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Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holidays!

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Happy holidays! A bit of business: the San Diego Opera offices will be closing today at 1 PM and will remained closed until Tuesday, December 27, 2011. The offices will also be closed on Monday, January 2, 2012. Our website is always open for your opera needs.

The Aria Serious crew will be offline until Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

We'd like to thank you for making Aria Serious what it is and look forward to sharing our 2012 season with you. We have some wonderful new plans in the works that you'll start to see once the new year rolls around.

Happy New Year!

- The Aria Serious Crew

Moby-Dick Rehearsal Wall

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We're excited about hosting the West Coast premiere of Moby-Dick when it opens in February. One, we like new opera and two, we like interesting productions. Moby covers both of these for us.

It's a very technical production and those that have worked on it before (in Dallas and Australia) liken it to a very large Broadway production. Makes sense, both set designer Robert Brill and director Leonard Foglia have worked on Broadway.

A major piece of the set is a large curved wall that is used to create the Pequod, the ocean, and a variety of other locations in the opera. It stands about 30 feet tall, has a steep slope, and singers are constantly climbing up and down it and sometimes even falling off of it as though it is a giant slide.

This obviously requires practise so our Scenic Studio is busy at work creating a rehearsal wall. Construction started two days ago and already the wall is taking shape. We've included some photos below that our friends at the San Diego Scenic St…

Moby-Dick OperaSpotlight is coming

A very cool preview video for OperaSpotlight Moby-Dick that our friends over at UCSD-TV created.


Video Podcast

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Our video podcast series continues. Up this week, putting DON PASQUALE into historical context. You can watch it below.

Enjoy!

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?
The Aria Serious crew will listen to Bellini's Norma. It's been some time since we've heard it and it has been even longer since we've spent time with the excellent Maria Callas recording, which we think might be the best one out there.
If you know of one better, please let us know.
Share your listening plans in the comment section below and please, have a great weekend.

Putting The Barber of Seville in Historical Context

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Our podcast series of putting our four operas in historical context continues with THE BARBER OF SEVILLE. What does this opera have in common with the situational comedies on TV today? Dr. Nic answers all...

A Video Look at MOBY-DICK Auditions

Our friends over at KNSD 7/39 and Voice of San Diego's Behind The Scene Arts blog put together this excellent little preview of MOBY-DICK auditions earlier this week. You think those flips and tumbles are impressive - the floor they are on is concrete with just a thin layer of carpet. We get sore just standing on it.

You can watch it below:


View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com/?__source=embedCode.

A Prelude to a Premiere

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Earlier this week, MOBY-DICK composer Jake Heggie sat down with Ian Campbell to give a generous conversation about his life, composing opera, and, of course, his newest work MOBY-DICK which we will be presenting in February.

UCSD-TV filmed the program which will premiere tonight on tv.

But you can also watch it right now online. And you should. It's a wonderful program full of delightful insights.

Video Podcast - Putting MOBY-DICK into Historical Context

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Our video podcast series of putting our 2012 operas into historical context continues with Moby-Dick. You can watch the podcast below.

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday.

What are you listening to this weekend?

Work will dictate our listening plans this weekend as we spend time with The Barber of Seville and Don Pasquale. Seems best if we reacquaint ourselves with them before the season starts up.

Then we might spend some time with Youth Lagoon's "The Year of Hibernation" which has been getting lots of airplay at the Aria Serious compound.

Share you listening plans in the comment section below and please, make it a good one.

Video Podcast - Putting SALOME into Historical Context

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Our podcasts are back - finally! We had some issue with space on our server but we've finally taken care of this problem. 

For the next few weeks Dr. Nic will be putting our operas into historical context. Up first, SALOME. Which you can watch below.

Please enjoy!

Music Collector Alert - 12/3 Hollywood Amoeba

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Who likes records? We like records! And if you're reading this, we bet you like records too.

Our friends at Amoeba Records in Hollywood have sent us an email letting us know they have purchased a large collection of classical music from a "well known collector." Sounds mysterious!

They'll be putting it out on Saturday, December 3, 2011. Store opens at 10:30 AM

According to Amoeba:

"This unique collection has many thousands of rare Classical CDs and LPs along with many collectible soundtracks. This is without doubt the finest collection of Classical Music that Amoeba Hollywood has ever acquired. We will unveil this collection on Saturday, December 3rd."

