Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thank you, Herren Bach and Quasthoff

I updated my post about the visit to Montreal, to include the entire repertoire of the last night of the vocal competition.

And, in memory of that, have been listening to the sublime Thomas Quasthoff singing from The St. Matthew Passion. I'm sorry that such a brilliant singer has had to retire. He has battled ill health since birth, but has handled his challenges with great grace. Born only five years before me, his mother was prescribed Thalidomide. My mother told me recently that her doctor prescribed it to her while pregnant with me, but instinct told her to take nothing when she was expecting me, not even an aspirin. How grateful am I?


Joseph of Arimathea has claimed Jesus's body and prepares to place it in the tomb.

Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,
Ich will Jesum selbst begraben.
Denn er soll nunmehr in mir
Für und für
Seine süße Ruhe haben.
Welt, geh aus, laß Jesum ein!

Make thyself, my heart, now pure,
I myself would Jesus bury.
For he shall henceforth in me
More and more
Find in sweet repose his dwelling.
World, depart, let Jesus in!

Friday, June 29, 2012

June Trip: Flight Home

It was great to see the St. Lawrence River, the farmland, Lake Ontario, a tiny sailboat, and finally little Billy Bishop airport (not out great big, international Pearson Airport) on the lakeshore, a short drive from my home.


Conversation just as we were taking off:

M: I can't see the propellers anymore, what's happened to them?!

Me: Well, they're moving very fast, that's why you can't see them.


Me: Are you laughing at me?


They were moving fast, but my camera caught them. Clever camera.

Thank you for flying Air Ridiculous (not Porter, which is an excellent airline... I'm referencing my blog, heh heh). You may now unbuckle your seatbelts. Use caution when exiting this blog. Come back soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bruce la Chauve-Souris

 Bruce the Bat had a good time in Montreal. He always has a good time. He even met a giant bagel...


 ... and enjoyed his second flight, with the help and guidance of his good friend, M.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June Trip: Montreal

The eating, she ees so easy in Montreal... It was student protest time (how French), Grand Prix weekend, and street festivals abounded.

M and I met up at the station and headed out to Le Chien Fumant (the smoking dog). This was an M and D recommendation - thanks guys! Great calamari, but all ridiculously huge portions. We took doggie bags home, er I mean, sacs de chiens (do I?)

Ah, L'Express Bistro... home of the single truffle (thank you!), the most exquisite calf liver, the hottest waiter (rrrrrrowwrrrrr...)


On the Friday night we attended the vocal gala of the Montreal International Music Competition at the new symphony hall (gorgeous). The Montreal Symphony kicked things off with the Meistersinger overture. My weakness for deep male voices was sharpened by performances from Philippe Sly (who cleaned up the awards) and the Americans John Brancy and Sidney Outlaw (what a name!). The Swiss soprano Olga Kindler gave me chills with her aria from The Consul. What an actress. Sir Thomas Allen was on the jury among other luminaries, including Joseph Rouleau, who was in the very first opera my dad ever saw, the performance that turned him into an opera lover, well before I was born. Rouleau pops up everywhere. I`ve seen him at Covent Garden and at Opera Hamilton. What a force of nature.

Here's the gorgeous repertoire (no idea why this event wasn't sold out, but suspect it was the whole Grand Prix/protest thing).

Overture, Die Meistersinger (Wagner)
"Postoite na odno mgnovenye!" Pique Dame (Tchaikovsky) - John Brancy
"Pleurez mes yeux", El Cid (Massenet) - Olga Kindler
"Mache dich, meine Herze, rein", St. Matthew Passion (Bach) - Philippe Sly
Sempre libera", La Traviata (Verdi) - Emily Duncan-Brown, Yuri Gorodetski
"Daybreak" (Estacio) - Philippe Sly
Flower Duet, Lakmé (Delibes) - Andréanne Paquin and Olga Kindler
Pearl Fishers Duet, Lakmé (Delibes) - Won Whi Choi, Sidney Outlaw
"Largo al factotum", The Barber of Seville (Rossini) - John Brancy
"To this we've come", The Consul (Menotti) - Olga Kindler
"Madamina", Don Giovanni (Mozart) - Philippe Sly

Beforehand we ate at Place des Arts.... mussels for M, lobster sliders for me. Deelish.

Last time I was at Place des Arts, I saw a production of Turandot, then came out to find myself in the middle of the jazz festival and James Brown in concert. What a night.

This time we came out and the Lotus team party was going on. The car outside was stunning. The music was deafening. I mean it, I think I lost some hearing!

In between more shopping, I visited my favourite Olive et Gourmando, the only safe haven in the otherwise über-touristy old part of Montreal.

How touristy? This was the conversation in one of the adjoining stores.

Me: How much?

Shop-keeper: Er... $32. No, I mean $37. I mean $43!


Here are some more pictures from walking around Montreal...


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hipstamatic Adirondack

My dad makes a good point. We've come so far with digital and photographic technology... now there's an app to take photographs that look like they were taken in the 1940s. He asks, "Why?"

Because they're so cuuuuuute!

I took these on the Adirondack train from New York's Penn Station to Montreal a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June Trip: The Adirondack

The Adirondack is the train from Penn Station in NYC to downtown Montreal. Ever since reading about it on this excellent blog, I knew I had to try it. And I knew it would take 11 hours, so figured it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime, in that I wouldn't want to do it again. I was wrong. It felt more like five hours, and I'll certainly do it again.

And once again, my company was excellent. You meet the best people travelling alone by train. This time it was a phD student on his way to celebrate the end of the school year by blowing off some steam at the Montreal Grand Prix.

After the frenzied wonderfulness of New York City, I had 11 hours of water (Hudson River, Lake Champlain), trees, clouds, wetlands and orchards... heaven.