Théâtre antique d’Orange

Theatre D'Orange

Dear Friends,

This is an upload of a live video of the aria “Casta Diva” from the opera NORMA by Vincenzo Bellini.  I consider it to be one of the most beautiful live performances for several reasons.  To begin, it is sung here by the incomparable Montserrat Caballé.  Her performance is spellbinding and the fact that she is singing this in the great Antique Theater in Orange, France makes it the perfect venue.  The famed MISTRAL wind comes through this open air arena throughout the year, and that special night was no different.  The serenity of the the music accompanied by blowing winds and sheer silk veils is a feast for both the ear and eye.  I find her portrayal of the aria to be near perfection.  A legato line that never ends, a clear warm and round voice with great ring.  Every note seems to be spinning on a thread of silk.  The chorus here adds a beautiful accompaniment as well.  The stillness of the entire picture takes my breath away.

I was lucky enough to perform in this great amphitheater a few years back in the opera LA TRAVIATA ,direcetd by Francesca Zambello, with Roberto Alagna and other illustrious stars in the cast.  The wind was certainly blowing that night and I found it less than comforting.  As singers we constantly worry about catching a cold.  I remember during the rehearsal period all the singers were bundled up in scarves (and this was the dead of summer).  Running around the stage, sweating and worrying about the wind.  It was hard to focus on the singing.  But it all comes together in the end… was a terrific performance.  The theater seats 10,000 spectators…….the wall of applause at the end of the night was overwhelming (like being at a world cup game).  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to sing in this great place and I hope that you whether you be a singer, or someone who likes to travel, will have the opportunity to visit this great place in architectural history.  The wine wasn’t bad, either 🙂

Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia, Alzheimer’s disease: study

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BY David Harding
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia, Alzheimer’s disease: study
A recent research study found that those suffering from moderate to severe dementia did particularly well singing show tunes from movies and musicals such as ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Oklahoma!’ in group settings and had a marked improvement in their remembering skills versus those who simply listened during the sing-alongs.

The hills are alive with the sound of music, which could help people with Alzheimer’s stave off the effects of the debilitating disease.

A study by U.S. scientists has shown that the brain function of those suffering from dementia can be improved if they belt out their favorite show tunes.

Researchers working with elderly residents at an East Coast care home found in a four-month long study found that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened.

Among the songs sung during 50-minute sessions were hits from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Oklahoma!” and “The Sound of Music.”

The most improvement was among those sufferers with moderate to severe dementia.

Jane Flinn, one of the scientists involved in the study who works at George Mason University in Virginia, concluded singing was beneficial.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” she said.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”