They claim to have thousands of titles from rare classical labels, an enormous range of hard-to-find composers with a special emphasis on Romantic and 20th century composers, film composers (this is Hollywood after all) and rare soundtracks on private labels (!!!).


The collection is said to be in mint/near m…

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday!

It sure has been quiet here at Aria Serious. We like to think of it as the calm before the storm. Rest assured, things will pick up in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, we'd like to remind you we're on Facebook - just type "San Diego Opera" into your Facebook search field and "friend" us. We're posting there daily.

We're also tweeting up a storm on Twitter. You can find us there, here.

What are you listening to this weekend?

We're pulling out Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk because we've never heard the entire opera. Seems like as good of time as any.

Share your weekend listening plans down below and please, make it a good one.

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday What are you listening to this weekend?
The Aria Serious crew will give Roberto Devereux a listen. Why? It's been years, maybe a decade since we've heard it. We have the Beverly Sills / Peter Glossop recording on tap.

Then we'll catch a bit of Sezio's 4-Day Weekend concert series. The Sunday concert is looking to be great with Aria Serious favorite Real Estate and Big Troubles on stage.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

Podcast Monday

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Podcast Monday is back although we can't promise if all our podcasts will appear on Mondays. The move to video has proved trickier than we anticipated and these past few weeks we've been getting them up later in the week. But Monday is here and so is this week's podcast - so lets hope all the kinks have been worked on and we can be a bit more consistent on when we share these.

This week, Dr. Nic explores leitmotifs in Salome. It's a good one (since we just got done listening to Salome again over the weekend).

Enjoy!

While You Were Out

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Over the weekend:

- There is a new book on opera and fashion designers. Here's what we had to say about our collaboration with Zandra Rhodes for both The Magic Flute and The Pearl Fishers. And yes, you read it correctly; her Aida will be part of our 2013 season.

- Kate Middleton and Prince Charles have been attending the opera together. We should invite him to Moby-Dick. He is the Prince of Wales...

- This video that appeared late last week on Behind-The-Scene at Voice of San Diego reminds me about this story about Joshua Bell. Both make us kind of sad.

- A series that looks at the logic behind ticket pricing.

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Friday - the end of the work week and time to ask as we always ask, what are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious has a lot going on this weekend so we'll be forced to squeeze in a short one, so we'll go with Salome. It's coming up in our season, it's only about 90-minutes long and it doesn't hurt to listen to it again before the cast starts arriving.

Share your plans below and please stay dry - it is forecast to be a wet one. Well, wet by San Diego standards at least.

Video Podcast: Beginings

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A look at overtures, preludes and beginings in opera. Enjoy!

While You Were Out

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Over the weekend:

- We announced a cast change for Moby-Dick. Ben Heppner, who originated the role in Dallas, will now join us to sing the role of Ahab. We released Jay Hunter Morris to sing a run of Seigfreids at the Met Opera. Also, see below from a message from Jay about not singing with us.

- Having a bad day at work? Us too, until we read about this singer that sang her role in Tosca from a wheelchair 3-days after being robbed and shot.

- Happy Halloween. Why some notes are scarier than others.

- A message from Jay Hunter Morris.

While You Were Out

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What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

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Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?
The Aria Serious crew will be listening to The Daughter of the Regiment. It's coming up in a future season and we're not terribly familiar with it so now seems like a fine time to listen to it. Which future season, you ask? Now that would be telling.
We'll also spend some time with Real Estate's new LP, Days, which is a serious contender for our album of the year.

Share your weekend listening plans below, and please, make it a good one.

This week's podcast

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Occupy Opera. Opera is expensive, but there are ways to make it less expensive. This week Dr. Nic gets cheap and shares how you can attend opera on a 99% budget. And in HD. Finally.

10 Questions With Lise Lindstrom

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Those of you who attended San Diego Opera's performances of Turandot last season will surely remember Lise Lindstrom, the lovely soprano who made her Company debut in the title role - her signature role. We saw and heard a superlative artist with incredible stage presence and stunning vocals. And behind-the-scenes we got to make a new friend who quickly placed herself on the Aria Serious "Awesome List" (oh yes, we have a list) with her humor, intelligence, grace and generosity.

Saying goodbye to Lise after the last performance of Turandot we knew we wouldn't have to wait too long for her return as she'll once again sing the title role in the season opener, Salome.

