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Archive for November 14th, 2012

I’m thankful for everyone that identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

I didn’t even know that someone could love anyone of the same gender until I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school. It made me curious, but I never felt uncomfortable. I was in theatre, so I became friends with someone gay pretty quickly. His name was Chris, and he was a phenomenal actor! Never once did I consider him less of a human being and someone to avoid. He had a wonderful and welcoming heart. He was a senior, so I was excited he even acknowledged me and said hello!

8 years ago, I can’t even count the number of my LGBT friends. Some of my old high school friends came out, and I’m so proud that they had the courage to do so, despite all of the pain and hurt they may have encountered. I went to Webster University, and there’s where I met the majority of my LGBT friends today. My junior year, I lived with a transgender male, transgender woman, and gay man. I was the only straight person! But I was okay with that. They are just as awesome no matter who they choose to love. I’ve made many online friends that identify as LGBT too. Some of my best friends are.

I’m so grateful for their friendship and their diverse views in life. Without them, I would lose a different perspective about love. But really, they are not very different from straight people. The biggest difference between them and me is discrimination.
It makes me so sad that I want to cry sometimes. I can’t believe that legislation and laws are being made (and will hopefully continue to be overthrown) to restrict them from being entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals. This blatant discrimination is wrong. African Americans have endured it. Middle Easterns in America have endured it. Women have endured it. Anyone who declares themselves different has endured it. It’s not fair or right.
Thank you, each and every single one of my LGBT friends. Thank you for maintaining an attitude of love for those that are trying to persecute you. I’m sorry for all you have and will continue to encounter. I love you for being you, a beautiful person that God intentionally created. Don’t listen to the hate. Listen to the love that people are giving to you. Hopefully years in the future we can look at this struggle for equality as a challenge we all overcame. Love who you choose to love. No one will be able to take away whoever you want to love.
I love you.
❤ Me

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When I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, I took a course called Vienna and it’s Music Live. It was wonderful! Part of the requirements were to attend at least 8 performances and write a review as well as our thoughts about it. The majority of the performances I went to were at the Staatsoper (State Opera House). For 3-4 Euros, I could see a performance in standing areas. That is a phenomenal opportunity! Seats for the performances could be anywhere around 50+ Euros, so you understand why I saw so many shows even though my feet would be sore afterward!

Here is my little review of the first live opera I saw called La Sonnambula by Bellini:

April 1, 2011

La Sonnambula – Bellini

            La Sonnambula by Vincenzo Bellini is the endearing tale of a young woman with a secret unconscious habit of sleepwalking that gets her into serious trouble with the town. The light-hearted and fairly shallow plot fits perfectly with the bel canto singing style which embodies the music of this opera. In fact, I think Bellini focused on making the music outshine the actual plot of the story.

The opening overture is light and playful, setting the mood with its lack of depth. As the curtain opened, I exclaimed at the breathtaking staging that the Wiener Staatsoper chose. It really made me feel as if I was staying at a fancy hotel in Switzerland with the grand table and place settings and giant windows. The rousing Viva chorus had my spirits lifted. I wasn’t expecting Amina to be a maid of the hotel, though. She did have quite a beautiful voice, but I preferred Natalie Dessay’s vocal abilities and portrayal of the role personally. There were times when she was very forward in her sound production, and it almost sounded strained. Lisa, the hotel manager, had a good voice, but I didn’t believe it to be strong enough. She seemed like she might have been more comfortable as a mezzo-soprano. Elvino had a decent voice for opera, but I’m not sure he was ready to be cast in a style where so much relies on the vocal abilities that bel canto demands. Count Rodolfo had the strongest voice and character presence of the main cast in my opinion. His costumes were a bit over-the-top, and he must have been sweltering in all of the (faux) fur he was garbed in.

I expected there to be a scenery change into a bedroom setting when the second scene began, but the original set-up remained. The Count’s attempted seduction of Lisa in the empty dining hall didn’t seem as believable. Amina sleepwalked from the outside of the hotel into the main dining hall which also confused me. Where did she originally come from? The Count settled her down onto the floor and covered her with his massive cloak, which was the only indication that he could have been accused of being involved with her.  Morning arrives, and the townspeople catch her on the dining hall floor, and an uproar of accusations arises.  Elvino’s renouncing of his fiancé was a little too dramatic, accompanied by the sudden blowing in of a blizzard into the middle of the room from an open window.

In the beginning of the second act, the pile of snow was still in the middle of the floor along with a broken piano, and the hotel looked nearly deserted and out of business. This was another confusing aspect that I wish I knew the director’s motivation behind this. I did find the duet between Amina and Elvino to be very endearing as she pleads and he turns her away. In the next scene, Lisa redeemed herself with an aria, believing herself to soon be married to Elvino instead. This is not to be, unfortunately, because they find one of her stockings at the scene of the “crime” with the Count. Amina sleepwalked in through the window once more and down the snow pile, which was again strange and a bit dangerous because there were many obstacles in her way that she could have tripped over. It would have been cool to see her sleepwalk out into the audience as was shown in the production we saw in class. The finale was fairly celebratory, but I thought it to be a bit sparse. It would have been great to see dancing everywhere in a wedding celebration, but mainly it was Amina dancing on top of the table in a gaudy red dress. This was probably to put emphasis on the voice of the singers, but it seemed a little lackluster to me.

All in all, I enjoyed this opera as a light-hearted pursuit, but I didn’t experience anything monumental leaving it and was bored at some points. I may want to see it again in another venue with different voices before I pass a judgment on it.

 

 

❤ Me

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