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Jasmine is a sensational musician with an absolutely arresting voice. In addition to being easy on the eyes, she is even kinder to the ears. The communication process leading up to the ceremony and beyond was very smooth and professional, we were able to coordinate everything together seamlessly. Afterwards, I had many guest anxiously inquiring about who the musical performer was. I highly recommend her for any event as she has the ability to steal the show regardless of the occasion. Thank you Jasmine!!
Black Tie Opera debuts with Hansel and Gretel in Whittier- August 29, 2014 by Amber Peters, community reviewer A century-old opera can be relevant today. In fact, one favorite is swiftly becoming more relevant than ever. When it was written in 1893, the world was becoming increasingly industrialized and commercial, and technology was changing peoples lives irrevocably (Sound familiar?) At that time more than 120 years ago, as now, people found themselves longing to unplug, as it as it were, and reconnect with nature and simpler times. In the Romantic movement in art and music, the lofty themes of the Age of Enlightenment were left behind for the supernatural and the magical, the Gothic and the mysterious. This escapism has lingered in popular entertainment ever since, and as a result, fairy tales such as the story of Hansel and Gretel have never fallen out of fashion. Attending Black Tie Operas production of Engelbert Humperdincks Hansel and Gretel on Saturday, August 16, it was tempting to think of the show as merely a kids story. But like all classic tales, it defies category. As I watched the characters onstage, I was struck forcefully by thoughts of my little daughter, and wondered what she would do if she found herself stranded outdoors all night, with another child as her only companion. Would she remember to pray, as Gretel did? Would she be aware of danger, as Hansel was? I cheered as the two children outsmarted and defeated the evil witch and were reunited with their parents. The singers were demonstrably talented and well-cast. As the sister and (as Im sure girls everywhere would agree) the brains of the operation, Gretel was sung by the soprano Christina Marie Harrell. Harrell approaches her role with a full, vibrant voice, which also has a youthful quality that perfectly portrayed the energy of a child, and with enough lightness to make her English delightfully intelligible. Her brother, Hansel, was sung by Marcela Pan, an Argentinian mezzo-soprano (and now longtime Angeleno) who expertly portrayed the innocence and stubbornness of a little boy in her movements and expressions. The resonance the two singers achieved and the beautiful overtones of their blended voices in the duets were among the highlights of the performance. The role of the overworked, desperately poor and frustrated mother was sung by Allison Coop, a mezzo-soprano with a beautiful, flowing voice, whose ease and experience onstage was evident in the realism and subtlety of her acting. She was joined by Christopher Jones, who sang the role of the father, and is also the companys artistic director. Particularly striking was Jones entrance from behind the audience, traveling slowly up the aisle while singing Tra la la la, the drunken homecoming song. His performance was notable for the remarkable ringing power of his deep bass-baritone voice. The show gained a delightful touch of whimsy and fantasy with the characters of the Sandman, who invisibly put the children to sleep at night in the woods, and the Dew Fairy, who woke, or tried to wake, the children in the morning. Both were sung by soprano Mary Haughie, who appeared as the Sandman in a sharp black suit and glittery silver scarf, then as the Dew Fairy in a shimmering white strapless ball gown. She cajoled the children in a colorful voice that glittered as much as any costume. The unquestioned grand diva of the piece was its villain, the witch, sung by mezzo-soprano Leslie Schipa. She was first heard offstage, behind the audience on the left, then behind it on the righta creepy sonic effect. Then Schipa herself appeared onstage and took control of the action. In a flowing, clinging black gown with hints of blue sparkle, wild, wavy hair and bright red lips, she resembled Cruella De Vil more than the traditional old crone. With a beautiful, commanding voice she enchanted Hansel and Gretel, while singing asides to the audience in a comical whine. We even heard a sly vocal echo of The Lord of the Rings, calling Gretel my precious. The audience stopped the show to applaud as she ended her aria with a prolonged trill on brrrrr-oomstick, culminating in a high note. The accompaniment was provided by pianist Vladimir Khomyakov. A late addition to Saturdays cast, he played with great skill and energy. There is no entertainment that can beat the immediacy of live theater, or the immersive and transcendent power of live music. We feel truly connected to our pastwe experience the music and the story in the exact same way our ancestors did, in all its potency. And if you prefer to sit on your own couch in your own living room, why not bring the opera to you? That is the mission of Black Tie Opera, whose plan is to present operatic works to the public as they add them to their repertoire, and then make themselves available for bookings in private homes and at special events. It will be exciting for the musical community in the L.A. region to see this idea take off.
Trio Los Azulado played for my parent's 45th wedding anniversary, and they really made a great impression with all the guests. We had hired mariachi groups in the past, but Trio Los Azulado out performed all of them. They played all of our requests...and they are so versatile...with all the different rhythms they play. Jose Luis really puts on a show with his requinto!! Even my family members who are themselves musicians wanted to know where I found this group! They are very professional and talented musicians. They harmonize beautifully together. Everyone wanted to buy their CD's and get their cards for future parties. From now on they will be my family's favorite musical entertainers. I can't praise them enough for how special they made the day for my parents. Thank you sooooo much, Trio Los Azulado...for playing all of our requests. Jose Luis, Teresa and Abel...the three of you are amazing! THANK YOU!! MIL GRACIAS POR TODO!!
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