Greetings to all my faithful readers out there. I hope you all are doing well and that some of you have been able to get your vaccinations wherever you are. Phil and I are doing fine and he got his second Pfizer shot on the 10th and I will get my second on the 23rd so we will be good to go.
This week I came across in my archives the program from our performances with the Peninsula Ballet Theatre of "Carmina Burana" that took place in March of 1997. I have included three photos of the program so please take a look at them. This took place during the Pat Parr era and it had always been a dream of his for the chorus to perform the Carmina one way or another. He wanted to make sure that the chorus would be at a point where we would be able to this amazing piece the justice it deserves. I am not sure how the collaboration with Peninsula Ballet Theatre came about but it was quite an ambitious one. There were a lot of moving parts in this production. Of course there was LGCSF and the dancers of Peninsula Ballet Theatre. What a wonderful opportunity this was for us to be working with them. In rehearsals we had a chance to hang out with them a little bit and to get to know them. They were directed and choreographed by Carlos Carvajal. There were two soloists, Roderick Gomez, baritone, and Patty Wolfe, soprano. LGCSF had worked with Patty in the past so we were comfortable with her. There was also Ragazzi, the Peninsula Boys Chorus. There were two pianists, our own Dwight Okamura and Elizabeth Keim who had worked with us from time to time. There was other musical accompaniment by Pacific Sticks. So as you might guess we had to really be on our A game for this.
For any of you who may not know much about "Carmina Burana" they were poems written by wandering scholars and vagrant monks in the late thirteenth century. They were collected by a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Beuron in Bavaria, and kept hidden until the monastery was dissolved, when they found their way to Munich. They were discovered in 1803 and published in 1847.
In 1937, Carl Orff composed this cycle of songs, extolling secular beliefs in the joys of worldly pleasures: drinking, eating, and making love. Carvajal's choreography illustrates the Wheel of Fortune these songs are based on, which weaves a never-ending cycle of life and death, happiness and misfortune, success and failure.
Prior to this the chorus had only sung "O Fortuna," the opening song of this piece so it was great to be able to sing the whole thing which goes like this: Scene I - Wheel of Fortune, Scene II - Spring Time, Scene III - In the Tavern, Scene IV - Court of Love and Scene V - Wheel of Fortune. The English translation of "O fortuna" is "O, luck, like the moon changeable in state, you are always waxing or waning; hateful life is one moment hard and the next moment watches over the mind's acumen in gambling, poverty, power, it melts like ice." This is from the program.
I will finish with this which I have shared before. In May, 2018, we went to Munich to attend the Various Voices European LGBTQI Choral Festival. One of the reasons I wanted to go was to sing "Carmina Burana" with 3,000 singers, a full orchestra, four soloists, and the people of Munich in one of the major squares on a beautiful night of music. This is one of my most cherished musical memories.
Next week I will be bringing back memories of the chorus so please stay tuned. Until then I am as always,
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero
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