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February 27, 2014

Of Grand Forks • East Grand Forks Published by: Wick Publications • 701-772-8239

Talk to your neighbors, then talk to me. Sharon Opdahl, Agent Sharon 2534 17thOpdahl Avenue South Grand Forks, ND 58201 Agent Bus: 701-746-0495

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Noted Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873. In honor of that event, come along with Tidbits as we attend the opera! ENRICO CARUSO • Caruso was one of the first opera singers to have his voice professionally recorded. He made nearly 300 recordings between 1902 and 1920, which was just before he died. As a result, his recordings are available today on CD or digital download. His 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” (“put on the costumes”) from the opera Pagliacci was the first sound recording to sell a million copies. Because of the popularity of his recordings, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his day.

• He also made history when he was broadcast live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1910 in the first radio broadcast to be publicly transmitted in the United States.

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• In 1906, Caruso performed in San Francisco the night before the big earthquake shook the town to its roots. He was so unnerved by the experience that he feared the shock would damage his voice. Standing in the shattered ruins of his hotel, he stood by a broken window, singing at the top of his lungs in order to be sure his voice was unharmed. He swore he’d never return to San Francisco, and he kept his word. Turn the page for more!

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4. To cheer at an opera, you yell “Bravo!” for a man, but what do you yell for a woman? 5. What Jon Voight/Dustin Hoffman film won the Academy Awards Best Picture in 1970? 6. What Republican ran for president on the slogan, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” (hint: 1928) 7. What’s the smallest (area) U.S. state?

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1. In what country did opera originate? 2. How many operas did Beethoven write? 3. In 1957, Warner Brothers produced a cartoon called “What’s Opera, Doc?” which paraodied Wagner’s Ring cycle operas. In the cartoon, who was chasing Bugs Bunny?

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CARMEN FACTS • Carmen by George Bizet is one of the most frequently performed operas, and the “Toreador Song” is one of the most widely recognized operatic tunes. • Enrico Caruso and Maria Jeritza starred in a production of Carmen in which real horses were used. One horse relieved himself, leaving a huge puddle. When the climactic death scene arrived, Caruso stabbed Maria, but she refused to fall down dead. “Die! Fall will you!” Caruso shouted, and she sang, “I’ll die if you can find me a clean place!” • The most tacky version of Carmen was probably the silent movie version that was made in 1915. • During one performance of Carmen a dog wandered on stage and became fascinated by the conductor’s waving baton. The dog enjoyed fetching sticks and couldn’t understand why the conductor wouldn’t throw the baton for him to retrieve. The dog began to bark and the barking became louder when the conductor used the baton to try to shoo the dog away. The curtain came down and the dog was removed. • Many cats reside in the outdoor arena in Verona and in one performance of Carmen, a kitty came out from behind the wings and started rubbing up against Don Jose’s legs, purring and meowing just as he was preparing to murder Carmen. • A performance of Carmen was being staged in Mexico City. The singer playing the part of Don José had a long wait back stage while Acts 3 and 4 progressed, so he decided to dash out to get a beer in a local tavern. No sooner had he entered one than he was arrested by a couple of cops who saw his scruffy clothing and dragged him off to jail. When he informed them he was a tenor singing opera, they informed him he was drunk. He could only convince them by singing his part in the opera.

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3. Which college football team has won the most Fiesta Bowls? 1. In 2013, Baltimore’s Chris 4. What once-and-future Davis became the second Cowboys’ running back player in major-league history competed in the bobsled to have at least 26 home runs at the Winter Olympics in and 23 doubles in the first 72 Albertville, France in 1992? games fo the season. Who was 5. Five NBA players have won the first? (hint: Yankees) the NBA’s regular-season 2. How many times did Roger MVP Award at least four Clemens lead the American times. Name four of them. League in wins for a season 6. Which four NHL teams have despite pitching for a team combined to win the past with a losing record? five Stanley Cups?

