January 3, 2013 By
December 4, 2012 By
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December 3, 2012 By
“The Tournament of Roses will host the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University to play in The 99th Rose Bowl Game. Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby said. “As home of the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conference champions, we are proud of our long standing partnership and look forward to a terrific match-up.”
Wisconsin finished the year with an 8-5 overall record (4-4 in conference). The Badgers earned the Big Ten Conference BCS automatic qualifier after defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Football Championship Game, 70-31. They are making their third consecutive and ninth appearance all-time in the Rose Bowl Game. Head coach Bret Bielema becomes the first Badger coach in history to achieve the accomplishment and first Big Ten coach to do so since Bo Schembechler in the late 1970’s. Wisconsin is 3-5 in its Rose Bowl Game appearances.
Stanford closed out the regular season at 11-2, (8-1 in conference) and defeated the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game to earn the Pac-12 BCS automatic qualifier. The Cardinal is making its third consecutive BCS bowl appearance in as many years and its 13th appearance all-time in the Rose Bowl Game. Head coach David Shaw became the fifth coach in conference history to win back-to-back Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors. Stanford is 5-6-1 in its Rose Bowl Game appearances with its last coming in 2000.
Jan. 1 will mark the sixth meeting all-time between the Badgers and Cardinal and second Rose Bowl Game match-up; the last contest took place in Pasadena for the 2000 Rose Bowl Game in which Wisconsin went on to win, 17-9.
Pregame festivities for the 99th Rose Bowl Game will begin at 1:30 p.m. and include musical performances by the university bands as well as the official coin toss by 2013 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Jane Goodall. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox calling the action.
Prior to kickoff, the B-2 Spirit based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri will fly over the stadium in honor of the men and women serving our country in the armed forces. The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role aircraft in service to the United States Air Force and is capable of delivering its array of tools anywhere on the globe.
L.A. Opera’s ‘Madame Butterfly’ Oksana Dyka is no innocent young child bride, but she’s highly worthy of the role
November 19, 2012 By
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles.
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 and Dec. 9
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Saturday, Dec. 1, and Thursday, Dec. 6.
Tickets currently available: $80-$319; ask about dynamic pricing that starts at $19
By Jim Farber
There are certain dramatic problems in opera that cannot be solved. Take this scene from Giacomo Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” as a prime example.
“Quant’anni avete?” (How old are you?) asks the American Consul, Sharpless.
“Guess,” replies the child-bride to be, Cho-Cho-San (Madame Butterfly).
“More,” the girl replies, coyly.
“Less. Just 15 exactly.”
It’s a conundrum opera companies have been facing ever since “Madame Butterfly” (based on the novel by John Luther Long and the play by David Belasco) had its premiere on Feb. 17, 1904. How do you convince an audience that Cho-Cho-San is in any believable way a girl of 15, while requiring the role be sung by a soprano with stratospheric vocal power? The answer, of course, is you can’t. It is a moment that almost always gets a laugh and from that moment requires a leap of faith.
In the case of L.A. Opera’s new production of “Madame Butterfly” starring Ukrainian soprano Oksana Dyka, which opened Saturday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the leap is substantial.
Dyka is a formidable vocal talent, a singer whose future engagements include a succession of Toscas, Aidas and Normas, all mature, passionate women. There is nothing diminutive or childlike about her. So, justifiably, there was a wave of twitters when she proclaimed her age to be “15.” She is at least as old (and almost as tall) as Brandon Jovanovich who plays her husband-to-be, the callous “American vagabondo,” Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton.
The question is, how much does it matter?
As a vocal tour-de-force, Dyka’s Madame Butterfly is a triumph. Her phrasing is dulcet, her power impressive and her knife-edged high notes soar. Her rendition of the plaintive aria, “Un belle di” is as heartbreaking and lyrical as any you will hear live or on recording. Her steadfast commitment to the man who has accepted her love only to abandon her, leaving her with a child he has never claimed, is truly tragic.
At the same time, Dyka is anything but the doll-like innocent described in the libretto, a feat of dramatic magic the best sopranos in the role somehow manage to convey. We do not, however, ever question the depth of her devotion to her husband or her young son.
