Archive for January, 2006

Tak Hing Street

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006


Tak Hing Street
Originally uploaded by angus mcdiarmid.

The side streets in Kowloon are all festooned with signs like these. I was there in the daytime, but I prefer this dramatic nighttime shot.

Flower Market

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006


Flower Market
Originally uploaded by angus mcdiarmid.

Wish I’d taken this, but someone else did. I was on Nathan Road in Kowloon today and saw plenty of shops like this. I felt shy about snapping people’s pictures on a busy street, though. Thanks, Angus!

The Hong Kong Academy

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006


HKAPA2
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

I took this photo in the garden outside the administrative offices at HKAPA (which are behind the windows at the bottom of the photo). The dramatic gridwork above is the exterior of the main building, which has seven floors of theaters, studios and support facilities, arranged around an inner atrium. It’s an impressive, memorable facility which you can take a virtual tour of if you visit the school’s site and click on the link for “Virtual Tour.”

HK tappers work on their shim-sham

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006


HK tappers
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

It was a busy day for the Musical Theatre Programme Review team at HKAPA. Our day began with a roundtable discussion with current students and alumni. We observed three classes, including this tap class taught by an alum of the program. After a lunch of Singapore noodles at a nearby Malaysian restaurant, we returned for meetings with the musical theater faculty and the deans of dance, music and drama, followed by a “command performance” of songs and dances given by the 3rd and 4th year students. Keith Hawley’s choreography for their “Tribute to Frank Sinatra” was absolutely smashing, and the students executed it with brio (or whatever the Asian equivalent of brio is). After a final executive summary with the Director of the Academy, I adjourned to a nearby restaurant for a couple of pints of Foster’s Lager and some well-deserved chill-out time. The asssessors assessed, and it was good! Tomorrow – Victoria Peak, the Star Ferry and assorted sightseeing.

Singing actors warm up at HKAPA

Monday, January 9th, 2006


Warmup
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

These young dance students were coached by their voice teacher to be physically expressive as they warmed up – shades of SAVI!

Morning T’ai Chi

Monday, January 9th, 2006


Morning T’ai Chi
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

From my window at the Harbour View International House, I watched these Hong Kong residents in their morning ritual.

The view at the end of the journey

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

The Harbour view.JPG
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

I walked out of my house in South Philly at 5:15 am on Saturday morning, and 26 hours later, I was looking at this view from the window of a Hong Kong hotel room. The journey was, for the most part, tedious beyond endurance, especially the flight from Chicago to HK, 14 hours on a flight where every seat was filled and the legroom in economy class was a little shorter than my leg. Read, write, doze, writhe, eat, repeat ad lib. But the airport in HK is brand spankin’ new and really gorgeous, and the city itself, even at first glance, is breathtaking. Much to remind one of London at first – driving on the left hand side, road signs and roundabouts in UK style. My hotel and the school are located in a district that’s recently seen some major high-end development, so everything is grand and pretty much spotless. But you don’t have to walk far – just a block or two – before it starts to feel like Chinatown – garish neon signs for restaurants and clubs with little old ladies out front beckoning me to check out the sexy girls. Odd reminders of home – 7-Eleven convenience stores, McDonalds (of course), Starbucks (of course – first thing you spot as you ascend the airport escalator in the main concourse). Click on the photo to go to Flickr and look at today’s other pix – only few but I bet there’ll be more tomorrow!

Stritch – A Role Model for Singers?

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Surfing the web, I found some comments by Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times to be of particular interest to students of singing. Praising the cabaret act that Elaine Stritch is currently presenting at the Cafe Carlyle, he tells an amusing anecdote about conductor James Levine’s admiration for La Stritch and then goes on to explain that what makes her performance so remarkable

“has little to do with the quality of her vocalism. Her sound may be raw and patchy, her pitch may be approximate, but her cabaret show is a vivid reminder that, in essence, song is musicalized speech. Words come first in her artistry. She knows how to put lyrics across, how to deliver a song. In the ruminative “I Think I Like You” (music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse), you sense Ms. Stritch pondering her feelings with each new phrase, as if searching for the words to express them at that moment.

Her silences between phrases – when she holds a thought and hardly moves – are riveting. They reminded me of the way Maria Callas used to sing stretches of dramatic recitative as Bellini’s Norma, making the silences as gripping as the arrestingly sung phrases. Of course, Ms. Stritch could not have taken such interpretive liberties were it not for the attentive playing of her excellent six-piece band, directed by the stylish pianist Rob Bowman.

Opera singers, who can become obsessed with technique, should read the letters of Mozart, who was always directing singers in his operas to ‘think carefully of the meaning and force of the words.'”

The idle brain…

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Day by Night
Originally uploaded by Shek Graham.

…is the devil’s playground, or so sez Professor Harold Hill. Meanwhile, idleness seems to be the ideal condition for blogging, so if it provides me with a little diversion, I figure a little squandered bandwidth is a small price to pay. All of which has little to do with the adjoining picture, which makes my current destination look cool as all-get-out.

On the way to HK

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Market Lights
Originally uploaded by Shek Graham.

Sitting in Chicago O’Hare airport, I’m browsing other flickr photos of my destination. The excitement and the anticipation is almost sufficient to offset the boredom of a 3-hour layover followed by 14 hours of imprisonment in a steel tube. Hope to have some photos of my own to post here soon!