Persephone Abbott (photo www.vinitasalome.com)

Charity Concert Trio Dice 17 November

Posted on October 12, 2018

Trio Dice is joined by dance duo Van Wieringen and Mohr for a special concert to raise funds for Safe Spaces Nairobi. The program features Ravel’s Sheherazade (choreography by Loretta Simon Helms who), further compositions by Mozart, Piazzolla, Schubert, Williams (Schindler’s List), Kreisler, Paradis and a world premiere of The Klezmer Sonata by Allan Segall composed especially for Petr Karlicek and Annemarie van Prooijen.

 

November 17 at 19:00 Boomspijker Theater Recht Boomsloot 52 Amsterdam.

 

Tickets: Advance purchase 20 Euros. Tickets at the door 25 Euros. Limited seating.

 

Please join us for a lovely evening and a good cause!

 

 

Persephone Abbott, soprano
Annemarie van Prooijen, violin
Petr Karlicek, piano
Eva van Wieringen, dance
Aurora Mohr, dance
Loretta Simon Helms, choreography
Lisa Janisch, costumes
Rob Form, lights
Olaf Hornes, recording engineer

 

Loretta also makes orange marmalade (with love) to sell at events for Safe Spaces!  Grass roots or orange roots activism!

The Tall Thin Woman

Posted on September 16, 2018

I saw her at the ballet. Heading towards the ladies’ room, I quickly joined the queue.  We didn’t speak, just eyed each other over then avoided further interaction. I don’t like her, and as I write this I ask myself if that’s a true statement, because I don’t know her well, at least not personally. I generally tend to like people, or let people ride out their fantasies of who they think they are at whatever moment in time, with natural deviations, over time of course, because it’s all fine by me. So let’s simply say I have an aversion to her. And she to me. I wasn’t that surprised to see her at the ballet, although I never noticed her at the ballet on any earlier occasion.  She’s thin and tall, so I can see why she’d be drawn to the ballet.

 

It’s just that her office hangs full of fat things, which I have found surprising for a thin woman, who obviously has cashed in on her lean looks and authoritative bearing. On prominent display on her office wall is a large oil painting full of obese people. As in all the human figures in the painting resemble pigs. Pigs with ties, pigs with hats, round buttocks bobbing, matching flushed cheeks under bulging eyes, and there she is in her office with her black wad of hair, pale face, long and thin, sporting high heels. The thing is, I was saying to myself after the intermission, if she had practiced ballet she would not be wearing those heels what with bunions.  She wears heels all the time.  It’s her look, and she only has one look: short skirts, fitted jacket and heels. “The stairs are way too slippery.”  She stated in a building meeting to discuss the renovations, noting that it wasn’t good for her choice of shoe apparel, insinuating that we must approve of her coquettish mannerisms.  I do not believe that anyone in that meeting remotely sympathized with her, even when she batted her large eyes at our group pleading for support.

 

“I firmly believe everyone can be a leader.”  She said this on the next occasion to a small number of people assembled around her, all admiring her lanky form.  In her office. A fat juicy tit sculpture, a multi-colored nipple revealed itself  on a pedestal in the background. What is it, I asked myself, watching this scene, is it that she’s the modern definition of attractiveness and success without, as fashion dictates, the earthy pulp so she decorates her office with pudgy people parts?  The brochure to her office is full of pulp. “What can you offer as a leader to make a difference?” A large screen above, a block clogging the window area.  I shudder every time I see it, because of the time I was there for another building meeting on a Friday after office hours, and the screen was playing strategic propaganda in the background. “That they allow those obsolete cars on the road! I drive a Jaguar.” She cooed to her little crowd.  Nothing was accomplished at that meeting.

 

At the ballet I searched around me to see where she was sitting. (I had a better seat.) In the orchestra. Her husband accompanied her, and he was decked out in a wide checked suit. It made him look fat. It’s not that she doesn’t have taste, it’s more of Dare to Have Taste kind of taste which is not particularly tasteful.  Loud, yes. Take, for instance, the floor tiles in her office. Totally out of proportion with the building.  The tiles bug me each time I see them, pulling the room apart.

 

I imagine the next time I run into her in the hallway with no place to escape, she might be piqued to inquire, “I didn’t know you like the ballet.” Then I am supposed to defend myself I suppose, because her tone would be belittling, and I probably would retort back, “What were you doing there then?”

 

Yes, it’s at that low level. Just because she complained, at her very first occasion to attend a building meeting, about people smoking outside the building, and suddenly turned directly to me, short and not thin peon to be used and abused, and without any sign of factual insight attacked, “I take it that you are a smoker.” I, unsparingly, gave her a long dirty look.

Walking the Dog or Rather Sitting with the Dog

Posted on August 30, 2018

I have an old dog. We don’t travel anymore. But we go to the park. I push her there in her stroller, then we sit on a bench together. We spent most everyday of the summer in the park. I took selfies of me and my dog on the park bench and posted them on Facebook. People got bored with my Facebook page.  Where was the glory? Then at the end of August I created a “My Summer 2018”  photo album. Hardly anyone liked it.

I wrote a poem about being in the park with my dog, then I re-wrote it as a rap song, and finally I made a sonnet of it.  I enjoyed myself and I would like to share my dog owner poems.

