Friday, May 15, 2015

The Eclectic Reader: THE NIGHT VISITOR AND OTHER STORIES

The Eclectic Reader: THE NIGHT VISITOR AND OTHER STORIES: I greatly enjoyed this collection of short stories by the mysterious B. Traven. All of the stories in this collection are set in M...

The Dismantling of Summorum Pontificum

From 1 Peter 5

Catholic Procession in Italy Bullied and Threatened By Muslim Youth

From Brietbart

The Believer In the Public Square | RedState

The Believer In the Public Square | RedState

Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation: Alternative History: If Thomas Cranmer Had Survive...

Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation: Alternative History: If Thomas Cranmer Had Survive...: Diarmaid MacCulloch speculated on what might have happened if Thomas Cranmer hadn't been executed during the reign of Mary I (because ...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

“The Avengers” and Friedrich Nietzsche

“The Avengers” and Friedrich Nietzsche

Dutch Court Rules Dementia Patient *Must* be Euthanized

Dutch Court Rules Dementia Patient *Must* be Euthanized

If you read nothing else, read Sherry Weddell on the new Pew Poll about the decline in Catholic numbers

If you read nothing else, read Sherry Weddell on the new Pew Poll about the decline in Catholic numbers

Abbey Roads: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Abbey Roads: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima: Today is also the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917, the date coincided with the fea...

All Those Nones and the Parishes That Made Them So

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Inspired by Pope Francis, Raul Castro Says He May Return to Church

Inspired by Pope Francis, Raul Castro Says He May Return to Church

Judge Orders Euthanasia for Dementia Patient, Despite Doctors Wishes

Judge Orders Euthanasia for Dementia Patient, Despite Doctors Wishes

In Chilling Lawsuit, Pregnant Satanist Sues Over Abortion Restrictions

In Chilling Lawsuit, Pregnant Satanist Sues Over Abortion Restrictions

Priceless: Jesuit College Students Demand Cardinal Dolan be Disinvited as Commencement Speaker

Priceless: Jesuit College Students Demand Cardinal Dolan be Disinvited as Commencement Speaker

The Most Hateful TV Show Ever

The Most Hateful TV Show Ever

BREAKING: Holy See formally recognizes Palestine

BREAKING: Holy See formally recognizes Palestine

Anglican Church Has 10 Minute Sunday Service

Finally: Austria Unveils ‘Gay and Straight’ Traffic Lights

Finally: Austria Unveils ‘Gay and Straight’ Traffic Lights

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Eclectic Reader: THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD

The Eclectic Reader: THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD: Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937, is Zora Neal Hurston's masterpiece.  The novel is about the life of Janie Crawfo...

Friday, May 8, 2015

15 Secrets to Transforming Your Prayer Life

Anglicans Ablaze: Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Orientation G...

Anglicans Ablaze: Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Orientation G...: In the culture , in the courts, even in casual conversation, it is increasingly obvious that we have lost sight of over 200 years of so...

Obama is making good on his promise to raise your utility bill | RedState

Obama is making good on his promise to raise your utility bill | RedState

Archbishop of Canterbury: Let's Stop Pretending All Religions Are the Same

The Arrogance of Liberalism

County Prosecutor Attacks Priest

But the News Will Remain the Same | RedState

But the News Will Remain the Same | RedState

Husband, father, deacon—and soon, a priest

Husband, father, deacon—and soon, a priest

Pope: the Church is about unity, not forming lobbies to win

Pope: the Church is about unity, not forming lobbies to win

Have Gun, Will Travel: Operation Jade Helm : Chill

Have Gun, Will Travel: Operation Jade Helm : Chill: From It Ain't Hell But You Can See It From Here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our Pope and His Big Mouth

This is totally hilarious.  It was produced by a bunch of evangelical Lutherans who probably think that all Catholics are going to hell but it's still really funny - the bad thing is how true it is!  I like Pope Francis but he does need to watch his mouth!

POTUS Candidates Reveal Two Catholic Churches

POTUS Candidates Reveal Two Catholic Churches

We Are All to Blame for the Marriage Meltdown

We Are All to Blame for the Marriage Meltdown

The Solti Ring: Das Rheingold


I'm slowly working my way through the legendary studio recording of The Ring of the Nibelung recorded in Vienna between 1958 and 1964 with Sir Georg Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.


After listening to Das Rheingold,  I think that the reputation of this recording is well deserved.  This was an ambitious feat of audio engineering when it was done in the mid twentieth century.  At the time it was released there was no complete version of the entire Ring cycle readily available to the record buying public.  The recording took advantage of advances in stereo and recording technology and the long-playing album or "LP."


