Roberto Devereux

Eugene Toth, Society, Uncategorized

by Eugene Toth

For the New York Metropolitan Opera’s March 24, 2016 gala opening of “Roberto Devereux,” the eyes of opera enthusiasts sparkled.  Not only was the performance a new production.   For the first time ever, on the 413th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s death, the Met staged Gaetano Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux”

Donizetti set several operas in Britain. After Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda Roberto Devereux was Donizetti’s third opera about British Queens.  “Roberto Devereux,” depicts the golden age of Elizabeth’s reign and the Tudor era, when poetry, music and theater flowered.

In 1599, Roberto Devereux, a former lover of Elizabeth I, returned from an unsuccessful war in Ireland, to England.   The opera tells why Elizabeth I executed him for treason.

With historical detail, exquisite costumes invoked the splendor of the Elizabethan era.  In

his first appearance, Devereux wore a black overcoat with silver lining over black plate armor, based upon a 1590 Portrait by William Segar of  Roberto Devereux, Earl of Essex.

In the Metropolitan Opera’s new production, the stage wore no curtains.  Between two balconies, a wall approached and receded from the audience.  In different scenes the wall represented a palace of Elizabeth I, the Palace of the Duke of Nottingham, and the Tower of London.  At the sides, in two galleries, chorus members acted as an audience and witnesses focusing attention upon the four soloists – soprano Elizabeth, the mezzo soprano Sara, the tenor Robert Devereux, and baritone Duke of Nottingham.

Elizabeth I’s passion for her lover  Robert, Earl of Essex, drives the plot.  In scene 1, Elizabeth displayed the character of an imperious, fearsome, and proud monarch.  She held more power than anyone else in England.  Parliament sought to execute Essex as a rebel for treason.  The elderly Queen loved a younger man.  The Queen confided to Sara, a beautiful lady in waiting, that the Queen would pardon Devereux of the treason charges, if he still loved the Queen.

Devereux loved Sara.  Elizabeth had forced Sara to marry Devereux’s best friend and supporter, the Duke of Nottingham.   Trapped in a marriage she never wanted, Sara still loved Devereux.   At their secret meeting, a duet between Sara and  Devereux supplies one of the opera’s high points.   Delightful flute mirrored the intense love they shared.  Telling him to flee, that they must never meet again, Sara gave Devereux, as a token of her love, her blue shawl.

By order of the Queen, Sir Walter Raleigh arrested Devereux.  Raleigh discovered Sara’s blue scarf.  The scarf proved Devereux loved a woman.  Blind with rage and jealousy, Elizabeth signed Devereux’s death warrant.

Recognizing his wife’s scarf, the Duke of Nottingham, drunk in his palace, assaulted Sara with a knife and threw her about.  Devereux’s unwise passion for Sara turned against him his best supporters – the Queen and his former friend the Duke of Nottingham.

Still in love with Devereux, too late, the Queen canceled his execution.   Moments before the executioner chopped off Devereux’s head, she pardoned Devereux.  A cannon shot signaled his death.   The Queen saw visions of Devereux’s headless ghost and a bloody crown.

Elizabeth could not order Devereux to love her.  Even the greatest power meets limits. In the background of the stage statues symbolized Time and Death. Renouncing her throne, she exclaimed “Let James be King!”  A blast of the orchestra’s brass marked her death.

Setting a fast and thrilling pace, the Queen’s transforming feelings supply the opera’s dramatic tension.  Her love transformed into fury, regret, sorrow, remorse, despair, and finally madness.  Donizetti called this work, “the opera of emotions.”

 

Note: For pdf version, click here: Roberto Devereux PDF

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I,Too, Am America

Art Showcase, Authors, Blog, English, Poetry, Society

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Method and Goal, was to give the African American people a voice, to help them stand up, and , much like Booker T. Washington, to give them a way to build their way up to the top of the social structure, to prove themselves worthy of high positions.

His Intentions and motives, therefore, are best explained in the poem ” I, too” by Langston Hughes.

So, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, I present to you a Spoken Word Animation and Montage of the Poem ” I,too”. Below it, is the full text of the poem.

 

I, too, sing America.

 

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

 

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

 

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

 

I, too, am America.
– Langston Hughes

George Washington 2016

Authors, Blog, Omar Abdelhamid, Society

If George Washington was still alive, with all his same beliefs and opinions, would he be elected into office? Watch the video to find out! We will cover three things

  1. Political Views
  2. Opposition sprung from the voting system itself
  3. Issues regarding criticism and mockery

-Omar Abdelhamid

Monday

Art Showcase, Authors, Blog, Omar Abdelhamid, Philosophy, Poetry, Society, Uncategorized

Monday

A Poem by Omar Abdelhamid

It is Monday.  

The sky is freshly rolled out

the air is soft and silent

A single crimson leaf

dances above my head

 

And the world is in front of my eyes

but my arms cannot reach out and grab it

 

I am a speck in the ground below

Some hear my whispers

Stoop down to listen.

Pick up the words I drop

And place them into my humble basket

 

  1. Am.  Sinking.

My arms and neck  are stuck in the cement

I cannot reach out, nor do I have a soul to lift me

I am bound to something, something more than me

and it rushes through my bones

through my mind bouncing back and forth and breaking through every thought every memory

And I can feel the frozen bodies of those who fell behind me,  screaming, hoping,

 leaving their legacies

to be plucked by the vulture time

who eats his meal with no haste

they leave it for me

for me  to drop

and for you to stoop down,

pick up, and place into my humble basket

 

They will find me here

if they care to look

frozen

a moment in time

an echo, a memory

 

And every echo is smaller

when there is no one there to hear

please hear

 

Send help

Give my words a way

To break me out

out of this cage

Skyscrapers

Authors, Blog, Omar Abdelhamid, Philosophy, Society, Uncategorized

Skyscrapers

A Short Story by Omar Abdelhamid

      Exhausted from the walk and relieved to have found a seat, I braced myself for the roar of the train as it took off. Suddenly we were in the dark, and I could spot blotches of graffiti on the inside of the tunnel as we whizzed by. I could not think, because my thoughts,unable to keep up with the speed of the iron beast, were left to float in the emptiness of the tunnels, to be ignored, if even noticed, by later commuters. The screech of the friction of the rails as we shot through exhausted my mind, until I could see nothing, I could hear nothing, and I could know nothing. And West shot the beast towards home.

Are We Who We Think We Are?

Authors, Blog, Omar Abdelhamid, Philosophy, Science and Technology, Society

 

My name is Omar Abdelhamid. But is that really who I am?  Is Omar, the Omar that speaks to others and shares opinions and ideas the whole of my being? Or is Omar just one of the many functions of my human self? And does this self, this communicative, social self, really physically exist?
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On The Town

Authors, Eugene Toth, Miscellaneous, Society

by Eugene Toth, August 16, 2015

The Broadway play “On the Town” tells the story of three Navy sailors who found the loves of their lives in New York while they had 24 hours to explore the city.   Playful Chip wanted to see the sights.  Innocent Gabey wanted to enjoy a day.  Amorous Ozzie wanted to find a love in one night.

Their adventure started in the subway.  The three sailors saw a poster of the “Miss Turnstile” contest winner, the most beautiful woman who took the subway.  The moment he saw her picture, Gabey loved Ivy.  He searched for her in the places which the description under  the poster said she loved to go to.  Gabey found Ivy in Carnagie Hall.  There she practiced singing with her insane Russian singing tutor.  Ivy agreed to a date with Gabey.

1-Megan-Fairchild-and-Jackie-Hoffman-in-Broadways-ON-THE-TOWN-Photo-by-Joan-Marcus

In the middle of the city, Chip found Hildy, a plump taxi driver, trying to find a man.  Hildy immediately fell in love with Chip.  She took him to her apartment.

