In the 19th century the operetta relied on catchy tunes and popular dances of the day. One of the most famous is Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow.
Set in 1905 in a glamorous Parisian setting, the title character Hanna has come into a substantial inheritance — and in this operetta, it seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that a widow in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband. When prospective bridegrooms set their sights on Hanna, rivalries swirl and romance crackles.
Farce, romance and jealousy abound when the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and Orlando Light Opera collaborate in an updated production of Lehar's famed operetta. The Merry Widow will be performed Saturday August 19 at 7 p. m at The Scott Center for Performing Arts in Melbourne and Sunday, August 20 at 3 p.m. at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.
Directed by Eric Pinder and conducted by Aaron T. Collins, Lehar's music sparkles in this English language production, staged and reimagined for the new millennium. Lehár's score is a succession of hit tunes — the famous "Merry Widow" waltz, the "Vilja Song," and numbers based on dance rhythms like the polka, the galop, the march, and even the newest import from America, the cakewalk. It was a huge international success, and helped to give operetta a new lease on life that continued for decades.
They are the original dream boats. Each summer the most powerful and pristine wooden watercraft in the world turn up on Lake Tahoe's impossibly blue waters.
The beautifully and lovingly preserved antique and classic wooden boats will bring back a flood of memories for those attending the 45th Concours d'Elegance on August 11-12 in Homewood, Calif. on Tahoe's West Shore. Piloted by wealthy industrialists during the Roaring 20's, the “woodie” speedboats helped usher in a new era of boating on Lake Tahoe.
Each summer vintage wooden boats spill onto the lake filled with passengers donning large grins (often sipping chilled cocktails) and captained by proud owners in straw hats or yachting caps. Sponsored by the Tahoe Yacht Club, the Concours attracts more than 5,000 spectators who mingle with the owners of boats from a bygone era who share their unique experiences.
A boater’s paradise, Lake Tahoe is world renowned for its crystal-clear translucent water. Straddling the California-Nevada border in the pine-smothered Sierra Nevada range, Tahoe is one of America’s premier playgrounds. Snow can last until early May but once the melt begins, hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating and river rafting become a free-for-all.
Sculpted by a glacier, “Big Blue” lies at an elevation of 6,325 feet. North America’s highest alpine lake, it is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and a drive takes several hours to complete its 72 mile shoreline circumference. The waters range in blues from aqua to sapphire, from cerulean to cobalt. The stunning colors occur because of the lake's remarkable depth which is as much as 1,645 feet with an average of roughly 1,000 feet.
It's become one of our region's most celebrated events.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) kicks off its 10th annual Tour de Turtles with a pair of loggerhead turtle releases on Saturday, July 30th at the Barrier Island Sanctuary. Located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in southern Melbourne Beach, close to 1,000 spectators are expected to turn up to cheer them on. Outfitted with satellite transmitters, the loggerheads will be tracked over their approximately three-month migration as they leave their respective nesting beaches and "race" to complete the iconic turtle marathon.
With the aid from generous sponsors and partners, the Tour de Turtles will be releasing a record 20 live sea turtles in Costa Rica, Panama, Nevis, and Florida. Representing five different species this year, the ancient mariners will swim with the goal of being crowned the 2017 champion-- earning acclaim as the first turtle to swim the furthest distance.
Each competing turtle is an ambassador that raises awareness about a specific threat to to sea turtle hazards, such as boat strikes, ingestion of plastic debris, light pollution or commercial long-line fisheries. Teams of researchers track the turtles' movement.
Elon Musk brings new meaning to the word irrepressible.
In early March the SpaceX founder and CEO stunned the spaceflight community by announcing the first joy ride into space. In 2018 he plans to launch one of his rockets to transport not astronauts, but two wealthy private citizens around the moon. The pair have already put down a “significant deposit” for the 300,000 mile trip that will take a week. This will be the first private company to take civilians beyond lower Earth orbit.
When Musk dreamed up the idea for his commercial space exploration company 15 years ago his core principle was to recycle reusable rockets, a strategy that would dramatically reduce the cost of space travel and make it more available for commercial audiences.
Musk's dream turned into reality with a launch of a "flight-proven" rocket in late March. He did it again on June 23 with the blast off of a two-stage, 23-story tall Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 39a at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. The booster rocket transported an 8,000 pound satellite to orbit where it will provide will provide television and data-communications services to Bulgaria, the Balkans and other parts of Europe.
Wheels up! In mid-May Duane De Freese and long-ago college pal Mike Ryan flew across the Pacific headed for Kandui Resort, a surfing mecca in the Mentawai Islands chain in Indonesia.
Lying roughly 75 miles off the west coast of Sumatra, Kandui is located right in the middle of one of the world’s most prolific wave regions— commonly known as “Playgrounds” in the Indian Ocean. It is hidden among the palms on this remote island of stunning beaches, lush vegetation and turquoise lagoons. There are 21 ocean breaks within a 30-minute long dugout canoe ride from the small Karamajet Island, home of Kandui Resort. Epic surf can soar through the spring and summer months.
Welcome to the sixth go-round of the Senior Citizen's Surf Tour.
If the name Duane De Freese sounds familiar, it should. For more than three decades he has been one of the key Florida voices championing the economic and environmental values associated with common-sense ocean and coastal conservation. Currently the executive director of the Indian River Lagoon Council, De Freese regularly faces a multitude of challenges in the monumental clean-up effort of the lagoon.