Lise took time out of her busy schedule to answer our 10 or so questions... and here is what she had to say.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to sing Salome. Audience members are still talking about your Turandot last season and …

While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- Some sad news as the Lyric Opera of San Diego has filed for bankruptcy protection. Dear readers, please support your local opera company, whoever they might be.

- Wikileaks: the opera.

- Beck is preparing a remix Philip Glass remix LP.

- Last week, we said goodbye to a very dear friend and co-worker. Her absence is profound.

- This is a video about what happens when a whale dies, as told by puppets. It's very beautiful. We include it since we have whale on the brain with our upcoming performances of Moby-Dick.


Whale Fall (after life of a whale) from Sharon Shattuck on Vimeo.

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

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Friday is upon us. What are you listening to this weekend?
The Aria Serious crew has a household full of guests so, sadly, there will be no opera on the stereo this weekend. It's hard to find the time to listen to a full opera when others are around.
But next week we'll be listening to Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment. It's coming up in a future season and it's not an opera we're terribly familiar with.

But more on that later.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

Our newest video Podcast

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We apologize for the delay again - we're still smoothing out the edges of these new video podcasts, but our newest one is finally up. This week we take a look at Salome and the cultural and artistic environment of the Expressionist period. Enjoy!




What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?

For some reason the cooler weather made us think of Lucia di Lammermoor, we've heard it a dozen times already though. So, we're going to go French this weekend and listen to Lucie de Lammermoor - we've never heard this version despite owning it for years.

Share your plans in the comment section and please, make it a good one.

Podcast Thursday

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Our apologies - technical difficulties prevented us from getting this up any earlier - but we think the wait was worth it. In this week's video podcast Nic talks about using your ears at the Opera, with a close listen to the role of Rosina in The Barber of Seville. Enjoy.

While You Were Out

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What Are You Listening to This Weekend

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Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?
We're heading up the coast early tomorrow morning to catch one of the last "shows" of Susurrus presented by La Jolla Playhouse at the San Diego Botanic Gardens (formerly Quail Botanic Gardens). This is a site specific theatre piece - it's billed as part radio play, avant-garde sonic art and a walk through the park - all things we like.  We've been told Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream plays a part in this piece.
Thus, our listening plans are kind of already chosen for us - we'll give Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream a full listen after checking this out.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

Updated - We've just been informed that Susurrus has been extended through October 23, 2011.

Opera + Food! Taste of Opera Returns

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We like opera. We like food, too. In fact, these two things are in our top five favorite things ever. So we're very pleased to announce our Taste of Opera events for 2012.
Taste of Opera sprung up during a conversation one hungry meeting when we were trying to make opera more accessible and casual. Our stomach grumbled. We suggested ending the meeting early for lunch. And then someone else suggested lunch and opera, and well, the idea snowballed from there.
Taste of Opera is prix fixe meal. You get an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. You also get a glass of wine - hey, another one of our favorite things. The price also covers tax and tip. You also get a casual introduction to one of our operas by Dr. Nic Reveles, our Director of Education. And if that's still not enough we also line up a secondary speaker for the evening who discusses a related but offbeat topic (we had someone talk about wind energy for Don Quixote a few years back, had a Flamenco instructor for Carmen

Podcast Monday

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Now for something completely different - our first video podcast . You can watch it down below. Let us know what you think; these are works in progress - your comments will help us decide which direction to go.

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Friday is here! What are you listening to this weekend? Please share it in the comment section below.
The Aria Serious crew will have many household visitors this weekend so a full opera is off the menu for this weekend. We'll probably give Nirvana's Nevermind a listen on Saturday however. It came out 20 years ago. This makes us feel very old as we were working in a record store when that album came out and remember it quite well.
Make it a good one.

10 Questions With Danielle de Niese

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Next season San Diego Opera will welcome soprano Danielle de Niese to the Company to sing her first staged Norina in Don Pasquale.
The Aria Serious crew is extra excited about this because we've been big fans of Danielle ever since we caught a glimpse of her in this Youtube video of "Da Tempeste" from Handel's Julius Caesar in Egypt. In it, you not only get to hear an artist of incredible talent, precision and skill, but get to watch someone who is clearly in love with what she is doing. Plus, she has some pretty snazzy dance moves.
After watching this video we sought out her recordings (we do love the Baroque) and have been fans ever since.

