Music/Culture: OPERA in the PARK

Opera unites music, poetry, drama, and spectacle in the most elaborate of all art forms.

So it was an absolute pleasure to finally attend “Opera in the Park“, the Palm Springs premier cultural event in April .  This is the first time I’ve stayed here this long.  Usually I’m gone by the end of March because it gets too hot here, but this time I decided to stay a little longer. The event takes place at Sunrise Park which is a very short drive from where I live (part-time of course).

I originally had a spot reserved under the big white tent but decided to sit on the grass just outside it in a shady area with my lawn chair and the lunch I packed because I wasn’t sure they’d have food.  But they did have food and drinks.  And souvenirs. Most people were sitting outside the tent. It was lovely.

This live concert with arias from operas by Bizet, Delibes, Donizetti, Gounod, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi draws thousands of people from all over Southern California every April in a celebration of great music with a professional orchestra conducted by Valery Ryvkin. In addition, a special tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial featured music from West Side Story and Candide.  It also marked the 20th Anniversary of Opera in the Park.  Oh, did I mention that it’s free? 

The Palm Springs Opera Guild Orchestra performed from 1-4 pm with famous operas including  Carmen, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, Faust and more.

There were food vendors from well known establishments offering delicious sandwiches, salads, platters, wine, beer, and cocktails.  You could even pre-order online from Trio restaurant.

Presenting Sponsors: The Augustine Foundation and

*Newman’s Own Foundation

Using the power of philanthropy to transform lives*Newman’s Own Foundation is all about supporting people doing great things.  People whos stories inspire us.

This month there’s also Coachella, a more famous and  enormously profitable music festival with a great long lineup.  A lot of musicians whom I’m familiar with and many I’m not.  But it was actually Opera in the Park that I really wanted to go to.  Coachella maybe another time.

Have you been to either?

Opera in the Park: Music Director: Mona Lands.  Artistic Director: Andrew Eisenmann.

Style: Dolce & Gabbana find inspiration in Opera

An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I’ve left the opera house. – Maria Callas

For the love of Fashion (and for those who love Opera) here is peek from the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Spring 2017 Show in Milan


Held at the backstage industrial area of the Teatro alla Scala di Milano, which is one of the Italian fashion capital’s most suggestive and evocative places, the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda spring 2017 couture show was an all-round fashion event, as it captivated the senses with both fashion and theatrical motifs. “This place is very magical,” Domenico Dolce explained. “We were fascinated when we came here a year ago. We both go to the opera–we’re Italian, drama is in our blood!”opera2

The theatrical vibes were captured and then brought to life by the designers not only through the structured figures and imposing silhouettes of the staples, but also after a well-thought, all-embracing journey into the characters, stories and notes of some of the opera’s most remarkable and trailblazing pieces, the costumes of which served as the main source of inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda revolution. Motifs from works such as The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, La Traviata, La Bohéme, Lucia di Lammermoor, played in our heads as soon as the first pieces were presented onstage, charming us with timeless aesthetics that exude haute couture vibes indeed.opera3

For these reasons, the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda spring 2017 show looked equally familiar yet new, with standard Dolce & Gabbana patterns, such as intricate lace embroideries and opulent jewelry designs going hand in hand with more street wear-inspired attire options, like oversized sweatshirts and animal printed coats.

My notes: I’ve visited the Teatro alla Scala di Milano years ago.  I think at the best of times Dolce & Gabbana ready-to-wear (and couture pieces) are a bit theatrical mixed with romanticism but not necessarily practicality.  And that’s exactly what we need at times like this.  Take what you will from this.  Sometimes it’s okay to be over the top!

Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive. – Moliere

Photos: courtesy of Vogue

Story: Virginia Cafara for Fashionisers



Vancouver OPERA presents Madama Butterfly

Don’t miss Vancouver Opera’s gorgeous production of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY – a beautiful story of honour, love, heartbreak and sacrifice.    

