Dramatic Rigoletto, a hairy thing, Mike Nase benefit

We ended the HGO season last night with Rigoletto at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park here in Houston.  A classic opera thing happened, that somebody had to jump in and sing a new role at the last second.  Hector Vásquez, who was singing Rigoletto, felt a little under the weather  so he  couldn’t sing after the first act.  Instead Octavio Moreno, who was doing Marullo, had to sing Rigoletto, while mr Vásquez acted the part without singing. This without any rehearsal at all, they just switched parts in the middle of the show! That’s impressive! Mr Moreno did an outstanding job, and the audience was very enthusiastic , great way to end a great season.

Friday was ine of those days when I was running around constantly, without getting anything done. In the afternoon I had to take my oldest son Jakob and a couple of his buddies to a schoolproject. I had 45 minutes before I had to pick them up, and since I desperately needed a haircut, that’s what I did. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go to my regular $3.99 place (I’m as cheap as they come), but found this other place. A little bit more expensive, but OK, this time I’ll spend the big bucks, I’ll pay the 7 dollars! My Spanish is not that good, maybe the lady misunderstood me, but when I looked in the mirror, I had this strange looking bush growing out of the top of my head. By that time I was already late picking up the kids, so I had to dash out the door.  Yesterday action was needed, fast. I plugged in my clippers and stood in the backyard, cutting my hair and using our backwindow as a mirror. The look on Jakob’s face when he saw me running the clippers over my head was great, his jaw dropped to his knees. The lesson? Don’t spend the extra money, stick to the $3.99 haircut.

I’m on my way over to the Houston Community College to play a benefit for the great guitar player Mike Nase this afternoon. Mike is a native Texan and one of the finest jazz guitarists I’ve ever heard. He’s featured on three of the tunes on my upcoming CD from Tierra Studios. About two weeks after our session in December of 2008, Mike had a stroke and couldn’t play. He’s slowly getting back into playing, and is doing really good. Today all the Houston jazz musicians are getting together for a marathon Mike Nase benefit concert, from 3 pm to at least 10 pm. It’ll be a great occasion. Keep swinging!

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June 16-26: Cabaret

Title: June 16-26: Cabaret
Location: Theater Under The Stars
Link out: Click here
Description: The decadent world of 1930s Berlin comes to life in this Tony Award-winning musical masterpiece. An English nightclub singer, an American writer, a German landlady and a Jewish shopkeeper find their destinies linked and their futures uncertain as the Nazis struggle to overthrow Germany.
Start Date: 2009-06-16
End Date: 2009-06-26

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Fantasy on Swedish Hymntunes

Arranged by Thomas Hultén

Performed by TOOT!

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Great Tristan, Mozart victim of swine-flu, what do kids listen to?

I came home Wednesday night last week after the dress rehearsal of Brief Encounter, André Previn’s new opera, and happened to turn on the TV just as the last act of Tristan and Isolde started. This was a live performance from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducted by James Levine, and it was great! I’ve always liked the overture (or “vorspiel” as Wagner calls it) but never though I’d enjoy 5 hours of Wagner until I got to play it with the Royal Opera in Stockholm last fall. It’s mesmerizing, great story, great music!

If you get a chance to see it, do it, but bring a snack!

Thursday night we rehearsed Mozart’s c-minor Mass at the Centrum in Spring, north of Houston. Everything worked fine until the school district (half the choir was from a local high-school) decided to suspend all extra-curricular activities because of the swine-flu. They moved the concert from last Sunday to May 17, which means I can’t play the concert because of a jazz gig! Even Mozart is not immune to the flu! Luckily it seems like the outbreak is a lot less severe than first thought.

So what’s that jazz gig on May 17? It’s at the Houston Community College northwest, a benefit concert for guitar-great Mike Nase, who suffered a stroke in December. It’ll start in the afternoon through evening, and pretty much all the Houston jazz cats will be there. I will play with Matt Lemmler’s sextet, and also Joel Fulgham’s big band. Come check it out!

This is funny: My ten- and seven-year-olds come home from school raving about all these really cool tunes. Turns out it’s all these songs from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” from 1983! The kids have since been glued to the computer, watching youtube-videos from the 80’s! I don’t mind at all, when was the last time parents and kids actually agreed on music? I played Jakob some Tower of Power, and he thought it was the coolest thing, not realizing it’s 30 years old!

I asked some high-schoolers not too long ago what they listen to, since I have no clue what’s popular right now. The answer: the Beatles!

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In The Sweet By And By

Performed by Peoria Jazz Band, from the CD “Going Home”

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Lapp-Nils Polska

Composed by Niclas Ericsson.

Performed by Hässlöbrasset/Messing Around from the CD “Wake Up!”

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Gas-X

Composed by Niclas Ericsson.

Performed by Hässlöbrasset/Messing Around from the CD “Wake Up!”

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