For his part, Jovanovich embodies the arrogant swagger and cultural insensitivity of Pinkerton while displaying an impressive ringing tenor voice. He is a young American singer to keep an eye on. He is a lady-killer in the most literal sense.
In L.A. Opera’s most recent production of “Madame Butterfly,” director/designer Robert Wilson solved the opera’s literary problems through a unique style of theatrical abstraction that implied its own reality and left much to the audience’s imagination.
The current production, from San Francisco Opera, is decidedly traditional, dramatically and visually. When the marriage-broker (aka pimp) Goro (played with sleazy intensity by Rodell Rosel) describes the house with its movable screens, we see them. When Pinkerton’s ship sails into port, we see it at anchor throughout the long night vigil kept by Cho-Cho-San, her loyal maid, Suzuki (sung sympathetically by Milena Kitic) and her young son (a real crowd-pleaser), Garret Chang.
The sets and costumes are true to the Japanese setting, while making a point of Co-Co-San’s desire to become a good “American wife.” But it is a production that takes no chances or introduces any innovative thinking. For that you need a director like Wilson or the late Ken Russell, who ended his 1983 “Madame Butterfly” with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and a curtain-closing skyline of neon signs blinking Honda, Sony and Toyota.
“Madame Butterfly” is a surprisingly political opera, a tragic culture clash between a young Japanese girl who despite her age is imbued with a surprising degree of personal (bushido) honor, and a cold-hearted naval officer who embodies all the qualities of opera’s first “ugly American.”
To its credit, the production does make this point clearly. And (whether intentionally or not) the casting of African American bass-baritone Eric Owens as the American Consul, Sharpless, makes his commentary regarding Pinkerton’s cultural insensitivity even more cogent.
The supporting cast features Stefan Szkafarowsky as the Bonze who disowns his niece for breaking with Japanese tradition, and Museop Kim as the rejected suitor, Yamadori.
Grant Gershon conducts Puccini’s score with precision and dramatic urgency.
He also prepared the chorus, which illuminates the wedding scene and melodious nightlong vigil, a scene that is enhanced by L.A. Opera’s decision to present the opera in two acts rather than three.
November 2, 2012 By
By Brenda Gazzar
Vanessa Natalie Manjarrez is an animal lover, an avid community volunteer and a 12th-grader at Mayfield Senior School.
And now, the petite 17-year-old born and raised in Pasadena is the 2013 Rose Queen.
“To me, it means I get to do my part to give back to the community that has really been there for me since I was born,” Manjarrez, an only child, said after the Oct. 16 announcement on the Tournament House lawn.
Manjarrez said she’s most inspired by her parents, Maria Sarry, who was also raised in Pasadena and attended Mayfield Senior School, and Armando Manjarrez, who emigrated from Mexico City to Pasadena as a young adult.
Her parents own Language Systems, a network of five schools that teach English as a second language in the Los Angeles area. Her father is president of the company while her mother, a teacher whose parents came from Spain, said she’s retired to take care of Vanessa and her active lifestyle full-time.
“They work really hard at everything they do and they’ve instilled that in me,” Manjarrez, who serves on her all-girls Catholic school’s Diversity Committee and Advising Council, said of her parents.
Sarry described her daughter as a passionate volunteer, a resilient optimist and an animal lover who works with cats, bunnies and some wildlife at the Pasadena Humane Society. The Manjarrez family has two indoor cats, four outdoor feral cats that are spayed and neutered and three dogs, her mother said.
Manjarrez has also volunteered with the National Charity League, the Pasadena Senior Center and and Villa Esperanza.
The new queen doesn’t know yet what career she’d like to pursue but she hopes to study business and science in college and is particularly interested in stem cell research and genetics, TofR officials said.
Manjarrez was selected over six other princesses to be the 95th Rose Queen for the annual Tournament of Roses festivities. It was her strong leadership skills and “exuberant personality” that made her most stand out, said Joan Madsen, a director of the Tournament of Roses Association board and chair of Queen and Court.
“She’s a true leader,” Madsen said after the announcement. “She can rally the court together. … When you have seven young ladies, you need someone who will get them together and be the point person for them and she’s truly that.”
Manjarrez and her Royal Court will reign over the 2013 Tournament of Roses festivities, which will culminate in the 124th Rose Parade themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and the 99th Rose Bowl Game. Renowned primatologist and humanitarian Jane Goodall will preside as the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal this year.
