Shirley Verrett – Artistic Versatility at its Penultimate Best

When Shirley Verrett switched fachs from mezzo-soprano to soprano much of the opera world didn’t know what to think since hardly ever did a singer make such a drastic transition while still in their vocal prime. One can only assume the constant hemming and hawing from those associated with such a pristine art form that got shaken up over the slightest bit of change must have worn out La Verrett over time. I made this presumption after walking along the fountained plaza of Lincoln Center one day in the late 1980’s to see banners being newly put on display along the cultural center’s entire perimeter which stated in big bold letters:

“SHIRLEY VERRETT – SINGER”

To which I murmured aloud, “What vocal coglioni!”
(If you’re not sure what that foreign word means, good.)

Through those simply worded banners, Shirley Verrett was telling every nay-sayer in the classical world in no uncertain terms to Fach Off.

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Brad Kronen’s Astrological Dating Guide “Love in the Stars” Now Individually Tailor Made for each Zodiacal Sign!

  Happy Autumn, Everyone! It’s the first week of October and for many of us this time of year is a reminder to begin motivating ourselves in preparation for a particular seasonal activity – Christmas Shopping! Brad thought he would ease some of the potential Yuletide pressure by letting everyone know his astrological dating guide […]

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Gone with the Wind: An Astrological Work of Art, Part I, Aries – Cancer

The film which won the Academy Award for “Best Motion Picture” for the year 1939 was based on a novel by the same name. Nearly everyone who read the tale by the life-long Atlanta native, Margaret Mitchell presumed “Gone with the Wind” was a fictionalized historical novel which focused on the Civil War Era. Few realize the one and only work published by Mitchell is also an astrological piece as well, where astrology is subtly interwoven throughout the story’s plot.

It is the astrological dynamics brought to life through the relationships established by the story’s cast of characters that make this film truly great, despite the novel’s historical inaccuracies and naively idealistic perspective about the antebellum South.

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Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi, Part VII

Even the Maestro, himself, was star struck when it came to artistic greatness. In fact, Giuseppe Verdi was so thoroughly well versed in this one man’s artistry, it’s not a stretch to say the Father of Italian Opera could very well have been one of his biggest fans.

This hyper-fandom is evidenced by the Maestro not only having read each and every one of this man’s numerous works, he did so repeatedly. This famed personality was so revered by the composer, a special term of endearment was reserved for him whenever Verdi used the word “Pappa”. Giuseppe Verdi held this man’s genius in such high regard, the Maestro took four of his complete works and set them each to music.

I can only be referring to that 17th century British actor whom many consider to be the greatest writer of the English language and whose plays are as timely today as when they were when originally written some 500 years ago – the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

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Richard Strauss – A Most Mercurial Life

Richard Strauss is considered by most music historians to be one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century by virtue of his compositions of symphonic music, opera, tone poems, and lieder or art songs. His musical contributions have been interpreted as both ground-breakingly shocking through his use of dissonance and morally defiant choices of subject matter to the most beautifully sublime.

However, there are those who greatly downplay the influence of the German composer’s work based on actions he took which many interpret on the surface to have been made by a blatant hypocrite and/or weak willed opportunist. Among the musical elite of the present day there are a choice few in Strauss’ field that cannot reconcile the Mercurial composer’s actions with his art.  Their argument being deeply rooted in the following moral dilemma:

Should a person’s art be praised and appreciated unto itself despite that person’s actions being interpreted as a willingness to overlook the overt displays of evil that took place over the course of his or her lifetime?

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Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka: Life is but a Same Signed Dream

In the Foreward section of my book about Astrology and Relationships in the 21st century, “Love in the Stars” I reveal my personal take on same sign dating. To quote myself:

“As far as dating your own sign, there are a few exceptions (actually, just 1) but a good rule of thumb when considering dating another who is the same sign as your sexy self: Look at it as dating your own gene pool – would you date your cousin?”

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Brad Kronen’s Welcome to the Zodiac Series: Gemini

Gemini is the first representative of the element of Air which utilizes the functions of the rational mind as its primary tool to get through life. Not surprisingly, the foundation behind this most mentally agile of signs’ key phrase is rationally based – “I THINK”.

Mix all that mutably mental material up and you have the makings of a Gemini with a razor sharp mind kept forever young by approaching each day as a chance to learn something new about the world or on the unevolved side of the dualistic fence, a Twin born person being the perpetual motor mouth whose non-stop babble reflects just how much they actually know of a whole lot of nuthin’ .

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Beneath the Surface – The Cancerian Camera of Ringo Starr, Part I

The Funny one. The Last one. The Fourth one.

These are some of the various nicknames that have been tagged onto the personage of Ringo Starr, former drummer and part time vocalist for the band that many regard to be the most influential group in rock history – The Beatles.

Being a Beatles aficionado myself, I’ll be the first to admit the Water signed members of The Fab Four got the short end of the stick when it came to the band’s overall global popularity and international fandom. True to their astrological elements, the Watery duo of Ringo the homey Cancerian and George the humble Piscean quietly took an emotionally sensitive back seat to the non-stop jet stream of verbal communication and creatively rich ruminations that emanated from the Air signed duo of Libran John Lennon and Gemini Paul McCartney.

Despite the majority of the Free World waiting with anxious anticipation over every thought and utterance that came from the powerhouse pair of Lennon & McCartney during the height of the band’s popularity, the watery members of the Fab Four seemed content simply in being exactly just that.

However among the Beatle obsessed, it’s inherently understood The Fab Four didn’t become a musical religion in their own right due to Ringo and George meekly shutting up, looking pretty, and playing their respective instruments whenever needed. Both Water signed mop tops were crucial contributors to the Beatles’ stratospheric success by ways that were indicative of their shared astrological element of Water.

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