Ferruccio Furlanetto as Leporello in Don Giovanni

http://youtu.be/l0lN6SJkpBQ

 

I am sharing an from Don Giovanni the opera written by Mozart. One of the premiere Basso voices is Ferruccio Furlanetto who sings Leporello’s part.

This is an enjoyable and funny Aria where Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant is convincing (this abused woman by his Master) to see that he is not worth the trouble.

Leporello lists all his Master’s conquests all over the world, explaining that he has a “catalogue” of his paramours. He produces the book and invites her to read with him the lists he made. 

 

Please enjoy!

 

Furlanetto

Madame Butterfly – Giacomo Puccini

http://youtu.be/25qOY9cwz88

Madame Butterfly  Con Onor muore

                                   Yin Huang- Madame Butterfly saying farewell to her beloved son.

One of the most powerful arias in opera history.  Yin Huang does is justice and then some. If it does not bring tears to your eyes, I am not sure what would. An amazing film but outstanding performance. She expresses innocence, naivete and deep love.

Her American lover did come back as she predicted but not to be with her. He came back to ask for his child. His new wife could not bear him children so he asked her for his son. To release her son and for “the sake of honor”, she kills herself.

 

Here are the Italian words and their interpretation. 

 

Con onor muore                  Let there be honor in death
Chi non puo sebar vita       where there is no honor in life.
Con onor                               Let there be honor.

Tu? Tu? Tu? Tu?                  You! You! You! You!
Piccolo iddio!                         My adored one, my love!
Amore, amore mio.               My love, my own love.
Fior                                          My flower,
di giglio e di rosa.                 more precious than lilies and roses!
Non saperlo mai…per te,    You must never know the truth;
Pei tuoi puri occhi                 It is for you my child, for love of you
Muore Butterfly…                  that Butterfly will die!
Perche tu possa andar         You will live happily
Di la dal mare                        across the sea.
Senza che ti ricorda             And spared the memory
Ai di mature                           as you grow
Il materno abbandono         of your mother forsaking you.
O a me, sceso dal trono       For me you came down from the throne
Dell’alto paradise,                 of heaven
Guarda ben fiso, fiso,           Look steadfastly steadfastly,
Di tua madre la faccial!        into your mother’s face!
Che ten’ resti una traccia,    So traces of it ramain in memory,
Guardo ben!                            Look well!
Amore, addio, addio!              My love, goodbye, goodbye!
Piccolo amor!                         Little love!
Va, gioca, gioca.                   Go play, play.

Two of O Henry’s Beloved Short Stories

One of my favorite authors ever is O Henry. Opinions differ strongly on the man’s work but he is as realistic in his recounting as Norman rockwell was in his painting.

Having read then left his stories on a shelf for a long time, in the last few days, I ran across them when downloading books to listen to. Taking O Henry with me on my evening walk, he again inspired me. The stories he wove are simple and the characters interesting and attractive. His surprise endings remain appealing and sometimes even jarring.

The next day, I sat at my work table and drew out book covers for two of his short stories. Yes, I know we do not “publish” on paper much these days but what can I say, I was inspired. I share with you two of his stories and include places where you can get them absolutely free to read and enjoy.

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The Last Leaf

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The Gift of the Magi

Book Review: Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Huxley

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Book Cover: Crome Yellow

I kept waiting for things to happen in this story but you could say my mind is marred by the fast pace of the present. At a lazy and wonderful pace of the country home, things do happen.

A true 20s piece of literature, Crome Yellow describes the descent of several people on a country estate to mooch off the owner. A collection of individuals different and lost as it were in their time spend all their time eating, drinking and doing silly activities even to the extent of hurting themselves. Set in post WWI, morality clashed with life and everyone looked for the truth and reality in their life and what they learned from the horrors of the war.

Huxley satirized the home he frequented with other authors and artists. An image of Garsington Manor, Crome Yellow represented the same refuge and home of Lady Ottoline Morrell.

In the mix is our hero Daniel, a lost poet looking for the next few words. An artist, a young woman, another woman just a bit older, a woman who gambles and lives for the stars, an astrologer and author and so on. These people gather, discuss and ponder the morality of their time. In the mix is a minister who kept a sermon around for so long, it ill-fit the time he repeated it to his congregation.

A historian who is hell bent on writing about Crome Yellow reads to the group from his writings which he finished. Going back and forth between the past and the present showed morality in its best and worst. Nothing changes much as far as that goes. You either have the morals or you do not and it is personal not national.

