr. Smith--
I'm going through a pile of donations to see if there is anything we can use and what do I see but "THE ANNOTATED MOTHER GOOSE" selected, with introduction and notes by William S. Baring-Gould and Cecil Baring-Gould, copyright 1962. Looks to be a first edition. We aren't going to be able to use this, but it made me think of you. I had no idea the Mssrs. Baring-Gould were into children's rhymes in addition to their Sherlock scholarship. They certainly got around.

A similar item is commanding $2.96 on Alibris, so alas, it's not a diamond in the rough, particularly not with a gift inscription on the title page.

This is an exhaustive and scholarly-looking collection. But speaking as a librarian, I find it has zero visual appeal to kids or frankly to adults, either. One may go blind attempting to read it in its entirety without a magnifying glass.

My personal favorite is 'The Real Mother Goose' with the black-and-white checkerboard cover and the picture of a crone-ish looking woman on the front. Her attire and features look very . . .witchy. That is the book from my childhood, the one I got read to out of every night.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 3:45:13 PM PST
C McGhee says:
Warren B in C B- Rigg

Yes she was wonderful. As for the song it's just the lead one I hate. I think the rest of the music from that time is great. I did think the asides would of been better done as dialogue to another character but then asides tend to bug me in general.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 3:46:38 PM PST
C McGhee says:
Warren C in B C- Rum Diary

Haven't seen it yet. I'm on a revisit to French silent serials currently.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 3:47:50 PM PST
C McGhee says:
Concerning the short film on TCM- it is titled "What Price Jazz" (1934), from MGM. Thanks goes to Steelers fan who posts here occasionally. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 4:30:49 PM PST
H: The "annotated" series, which includes, among others, The Annotated Alice and The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, are gems. Their charm lies in explaining all the things that you might never understand. Certainly more for adults.

Certainly more for those of a scholarly or simply curious bent. But the sort of volume that would tell you that the origin of "Ring around the rosy" was the symptoms of the bubonic plague.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 4:52:06 PM PST
Hikari says:
I had heard that little tidbit. "A-tishoo, A-tishoo, we all fall down" is extremely gruesome when we take the origin into account.

Kudos to the medievals (?) for turning Death into a game. That was probably the only way of coping.

I'm setting aside that annotated Mother Goose for myself.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 10:03:46 PM PST
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Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 10:14:19 PM PST
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Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 10:48:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 10:49:42 PM PST
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Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 10:59:15 PM PST

Baby panda will be named next Tuesday 13th November !! I'm feeling quite excited. I wish I could be there in San Diego.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 11:33:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 11:39:21 PM PST
Does anyone know if the San Diego Zoo has been used in any films? I'm just going to google....

Edit!! From Wiki

"In popular culture

The shots of the private zoo at Xanadu in Orson Welles' 1941 film Citizen Kane were filmed at the San Diego Zoo.[34]
The San Diego Zoo was the filming location for the long-running documentary television series Zoorama.[35]
The San Diego Zoo, along with the St. Louis Zoo, were frequently mentioned in the Yogi Bear series of media as possible destinations Ranger Smith may ship Yogi to if he caused too much trouble at Jellystone Park. In the 1964 film Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, Yogi was actually shipped to the San Diego Zoo, and his escape from being shipped off forms the plot of the film.
In addition to its normal publicity efforts, and web page, the zoo also produced a short TV program for a number of years with Joan Embery. Joan Embery brought various animals to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson between 1971 and 1987, and more recently (between 1993 and 2008) The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The zoo loaned the animals.[36]
The zoo was featured prominently in the 2004 movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, though filming was done at the old Los Angeles Zoo, not at the San Diego Zoo.[37]
In the DreamWorks feature film Madagascar, the animals from Central Park Zoo in New York City think they are in the San Diego Zoo when they land in Madagascar: "White, sandy beaches; cleverly simulated natural environment; wide-open enclosures. I'm telling you, this could be the San Diego Zoo. Complete with fake rocks."[38] In the sequel Madagascar 2, they also guess that they crash-landed in San Diego when they see a reservation in Africa with a beautiful lake and lots of animals.[39]
The Zoo is featured in the 1965 film Scavenger Hunt, in which each of the five teams in a scavenger hunt steals an ostrich from the Zoo. (Actual ostriches were not used.)[40]
The Beach Boys' 1966 album Pet Sounds has a cover and various album photography from the San Diego Zoo.[41]
The 6ths first album Wasps' Nests includes a song called "San Diego Zoo",[42] which features comprehensive directions on how to get to the zoo.
The zoo is talked about, though not actually shown, in the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[43]
The first YouTube video, Me at the zoo was shot in San Diego Zoo and was uploaded to it on, April 23, 2005, by the co-creator, Jawed Karim. It can still be viewed on YouTube.[44][45]
A regular visitor was acclaimed director and animator Chuck Jones, who often drew the animals at this zoo.
On the episode "Mothers and Daughters" of season 7 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the Kardashian family attends the San Diego Zoo with grandmother MJ. The visit highlights the "behind the scenes" and animal feeding tours that the zoo also provides for the public at a higher fee."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 12:01:06 AM PST
Kelly says:
Actually, until about 60 years ago, it was more tradition than law. Washington sort of set a precedent, leaving after 2 terms. The first to be elected more than twice was FDR, in 1940. No one else had even run for a third full term, I think. FDR was elected 4 times. They passed an amendment to outlaw this during his successor Truman's time, who was grandfathered, but chose not to run for three. Now you can't, and can't run for a second if you served more than half your predecessor. For example, if Obama died in office next year, Biden could only run once for re-election. If he died after 3 more years, Biden could run twice.

Think it's a thing against someone being around too long, seems too much like a king.

I expect we will elect a woman eventually. Clinton ran in the primaries last time, for example.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 12:15:35 AM PST
Thanks very much Kelly for the info.

"Think it's a thing against someone being around too long, seems too much like a king. "
Queen Elizabeth II doesn't rule Great Britain, she is a figurehead. Kings and Queens stopped ruling here a while ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 12:24:59 AM PST
C McGhee says:
Kelly- I expect we will elect a woman eventually.

I was going to say, "Are you sure we didn't?" but even I can't be that disrespectful.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 12:28:01 AM PST
Kelly says:
No, but our tradition started in the late 1700s, when kings and queens were quite real, and not just boroughs in NYC.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 12:47:59 AM PST
Got any boroughs called Princes and Princesses?

Posted on Nov 7, 2012, 1:18:28 AM PST
Kelly says:
there's a Prince STREET down in Little Italy... not a whole borough, though

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 1:28:06 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 7, 2012, 1:30:44 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012, 2:09:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012, 2:23:11 AM PST
C: You are not the only one who does not like asides in cinema, I would have been turned off by them if it were not Diana Rigg and her delivery
style in the Mrs. Bradley series.
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