SAN JOSE — The Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues sent the Sharks in all alone on a breakaway with a stretch pass through the neutral zone. Instead of burying a golden opportunity, the Sharks fumbled the puck and let it slip away.Despite losing five straight games heading into Monday’s clash with the Detroit Red Wings at SAP Center, the Sharks received a chance to pull to within four points of first place in the Western Conference after the Kings defeated the top-seeded Calgary Flames. …
Kelebogile Boikanyo and Aubrey Lodewyk play the parts of lovers Musetta the singer and Marcello the painter in Opera Africa’s production of La Bohème. (Image: Opera Africa) Sandra and Hein de Villiers’s passion for opera has led them to mortgage their house to fund a production – not once, but twice.Sandra is the CEO of Opera Africa, the company she started in 1994 “with the vision of fostering new audiences for opera that were previously excluded from enjoying this genre, and to promote talented young soloists and choristers”. Hein has been Opera Africa’s artistic director since 1995. Like his wife, he brought with him a distinguished track record from more than two decades in music education, as both teacher and administrator.Together with a band of similarly committed individuals – and, of course, some extremely talented performers, directors and visual artists – the pair have been the driving force behind staging a host of operas in South Africa over the last 15 years, including such favourites as Carmen, Faust, La Traviata and Aida.The name of the company is usefully ambiguous; inserting different prepositions between the words “Opera” and “Africa” gives you some idea of both its ambitions and successes. For starters, there is the slightly contentious question of opera in Africa – does a Eurocentric high-art form such as opera have a place in post-apartheid South Africa?Well, yes. First, there are musical and aesthetic strong affinities between opera and South Africa’s well-established choral tradition. Second, in an era of unprecedented globalisation and migration of cultures, there is little value in essentialising what it means to be “African” or “European”.A fine example of such hybridisation is, in fact, Opera Africa’s Princess Magogo – the first full opera sung entirely in isiZulu. First staged in 2000, this is an opera about Africa, depicting the life and times of one of the Usuthu-Buthelezi dynasty’s most famous daughters, herself a renowned composer and singer, with a score by Mzilikazi Khumalo and libretto by Themba Msimang.Princess Magogo and the company’s other productions have appeared across South Africa, in major urban centres as well as in more remote rural areas – opera for Africa, one might say. But they have also toured internationally, in cities as far afield as Chicago, Amsterdam and Oslo, demonstrating that there is such a thing as opera from Africa.Opera Africa’s latest enterprise is La Bohème, which will run at the State Theatre in Pretoria in March 2010 before moving to the Joburg Theatre Complex in Johannesburg in April. (The company has established a good working relationship with these two major Gauteng theatres since relocating from Durban six years ago.)La Bohème is, after Madama Butterfly, the most popular work by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. Based on Henri Murger’s novel, Scenes from Bohemia, the opera is set in 19th-century Paris and centres on the love affair between Mimi, a seamstress, and Rodolfo, a poet.Over the course of its 110-year performance history, La Bohème has contributed substantially to the modern archetype of the poor artist, struggling in a freezing garret to create immortal works of art but also finding ways to indulge in bouts of hedonism. This archetype has had more recent manifestations in, for instance, the Broadway musical Rent or Baz Luhrman’s film Moulin Rouge.The themes of poverty and illness have obvious echoes in contemporary South African society. While previous Opera Africa productions have foregrounded such similarities by presenting “African” settings, however, the artistic team behind La Bohème have chosen not to do so here. Instead, the production will be “an exquisitely imagined period piece” taking for granted that the “universal and timeless themes” of Puccini’s opera will resonate with local audiences.Andrew Verster, who has worked with Opera Africa as set and costume designer on numerous occasions, will again weave his visual magic, and Themi Venturas, whose Opera Africa repertoire includes Princess Magogo and the 2007 Opera Extravaganza, will direct the stage action.Musically, the production promises to be of the highest standard. Conductor Timothy Myers, who has previously worked with orchestras in New York and London, will have the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra under his baton. And the company has recruited a formidable group of divas and divos to give voice to the lead roles.Soprano Hanli Stapela, joining Opera Africa for the first time, brings an international reputation to her reprisal of Mimi’s tragic story. Tenor Stéfan Louw, who has likewise been widely acclaimed for his performances in previous productions of La Bohème, will portray the equally unfortunate Rodolfo.Two rising stars of the South African opera scene, Kelebogile Boikanyo and Aubrey Lodewyk – both products of the Tshwane University of Technology’s vocal arts programme – will sing the parts of Musetta and Marcello, the singer and painter whose tempestuous on-off relationship mirrors that of Mimi and Rodolfo. Otto Maidi completes a quintet of bohemian characters as Colline, the philosopher. Veteran bass Rouel Beukes will contribute his idiosyncratic combination of gravitas and levity to two roles: Benoit, Rodolfo’s landlord, and Alcindoro, the wealthy government minister who fancies Musetta.And it’s worth mentioning that the production is sponsored by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund – so Sandra and Hein won’t need to mortgage their house again.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Little to no rain this week has accelerated crop maturity and provided opportunities for fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.4 days available for fieldwork for the week ending September 25th . The hot and dry weather promoted the drying of the corn crop. Condition rating for crops and pastures remained steady. The moisture content for corn harvested over the week averaged 21 percent, and soybean moisture average 14 percent. The window for silage harvest neared the end.Read the full report here
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Program has launched “Women in Ag,” an online survey that aims to gauge the goals, aspirations, achievements and needs of women in American agriculture in a variety of areas.All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supportive of agriculture in other ways are invited to participate in the survey at fb.org/women. Respondents must reside in the United States. Farm Bureau membership is not required to participate.“This comprehensive survey asks women in-depth questions about how they are connected to agriculture and what leadership skills they think are most important today, as well as the top business challenges they’re facing,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We are seeking input from all women involved in agriculture — not just Farm Bureau members — for this survey,” Saylor said.Data collected from respondents will be used to gauge trends related to the achievements of women in agriculture, including leadership positions, business successes and election to public office. Results from the survey are slated for release in the fall and will add to findings gleaned from a similar survey conducted in 2014.The AFB Women’s Leadership Committee is sponsoring the survey and is working with other farm and agriculture organizations to encourage participation. Participants will be entered to receive one of five $100 gift cards after the survey closes on June 21.
