Fats Waller: Born May 21, 1904

Waller, Fats (21 May 1904-15 Dec. 1943), jazz and popular pianist, singer, and songwriter, was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City, the son of Edward Martin Waller, a Baptist preacher, and Adeline Lockett. From age six Waller was devoted to the piano but initially failed to practice properly or learn to read music well, because he could memorize lessons immediately. In his youth he also played reed organ in church. He studied piano, string bass, and violin at P.S. 89, which he attended to about age fourteen or fifteen. Although his girth had earned him a nickname by this time, the names Thomas and Fats appeared interchangeably (and sometimes together, as Thomas “Fats” Waller) in his professional work until at least 1931. Later in his career, and posthumously, the nickname prevailed.

Intermittently from 1919 into the mid-1920s he played organ at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem. After his mother’s death in 1920, he moved in with the family of pianist Russell Brooks, who introduced Waller to James P. Johnson. Upon discovering that Waller had learned “Carolina Shout” from Johnson’s piano roll, Johnson offered Waller piano lessons and in turn introduced him to Willie “the Lion” Smith, whom Waller replaced at Leroy’s saloon. Johnson, Smith, and Waller became the leading figures in the jazz style that came to be called stride piano, and through the decade their improvisational competitions were a fixture of Harlem rent parties.
http://www.anb.org/articles/18/18-01201.html

Woody Herman: Born May 16, 1913

A fine swing clarinetist, an altoist whose sound was influenced by Johnny Hodges, a good soprano saxophonist, and a spirited blues vocalist, Woody Herman’s greatest significance to jazz was as the leader of a long line of big bands. He always encouraged young talent and, more than practically any bandleader from the swing era, kept his repertoire quite modern. Although Herman was always stuck performing a few of his older hits (he played “Four Brothers” and “Early Autumn” nightly for nearly 40 years), he much preferred to play and create new music.
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/woody-herman-mn0000958076/biography

Artist Birthday Quiz for 5/7~

What court painter and tapestry designer later focused most of his activities on designing tapestries and stained glass, including windows for the Brussels Cathedral?

What abstract painter was also a singer who auditioned for the New York City Opera and became a success as a dramatic soprano?

Answers here~ https://schristywolfe.com/2015/05/07/may-7/

Rudolph Valentino: Born May 6, 1895

While in New York during the spring of 1923, Rudolph Valentino paid a visit to the Brunswick studios and recorded two songs. El Relicario in Spanish and The Kashmiri Song in English. According to legend, Valentino recorded these songs for his new bride, Natacha Rambova since they had recently wed after a few very tense years of legal difficulties concerning Valentino’s divorce from Jean Acker.
It was reported that after he heard his voice, he quipped “There goes my opera career!
http://www.rudolph-valentino.com/rv-voice.htm

Richard D’Oyly Carte: Born May 3, 1844

Richard D’Oyly Carte, born 1844, died 1901; was theatrical manager of the Royalty Theatre, London, where Trial by Jury was produced in 1875, when he became the originator and promoter of a scheme for English “comedy-opera,” of which the first-fruit was The Sorcerer, brought out at the Opéra Comique, London, on November 17, 1877. H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and Patience followed at the same theatre, under the same auspices. In October, 1881, Patience was transferred to the Savoy Theatre, which Richard D’Oyly Carte had built specially for the production of Gilbert-Sullivan pieces, and of which he remained the owner and director, at the same time owning and directing numerous travelling companies both in the British provinces and in America. In January, 1891, he opened, in Cambridge Circus, London,–with Sullivan’s Ivanhoe specially written for the occasion–the English Opera House, of which he had been the projector, but which, in December, 1892, was re-christened the Palace Theatre, and later devoted, under other management, to “variety” performances. D’Oyly Carte himself wrote the music for two dramatic pieces entitled Dr. Ambrosias, his Secret (1887) and Maria (1871).
http://www.theatrehistory.com/british/richard_doyly_carte_001.html

(Click images to enlarge)

Richard D’Oyly Carte~  http://www.gsarchive.net/carte/burleigh.html

Savoy Hotel~  http://www.fairmont.com/savoy-london/hotelhistory/

Savoy Theatre~  http://grimsdyke.com/savoy-theatre-home-gilbert-sullivan/

Victoria and Albert Museum D’Oyly Carte Archive~ https://www.vam.ac.uk/

Savoy Scaffolding etching by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), D’Oyly Carte was a strong supporter of Whistler and a close friend.

“Breathtakingly Detailed Large-Format Photographs of Opera Houses Around the World”

operahouse

Photographer David Leventi captures opera houses all over the world in breathtaking detail in his series Opera. Leventi uses large-format photography to ensure the detail of rich texture and light in his work.
http://laughingsquid.com/breathtakingly-detailed-large-format-photographs-of-opera-houses-around-the-world/

http://www.davidleventi.com/portfolio/opera/1/thumbs

Saluting Sergeant Pepper

Good Music Speaks

Abbey Road Studios Abbey Road Studios

Recently, the busy folks at Google made available an online tour of the famed Abbey Road Studios.  Anyone with internet access can go online and see inside the place where some of the most famous recordings were made.   The building at 3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, City of Westminster, London was originally a townhouse.  It was already 100 years old when it was converted into a recording studio by the Gramophone company in 1931.  The list of artists who have recorded at Abbey Road Studios is extremely long, but by far the most famous group to work there is the Beatles.

Tour Abbey Road Studios on Google.

There is hardly a hearing person on the planet that needs any introduction to the Beatles.  If there were such a person, I can assure you that there are many more qualified than me to make such an introduction…

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“Turandot” premieres in Milan on April 25, 1926:

Poster

 

Turandot premiered at La Scala in Milan on 25 April 1926, almost a year and a half after Puccini’s death. Puccini’s friend Arturo Toscanini, who had worked on the score with the composer during the last months of Puccini’s life, conducted the premiere. As is widely recorded, when the opera reached the last note written by Puccini, Toscanini ended the performance. What he said at the time has been variously reported, from the poetic “Here death triumphed over art” to the poigniant “For me, the work ends here.” An eyewitness quoted in a recent biography puts it somewhere between the two: “Here ends the opera, because at this point the maestro was dead.”
http://www.theopera101.com/operas/turandot/