My last live impromptu performance took place on Nov 10 in Deir El Bahari, at the Queen Hatshepsut Temple. It was a dream come true – I grew up with images from Egypt, when the slides sent by my father were projected onto the wall of our living room for family and friends every time a fresh roll of film arrived. They mostly showed the desert, the tombs, the temples, but occasionally my Dad was in the picture. I kissed the place on the wall where his image appeared. I missed him so much! I was too little to go there while he worked at the Temple – my older brother went – but dad promised to take me there one day. He died before fulfilling his promise.
The day came in the middle of the pandemic. In November, when I was in Poland and my flight back to the US got canceled my first thought was – this is the time to go to Egypt! Low prices, low Covid-19 infection rates and no tourists! I needed to do a test before getting on the plane. I grabbed my Hela doll and went.
You can see Hela’s adventures on her Facebook page. She had a good time although got covered in desert dust!
On the third day from the arrival I made it to the Queen Hatshepsut Temple and sang “O patria mia” from Aida for our little touring group, on the upper courtyard, in front of the wall with niches that my father helped reconstruct. I was just warned by the head of the Polish archeological team not to be too loud… I could not sing in my full voice but still a few people cried. I got hugs from the Temple’s guardians. It was not wise maybe, but nothing bad happened. Apparently the virus doesn’t do well in the desert.
The trip was full of wonders. I got the best Christmas shopping in years – no known brands, just the local cosmetics, perfumes and art. No one got sick. I feel the whole trip was engineered by my dad from “above” and so it had to go well!
The world has changed a lot in the last months. I had only 4 performances this year, including a very clandestine house concert in Poland. Time to rethink my musical path and this blog. Maybe it will disappear, maybe it will become something else, with a different name since I might not be able to stay in Bernal Heights much longer and my lovely music studio will become a rental unit. But change can also be mobilizing. After this trip my mind is full of new ideas…
Merry Christmas and lots of Health in the New Year!
I’ve been neglecting this blog because lots has been going on. I was in Poland for Christmas, where on December 30th I signed a book deal for the Polish version of my novel, Hela.It will be in bookstores in September.
What will the world be in September? Because of the coronavirus everything seems shaken up. Will the airplanes fly? Will the borders be open? Will the concerts resume? Some days ago SF Ballet canceled all shows, I can only imagine what this year will mean for the performing arts. SF Conservatory of music holds student concerts online. Will everything end up there? (here)
I was lucky to sing a few events earlier this year. In Poland a Carnival concert organized by my first teacher Krystyna Wysocka-Kochan, singing The Phantom of the Opera Duet with my favorite partner, Maciek Buczyński.
Then, straight out of the plane, I went to the National Association of Teachers’ of Singing Conference in Hayward. Met some nice people and attended a great recital by Dr. Julia Nielsen . Her performance, which featured pieces about animals had been not just beautifully sang but also superbly acted.
I sang in Teachers’ Recital. This year the theme was Women Composers so I chose “Villanelle” by Eva dell’Acqua, a high coloratura piece.
Finally last Saturday in San Jose 14th Night With A Muse, organized by singer songwriter Ania Miakisz. Always good to be there, warm welcome and, in addition to the singing, a salsa lesson!
I sang three solos from “Evita”. This took me back to really ancient times when I reviewed its Polish production for a radio station. I was then blown away by the performance of Maria Meyer, from Teatr Rozrywki in Chorzów (Silesia)! The part is kind of low for my voice but was thrilled to inhabit the formidable character of Eva Peron even in a few songs…
Next gig scheduled on April 4 but the way things are going nothing is certain… I am grateful for all these opportunities that have been coming.
This Sunday Sept 29th! Door opens at 2.00 PM; singing demo, tea, cookies, chitchat! You can ask any question about any singing style, high notes, low notes, meet new people… Rain or shine, free, no need to sign up for lessons. RSVP if you can make it!
This documentary of truly operatic proportions premiered yesterday in Los Angeles, at the County museum of Art and will air on Netflix on December 21. Szukalski’s art was monumental, symbolic and of extraordinary technical skill; it was a special treat to watch it on a big screen. The movie takes us literally inside his surviving sculptures and the creator’s psyche. Once renowned on both sides of the Atlantic, then almost completely forgotten, Stanislaw Szukalski is getting rediscovered thanks to his relationship with DiCaprio family and a group of LA artists who preserved his archive and recorded video footage of him in the last years of his life. The movie takes as through over eight decades of his life, following the course of 20th century, with its ideological madness and destructive forces of war.
I don’t want to give any spoilers or even post a trailer – enough to say I watched the live audience laugh, gasp and get moved as the story unfolds, as the striking images emerge from the darkness and invade our senses with their expressive power and as we discover the not always pretty aspects of the working of a great creative mind. How is it possible that a genius in one sphere can be totally deluded in another? By filtering off all the “dos” and “don’ts” of the society Szukalski manages to keep his art totally original but the same principle leads to his isolation and to ideas that he later abandoned. It is a credit to the producers that after finding out saddening facts about their old friend’s past they decided to present his story anyway. In the days where lessons from World War II seem to fade away and extreme nationalism is again on the rise Szukalski’s story can be seen as a reminder and a warning.
Beautifully shot and narrated, great music. Must see!