Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Night at the Opera

Last night, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to join Diane and John for an evening at "Opera Cafe."

We started at Diane's apartment where we enjoyed wine and Apple-Papaya-Mango Cider. And Madeline modeled her long awaited "Bow-Wow Bling" which I made for her in honor of her first DVD appearance as the "good dog" in I forgot which video. (Diane is in it too.)

Then, off to St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Westwood - directly across the street from the heart of UCLA - for Opera Cafe. Rather than a full-blown operatic event, it is more of an open mike night. For a reasonable fee, you desend into a candlelit basement with clothed tables and refreshments, including alcoholic if you should so desire. Mostly students of Gail Oliver although others too; and indeed Gail herself, accompanied by Pianist Greg Schreiner. Opera, Jazz, Showtunes... whatever each singer wanted to present is enjoyed by the audience. Talent ranges from professional level to moderate; in between being the norm. After all, this is done for the love of music, but also is a forum in which singers can develop their skills in a forgiving environment.
There were two highlights to the evening. The first was when a singer came onto stage that I thought looked like a friend of mine. "That looks like Judi Freed from my spinning guild!" I whispered to my companions, never dreaming that it was actually her. Then she came to the foreground - after delivering her music to the pianist - and said "I am Judi Freed." To say I was delighted was an understatement. And she did not disappoint.
The second was an item of business which John had promised me. Opera sing along. They hand out sheet music with the words and everyone in the house sings. To say that my performance was less than stellar would be a fair statement. But then again, I came as an audience member, not a singer, and also, I might have been more motivated if the piece was Wagner and I got to do my best Elmer Fudd voice while singing "Kill the Wabbit..."

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