What’s in a name? #BlogIntroChallenge 2+3

It’s terribly late again (past 1am) but i’ve decided i have to get a move on otherwise more things will happen in daily life and i won’t manage to stay awakeย to write anytime soon.

#2 The name

Well, the blog name was relatively easy, opera has always held a special magic for me and that is what i wanted to write about at the beginning. However, finding a pseudonym to use on the internet was a significant challenge. My email address was so old it actually came with my real name and the limited online interaction i had previously was private and personal so no need to pick another name. But once i decided i was going to write about the performances i saw, the pseudonym became a necessity as i visited the opera house often enough for everyone to know my face and i didn’t really want them to take the next step and search their frequent visitors and identify the person with that face ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also quickly decided that my private activities were none of my employer’s business and back then i worked in a construction business so even less relevant than today. Choosing something operatic may sound simple but it is far from it! What shall it be? An operatic character, a composer, a singer? The majority of opera lovers active on the net seem to be men, even if in the opera houses the proportion male/female is more balanced. And people’s pseudonyms have more to do with their individual preferences in opera than gender ๐Ÿ™‚ Most Desdemonas and Callas out there are likely to be some nice respectable old gentlemen ๐Ÿ˜€

I couldn’t go down that path, however much i loved Franco Corelli or Verdi ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had to have a female name and i had to have some connection, even if not at all obvious and only known to me, but i had to identify on some level with the name. I am afraid i am also vain enough to want something slightly less known and obvious ๐Ÿ˜‰ So i had to pick a lesser known soprano, a voice type i like the least!

And here is where a diva from the past came calling ๐Ÿ™‚ Meet Hariclea Darclee, THE original Floria Tosca.

She was a famous diva of her time and premiered many big operatic roles, not least Puccini’s Tosca. She was also Puccini’s lover in case you doubted it ๐Ÿ˜‰ And she had quite a few other affairs in her time, she was quite an interesting lady. I’ve probably got very little in common with her as a person other than the love of operatic music. Puccini isn’t even my favourite composer! But i do admire her, for her career, bold role choices, adventurous life in a time which wasn’t easy on women. I’ve been associated with her by pseudonym for many years now and i’ve grown really fond of the old gal ๐Ÿ˜‰ I suspect i’d turn around if anyone should call her name on the street although that is very unlikely as it is very old fashioned and no longer in use.

The funny thing is – most operatic internet connections whom i have later met in real life are usually surprised a) i am a woman b) i am younger (relatively ;-)) c) i know my audio tech and am very much into the technology of sound. But on the upscale i’ve gotten to know some wonderful opera fans who have a wealth of live events experience and have had the opportunity to hear singers i only know from records and books! I love listening to stories from many years ago and learn through people’s memories of how life on stage used to be 50-60-70 years ago or more.ย One of my wishes for my old age is to be able to ย tell my stories of the singers and actors of my time to the next generation ๐Ÿ™‚

#3 The blogging process

The process? Hardly that… there is only one way to put it really: it is impulse driven. I started out literally pouring from mind to keyboard as it came, as i felt it. 90% of the posts i have ever written i almost HAD to write. The subject occupied my mind to a degree that i couldn’t put it away to concentrate on work and i just kept kneading it in my mind and it didn’t go away until it was all put on ‘virtual’ paper. I’ve done some hunter/gatherer posts where i collected things in summary posts but the individual bits are still more or less outpourings.

I never take notes and it shows ๐Ÿ˜‰ I never plan how or what to write. I know how to ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do a lot of writing for work which has to be very factual, organised, structured, concise and clear. And i dislike writing reports and recaps of work profoundly; in fact, if you were to ask me which part of my job i abhor, it is the writing! Before i started this a few years back i would have never imaged i would feel like even more writing!

