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Happy feast of the Visitation of Mary! This feast day has a special place in my heart, I just love it. The painting above is one of my favorite depictions of this event. It is by Mariotto Albertinelli and it resides in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
Did you see today’s Google Doodle? I think this particular one in honor of Peter Carl Fabergé is one of my favorites ever! (Of course I think every Google Doodle is my favorite, but this one is an especial favorite.)
This short stop-gap film by PES made me laugh, and crave Mexican food . . .
I drove down to Pensacola, Florida over the long weekend for the wedding of a dear friend of mine. It was such a fun wedding! Every detail of the day infused with true southern hospitality. And it was wonderful to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. The awesome wedding location meant that there was opportunities to spend time on the beach and lots of fresh seafood (I am pretty sure I ate my weight in shrimp during my stay.)
Another friend’s birthday coincided with the happy occasion, so I packed a gift that would be beach appropriate: floating lanterns! These were so cool! I ordered a packet of ten off Amazon.com, but I wished I had bought twice as many.
We set them off over the Gulf of Mexico, during a wedding after-party, calming my fears of lighting the city on fire. (No worries, they are biodegradable, I checked.) What I found really amazing about these is that although they weigh almost nothing at all it was really hard to hold the lantern when it was ready to fly. Sadly one was let go before it was ready and it fell into the water. It spluttered for a second or two and then burned out, but that was the only fatality.
All the others made it safely up into the starry night. Unlike fireworks they are perfectly silent, which makes them even more surreal. As soon as you let go it drifts straight up, so gracefully, and it keeps going up until it burns out. Of course the picture above shows hundreds of lanterns, and we only lit a couple at a time, but the sense of wonder was not lost.
Friends, I am checking out early this week for a road trip! If you are lucky, I will remember to pack my camera, its battery, and an extra memory card for pictures next week. Have a lovely weekend, a momentous Memorial Day! (Don’t forget to pull out all your white clothes if you live by East Coast rules!)
So for the opera the other night I tried out a new lipstick, Russian Red by MAC. It is a bright red. In fact, it’s so bright, I kinda doubted my choice at first. But then again, everything else about the outfit was very simple. Grey silk dress (no embellishments of any kind), black heels, simply pony tail, and the only jewelry I wore were pearl studs. I wore very little eye makeup up too, but I am thinking I could have used a little more to keep the bright red from washing my face out.
Nabucco was awesome! It was grand, it was opulent, it was so very Italian, I loved it! This opera was composed by Verdi and it is one of his earlier operas. The basic story line is how King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco) of the Babylonians concurs the Jews and how his crazy illegitimate daughter usurps the crown, oppresses the Jews even further and eventually kills everyone and then repents. True opera material. I saw the opera at the Kennedy Center and it was performed by the Washington National Opera. (More information about the production here.)
The piece that the chorus sings is the most famous bit of the opera. It’s called Va Pensiero , it is the Jews singing of their oppression and how God will free them. However, when this opera was written the Italians were under Austrian rule, and to them this song clearly expressed their feelings about their occupation. When sung in Italia people go crazy and it gets several encores. Here in the states, the chorus politely sing it twice as Americans generally don’t openly express their feelings in public places. (And by that I mean Americans don’t really show emotions, not that they are incapbable of making flammable comments. Americans can talk heatedly one topic or another for hours, but the emotions they are feeling very rarely break through. I.e. you can tell the person is upset or feels strongly about something, but it is almost impossible to tell if the emotion is rooted in anger, fear, sorrow, or joy, etc.?) Here is Va Pensiero sung in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, one of my favorite churches in Rome.
The first time I heard this Va Pensiero was in Italy during an outdoor concert in Pz. di Populo with Andre Bocelli. I had no idea that it was from an opera. When Bocelli and the chorus started singing, the whole audience joined on the top of their lungs and flags started flying. It was pretty amazing. I took a picture of that moment, and it is one of my favorites.