Ozzie found Claire de Lune, an anthropologist engaged to an indulgent fiancé.  Claire de Lune took Ozzie to her apartment, where she and her finance celebrated  before they announced their engagement at Diamond Eddie’s, an erotic club.  Whenever Claire’s husband caught Claire kissing and embracing Ozzie, Claire’s fiancé would sing “I understand.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 12.19.13 PMThe three sailors caroused in bars and clubs.  They loved their women.   Finally, in the morning, all bid each other goodbye.

 

“On the Town” portrays New York’s amazing diversity—a hedonist, Claire de Lune, an innocent classical artist, Ivy, the love-driven woman, Hildy.

The sounds of New York excite and stimulate us.  At Coney Island, we hear a circus theme.  The music conveys a circus of love and fun.

“On the Town” tells some jokes.  When the couples are riding the subway to Coney Island, Hildy, the taxi driver woman observed there were only 192 more stops until Coney Island.

Periodically, two women pass by, talking about one of the woman’s bosses. Each time they are more drunk than before.  With ridiculous Brooklyn accents, they gossip.

Woman 1:          So what did you say?

Woman 2:          So I said, I may be your secretary Mr. Gadolfin, but I can’t go that far.

Woman 1:          So what did he say?

Woman 2:          So I said, I cannot do that to Mrs. Gadolfin and all those other little Gadolfins.  So I just handed in my resignation and left the office. 

Woman 2:          Now lets get a beer and we can talk about things!

For enduring reasons, Broadway producers for decades have revived “On the Town.”  Two and a half hours of comedy highlight New York’s hilarity.  Three gamboling sailors show us New York’s fun and humor.

Dreams and Goals

Authors, Blog, Omar Abdelhamid, Philosophy, Society

What is the difference between a dream and a goal?

Quite literally, a dream is the sensation you feel when you are asleep.  But when we use it in everyday conversations, it means a perception or hope for the future, your future, what you would like to happen, or what you would like for your everyday life or reality to become.

Is there  a connection between the sleeping-based dream and a dream for the future? After all, why would there be a connection in the word itself if not?        .

A goal is a set and established landmark you want to reach in your life. A goal is thought of as something to work towards , a step to take.

Now, to the question, how do they differ. Well, you could think of a goal as small, but you don’t normally do that with a dream. For example, you could say, my goal for this week is to finish writing this article, or you could say My life goal is to be rich. You could only replace goal with dream in the latter of these examples.

So a dream is, relatively big, or spanning a long period of time. I mean, you could say my dream is to own a little house in the woods. It isn’t necessarily extravagant, but it’s significant.  A goal is therefore a collection of goals, but a dream is also a collection of goals, and a dream isn’t a collection of dreams.
When you are young you dream big because you aren’t quite sure about what goals you should set. You aren’t sure about the process that goes into achieving goals and dreams. So in essence, your dreams are from where your goals derive, and each small goal that you think of puts you closer to that dream.

But that is in a more creative sense, as a child. But when you are a part of an institution, for example a company or a school, you can’t really normally stray off from the direction of the institution and make a monumental change in it, so you  stuck with making small goals to inch your way through improving it or yourself in the institution. In a school or institution, you, even if you think in terms of dreams, are goal orientated. You have a big dream, like being the best student , but  there are goals that are forced onto you, that you can’t actually control, and although your performance in achieving those goals controls how well you reach your dream, you have no power over the goals themselves. In that sense, in all cases, your dream is just an output of your goals.

In school, you might want to be a great student, but you can’t choose the means by which you do that. At the essence of being a good student is doing well on tests and doing your homework, and you can’t really control that, those are the standards on which you base your dream.

So a dream outside of an institution, for example, in starting your own business, is more free and is more based on the dream than the goals. Because in many ways, you get to decide how to get there.