Every once in a while, a piece of gear comes out that threatens to change everything. In this case, it’s ARRI’s new Orbiter.Nothing excites me more than seeing significant advancements in the lighting field. Cameras are constantly getting updates, but in the grand scheme of things, most cameras already look cinematic, offer good slow motion, and shoot in 4K or higher.To me, the lighting field is where truly cinematic images begin — and where the advancements are most apparent. Just look at the way the Quasar changed the lighting landscape, creating an entire style of music video lighting altogether.This week, ARRI announced the Orbiter. It’s appropriately named, because it looks like something straight out of the latest Sci-Fi movie. The Orbiter, to say the least, looks sick.In some regards, this light represents the first lighting unit that I would firmly say can do anything. It can be a leko light, it can be a softbox, it can be a fresnel, it can hook up to other lights via ethernet — and you can control it wirelessly via DMX on your iPad. It can automatically gauge the light in the room and change seamlessly to varying degrees of brightness and color temperature. It can do many things.Key Features:Variety of optics, including open face, projection, dome, and light banksARRI Spectra six-color, wide-gamut light engineExtremely powerful output for maximum brightness and perfect colorsLighting Operating System (LiOS) with powerful software featuresWeatherproof housingIntegrated color sensor for matching ambient lightRemovable, intuitive control panelFull suite of connectors and sensorsPerfected smooth dimming to zeroInternal power supply, wireless DMX, and battery inputOne thing that I initially thought about this release was how it almost seems like ARRI’s version of many the things that Aputure announced at NAB this last year. Also, the addition of the quick change optics system reminds me quite a lot of the 120 and 300d lighting units (though, this light doesn’t feature a bowens mount like the others, requiring proprietary ARRI modifiers). The Orbiter is obviously a higher-end model, which means a higher price-tag, but these features seem to mirror much of what Aputure is now and will soon be offering.The Orbiter definitely has quite a few impressive tricks up its sleeve. Here are the ones I’m most excited about.Quick Lighting MountARRI has developed a new Quick Lighting Mount system for the Orbiter. Unlike some other products on the market, this system does not involve a bowens mount; rather, it includes their new QLM (quick-lighting mount). This means that if you want to use various modifiers, you’ll need to purchase them from ARRI.So far, this system seems to involve an open face option, a projection lens option (similar to a source four leko), a dome option, and an adapter to allow for soft banks (similar to a chimera system).ARRI Spectra Light EngineARRI units have always impressed with the quality of the light they create. This unit represents a leap ahead of the competition in this regard. ARRI Spectra is a six-color light engine. According to the product pageIncluding a red, green, blue, amber, cyan, and lime LED, the ARRI Spectra six-color light engine translates into a wider color gamut, more accurate colors, and most importantly, higher color rendition across the entire CCT range.This results in an unprecedentedly high CRI of about 98. This engine also includes a color sensor mode, which will read the ambient color surrounding the fixture and match the color with complete accuracy. It can also accurately render colors from 2,000 to 20,000 kelvin.This is the future of lighting — LED lights with high output and nearly flawless color rendition.Fully Waterproof HousingWhile there are certainly more technical specs that are impressive about this light, this one for some reason really catches my attention.This light is fully waterproof. The fact that a light with this much technical capability, output, and everything else can also operate it in any scenario, including rain, is just incredible. This light just seems like the answer to any lighting situation.I think this light represents a shift (that I think other companies had already started) in the lighting industry. LED lighting has now shifted from being a competitor to more traditional lighting styles (HMI or Tungsten) and is now creating a class of lighting all its own. In 5 years or less, HMI or tungsten units may be a thing of the past on the majority of movie sets.We’ll see.Cover image via ARRI.Looking for more on film and video gear? Check out these articles.Top Equipment Investments for Working FilmmakersThe Video Camera Trends Currently Re-Shaping the IndustryIs Autofocus Finally Ready to Take The Filmmaking Field?Aputure Releases a New Spotlight Mount AttachmentLumix S1H: Panasonic’s First 6K Mirrorless Camera Is Here