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OPERATIC FACTS • When Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, wed Prince Frederick William of Prussia, she picked out music of her two favorite composers. One was the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, and the other was the “Wedding March” from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Copy cat brides in England chose the same music, starting a tradition that continues today: “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white...” • An opera called “The Prophet” written in 1849 by Giacomo Meyerbeer packed houses all over Europe because of the popularity of the rollerskating scene. Arm in arm, the diva and the baritone sang a duet while doing figure eights around the stage. • The original Engelbert Humperdinck was a German musician in the late 1800s. He wrote the opera Hansel and Gretel. • A age 2, William Gilbert was kidnapped from his home in Italy, and the ransom his parents paid was one pound of sterling silver for each pound of baby— 25 pounds in all. When Gilbert grew up and started working with Arthur Sullivan, he incorporated this incident into two of his operettas. • In the opera Othello, Othello is the only black actor. But in New Orleans in 1955, the actor playing the part became ill, and the understudy did too. Nowhere in town was there another black man who knew the part. However, there was a white man who could sing and knew all the words. So the play was revised a bit, becoming the only allblack performance of Othello with a white star. • When the orchestra met for the dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute in London on April 1, 1948, conductor Karl Rankl began directing the music, only to be astonished when, instead of The Magic Flute, the players launched into the overture from Carmen. It was an April Fool’s Day joke.


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NUGGET OF KNOWLEDGE The famous proverb "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" references the ten minute aria sung by the buxom Brunhilde at the end of Wagner's Ring cycle operas.


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A TOAST TO AN OPERA SINGER • Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1861. She showed remarkable musical ability, with a voice spanning three octaves. As a young woman, she married and tried to settle down, but she knew she was not destined for the life of a housewife; she was destined for the stage. • After receiving instruction as an opera singer, she knew this was the life for her. However, Australia did not have many opportunities for opera singers in the 1800s, so she left her family and traveled to Europe and England, where she was received enthusiastically, becoming the first Australian to achieve international recognition as an opera singer. • She had always gone by the nickname of Nellie, and she was persuaded to adopt a new stage name as her last name. She chose a contraction of her hometown of Melbourne. • During a newspaper interview, a reporter asked her how she stayed so slim. She said she enjoyed eating toast that was sliced very thin and toasted very crispy, a habit she had picked up when she’d been ill and could digest little else. The hotel chef at the Ritz served it to her whenever she visited, and other customers enjoyed it as well. Her fans, striving to emulate her, also started eating thin crispy toast, which was generally served with soups and salads or topped with spreads. Today we still eat the toast named after the Australian opera singer’s stage name. What is it? Answer at the bottom of the page. A BIG MEAL • Opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink loved a big meal. One day as she sat down to a huge steak dinner in a restaurant, Enrico Caruso walked in. He took one look at the size of the steak she was starting on and said, “Surely you are not going to eat that alone!” She replied, “Oh, no— with potatoes!” Answer: Melba toast.

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MEASHA BREUGGERGOSMAN • Measha Gosman was born in New Brunswick in 1977. As a youngster, she sang in the choir of the Baptist church. She had an aptitude for music and began taking voice and piano lessons at the age of seven. As a teen, she spent summers on a scholarship at the Boston Conservatory, and she also studied with noted soprano Wendy Nielsen. She got a bachelor degree in music at the University of Toronto and then earned her masters degree in Germany. • When she married a Swiss man named Markus Bruegger, they combined their last names, and she became Measha Brueggergosman. • Measha was only 20 years old when she played the lead role in the premiere of the opera Beatrice Chancy. The opera tells the story of a slave girl in 19th century rural Nova Scotia who murders her abusive father, who is also her master. The opera was well received, as was her performance. In 2000 it was filmed for the CBC.

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• Since then, she has appeared throughout Canada, performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at Roy Thomson Hall. She’s also performed internationally, in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere. She sang on William Bolcom’s album Songs of Innocence and Experience which won three Grammy awards, including Best Classical Album.

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• In 2012, Measha was a judge on the short-lived Canadian reality show Canada’s Got Talent.

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• In 2007, she appeared on the British show Who Do You Think You Are in which genealogy experts trace the family tree of famous celebrities.

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MOMENTS IN TIME • On March 6, 1475, Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, is born in the village of Caprese. His most important early work was the Pieta (1498), which showed the body of Christ in the lap of the Virgin Mary. He extracted the two perfectly balanced figures of the Pieta from a single block of marble. • On March 8, 1862, the Confederate ironclad Virginia wreaks havoc on a Yankee squadron off Hampton Roads, Va., when it attacked the U.S.S. Cumberland. Other Union ships fired back, but the shots were, in the words of one observer, "having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun." • On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signs a congressional act making "The Star-Spangled Banner" the official national anthem of the United States. In 1814, Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics after witnessing the massive overnight British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. • On March 4, 1944, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, the head of Murder, Inc., is executed at Sing Sing Prison in

