Sunday, January 27, 2013

Met Opera auditions

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Rocky Mountain Region took place this weekend. Judges heard 42 singers on Saturday, and on Sunday, 11 of those singers competed for the chance to move on the national semifinals. The auditions are open and free to the public to listen in.

(Ever since seeing the documentary "The Audition," which followed the national finals of this competition, I've been curious to check out the regional here in Denver. If you haven't seen it, "The Audition" is fun and moving to watch.)

Eight sopranos, two baritones and a bass competed Sunday. All performed well. Isabella Ivy and Phoenix Gayles had some showy pieces with some tough high notes. Rebecca Pedersen showed off impressive tone. While the judges deliberated, the announcers told some bits of trivia about the competitors, like baritone Alex DeSocio was a former Division I football prospect, baritone Jared Bybee was on the pre-med track but decided to devote his energy to music, and Melissa Otani-Jensen was born in Japan.

At the end, an announcer listed the people who won awards. This is where it got confusing because there seemed to be a lot more awards listed than were given out. And the announcer got some names wrong, but she appeared to be saying the Colorado prize went to Marielle Murphy (of California) and the Utah prize went to Melissa Otani-Jensen. Then she announced another set of awards, saying Rebecca Pedersen got first place, Phoenix Gayles got second and Isabella Ivy got third, but we'll have to check back with the Met website to see if that's correct. Confusing for us non-opera world people, I know! But it was a great afternoon of music.

Also, this weekend: the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge. You can find some photos on Facebook. Go, Team Mongolia.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting fit in 2013

Did you make a resolution to lose weight or exercise more this year? Have you kept it?

As Americans focus on reducing obesity, it makes sense that workplaces, where non-retirees spend so much time, should get involved.

So here, some food for thought:

An article on workplace wellness programs.

And tips for office fitness.

What are your own ideas for exercising at work?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dana Schutz at the Denver Art Museum

Dana Schutz :: (Image courtesy of the artist and Zach Feuer, New York)

There are still a few days left to see Michigan-born but New York-based artist Dana Schutz's paintings at the Denver Art Museum. (Her exhibit closes Sunday, 1/13). Her work is in the first-floor gallery in the Hamilton Building. No special price beyond general admission to see it. As the exhibit explains, Schutz explores ideas that aren't always spoken or expressed. One painting is about what it FEELS like to sneeze. Another large canvas represents a men's retreat, like the corporate kind of retreat that she would never get invited to. Another, "Swimming, Smoking, Crying" depicts three activities that you wouldn't normally do simultaneously that all involve breathing. Families with kids, beware, there are some naked photos of a woman giving birth and this one, "The Autopsy of Michael Jackson," (painted before Mr. Jackson died. Note the white glove.)

"The Autopsy of Michael Jackson," Dana Schutz :: (Image courtesy of the artist and Zach Feuer, New York)
The exhibit definitely gets viewers talking. ("She has a sense of humor!" "I don't know if kids need to see that (woman giving birth))