“I’m so honored; it’s such a blessing to be here with these other six incredible girls,” Manjarrez said of the princesses on her Royal Court “They’re all so loving. We’ve all become such great friends. … It truly is a sisterhood.”
The Royal Court also includes Madison Teodo, 17, of La Canada Flintridge High School; Sonia Shenoi, 17, of San Marino High School; Kate Benuska, 17, of Maranatha High School; Nicole Nelam, 17 of Pasadena High School; Tracy Cresta, 17, of La Salle High School and Victoria McGregor, 17 of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.
Manjarrez also hopes to gain a better sense of who she is and to become a better person as Rose Queen, she said.
While she admitted she sometimes gets nervous with public speaking, “I think through this process it will all go away and it will make things much easier for the future,” she said.
2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington, who is currently a freshman at NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, congratulated Manjarrez and the Royal Court on Tuesday and expressed her gratitude for the experiences she’s had in her role.
“The love and support I felt from my family and friends is especially something I wish every woman can experience,” Washington said.
626-578-6300, ext. 4496
October 8, 2012 By
From left, Vanessa Manjarrez,17, Mayfield Senior School; Madison Teodo, 17, La Canada High School; Sonia Shenoi, 17, San Marino High School; Kathryne Benuska, 17, Maranatha High School; Nicole Nelam, 17, Pasadena High School; Tracy Cresta, 17, La Salle High School and Victoria McGregor. 17, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. The Queen will be selected from this group and announced on Oct. 16. For more details, see the Pasadena Star News on Tuesday, or pasadenastarnews.com.
October 4, 2012 By
These are the 2013 Tournament of Roses Royal Court finalists announced on Oct. 4.
Top row, from left: Emily Schofield (Westridge High School), Kate Benuska (Maranatha High School), Kerry Wang (Arcadia High School), Marie Santana (Pasadena City College), Grace Zhang (Temple City High School), Randahl Brisco (Maranatha High School), Nicole Nelam (Pasadena High School)
Fourth row, from left: Tiffany Chandra (Arcadia High School), Sonia Shenoi (San Marino High School), Mariah Holden (Pasadena High School), Vanessa Manjarrez (Mayfield Senior School), Michelle Floyd (San Marino High School), Natasha Jamieson (Pasadena High School), Jessica Ogden (La Canada High School)
Third row, from left: Bridget Ahad (Arcadia High School), Holly Yamagata (Arcadia High School), Kelli Liu (Pasadena Polytechnic School), Jessica Demasi (Maranatha High School), Tracy Cresta (La Salle High School), Noelle Niederhaus (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Victoria McGregor (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy)
Second row, from left: Swetha Rajkumar (Arcadia High School), Shelby Dreves (Arcadia High School), Brianna Medina (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Madison Teodo (La Canada High School), Gabrielle Fitzpatrick (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Jennifer Robi (La Salle High School) First row, from left: Carissa Vera (Maranatha High School), Lauren Gerard (Flintridge Preparatory), Alexandra Cross (La Salle High School), Alessia Paciulli (Alverno High School), Casey Cousineau (Flintridge Preparatory), Hannah Williamson (Maranatha High School).
The seven members of the Royal Court will be announced on Monday, Oct. 8. The Queen will be named on Oct. 16.
October 2, 2012 By
Tournament of Roses Parade fans can buy “the best seats in the house” without camping out for days on the streets of Pasadena in hopes of nabbing a great parade-watching spot. While tickets last, reserved grandstand seats for prime parade viewing are available through Sharp Seating, the official seating company of the Tournament of Roses Parade for more than 85 years.
Parade fans wishing to secure reserved grandstand seats are urged to place their ticket orders now for the best selections. Tickets are going fast for seating at what is historically known as “TV Corner,” which offers the same views seen on Rose Parade television broadcasts. Prices range from $45-$90 per seat, depending on location, plus $30 for a parking permit.
For more information visit http://www.sharpseating.com/ or call (626) 795-4171.
October 2, 2012 By
Drew Washington’s reign as the 94th Rose Queen is about to come to a close, when the Tournament of Roses selects its new court for the 2013 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game later this month.
