Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where in the world is Vesselina Kasarova? (Spring 2015)

It's been a long long while since my last Vesselina Kasarova post! Smorg's favorite opera singer (and all around cool gal) has been enjoying a stellar 2015 season, however. She gave a very well received Handel recital in Karlsruhe, Germany, in March, which left fans old and new optimistic for more Baroque concerts in her future.

Vesselina Kasarova & Gerd Grochowski in Herzog Blaubarts Burg at Staadtstheater Wiesbaden. (Foto: Monika & Karl Forster)
And, this past weekend, VK drew scores of rave reviews for her role debut as Judit in Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle at Wiesbaden. More performances of this show are still to come on April 25th and June 10, 14, 21. In the meanwhile, there are the concerts of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in Stuttgart, Berlioz's La mort de Cleopatre in Basel, a Rossini concert in Basel, an Offenbachiade in Heidenheim, and more role debut as Handel's Solomon (in a concert performance) at St Michaelis in Hamburg. I'm tellin' ya'. It's an exciting time to be a Kasarova-fan!

Her unofficial updated schedule can be found on the Kasarova Schedule page, of course. And if you know of any performance date that isn't listed, please feel free to let me know! (Leave a comment... or email the addy on the side-bar).

On another note, I'm afraid Lincoln Center didn't like that I had posted the commercially not-available video broadcast of The Ballad of Baby Doe from the since defunct NYCO on Youtube and flagged them for copyright violation. There being multiple videos (I could only post 15 minute long clips then) of that show, it instantly caused the deletion of my channel, which, unfortunately, also meant that most of the Kasarova Youtube clips went down with that ship. I'm in the process of re-uploading the non-commercial stuff... but it'll take a while.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bancroft Rock House & Bancroft Ranch House Museums in Spring Valley

I was easy spinning home on my road bike from a group ride down in Bonita a few weekends ago on the inland route through La Presa and Spring Valley when I happened to look right into a narrow lane off Kenwood Dr and spotted a rather magnificent looking stone house that, despite there being no sign around pointing to one, had got to be some sort of a historical structure. What to do but to veer in to investigate?

Bancroft Rock House Museum.
St James Ct is a nondescript dirt lane and skirts by a fenced in park that I suddenly recognized as the spring that gave Spring Valley its name. I was on the east side of the Bancroft Ranch House museum and the stone structure that perched on the high ground above it is the Bancroft Rock House, an unmanned museum on the ground of Bancroft County Park with wide dirt parking lot and lots of information boards and even an automated voice-box curator, so to speak.

The spring that gave Spring Valley its name.
It's pretty cool in a rather impersonal way. After a while I decided to scoot around the corner to 9050 Memory Ln to see if the Bancroft Ranch House Museum was open (I had stopped by there a few times before and it was always closed). This time, I was in luck! A local couple was unlocking the gate as I rolled in. They turned out to be past presidents of the Spring Valley Historical Society, the keeper of the museum!

Bancroft Ranch House Museum.

The Bancroft Ranch House Museum doesn't get many visitors, though, so they were quite pleased that I decided to look in and made me feel quite at home while one scooted off to look for the resident groundkeeper, the walking encyclopedia of all things Spring Valley by the name of Mr Jim Van Meter. The Ranch House Museum is not affiliated with the Bancroft County Park & the Rock House Museum next door. It is a community run place manned by volunteers with a passion for local history and preservation. A wonderful place to visit between 1-4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
It's a well preserved ranch house with lots of artifacts and stories to be told.
I even got this nice tote bag for a souvenir!
I only meant to drop in for a quick look around before scooting on home, but ended up staying for over two hours and had a lovely time chatting and hanging out with Mr Van Meter and other volunteers who dropped in to deposit stuff for the upcoming fundraiser sale.

Spring Valley Historical Society's friendly volunteers at the Bancroft Ranch House.
Thanks a bunch, guys and gals, I had the best visit and will definitely come back again!