Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
May 08, 2014 | 607 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ONE EXAMPLE of progress Dallas has made in modern times can be seen in the newly arrived Dallas Opera catalogue for 2014-2015.

It outlines an interesting season of old favorites (La Boheme, The Marriage of Figaro), lesser-known works by famous composers, such as Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Richard Straus’ Salome.

An unusual double bill pairs La Wally, a short opera by Alfredo Catalini with another short one, Everest, set in that mountain area and being offered as a world premiere.

It is the first opera written by British composer John Talbot.

Through the wonders of today’s shrinking world, a person of my advanced age can claim to speak four languages: English, Spanish, French and Chinese.

I studied Spanish in high school and college, took up French on my own, and the Chinese? I have to admit that’s a stretch.

MY TEACHER in a private Gilmer kindergarten many years ago had just returned from China, where she was a Christian missionary. She taught her young charges to sing Bringing in the Sheaves in Chinese. Ask me to sing it for you some time and I will gladly comply.

Though there is no direct connection, I am reminded of the opera Tannenbaum.

This is the name of a fir tree (Die Tanne) or Christmas tree (der Weihnachtsbaun).

The qualities of this evergreen have inspired the composition of several Tannenbaum songs in German over the years.

THE BEST KNOWN version was penned in 1824 by a Leipzig organist named Ernst Anschütz. The melody is an old folk tune. The first known “Tannenbaum” song lyrics date back to 1550.

A similar 1615 song by Melchior Franck (1573-1639) goes in part:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,

wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Du grünst nicht nur

  zur Sommerzeit,

Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

My German is so deficient that I can only translate the last line, “in winter, when it snows.”

There are all sorts of people worthy of admiration. Very high on my list are those, very unlike yours truly, who actually speak several languages fluently.
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