So you can imagine our delight when we heard Danielle would be singing with us in 2012. More so, you should've seen the happy dance we did when Danielle agreed to answer a few questions by email last month. Or perhaps not,  our moves are not nearly as good as Danielle's. Needless to say we were excited. Nervous. Dizzy. …

Community Conversations

San Diego Opera is very pleased to announce our Community Conversations for 2012. We started Community Conversations a few years back as a way to get people interested in our production of Nabuccco and they have now grown into an annual series.

Community Conversations is a free, citywide lecture series that explores the various aspects of San Diego Opera’s upcoming season by paring Dr. Nic Reveles (our Director of Education) with a guest speaker and expert who is an expert in their field. These are casual, and fun, and cover a wide variety of thought-provoking topics.

We've posted the complete list of Community Conversations for 2012 down below but we encourage you to visit the official page which you can access here - although these events are free they do require an RSVP, and they do reach capacity well in advance.

In Search of the Whale: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick


September 27, 2011, 7:00 PM

San Diego Maritime Museum, aboard the Berkeley - 1492 North Harbor Drive. San Diego, …

Podcast Monday

Happy Podcast Monday - this week, Dr. Nic explores the operatic tradition of the all-male chorus in Moby-Dick. You can download the podcast here. Enjoy!

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew will give Medea a listen. It's been ages since we've put in on, we don't really remember it at all.

On Saturday we'll head over to Politifest at Liberty Station presented by Voice of San Diego. It's free and sounds like a fun and thought provoking event.

Sunday there is a lovely polo tournament which benefits us and the San Diego Symphony. Tickets are still available and children are free.  You can get them here.

Have a great weekend.

10 Questions with Talise Trevigne

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Earlier this year we had the incredible pleasure of welcoming American soprano Talise Trevigne to our Company as Micaela in the season closer, Carmen. When we said goodbye we knew it wouldn't be for long as she is scheduled to come back and reprise the role of Pip she created for the world premiere of Moby-Dick in Dallas. Talise took a few moments from rehearsing Heggie's Pieces of 9/11 in Houston last week to answer "10 Or So Questions With..."

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to reprise the role of Pip in Moby-Dick. Audiences remember you from your wonderful Company debut last year as Micaela in Carmen. What have you been up to these past few months?


Talise Trevigne (TT): Immediately after returning home to New York, I went into rehearsals for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell at Bel Canto at Caramoor. It was a brilliant show with wonderful colleagues. I sang the role of Tell’s son Jemmy – YES anothe…

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

A bit of business - our offices will be closed today - Friday, September 9, 2011.

And since it is Friday it's time to ask - what are you listening to this weekend? The Aria Serious crew will spend some time with Otello. It's one of our favorite operas and it's been a good few months since we've put it on. Then we'll head up to Hollywood Bowl for The National concert later this weekend.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

10 Questions with Charles Castronovo

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It's been a few years since we've had the delightful American tenor Charles Castronovo sing with us; he made his Company debut as Nadir in The Pearl Fishers in 2008. He recently created the role of Mario opposite Placido Domingo for the world premiere of Il Postino and has been singing  a number of leading roles in Europe as of late. We're very pleased to welcome Charles back as Ernesto in our upcoming production of Don Pasquale. Charles was kind enough to take a few moments to answer our "10 or so Questions with...." while preparing to sing Germont at Vienna State Opera next month.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to sing Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Audiences remember you as Nadir from The Pearl Fishers in 2008. What have you been up to these past few years?

Charles Castronovo (CC): Since being in San Diego last I have been VERY busy..! Of course family life balancing with career is always…

Podcast - In memoriam: Salvatore Licitra

Podcast Monday

This week, Dr. Nic continues his exploration of Opera Buffa with a look at our final opera of the 2012 season, The Barber of Seville.

You can download the podcast here.

While You Were Out

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- Folks, we begin this morning with some very sad news. Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra died yesterday from injuries he sustained 10 days ago in a scooter accident. Salvatore was originally scheduled to sing Don Jose in our production of Carmen last season but had to withdraw to heal a back injury he had sustained from an earlier accident. He was scheduled to make his Company debut in 2013 as Radames in Aida. We have begun the sad task of searching for a replacement. You can read about Salvatore and his death here. You can also read a short statement from his brother about the family's decision to donate his organs to those in need. We only knew Salvatore through emails but his love of life and people came through even then as well as an abundant sense of generosity. Although we're sad to say goodbye, we have a bit of consolation that his organs are now giving life to those in need. He was generous to the very end. Rest in peace.