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New York. Lepke was the leader of the country's largest crime syndicate throughout the 1930s. His downfall came when several members of his notorious killing squad became witnesses for the government. • On March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll goes on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. Barbie's appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic-strip character, and originally was marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men. • On March 5, 1977, the Dial-aPresident radio program, featuring President Jimmy Carter and CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, airs for the first time. Approximately 9 million calls flooded the radio studio during the two-hour broadcast. • On March 7, 1987, Mike Tyson defeats James "Bonecrusher" Smith to unify the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles. At age 20, Tyson became the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion in boxing history. © 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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BRUEGGERGOSMAN (cont'd): • On the show Who Do You Think You Are, Measha discovered that her great-great-great-great grandparents escaped from slavery during the Revolutionary War. The British granted freedom to all slaves who escaped from American rebels, which threw many plantations into chaos as slaves fled to freedom with the British. After the war, the British transported about 3,500 newly freed slaves to Nova Scotia where they were free to build new lives for themselves. Measha’s ancestors, John and Rose Gosman, and their baby daughter Fanny (who was born a free citizen because she was born behind British lines) traveled to Canada in 1783 on one of the last ships to leave New York for Nova Scotia. So Measha’s Canadian roots are deep and longstanding. • Measha nearly lost her life in 2009 when she suffered from a dissected aorta that was misdiagnosed. “Essentially, I had ignored my blood pressure,” she admits. She felt pressure at the base of her neck and started experiencing numbness in her shoulders and extremities. When her legs gave out, she went to the emergency room, but was sent home the following day with blood pressure medication. Her doctor sent her to a different hospital, where an MRI showed the rupture in her aorta. She was in surgery four hours later. “I think the reason most people die of a dissected aorta is because it’s hard to detect and even more difficult to catch before you die of internal bleeding,” she says. • After she recovered from surgery, she enjoyed one of the highlights of her career when she performed the Olympic Hymn at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games. “I would have sang that from the coffin, are you kidding?” she quipped. When told that 2.5 billion people were watching, she admits, “I almost threw up!”

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GREAT THEATRICAL GOOFS • In the opera Gotterdammerung, two extras walk on stage, pick up the bier with Siefried lying on it, and carry it solemnly into the wings. One evening, one of the extras fell ill, so a stage manager called in a replacement. He felt a rehearsal was uncalled for with such a simple scene, so he just explained to the new bier-carrier what to do. When the scene came up, the two men entered the stage and each man picked up an end of the bier— only to find that they were facing each other. So they both put the bier down, turned around, and found themselves facing opposite ends of the stage. Only on the third try did they get it right. The audience applauded uproariously. • In Rigoletto, the star is humpback. At one performance in Paris, Rigoletto’s hump slowly slid down his back as he sang, until the audience was presented with a perfectly normal man with a really enormous butt.

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• In Siegfried, the hero slowly forges a sword, then lifts it and brings it down upon the anvil, which splits apart. Too bad for singer Lauritz Melchior that the stage hand cued the anvil split three seconds before he struck it with his sword. • Hans Hotter was singing in Die Walkure when he was to grab an enormous cloak, throw it around his shoulders, and stride boldly onto stage. He didn’t understand why the audience was laughing until he discovered he had failed to remove the fluffy pink coat hanger from the cloak before draping it over his shoulders.

Answer

Weekly SUDOKU

• In Lohengrin, the star tenor is to step into a swan boat and be carried off. But at the Met in 1936, the swan boat disembarked before tenor Lauritz Melchior was able to get in. Melchior looked at the audience and sang in German, “When does the next swan leave?”

Answer

settle the debt, he decided to invent something. He picked up an 8-inch piece of brass wire he had on hand and made a coil in the middle of it, creating the spring action to open it. He then devised a clasp at one end to shield the user from the sharp point. After the device was patented in 1849, Hunt sold the patent to W.R. Grace and Company for $400, leaving himself with $385 after he paid the initial $15 debt. Incidentally, W.R. Grace and Company made millions of dollars from sales of the safety pin. • Are you afraid of rattlesnakes? Keep in mind that the venom of a black widow spider is 15 times more deadly than that of the rattler. • Domestic diva Martha Stewart has been struck by lightning three times. * * * Thought for the Day: "The luck of having talent is not enough; one must also have a talent for luck." -- Hector Berlioz