But i was in fact doing exactly that, i used to write mile long emails in pretty much similar ways i write blogs. This is how i started writing the blogs, because i lacked the time and energy to repeat the same account several times for several friends in different languages. It was not only the re-translating of the same feelings and impressions, but also the fact that once it was out and exorcised (it felt like that very often) the buzz of it was gone and it became a chore to repeat it rather than an enjoyment. So i said: sorry guys, it’s going to be in English and i’ll use the blog format so all of you can read it at once. I never thought anyone else besides the few friends would ever take interest! LOL

I still write in the exact same way, even if the subjects are more varied. Unfortunately only a small number of posts in my head make it to the blog. The impulse is there often enough and i sit there bouncing stuff in my head at 2am but i just can’t be awake until 4am and write them up and then go to work as i used to. I don’t know when other people write, i only have the night time available, except for very few times on weekends so i mostly trade it off against sleep.

And many times it is so much more interesting to read what other people have written and comment and after a 300 + words comment the time for more here is gone. I do wonder sometimes if where i comment the host doesn’t feel like i should go away and pour it out somewhere else? i wish i was shorter, more concentrated…. I do over-explain more than is necessary i feel, but to be honest it is satisfying to bounce ideas back and forth. I don’t always start replying with a very clear idea in mind and i may put arguments both ways forward. I write as i would talk?? It makes me very uncomfortable to think that i do so because i like to hear myself think or talk (or both?). The only mitigating factor is i guess that nobody has to read any blog and people can close the tab anytime they like ๐Ÿ™‚ I sure hope they do before it gets annoying or too boring.

So there it is, the subject which this time took precedence…. i wanted to write about Scotland and ponder some more about why it means so much to me, what changes the brief holiday seems to have brought, about the shows i’ve seen last week (Traviata, Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s Poliuto and Everyman at the National withย Chiwetel Ejiofor – all worth a few words as it ย has been a really good week culturally, which hadn’t been the case in recent months)ย and i am still bouncing round my head a post about those love poems (it’s been in my head since February and doesn’t really seem to want to go away). But i decided i really wanted to be part of this project, mainly because i have enjoyed reading everyone else’s thoughts so much. And for once i didn’t want to be too late with my input ๐Ÿ™‚

And because it is nearly 3am i am going to do my usual lazy bit and not edit tonight but leave it until tomorrow, sorry for the usual types of errors which by now must be grating on your eyes ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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12 thoughts on “What’s in a name? #BlogIntroChallenge 2+3

  1. I loved hearing about your online “handle” and the lady who gave you her name. She is beautiful! The card looks hand-tinted. Do you own it? One other thing I have been curious about–do you keep a collection of all the programs/tickets from the shows you have seen? Or just the favorites?
    I am entranced by stage stories too. The theatre seems different from movies or TV in that it has this oral tradition about the great performers and performances. Maybe because they are ephemeral, people want to tell those stories in order to keep their memory alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish i had a card, i think it is a graphically enhanced version of an old black and white picture, i just liked to it ๐Ÿ™‚ It is probably the most well known image of her.
      Oh well, programs/tickets ๐Ÿ™‚ The precious hoard, isn’t it? I stopped buying programs a while ago as i simply don’t have the space to keep everything. So i have a rule about only buying it for things i have never seen before, if the program is worth it (ie good texts, nice pics, etc). But i do keep more tickets, at least i intend to! I am horrible about actually archiving them properly, so a lot are stuck amongst the pages of programs and such. A few prized possessions are on my kitchen pin board. Which again was not a wise decision as some are now yellow and faded although only a few years old. But i can’t bring myself to take them down. I’ll admit to stroking my finger now and then across a few of them ๐Ÿ™‚ I might take a pic one of these days ๐Ÿ™‚ Very few of these are signed but i have a couple, funny enough none with key signatures but rather other artists than the main one in the show ๐Ÿ™‚
      So, because of space and sheer numbers i keep my favourites only. And i pile them on top of each other sometimes (poor Jonas Kaufmann has been somewhat buried under Richard or rather Proctor :-p).

      There are a few good biographies and books about singers and artist which are fun to read. But it is the personal view of the event that i think makes the stories special. I’ll never know how Callas or Corelli actually were on stage or off it, but i love hearing how other people saw and heard them and felt about them. Same with actors ๐Ÿ™‚ I like to know about the person behind the artist ( i prefer to hear of it from the safe distance of time i have to admit, things about people i see i wish i didn’t know, there is always the danger in too much curiosity of stumbling upon something you wish you’d rather not know, it has happened to me more than once).