The producers wished to have the total experience of Wagner's music dramas captured on disc.  Using the idea of the "theater of the mind" the recording features sound effects like thunder, sword clashes, hammers striking anvils and the like, to convey to the listener what is going on in the story.


Known for his aggressive conducting and vibrant tempos, Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997) was one of the great Wagner conductors of all time.   The producers also went to great lengths to bring in the best singing talent available.  

Gustav Neidlinger (1910-1991)

The first opera of the cycle, Das Rheingold, was recorded between September 24th and October 8, 1958.  It starred George London as Wotan,  Eberhard Wachter as Donner, Waldemar Kmentt as Froh, Set Svanholm as Loge, Gustav Neidlinger as Alberich, Paul Kuen as Mime, Walter Kreppal as Fasolt, Kurt Bohme as Fafner, Kirsten Flagstad as Fricka, Claire Watson as Freia, Jean Madeira as Erda, Oda Balsborg as Woglinde, Hetty Plumacher as Wellgunde and Ira Malanuik as Flosshilde.

A youthful Kirsten Flagstad as Brunhilde

Gustav Neidlinger's (1910-1991) performance as Alberich in this recording is considered by some to be one of the best Alberich's of all time.  This recording also features one of the final performances of the legendary Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962).  Flagstad was considered by many to be the greatest dramatic soprano of all time.  Writing in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Desmond Shawe-Taylor said, "No one within living memory surpassed her in sheer beauty and consistency of line and tone."  Her performances at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s caused a sensation.  While performing at the Met Flagstad did the whole prima donna thing and had an explosive feud with her co-star, tenor Lauritz Melchoir.  A Norwegian, Flagstad was heavily criticized for her decision to leave the United States and return to be with her husband in Nazi occupied Norway.  Flagstad suffered from a poor public opinion of her for many years during and after the war.   The aging Flagstad was recruited to sing the part of Fricka in the Decca studio recording, and, true to form, her pitch perfect voice resounds in this recording.

Flagstad about the time of the Solti studio recording.

I like my Wagner to be played loud and fast like the heavy metal version of classical music and Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic deliver.  The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music says this:  "The immediacy and pacing are thrilling, while the sound-effects of the final scenes, including Donner's hammer blow and the rainbow bridge, have never been matched since.  Solti gives a magnificent reading of the score, crisp, dramatic and direct.  Vocally, the set is held together by the unforgettable singing of Neidlinger as Alberich.  He vocalizes with wonderful precision and makes the character of the dwarf develop from the comic creature of the opening scene to the demented monster of the last.  Flagstad learned the part of Fricka especially for this recording, and her performance makes one regret that she never took the role on the stage.  George London is sometimes a little rough, but this is a dramatic portrayal of the young Wotan.  Svanholm could be more characterful as Loge, but again it is a relief to hear the part really sung.  An outstanding achievement.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Otello (Metropolitan Opera 1995)


1995 Production of the Metropolitan Opera Conducted By James Levine.  Starring Pacido Domingo, as Otello, Renee Fleming as Desdemona, and James Morris as Iago.

Next to Wagner, Verdi is acknowledged as the greatest operatic composer of the 19th century.  This 1995 production from the Met is almost perfect.  It's well sung, well acted and the music is well played.  James Levine proves himself, once again, to be one of the greatest conductors of all time.

Placedo Domingo was 54 in 1995, but as far as I can tell, was still in perfect form.  Renee Fleming was approximately age 36, and it's noticeable that she's a little old to be playing a young girl in her late teens or early 20s.  Morris' Iago is sufficiently sinister without being over the top.  This was a traditional staging, which I like.  All in all, I thought that this production was almost perfect and we are lucky to have it captured on video.

Renee  Fleming as Desdemona  and Placido Domingo as  Otello
  

Renee Fleming

Placedo Domingo

James Morris

James Levine

A Model Papal Mass At St. Peters

Hillary Clinton: Religious Beliefs Against Abortion Must Be Changed

What Jews and Christians Can Do Together

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Russia Bans Modernist Production of Tannhauser

Venus & Tannhauser

The Russian Culture Minister has sacked a Siberian opera director for his "modernist" production of Wagner's opera Tannhauser.  Apparently, this guy rewrote Wagner and put Christ himself into the decadent Venusburg!  This guy should be arrested, not just for blasphemy against the Orthodox Church but for Crimes Against Humanity for this awful Euro-Trash staging of Wagner!  Full story from the New York Times.


Popular Evangelical Goes Mainline

Popular Evangelical blogger Rachel Held Evans has left her fundamentalist roots for the Episcopal Church.  From Christianity Today.