          As they say; Fall in love at the OPERA.

Middle: Mihoko Kinishita as Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). Photo: Tim Matheson
Middle: Mihoko Kinishita as Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly).  Photo: Tim Matheson

I went to the opening last night and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous set, incredible voices and achingly beautiful music brought to life by two of the world’s most in demand sopranos.  There were many women fittingly dressed up in stunning Kimonos.

Mihoko Kinoshita as Cio-Cio-San (butterfly), Gregory Dahl as Sharpless, Richard Trotell as Pinkerton. Photo: Tim Matheson
Mihoko Kinoshita as Cio-Cio-San (butterfly), Gregory Dahl as Sharpless, Richard Trotell as Pinkerton.   Photo: Tim Matheson

About the Performers:

Sharing the role of Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly) for alternating performances will be Jee-Hye Han and Mihoko Kinoshita. Jee-Hye Han will be making her VO début. Mihoko Kinoshita was last seen in VO’s 2010 production of Madama Butterfly. Tenors Adam Luther and Richard Troxell will sing opposite them, sharing the role of Pinkerton.

Madama Butterfly is onstage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, corner of Georgia and Hamilton Streets,Vancouver, B.C. for only 6 performances, March 5 – 13, 2016.

Good seats still remain but are selling quickly for all performances, with the best availability at the Friday, March 11 and Sunday March 13 performances.

Not a kimono but at least it was colourful.
Not a kimono but at least it was colourful.
The Vancouver Opera Orchestra conducted by Leslie Dala. Photo: Tim Matheson
The Vancouver Opera Orchestra conducted by Leslie Dala. Photo: Tim Matheson


Sunday, March 6 • 2:00pm matinée

Thursday, March 10 • 7:30pm

Friday, March 11 • 7:30pm

Saturday, March 12 • 7:30pm

Sunday, March 13 • 2:00pm matinée

Madama Butterfly will be sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Approximate running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Tickets are available exclusively through the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre: 604-683-0222 or Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. Special pricing for groups of at least 10, and for families, is available by phone.

Follow Vancouver Opera on Twitter and Facebook for exclusive offers such as VO’s Get O.U.T (Opera Under 35) program, with $35 tickets for patrons aged under.








Art/Culture: OPERA – Madama BUTTERFLY

INSPIRATION is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” – Giacomo Puccini

My inspiration for the week: the Vancouver Opera‘s opening night performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; a beautiful story of love, honour, heartbreak and sacrifice. butterfly3

 This famous opera which was composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1904 (and remained his personal favourite throughout the remainder of his life) is based on a short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long.  In brief it’s about a pleasure seeking American naval officer based in Nagasaki, Japan who leases a house and weds a young geisha.  He is only briefly enchanted with her (his “Butterfly” – oh you know what some men are like; they profess their love only to lose interest when they want to move on to the next) while she in turn, gives herself wholly to the marriage.  He abandons her and then returns to claim their child.  Butterfly is devastated and dishonoured and makes an ultimate sacrifice to honour her family.
butterfly5Having spent some time in Kyoto when I lived in Japan, I was fascinated by the beauty and elegance of the mysterious geisha. I followed them around but never quite knew where they were going.  I wanted to learn their secret but maybe it was best not knowing.  For me, at the time it was a different world and an escape from the norm.   They had a reserved, otherworldliness unlike other women which was refreshingly appealing.  They gave the illusion of  being faithful and trustworthy.  I loved reading Memoirs of a Geisha (surprisingly it was written by a man; Arthur Golden).

Why, in the Peking Opera, are women’s roles played by men?…Because only a man knows how a woman is supposed to act.” – David Henry Hwang (Tony-award winning creator of the beloved play M. Butterfly).

butterfly4Some TICKETS are still available at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  Only 6 performances from March 5 – 13, 2016.butterfly1

Purchase Tickets:

 I’m so looking forward to seeing this!