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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Halfway through Women’s History Month, I figured I would pay tribute to two women I adore – two variations on the concept of a Queen of the Night.

First up, Diana Damrau launched her career on playing the Queen in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, easily rupturing eardrums with powerful upper notes in the iconic role.

Following up, my dear Nippy, Whitney Houston goes all Rachel Marron with her performance of Queen of the Night from her legendary The Bodyguard.

Sing on, ladies.  Queens indeed.

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Today is International Women’s Day, and in honor of it being the 100th instance, I’m offering up a quadruple set of performances.  These four women each created their own sets of classics, yet were able to take other stars’ hits into their own mantras.  Its about their presence, their power, and their capabilities to interpret that make these women special.

Shirley Bassey takes on Jerry Herman’s I Am What I Am (from La Cage), Dusty Springfield gives a lovely If You Go Away, Lena Horne goes all Henry Mancini with Moon River, and Aretha going from gospel to opera with Nessun Dorma.

All divine, all majestic, all woman all the time.

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Since President’s Day is really a celebration of two presidents, I figured I’d post two musical highlights.

First up is the iconic “Happy Birthday” from Marilyn Monroe to President Kennedy.

One more after the jump.

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The magnetic and dynamic legend Leontyne Price celebrates her birthday today, February 10.  Arguably the definitive Cio-Cio-San from Madama Butterfly and Aida, Price became one of the few top tier opera sopranos.  I have several of her recordings, including Butterfly, Aida, Tosca, Un Ballo in Maschera, and La Forza Del Destino.  Not to mention a greatest hits.

What I don’t have is her recording of La Rondine, but I do have the highlight aria from that opera on the greatest hits, and it constantly lives in my top 20 played.  Here a few highlights from her career.  At least the ones I could get actual performance video of (all seemingly at the very, very tail end of her career).

From La Rondine, Chi il bel sogno, performed live in 1982.

After the jump, a few more highlights.

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In honor of what I refer to as VD-Day, here’s a little ditty about dealing with problems, but not having another isn’t one.

Jay-Z, magnificient lyricist busts a real one on 99 Problems.

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In honor of Black History Month, here is a clip of Billie Holiday performing her classic “Strange Fruit”.

Its a gorgeously harrowing piece, perfectly suited to this month, and Lady Day hits it perfectly.

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Along with most of America, I tuned in to the Hope For Haiti Now telethon.  Having given online earlier in the day, I was focused on the performances.  Here are the highlights in my head.

If you haven’t already donated, please do so now:  https://www.hopeforhaitinow.org/

Shakira – I’ll Stand By You

Jennifer Hudson – Let It Be

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