Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center

Orlando has a new multi-million dollar performing arts center, The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  The grand opening has featured several performances, one of which we drove down to Orlando last night to attend.

The Phillips Center currently has two theater venues, The Walt Disney Theater, seating around 2,700 people, and a much more intimate venue seating around 300 people.  An additional venue designed more for performances of classical music is on the drawing boards, but, as I understand it, not yet underway.

The Dr. Phillips Center is immediately south of downtown Orlando, and is easy to access.  Unfortunately, for us, we decided to take the Turnpike to Orlando, and the East-West Expressway to a point near the theater.  When we left the toll road, we had to make our way through one of the worst areas in the city (not a fun experience after dark).  Because we arrived an hour before the event, we found a parking space ($10) in an off-street lot just across the street from the theater.

The building is modernistic in design, and quite striking.

The lobby area is vast, covering several levels, and somewhat cold in terms of decor.  The walls are in shades of light blue, and the ceilings are painted girders, support beams, and pips.  There was a long curving bar area serving sandwiches and drinks.  I ordered a glass (cup) of Pinot Noir, and found the price ($9) kind of high.

The Walt Disney Theater is decorated in earth tones and, in contrast to the lobby area, is a very warm room.  The seats are very comfortable, and large enough that you don't feel cramped--either side by side, or from front to back.  Beverages are permitted in the theater, and a convenient cup holder is attached to the joints in back of the seats.

Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, is a perennial favorite.   Carmina Burana is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces are mostly bawdy, irreverent, and satirical. They were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French or Proven├žal. Some are macaronic, a mixture of Latin and German or French vernacular.

Twenty-four poems from Carmina Burana were set to music by Carl Orff in 1936. Orff's composition quickly became popular and a staple piece of the classical music repertoire. The opening and closing movement, "O Fortuna", has been used in numerous films.

Participating in the performance were the Orlando Ballet Theater; The Orchestra and Chorus of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, which organization will be commemorating its 80th anniversary next year at their annual Bach Festival.  The chorus was augmented by the Rollins College Choir.

The above photo appeared in the Orlando Sentinel.

The ballet was stunningly choreographed, and the company was superbly trained, and totally in synch with each other.  I won't even go into the amazing male bodies on display!  Suffice it to say there wasn't a spare ounce of flesh on any one them.  It's hard to imagine the price these young dancers have to pay to keep their bodies so fit.

The music, while mostly excellent, suffered from the poor acoustics in the theater.  The Walt Disney Theater was clearly designed for miked/amplified Broadway type productions, and is ill-suited for classical music.  The reviewer in the Orlando paper said much the same thing, although not quite as strongly.

A production of Carmina Burana calls for three soloists, Baritone, Tenor, and Soprano.  The soloists were good, but because they were standing near and a bit behind the proscenium arch, a good portion of the sound they produced never made it into the theater.  The choir suffered slightly from the same problem, but because there were nearly 200 singers, their crisp singing still came through.

Because we were there very early, my partner and I sat in the lobby for quite a while, watching the passing parade of people, most of whom were fairly well dressed, some of whom were dressed to the nines, as the saying goes.

The Phillips Center is a beautiful building, but when it comes to performances of classical music and opera, the venerable Bob Carr Auditorium is a much better venue.

For your Dictionary

These should be in the dictionary.

    A person who has stopped growing at both ends

    And is now growing in the middle.



    A place where women curl up and dye.




    The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.



    A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.



    Mud with the juice squeezed out.



    Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.



    Cold Storage.



    Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.



    An insect that makes you like flies better.



    A grape with a sunburn.



    Something you tell to one person at a time.



    A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.



    The pain that drives you to extraction.



    One of the greatest Labor saving devices of today.



    An honest opinion openly expressed.



    And MY Personal Favourite!!



    Something other people have, similar to my character lines.



So true.

Is that a backpack?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Six months without!

My partner and I have now gone six months without television, and guess what?  Life goes on.
We watch DVDs, of which we have a good collection, and that's it.  News and weather are available on the Internet for free.

Every time I'm exposed to television in someone else's house, I can't help but notice that the programming seems to have sunk well below the level of the lowest common denominator.  And that's pretty darn low.

Weeks go by without a set being turned on in our house, although we sometimes have a 'movie night'.

Another person who attended government schools

Enjoying the great outdoors

Monday, November 17, 2014

A cure that is definitely NOT worse than the disease!

My maternal grandmother suffered from full-blown asthma, and that's not a fun thing to have.  I witnessed her having a full-scale attack when I was sixteen, and it scared the crap out of me.

Nobody in my generation inherited the asthma from her, but many of us do have hay fever/allergy problems to one degree or another.  When you've experiencing a total hay fever attack, your sinuses can produce more snot than you can say grace over.  And they can fill up your chest overnight.  After that comes bronchitis, and the racking often dry coughs it produces.

Being allergic to codeine, I can't take the strong cough syrups to stop the coughing and bronchial spasms, but that's okay.  Years ago, I discovered a much better remedy:  Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry. 

One sip of Harvey's warms those bronchial tubes immediately, and the spasms stop.  I kid you not.  Almost any liqueur, Drambuie, for example, will do the same thing, but I like Harvey's better.

So, here's to the best damn specific for bronchial coughs ever invented.

Good one

Muscles in motion

Thursday, November 13, 2014