- Maestro James Levine has withdrawn from the M…

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

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A bit of business - the San Diego Opera offices will be closed Friday through Monday, reopening on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

Which means today is our "Friday" and time to ask, what are you listening to this weekend?
The Aria Serious Crew will give Moby-Dick another go. We're really digging this opera but now that we're over the initial "hey, this is really good" phase we want to study it a bit more.
We'll also catch up on some really good album releases including the flamenco guitar / avant cello LP Barlande by Pedro Soler and Gasper Claus, the resissue of Yellow Ostrich's The Mistress, and we might even get our 80's synth disco on with Blood Orange's Costal Groove
Share your listening plans in the comment section below, and please, make it a good one.

10 Questions with Silvia Tro Santafé

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Summer is coming to an end, so it's time to look at some of the artists who will make up our 2012 season. This means the return of our 10 Questions With...

Up first is the lovely Spanish mezzo soprano Silvia TroSantafé who will make her Company debut as Rosina in our season closer The Barber of Seville.

Silvia specializes in the bel canto repertoire in particular Rossini. Other than bel canto, Ms TroSantafé also focuses on Handel, Mozart, Massenet and 20th century French repertoire.

She took a few minutes from rehearsals in Naples to answer some questions for us. So, without further ado, 10 Questions With Silvia TroSantafé.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome to San Diego Opera! We're very excited to have you making your Company debut with us. Where are you right now and what, if anything, are you
singing?

Silvia TroSantafé (STS): Well, at the moment I am in the middle of rehearsals for Semiramidein Naples singing the role of Arsarce for the first time and having a great tim…

Podcast Monday

In this week's podcast, Dr. Nic takes a look at Opera Buffa and Don Pasquale. If you think Opera Buffa means singing shirtless, then this podcast is for you.

You can download it here. Enjoy!

While We Were Out

- Sad news to start with. The Aria Serious crew came back from vacation this morning to learn that tenor Salvatore Licitra was seriously injured in an accident over the weekend. His condition is listed as "stable, but extremely grave." Licitra was forced to withdraw from our production of Carmen earlier this year due to a back injury. He's scheduled to sing with us as part of our 2013. All of us here at Aria Serious and San Diego Opera wish him a speedy recovery. And dear readers, if you ride scooters or motorcycles, please wear a helmet.

- Moby-Dick had its Australian premiere over the weekend and we have lots of tidbits to share about it:

First, a wonderful and lengthy interview with composer Jake Heggie about the opera, his process and some very candid personal stories.

Then, a nice interview with their (and our) Ahab, Jay Hunter Morris. It's true we originally told him we wanted him to sing the role of the whale.

And still, another preview article about Moby-Dick…

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

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The trend of being closed on Fridays in August continues, making this our "Friday."



So it is time to ask: what are you listening to this weekend?

For the Aria Serious crew we'll be listening to nothing - we're heading into the Sierra backcountry for a week of camping and even our ipod and headphones are an added weight we don't want to carry. Plus we just want to get away from it all.

This means don't expect any updates next week, but we'll be back at the end of the month.

Make it a good one, and please, share your listening plans in the comment section.

Whale Songs and Fatal Attraction

San Diego Opera is very pleased to announce our Community Conversation lecture series for the 2012 season. Six relaxed lectures will focus on Moby-Dick and Salome. Being the science geeks (and scuba divers) that we are here at Aria Serious you can bet we're excited about some of these.

All of these lectures are free and open to the public but do require an RSVP because these venues have capacity caps and these lectures do get full. You can RSVP here. And speaking of venues we have some great ones this year: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, The San Diego Maritime Museum, Congregation Beth Israel and La Jolla Country Day School have all stepped up to provide us space and speakers for these exciting events.

Join us for one, or all. We'll be the giddy one in the front row.

Community Conversation lectures are as follows:

In Search of the Whale: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick
September 27, 2011, 7:00 PM
San Diego Maritime Museum, aboard the Berkeley - 1492…