Sunday, April 1, 2012

"The 'Orfeo' Diaries": Time Off with Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the added bonuses to this remarkable life as an opera singer is the opportunity to take in the landmarks, museums, cuisines and natural wonders of cities across the globe.

Yesterday, Katharine and I took advantage of our day off by steeping ourselves in the brilliance of Frank Lloyd Wright. Both of us have spent a great deal of time in Chicago and are familiar with his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, as well as his many magnificent buildings in the greater Chicago area. 

The leads of "Orfeo ed Euridice," soprano Christine Brandes and mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner, at Taliesin West
Nothing could have prepared us for the uniqueness of Taliesin West. It really is as though it has arisen out of the desert as any other natural formation and when viewed at a distance seems to melt into the surrounding landscape. One of the great surprises for us was to discover Wright played the piano, had many Steinways of various sizes and hosted "Taliesin Evenings." One of the guests at such an evening was Aaron Copland.

There is a space somewhat like an auditorium dedicated to entertainments and concerts as well as a subterranean cabaret zone modeled after a cabaret he attended in Berlin in the 1920s. Of course, our first thought was: We have GOT to come back and do an opera fundraiser here!

We then went to the sumptuous Biltmore Hotel for lunch, which was capped off by a dessert of S’mores made with a wee charcoal burner at our table.

Divine music, great colleagues and Frank Lloyd Wright
what more can a girl ask for?
Except perhaps a trip to a spring training ballgame. Stay tuned.  — Soprano Christine Brandes (Euridice)

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