“Encore, Encore!”

I had the pleasure of hearing an excerpt from my most recent blog post featured on-air on CBC Radio 2 this past weekend.

Apparently, hosts of the weekly program “In Tune” discovered my blog in the Internet universe and found it interesting enough to mention on-air during the hour-long show.

Having worked previously as a classical music announcer for two different NPR affiliates for some years, as I listened to the host’s voice and my own on my computer, I couldn’t help but think that with this most recent recognition, it was almost like I’d come full-circle.

While an undergraduate music major at Wichita State University (Mike Pelfrey’s alma mater as well), I began working at college radio station KMUW-FM as a classical music announcer.  The staff there found it far easier to train music students in the intricacies of running the board and other technical matters than it was to train Radio-TV/Communications majors to pronounce foreign words and names.  Music majors like myself could usually be relied upon not to flinch from the sight of nor massacre composer names like Antonín Dvořák or Dieterich Buxtehude or names of compositions like Verklärte Nacht or Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune.

Ten years later, I was grateful to win my first orchestral audition–for the position of Principal Oboe with the Spokane Symphony–but needed to augment my orchestra salary through part-time employment.  I sent an air-check, got my radio chops in shape once again, and began work at KPBX Spokane Public Radio an announcer.  Before I left for New York and the Metropolitan Opera, I had gone from a few hours a week to a position as the regular weekday afternoon on-air classical music host.

Now–almost twenty years after moving to New York, marrying and thus becoming a Mets fan, and bidding radio adieu, my voice could be heard–briefly–over the airwaves in Canada and via the Internet everywhere once again.  My blogging about baseball had put me on-air once again.

For me at least, in this digital age, it truly is “all connected”.

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Agitato et Con Fuoco

What comes to your mind when Jose Reyes…

  • …hits one of his signature triples?
  • …steals yet another base?
  • …flashes that infectious smile?
  • …has yet another multi-hit game?

The first thing you probably think–as I do–is, “We HAVE to SIGN HIM!!

But sometimes, watching Jose in action reminds me of another exciting performer.

In the world of opera.

A Chorus of Disapproval

ist2_27979_sour_note.gifI’ve been super busy at the MET lately…so busy that I’ve haven’t been posting on a regular basis.  I have, however, been catching what games I can at Shea and on TV and radio around rehearsals and performances.

With one more week of the opera season, followed by two symphonic performances at Carnegie Hall the following week, I look forward to very soon devoting more time to the BASEBALL season.

While I haven’t had time to devote to my blog lately, I have keep up on the team and have read a lot of related news items as well as other bloggers’ posts.

Since my last post on Carlos Delgado’s response to Shea fans’ insistence on a curtain call, it seems everyone has weighed in on the subject of the Mets fans’ booing the players and, additionally, whether or not Delgado should’ve consented to the mercurial Shea fans’ request. 

Although I wouldn’t have advised it, Willie Randolph even addressed the issue of the fans’ negativity.

Having been in attendance at Shea this past weekend, it does seem to me that the fans are maybe not quite as testy–or at least waiting longer to pass judgment and perhaps giving players the benefit of the doubt..for now.


While it does not happen nearly as frequently (except perhaps at the La Scala opera house in Milan), opera fans have also been known to voice their dissaproval of an artist whom they think is not measuring up to appropriate standards. 

I assume that, if asked, these vocal (pun intended) audience members–not unlike similarly disgruntled baseball fans–would probably justify their response as appropriate given the high ticket price they had paid for their evening’s entertainment. 

They would probably site the large fee that the said artist commanded for the performance as well, although that fee would–except in some cases–not be comparable to the yearly salaries of professional baseball players. 

Expressing discontent at the performance of an opera, however, has sometimes resulted in a backlash against the heckler/s themselves from supporters of that artist in the audience, opera house personnel, or even the artist him/herself.


Imagine, just for a minute, if the next time Carlos Delgado was roundly booed, he just walked off the field and into the clubhouse and refused to participate in the rest of game?


Tenor Roberto Alagna actually did storm out of a performance at La Scala in December of 2006 when–after being booed for his difficult opening aria in Verdi’s Aida–he indignantly left the stage.  Mr. Alagna’s cover (understudy), was quickly summoned and sent in as a replacement.  Time did not permit the cover to change into costume, however. 

Either that, or in his haste to depart, Mr. Alagna left the opera house fully dressed for the role of Rhadames, leaving a costume unavailable.


This video–assembled by an Italian news agency–shows Alagna being booed following the closing bars of “Celeste Aida”, his brusque departure and–later–his cover singing onstage in street clothes.  



Now imagine Damion Easley, given barely enough time to round up a glove, running out on the field to cover first base at the top of an inning following a disappointing at-bat and catcalls following a Delgado at-bat.

Some fans might actually WELCOME that, I suppose.


While performing in the MET Orchestra, I was privy to a booing incident that happened there several years back:

ptr0132l.jpgWe were performing Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio when a single stentorian voice pierced the quiet of the opera house, booing the soprano singing the role of Konstanze.   The offending party continued to voice his displeasure even as others attempted to silence him or out-shout him.  In spite of the chaos, we performers tried to keep the show going.

According to the New York Times account of the incident, the heckler was not in a seat for which he had a ticket.  Perhaps on that technicality alone, the MET ejected the commentator.  


Fancy that happening at Shea:  one moment you’re booing a player for lack of hustle, and the next minute you find yourself surrounded by a Shea Security detail, waiting to escort you out of the ball park!


Opera houses and audiences might show less tolerance for booing and catcalls from individuals in the audience than your average baseball fan, but in one respect at least, opera goers have historically expressed their negative feelings in ways a baseball fan cannot:  

hand-tomato-733857.jpga disgruntled opera enthusiast in Milan just might be able to get away with putting their best fastball spin on a ripe tomatoe judiciously aimed at the opera stage.   

The Major League Baseball Official Rule Book protects its players from similar insult and possible injury, though, calling for the instant ejection of any fan caught throwing anything onto the playing field. 

But does the rule cover the duration of the game itself only or extend to pre-game on-field activities?

The reason I ask?  I’ve never booed a player, but I could be tempted to throw something at some of the guests who have royally butchered the National Anthem over the years.