An incredible surfing performance enhancer, Sebastian Inlet's First Peak was recognized as one of the best launch ramps around the globe. World champions C. J. Hobgood, Lisa Anderson, and Kelly Slater-- the greatest competitive surfer in the world-- all cut their teeth here.
The original Sebastian Inlet jetty had a concrete wall where swells rolled in and bounced off the structure to create a hollow emerald wedge that could double the wave's height at its peak. It translated into a stunning run of speed. Florida's greatest wave nurtured eight World Tour competitors and dozens of Hall of Fame members. They were able to hone skills that would be needed to excel at the top surfing spots around the world.
Then poof, it was gone. In the early 2000s repairs and rehabilitation to the jetty were made in an attempt to curb beach erosion and keep the busy boat channel from filling in with sand. The new pilings placed up in front of the concrete wall defused the waves' energy. The upshot is that over the last dozen or so years, First Peak hasn't produced a single World Tour surfer, let alone champion. The wave was assumed to be lost forever.
When the British colonized America and gradually built out towns, High Street became a key landmark. The roadway typically led directly from the waterfront to the highest point of land (to avoid flooding) where the British officials often constructed a courthouse, church and jail. The inside joke: townspeople could be judged, punished and redeemed on the same street corner.
You breeze into Cambridge, Maryland via the 50-foot high Malkus Bridge that spans the upper Choptank River. Alongside runs a footbridge, populated with eager fishermen casting for their daily catch of rockfish. Home to seven governors, sharpshooter Annie Oakley, the Underground Railroad's Harriet Tubman and a pack of other notorious characters, Cambridge has a long and storied history.
Founded in 1864, Cambridge was once a harbor for trading ships taking tobacco to England, and later served as a deepwater port for 20th-century freighters. It was also a shipbuilding town. The town still draws plenty of pleasure boaters. At the Long Wharf visitors will find an impressive waterfront park with expansive lawns and the Cambridge Yacht Basin. The neighboring Cambridge Yacht Club hosts several sailing regattas throughout the year that draw large crowds.
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news-papers and websites. I have written about an array of topics such as arts & culture, chefs, food & drink, business entrepreneurs, travel, history, thoroughbred racing, and the animal and natural world.
I'm currently a regular arts & culture contributor to WFIT's website (the NPR radio station in Melbourne.), Vero Beach Magazine and Florida Today newspaper on a number of topics. Over recent years my work has been published regularly in Blood-Horse, Long Island Boating World and The Hunt and PA Equestrian magazines.
I am a regular contributor to the websites JustLuxe.com and SeeTheSouth.com. JustLuxe is an online magazine featuring the best of luxury lifestyle and travel, while SeeTheSouth features truly unique southern destinations. My travel articles also regularly appear in Florida Today, Long Island Boating world and the Delaware County Times, a major daily newspaper just outside Philly.
I've also contributed a variety of articles to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Delaware County Times, and the Montgomery County Newspapers. I have been an Arts & Culture correspondent for Newsworks, the website for WHYY-TV (PBS in Philadelphia). I have been a correspondent to ESPN.com, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
After spending the past two decades in Wilmington, Delaware, my wife Jane, our Toller retriever Smarty and I have moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, Melbourne Beach sits on the southern end of Florida's "Space Coast." The famed coastal highway A1A runs directly along the Atlantic. Melbourne Beach (pop. 3,000) offers unspoiled beaches with sparkling blue-green waters and thousands of beautiful seabirds and long-legged shorebirds.
Head north 35 miles on A1A and you arrive at Cape Canaveral, for decades our nation's gateway to exploring and understanding our universe. Today, Cape Canaveral is a hub for many of the most exciting new private space projects such as SpaceX, the rocket and spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk (manufacturer of Tesla vehicles). Upwards of 30 launches are planned in 2017.
Back down to earth traveling on two-lane A1A south from Melbourne Beach's compact business area brings you to a series of secluded and undeveloped natural beaches. Bonsteel Park's two-acre beach provides an excellent vantage point to catch glimpses of passing dolphins, while the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. It's also home to the gigantic leatherback turtles.
Nearby is Sebastian Inlet State Park which connects the Indian River Lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. Its jetty break is recognized as one of the surf world's high-performance hot spots. Three generations of world-class surfers have surfed here, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 600-acre park is also celebrated for world-class fishing, and plenty of seabirds and wildlife.
Through my writing over the past decade I have traveled to spectacular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. and Sun Valley, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming/Yellowstone Park; Saratoga Springs, the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and Rhinebeck, New York; Port Clyde and Monheghan Island, Maine; Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey; Middleburg, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.
Other travel adventures have included Tampa and St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Florida; and St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Georgia. My travel articles thoughtfully explore the history of the region along with museums, music and the arts, chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and craft breweries, outdoor and sporting adventures as well as profiling intriguing personalities of those regions.
In addition to my writing career I owned a marketing company where I represented a diversified list of clients in the areas of publicity, marketing and business development-- such as the famed Baldwin's Book Barn, Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Kahunaville restaurant chain. In another life I was the founder, publisher and editor of Life Sports Magazine.
Along with Jane and Smarty I look forward to writing about new adventures in Melbourne Beach, the "Space Coast" and other Florida destinations. That's Smarty below with his pals Willie and Nelson.