Tag Archives: PBS

Rekindling My Love for Classic Novels

This past summer, I was completely captivated by the PBS television program, “The Great American Read”.

The PBS Web Site describes the show as: “THE GREAT AMERICAN READ was an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). It investigated how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

I am certain I am not the only reader who scanned each title on the list (…a few times!) to see how many I have read over the years.

I was most delighted at discovering that two of the titles on the list were part of my high school experience: “1984” by George Orwell (which I absolutely loved, especially since I read it in 1983) and “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier.

There were a few others that I had read later in life for the fun of it, like “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks and “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger.

And there were many stories for which I hadn’t read the books but I knew well from the cinematic versions, such as “To Kill a Mocking Bird”, “Gone With the Wind”, “The Help”, “The Great Gatsby”, and “The Color Purple”, to name a few.

I really enjoyed the PBS program because in each episode, teachers, authors and celebrities would speak about the books, offering their opinions as to what they enjoyed, what they got out of it and what resonated with them. Continue reading

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How I Became a New Opera Fan

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhen my partner John and I met for our very first date, it was clear that we clicked given the easy flow of the conversation around the many interests we had in common. Both of us were huge fans of music, theatre, art, television and movies, among others. However, one area where we were at different places in life, was our appreciation of opera.

John had a clear passion for the art form, while I had never really explored it before. He explained that if I was open to it, opera was really a natural next step, if I already liked music and theatre as much as I did.

As far as I knew, up to that point, my most recent (yet limited) opera experience was Sweden’s pop music competition, Melodifestivalen, in which the song selected to represent Sweden at Eurovision 2009 was “La Voix” composed by Fredrik Kempe, co-written with and performed by Malena Ernman. It was a fun song that blended pop, dance and opera for a very unique and memorable tune. For me, the song’s chorus, sung in opera style to a disco-ish beat, was a great appetizer for the journey ahead.

But when it came to opera, initially, I had a number of apprehensions:

How will I “get it” if they are singing in a foreign language?
Much like foreign movies, in North America, operas are sub-titled, even when you attend in person.

Aren’t operas long?
On average, operas can last three to four hours but there are intermissions (sometimes two). (NOTE: For your first time, you might avoid operas by Wagner that could keep you there for 6 hours).

Won’t it be a stuffy, pretentious event? Will I have to get dressed up?
To go to an opera, you can get dressed up but overall, in Canada, opera does not have to be a black tie affair. People dress smartly for the event. As for pretentious, I’m sure you will find pretentious people at any event, not just at opera. Think about opera much like you would an art gallery or museum. People who attend are fans of the art form. Continue reading

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Filed under How to, Inspiring, Misc blogs, music, Theatre