Christmas Recess....

Christmas Recess sounds like an odd term, but that's what Simpson calls the 32 days between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester.  Today is day 4 of my recess.

Yesterday included some firsts and changes.  I did my first voice lesson with a former student using Skype.  He was in Sweden and I was in my living room at the piano.  It worked perfectly!!!

Trying to be productive, the day continued with me setting up my holiday gift to Tara - a new CycleOps Fluid trainer for her bike.  This will be a big change for her to move from the LeMond recumbent trainer to her own Specialized Roubaix road bike mounted on the CycleOps Fluid trainer.


That included cleaning our basement gym area while I rearranged things to change the configuration of our basement layout while we decide whether or not to keep the LeMond trainer.

Throw in 9 hours of NFL football to that day (a first for me to watch that much football), an hour on the bike for me, and a phone conversation that Tara and I had with a relative who is experiencing a dramatic change in her life - and it was quite a day to say the least of firsts and changes.

In spite of being on "recess", I gave 2 voice lessons on Friday, the Skype lesson yesterday, and will give 2 lessons today as well.  However, Friday was for prospective students, yesterday was a former student, and today will include a former student who is passing through Indianola.  We watched the Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night by Kevin Puts from Minnesota Opera on Friday night.  Wow!  What a great production and piece about the WWI spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans.  For those that missed it, you can watch it at your leisure online here:  http://video.pbs.org/video/2365132185/

Then Zack and I went to see the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast of Falstaff at the Jordan Creek movie theater at noon on Saturday.  Fabulous!!!  Elements of the production reminded me of the one we did in Vienna which was also updated to the 1950's.  A lot of money was thrown at this production and it was worth it.  Great accoustical set, wonderful costumes, ideal lighting, top singers, top stage director, top conductor, etc...all came together for an overall Gestalt that was not to be missed.  The baritone playing Falstaff was one of the best I've ever seen do the role and the quartet of women (Alice, Meg, Nannetta, Quickly) were about as good as it gets vocally and dramatically.  This was the first new production of Falstaff at the MET since 1964, so they were certainly due.  James Levine made it all work musically and marked his first appearance back at the MET in 2 years after health issues kept him away.  Was it worth the $24 per ticket admission price?  You bet!!!

Saturday evening was a dinner party - birthday party, actually - for our friend Gayla.  We had 4 couples over and enjoyed a nice evening of celebration with wonderful cheese, bread, wine, roasted pork, potatoes, roasted vegetables, salad, key lime cake, cookies, coffee and holiday music.

Monday means more cleaning and arranging in the basement today and hopefully the snow tires have arrived so I can have them mounted up on the Element.

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