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. His own Board of Directors fired him, and although this might seem crazy and terrible, he says:

” I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

So in being in an institution, even as the head of it, he found himself forced to follow the goals set and standardized to be a good and successful business, he had the dream of having a better company, but the way he got there was pretty much controlled by the traditions of doing business. That’s something about the notion of dreams, they could be revolutionary or crazy or wild, and no set of goals can limit them, they decide their own rules and steps.

Out of an institution, he was able to dream more, and from his dreams was able to stem ways of getting there, and so he was able, with his creativity, to find the best steps to help him achieve his dreams.

We can’t control the fact that sometimes we have to dream and sometimes we have to stick to the script to continue living the dream once we’ve reached it or stop chasing after a dream once it’s been deferred, its just a consequence of the nature of goals and dreams.

Keep Dreaming.

Giselle at the 75th Anniversary of ABT

Authors, Eugene Toth, Miscellaneous, Society

by Eugene Toth

Hiding his cape, hunting horn, and sword of a lord, Count Albrecht persuaded Giselle, a country girl, to love him.  Bursting on the scene, the hunter Hilarion showed Giselle the engraved sword of Albrecht.  Learning that Albrecht lied to her, Giselle lost her mind.  She died of a broken heart.

The Wilis

Wilis are ghosts of women who died of unrequited love.  Myrta, the queen of the wilis summoned them to initiate Giselle into their sisterhood.  Beside Giselle’s grave, eighteen wilis danced Hilarion, the hunter who loved Giselle and buried her, to death .

Below:Giselle protects Count Albrecht from the wilis.

www.metopera.org/_uploaded/image/spotlight/giselle2.jpg

lgiselle2

 

Myrta, queen of the wilis, condemned Count Albrecht to dance to death.  As a wili, Giselle protected Albrecht. She danced with him until four o’clock when wilis lose their power.  In a memorable scene, Russian dancer Vladimir Shklyarov, as Albrecht, vaulted into the air an amazing 36 times.

Love, death, and dancing

Dancing to the limits of endurance sets Giselle apart from other ballets. The essence of Giselle, extreme dancing, gives to this ballet authenticity.  Giselle is not a performance.  In Giselle, we see something realistic, dancing to the limits.

As a tale of dancing to death with the wilis, Giselle’s libretto by Theophile Gautier adds to the ballet’s success.  According to the playbill, Giselle is the oldest continually performed ballet. On May 23, 2015, the 75th Anniversary of the founding of American Ballet Theatre, the crowd glittered with stars.  Giselle suits the tastes of ballet’s professionals.  On her last dance as a principal dancer for ABT, Paloma Herrera on May 27, 2015 will dance Giselle.

To dance Giselle explores the limits of dancing.  By its single minded focus on ultimate dancing, Giselle has won success.  ABT’s performance proved Giselle’s power as one of the greatest ballets of all time.

The Achievements of the Han Dynasty

Authors, Blog, Drew Morris, Miscellaneous, Science and Technology, Society, Uncategorized

The Han dynasty lasted from 206 BC-220 AD and had many amazing achievements that changed the world for all and benefits our society in many ways. The Han dynasty had many achievements in science, and one of them was the seismograph. The Seismograph was an impressive instrument because it detected earthquakes from hundreds of miles away. Another scientific achievement was that they learned how to predict when the sun was going to have an eclipse. This discovery helped people because they were always ready when an eclipse came.  In medicine, doctors found new kinds of medications. This helped doctors treat more diseases and patients who were ill. Han craft workers also made an amazing invention when they learned how to create paper. They created paper by pounding the bark of Mulberry trees.  The invention of paper had a huge effect on the way people lived. Paper made it easier to record what was happening. With paper, students invented the first Chinese dictionary. Another idea that came up under the rule of emperor Wudi was Grand School. Grand School were schools that were created to help students get jobs in the local government. Grand School was the empire’s best school. They were set up in every province or state in the empire. Without Grand School and the Confucian emphasis on education, their society might not have had innovators to create these inventions. Overall, thanks to the Han dynasty’s hard work and achievements, society obtained tools and scientific advancements that benefit us to this day.