Since she was selected as the Rose Queen last year, Washington has represented the City of Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses at more than 150 community events, including meeting with elementary and middle school students, visiting patients at Children’s Hospital and the City of Hope, meeting with Seniors at the Pasadena Senior Center and the Royal Oaks Senior Living Community, participating in Kaiser Permanente’s “Family Day” as well as speaking at Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs and a host of other charitable and non-profit organizations.
“My reign as Queen has been a very rewarding experience,” Washington said. “As Queen, I had the honor and opportunity to meet with elementary and middle school children to encourage them study hard and follow their dreams like I have been blessed to do. The whole experience associated with being selected for the Court and then Queen has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
All of these experiences and the stellar academic record she attained while attending high school at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in Pasadena attracted the attention of NYU, where Washington is now a freshman at the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, majoring in Sports Law.
Washington is a Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Scholar at NYU. The award goes to high caliber students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who have demonstrated through academic achievement, leadership and community service the many different ways they represent the legacy and teachings of Dr. King.
“I am honored to have been selected as a MLK Scholar and I am excited about the many opportunities it will afford me to be involved in seminars, domestic and international travel seminars, research, educational and cultural activities and community service opportunities,” Washington said. “My parents were also excited because the program pays a substantial portion of my tuition as long as I keep my grades at 3.5 or above.”
Washington was also accepted into the Emma L. Bowen Foundation’s four-year work/study internship program for minority students interested in careers in the media industry.
“I could not have asked for more,” she said. “It’s a little overwhelming, to tell you the truth. I just want to make my parents, former teachers and the City of Pasadena proud.”
September 25, 2012 By
By Brian Day
Fifteen seconds is not a lot of time to make a lasting first impression.
But that’s exactly what nearly 1,000 young women from the Pasadena area attempted to do Saturday
Sept. 15 as they tried out for one of seven coveted positions on the Rose Parade Royal Court.
The annual event at the Tournament of Roses’ Tournament House, 391 S. Orange Grove Ave.,
was expected to attract nearly 1,500 hopefuls by the time the initial round of tryouts concluded Monday, Sept. 17.
As always, after a brief orientation including pep talks from the City of Roses’ current royalty, each of the
young women was given 15 seconds to explain to the judges why they would be right to represent the city
to the world through the Rose Parade.
“There’s so much you want to express about yourself in 15 seconds. You really have to narrow it down,”
said hopeful 272, a senior from Arcadia High School.
The young women are not allowed to give their full names.
“It’s a really big deal for me to be here. My family watches the Rose Parade every year,” she said.
She added that she’s always enjoyed being a part of the Rose Parade, has helped decorate floats in the past,
and even marched in the parade with her high school color guard.
“It would be the top honor to be a princess,” she said. “I’d really like to work with the community
and help kids.”
In addition to riding a float in the Rose Parade, the Rose Queen and six Rose Princesses represent
the city and the Tournament of Roses year-round through a variety of events, appearances and activities.
And though the odds of making the final cut are low, participants said the process of trying out itself
is a fun and time-honored way to connect with the community and have fun.
Contestant 277, also a senior at Arcadia High School, said she had a great time meeting with the other
girls and looked forward to seeing them again at the Royal Ball late this month. Everyone who tries out
receives two tickets.
“What girl doesn’t want to be a princess?” she said.
“It’s going to be difficult to stand out,” she added. “You meet so many people, and they’re all incredible.”
Scorching, triple-digit temperatures Saturday did not seem to hamper attendance, and the event appeared
as busy, if not more, as in recent years.
Hopeful 408, a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Ca ada Flintridge, where current Rose Queen
Drew Washington attended, said trying out for the Rose Court is a tradition for the young women at her school.
“Almost everyone tries out,” she said. Traditionally, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy students then all
attend the Royal Ball together.
As for her tryout, “It went really well,” 408 said. “It was really good to practice public speaking.”
At later interviews, the field of contestants narrows to 250, then 75, then 25, organizers said.
The seven Royal Court members are to be announced Oct. 8, and the Rose Queen is to be named
Oct. 16, ahead of an Oct. 25 coronation ceremony.
More information on the Rose Parade and the Tournament of Roses is available online atwww.tournamentofroses.com.
626-962-8811, ext. 2109