King CROSSWORD

• It was Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Adlai Stevenson who made the following sage observation: "A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular." • Those who study such things claim that 75 percent of people who deliberately choose to buy a kosher product are not, in fact, Jewish. • Smart idea: Some fitness centers are now using the energy that clients expend on its exercise bikes to power the building's lighting. • You might not have heard of American inventor Walter Hunt, but he came up with the ideas for an ice plough, a streetcar bell, an early version of the repeating rifle, artificial stone, the lockstitch sewing machine and a nail-making machine, among other things. One of his smallest and most useful inventions was the safety pin. In the mid-1800s, Hunt owed a friend $15. In order to come up with the cash to


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GREAT THEATRICAL GOOFS (cont'd): • In the opera Tosca, the soprano playing the DEERE. DEERE. (continued): lead role ofJOHN Tosca dramatically throws herself • toIther wasdeath whileoffliving in Illinois Johncastle. nothe battlementsthat of the ticed thethe problems that farmers faced Normally singer lands unharmed on awhen matattempting to till Because the area had tress backstage, butsoil. in this production a tramformerly been woodland, the soil was rich poline was used instead. The result was that the with heavy hummus, which clumped clung to rather singer bounced intoand view of the the blades of the plows farmers were accusaudience several times before finally “dying.” tomed to using. While repairing a broken cir• It cular was the of the new opera Charles saw,premiere Deere stumbled upon an idea. He VIemployed in Paris his in 1849. At the beginning of the smith skills to fashion the steel aria called “Oh God, Kill Him!”, a member blade into the shape of a plow. He affixedof the opera company dead. The the nextdevice night two wooden spokes,fell then hitched attothe same point in the a mema horse. It plowed theproduction, heavy Illinois soil ber of the audience died. When, at the third like a charm. In fact, a farmer who happened performance, the the leader orchestra died, to be observing test of runthe immediately put in an order his own Deere plow. Napoleon IIIfor banned theJohn opera. • Inone shortproduction order, Deere his blacksmith • In of gave The up Magic Flute, the shop and focused on making plows.pillars. The scenery consisted of several triangular company grew steadily and added many emOn each side of the pillars a different part of ployees. In was the late 1840s,In John relocated the the scenery painted. order to change entire operation to Moline, Illinois. Ashamed the scene from the forest to the temple, the of his own lack of education, John sent his stage hands standing inside the pillars only children to 120 the state’s finest schools. of had to turn degrees. During the One second his proudest days occurred when son Charles half of the opera, characters Papageno and earned the equivalent of an MBA from Bell’s Tamino were conversing in song when two of Commercial College in Chicago. the stage hands lost their balance and crashed • toWith his son Charles managing theheard company, the ground. Calls for help were issuJohn found timetheto pillars. pursue Papageno philanthropic ining from inside looked terests. He co-founded both the First Nationat Tamino, and Tamino looked at Papageno, al Bank and the Congregational and together theyFirst proceeded to the Church. back of He was elected the mayor of Moline in the stage where, with much ad-libbing,1873, they where one of his first actions – the replaceheaved the pillars upright. They then returned ment of the city’s open drains with a sewer to the front of the stage to continue the opera, pipe system – saved countless lives by reducbut not before receiving a tremendous round ing the spread of disease. of applause. • The original John Deere logo, registered in

• The Cairo Operaa House was destroyed fire 1876, depicted deer that was native toby Afriinca. 1970. It was rather ironic considering that Thirty-six years later, in 1912, it was rethe Cairo firethe station inside the placed with imagewas of alocated North American same building. white-tailed deer. In the decades that folPlease tell our Advertisers You Saw Their Ad in Tidbits!

lowed, the now-familiar “outline” logo took Thanks for Reading over as the symbol of the John Tidbits! Deere brand.

Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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TRILOGY III

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Quiz Answers Italy 1; Fidelio Elmer Fudd “Brava!”

5. “Midnight Cowboy” 6. Herbert Hoover 7. Rhode Island

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Sports Answers 1. Lou Gehrig, in 5. Kareem AbdulJabbar, Wilt 1927 Chamberlain, 2. Twice—1987 LeBron James, (Boston), 1997 Michael Jordan, (Toronto). Bill Russell 3. Penn State (6) 6. Chicago (2), 4. Herschel Boston, L.A. Walker & Pittsburgh

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Tidbits Grand Forks February 27 Issue  

"Opera" and "Great Theatrical Goofs"

Tidbits Grand Forks February 27 Issue  

"Opera" and "Great Theatrical Goofs"

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