Well worth the read, Crome Yellow left me a little dazed and much saddened.

Book Review: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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A Little Princess: Book cover

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Frances Hodgson Burnett

Refuse to allow the hardships of life to stop you from the joys it holds. In this charming story, through the character of the heroine, we find grace, kindness and generosity in the face of ugliness and cruelty.

With simplicity and succinct clarity Burnett wrote, drawing the reader, involving them emotionally to her characters.

Our heroine, Sara is a lovely girl of seven with dark hair and green grey eyes. At first we meet a pampered Sara, loved by her dear father who lavishes on his daughter all he could afford. In the hands of a school mistress, he places Sara, trusting the woman to care for his treasured daughter. The child demonstrates generosity of spirit and befriends those who have no one, making friends of the less fortunate and less popular.

Far away, across many miles, he dies in India, leaving his daughter orphaned and poor.

Life takes a sharp downward turn for the delightful child who uses her imagination to overcome the meanness of her caregiver.

Through several situations during her ill use, she demonstrates once again her kindness and generosity to those in even lower positions than her own.

Using her imagination and mind, Sara keeps her flagging spirits and those around her elated as best she could. Mistreated she still finds her imagination salvation to her situation.

The story has a happy ending and I found myself unable to stop from finishing the book in one sitting. It is easy to read or wonderful to follow. A charming fairy tale even adults can enjoy.

Sonia Rumzi

http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/scores/top

It was the same in 1919 as it is now.

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“But a thought that has often occurred to me in selling rare editions may interest you. The customer’s willingness to part with his money is usually in inverse ration to the permanent benefit he expects to derive from what he purchases….. Folks will pay a darned sight more to be amused than to be exalted. Look at the way a man shells out five bones fo a couple of theater seats, or a spends a couple of dollars o a week on cigars without thinking of it. Yet two dollars or five dollars for a book costs him positive anguish.

The mistake you fellows in the retail trade have made is trying to persuade your customers that books are necessities. Tell them they’re luxuries. That’ll get them! People have to work so hard in this life they’re shy of necessities. A man will go on wearing a suit until it’s threadbare, much sooner than smoke a threadbare cigar.”

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)

Review: At Road’s End by Zoe Saadia

At Road's End book coverJust because someone knows right from wrong does not always make it right or wrong for another. In the end, even if you are a great warrior or have much wisdom to impart, if your attitude is poor and you treat others with disdain, they are less likely to listen to you.


In her own way, with grace and charm Zoe Saadia manages to tell an old story with different twists. Lilting in her tale, she describes ancient sites and with great imagination, its people. A historical novel is hard to write at best but Saadia does it with ease in At Road’s End.

Saadia researched her subject and hints through the book without bashing one in the head, at describing the surroundings. She makes it a joy to read descriptions as seen from the eyes of her characters. She makes it pertinent to the story and not just for the sake of narration. She is a wonderful story teller.

Class distinctions, cultural differences and prejudice are not easy subjects. So along with credible narration, she peeks into the hearts of some people of those times. The story even crackles with sexuality but always gracefully, keeping the love story fraught with tension.

Meet Tecpatl and Sakuna, you will not regret it. Excellent book. Wonderful story and so well done.

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Sonia sez: Zoe Saadia is a talented and amazing author. Her historical novels are well written and not boring. So well done.

The Cahokian by Zoe Saadia

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Book Review:
At the end of The Cahokian, I was left with tears in my eyes at the intensity of the lessons learned by all involved. A tremendous achievement in terms of a historical novel. It was written with care and love. As though the author knew the terrain, loved the people.

Zoe managed to reel me in the very first chapter with sing song writing and delightful metaphors. Instead of Autumn or Fall, we hear of the season of falling leaves. I loved her writing. Loved the love story behind it all….moreI just finished The Cahokian. I was left with tears in my eyes at the intensity of the lessons learned by all involved. A tremendous achievement in terms of a historical novel. It was written with care and love. As though the author knew the terrain, loved the people.

Zoe managed to reel me in the very first chapter with sing song writing and delightful metaphors. Instead of Autumn or Fall, we hear of the season of falling leaves. I loved her writing. Loved the love story behind it all.

In the end I found the life lessons real and applicable in our modern times. We believe ourselves to be cultured, educated and scientific. Yet, when we meet other cultures that we deemed barbaric, we see that they are also people with their own merits and strengths.

I loved this book. A little sad that it ended.