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true, there can be TMI in some cases. And the theatre world is not all sweetness and light! You have reminded me that in the UK one has to purchase the program. Here they are almost always included with the ticket, but they tend not to be deluxe affairs. My most prized items are two copies of the plays themselves, which I had the actors sign afterwards (including CH). In one case, the play script was sold as the program. Now isn’t that an interesting idea? I loved it. I also wrote a letter to Conor McPherson and he wrote back, which was a huge thrill. I have not had as much luck with my other letters to authors ๐Ÿ™‚
        I have begun to save my tickets and programs after I became a confirmed theatergoer and realized that years from now, I might be able to look back at the careers of some of these folks at my regional theatre and realize that I saw them before they were stars. (Sadly I’m not very good at keeping them organized.) And I save the programs from our NYC and London shows. I have even bought a few vintage programs on Ebay from Mr. H.’s days in Glasgow, back in the 80s. They aren’t very expensive. I don’t buy signed things any more because I have several examples of his autograph, and I don’t want to contribute to the hounding for profit. Even so I am tempted once in a while. I gave in last year when I saw the play script of “The Seafarer” in pristine condition, and signed by the whole cast. That play was on Broadway before I became a fan, and I am still mourning the fact that I missed it.

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        • That sounds like a lovely collection!! I have to say i am only one for signatures given to me. They mean something special to me because i remember the moment and what it related to ๐Ÿ™‚ Or some dedicated to me are nice to if the person knows who they are writing to ๐Ÿ™‚ Most of them are incidentals as i have rarely cued for signatures per se. i usually would much rather talk to the person for 1 minute and say something or ask something and forget about the signature. I only have singers, the only actor i have anything from is Adrian Schiller as i got talking to him the one time i went to do stage door and he was really lovely and spoke wonderfully about how much he liked playing Hale in the Crucible. I never actually got a signature from the main man which i now regret, but i would have loved to have it on a poster, which i only bought later and i only went to the stage door 1x in 5 visits so there you go. I’ll hold on to hope he will do theatre in London again and i might get a chance. It would probably still be the Crucible poster i would like signed ๐Ÿ˜‰
          OH my nearly forgot, my most prized possession! Pretty valuable by now i guess: when i moved to London the first thing i saw on the ROH stage was a Don Giovanni performance. I was still not very fond of London at that time and missing Edinburgh and such and was going to opera to find comfort in something familiar and dear to me and sort of convince myself that it was worth living in London for that. The cast was fab and i loved all the singers! The ROH has very few posters, they have limited merchandise, especially of the paper kind, but this is a big A2 or so poster and i bought it for a ยฃ5 ๐Ÿ™‚ and went to get it signed and i was lucky to catch everyone in the castm, including the late and wonderful conductor, Charles Mackerras who was a wonderfully sweet man. I was the only one with th poster and the stage door was a madness that day but the singers had fun with it. It is this one:

          And he has always been one of my favourite singers, Simon Keenlyside, a baritone. A very very self-effacing man who was just about to turn 50 when he did this role in a very athletic production ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, it was the joke of the evening and they all picked bits of his body to sign on and the soprano only had his belly left and we were laughing and i said: come on, you know you want to! So i have her signature and a heart drown somewhere on his upper belly ๐Ÿ™‚
          My flat was completely bare at the time and i explained i wanted it to decorate my wall. It is the only thing i ever got my act together to have framed and i actually got UV protection glass so it wouldn’t fade in time, cost an arm and a leg but makes me smile to this day when i look at it ๐Ÿ™‚
          The DVD of the production is this, there is an image of him escalating the wall with just a rope ๐Ÿ™‚ I think he is the most athletic performer i have ever seen on an opera stage and an incredible actor!
          http://www.simonkeenlyside.info/index.php/recordings/cd-dvd-info-reviews/mozart-wolfgang-amadeus-don-giovanni-dvd/
          I loved the production, it was fun and challenging and very wicked indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ This was the last image of it: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2XQGh7lO9OU/STv8aVHwj6I/AAAAAAAACgc/4bQ2RjObSS8/s320/Simon+K+Nude.jpg
          The Don, gone to hell, still having fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Wow! That last photo is a stunner! And Simon has an amazing body. I looked at his personal site and his biography. It says he has canceled all his upcoming performances. I hope he’s not ill.
          Your poster is a real treasure, and you were right to spend the money on framing it.
          I do think you should try to get a personal autograph from RA next time he’s around. It’s worth it for the remembrance. We CH fans are lucky in that Himself is more accessible, relatively speaking. Last time, when I saw him in Dublin, I didn’t bother trying to get a photo, just focused on the conversation. I was proud of myself for doing that, if a bit wistful afterwards about the photo. But he did sign my play script.
          It is hard for me to imagine being sad about living in London, LOL! But maybe it makes sense if one is coming from Edinburgh ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • oh yes talking to him is much nicer i imagine ๐Ÿ™‚ it really is nicer than a photo although that is a nice palpable memory too ๐Ÿ™‚ I for one got dragged to that stage door so i went away very happy with his Bless you at the end ๐Ÿ™‚ So old fashioned and so nice ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m debating if to send it away to the agent and hope for the best that he might get the chance to sign it someday and they’ll mail it back, of course i’d send it prepaid and such, probably better chance… It is more for the memory of seeing him so close up otherwise i was luckily set on it being very distant in everything else. I never expected it to be like opera where you might get a chance to actually chat about things. I’d also not know exactly what to say to actors, thought it went fine with Adrian Schiller ๐Ÿ™‚ But some people are just easier to talk to normally ๐Ÿ˜‰
          Yes, Simon’s had a big vocal hick up last September, he probably sang through very bad cold or so and that can be very very bad for the voice. He’s all right though, a friend of mine saw him recent,y attending ballet – his gorgeous wife is a principal for the ROH and he looked tanned and very well. He’s still on vocal break so i hope he’s just taking it very slow, which he should. I am not even thinking he may not sing again, i don’t think that will be the case, i’ve seen him loads and hope to do so again. He’s a lovely person and lucky in terms of his physical resilience, his body comes mostly from pottering about on a farm LOL He’s a nature boy ๐Ÿ™‚
          And on London, oh i was miserable for quite a long time.. probably more than a year… I was very apprehensive recently about going back to Edinburgh because of how it would feel. Luckily it has settled down, i still love it, but i loved the highlands even more and i feel at home now in London. And the good thing is i feel good enough about Edinburgh that i enjoyed going back and i’ll be back but it didn’t break my heart again to leave. I just need to explore more nature places around London and find the quickest road to the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • How lovely to have two places where you can feel at home, and not be heartbroken to visit or leave either one!
          Glad to hear that Simon is OK. And yes, I saw his beautiful wife on the website ๐Ÿ™‚
          My very first Mr. H. play was “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” and I did not get to see him after, even though I went to the stage door. I was a brand new fan and very broken up over it. But I saved the program, and at a later play, I left it at the box office for him to sign, which he did, and returned to me personally after the show! I had thought of mailing it to his agent but I was too afraid it would get lost. Then I was going to buy an unsigned one on Ebay and send it. But it wouldn’t be “my” program! It’s funny how much value we put on these things, but I think it has to do with the value of the memories, not the objects.

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  2. Hari, das Bild ist klasse, in einem solchen Kleid kรถnnte ich Dich mir super vorstellen, das sรคhe bestimmt toll aus! Stilecht und passend zum Thema Oper, Theater…..
    Und ich mag Deine langen emails und posts. Auch wenn ich ewig brauche bis ich die Englischen gelesen habe ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Danke, sehr lieb von dir, sorry fur die spate Antwort! Ach ich weiss nicht diese Kleider die machen einen grossen Hintern :-p brauch ich vielleicht nicht ๐Ÿ˜‰ Dann lieber diese Krinolinen. Fur Korset bin ich aber gern zu haben, wollte schon immer mal eins probieren ๐Ÿ˜‰

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