1. Lunchtime

Took the dog out
To our usual park bench
We sat in front of
The tired hydrangea altar
Dreaming of discovering
Pink frosted petit fours
Among the fallen leaves.

2. L-nCHtyme

Took the dog out
After a little rain bout
To our usual park bench
You know we both be wench
We sat in front of
The tired hydrangea altar
Not waiting for time to falter
Dreaming of discovering
Pink frosted petit fours
Baker’s dozen baby open all the doors
I said ALL the…..
Among the fallen leaves
Barely moving in the breeze.

 3. Lunchtime 4+4 and top up 2

Gentle August, fine day of fading summer under grey noon
Nourishing promises we made slow way along the garden mat
The sycamore trees tall and green, their shade merry boon,
On our small company, uncompromised, and equal to dancing gnat

The park so tendered, slow we wandered from blossomed to flowered tree
An age of decent history, without poignant pill nor sweet decay
As the dear four-footer near to me, her nose ash black as twitches the bee
At last we reached the wooden host, our great delight in short term stay.

A bench well grounded, and glanced, from our repose together,
Upon the established altar, hydrangea row before the swaying water’s edge
With dried heads so hanging mauve so pale, the brown stalks without great tether
Taken in charge before Persephone’s festive entrance, the wondrous portent bearing hedge

To each our thoughts sunk in great care, towards that sacred table, under where
We might find small distraction, a dislodged pastry – pink cakey frosted fare.

Always Thank Your Translator

Posted on June 5, 2018

In came a question, about anglers and angling. I admit I don’t know anything about this subject, and yet I wrote a sentence about anglers because they entered into my story. The translator of Ein rasch gesponnenes Netz, Mr. Günter Ohnemus who happens to also be a writer I much admire, was casting his exacting eye over the manuscript as he translated. Not only did he ask me questions about what I meant culturally but he also pointed out sentences and paragraphs that needed my attention. I rewrote a few, because he was always right about these matters, of course; he has years of experience and good taste. It is a bit of an irony that I have come to believe that Günter has made my novella into a much better book in both English and German. I am extremely grateful for his gentle help and hard work; he was the main drive to getting my novella published.

 

Die Letzen Grossen Ferien is the first book I ever read of Günter’s and I recently reread the short stories after twenty years with great pleasure. His novel Der Tiger auf deiner Schulter is also a favorite of mine.

 

 

My novella Ein rasch gesponnenes Netz

Translated from English to German by

Günter Ohnemus

Published by MaroVerlag

Sheherazade Retold

Posted on April 9, 2018

Eva asked me in 2016, “What about the Sheherazade project?”  and Eva asked me in 2017, “What about the Sheherazade Project?” We are busy with rehearsals for Sheherazade Retold!  (Thank you Eva for the multi-prompting!)

 

Set against the background of the evocative music of Maurice Raval and the bravura words of Tristan Klingsor,
comes the story of “Scheherazade Retold”.

Not just a fascination with the oriental and exotic culture, it is a story of forbearance, enlightenment and heroism.

 

Persephone Abbott, soprano

Annemarie van Prooijen, violin

Petr Karlicek, piano

Eva van Wieringen, dance

Aurora Mohr, dance

Loretta Ann Simon, choreography

 

April 15, 15:00 in the Boomspijker Theater in Amsterdam. Entrée 15 Euro.

 

Program

Paradis: Serenade
Piazolla: Ave Maria
Brahms: Hongaarse Dans Nr.1
Mozart: Il Pastore
Schubert: Hirt auf dem Felsen

Intermission

Eweg: Süskind
Williams: Schindler’s List
Kreisler: La Tambourine Chinoise
Ravel: Sherherazade

 

Being a Creative Artist

Posted on December 21, 2017

“Whatever you want……even organizing your closet.” Jacomine finished her sentence with a tame suggestion.

 

“I need a literacy agent.” I replied slowly to her request, upping the bar for a project. My coach agreed we would work together on this objective and set up a schedule.  We followed the schedule and I obtained a literary agent.

 

The journey has taken nearly a year and many tears, and in retrospect, it was a lot like cleaning my closet of all sorts of unnecessary junk to discover treasure.

 

“What do you want to be?” She asked pointedly.

 

“A creative artist.” I sobbed over my cup of tea, tired of whifwaffling between a classical singer and writer.

 

People tend to get confused about the matter. Take, for instance, this fall when I was invited with pianist Petr Karlicek to perform at the Huiskamerfestival Utrecht. When the musicians involved the 2017 festival came together to discuss the program, the other two performing acts had already come up themes.  Both themes combined literary and musical inspiration, as requested, within their thirty-minute shows.  However, unlike the other presentations using pre-existing material, I presented the idea that I could write the spoken text myself to create a story line around the musical repertoire to present a tailor made show for the festival. At first, this caused some consternation.

 

I wrote a trial script and submitted it, and then after consultations with the hostess, I wrote an entirely different script thematically based on the concert venue, a house where five spinsters once lived.

 

The House of Five Sisters was enthusiastically received by the organization and the public.  The show was a comfortable mix between writing and singing, being a creative artist. 

 

Willow the thirty minute show that I perform with violinist Annemarie van Prooijen is the same idea, a combination of music and my own written text to create a story.  Of course, it has to be said that I also sing concerts and write without combining the two activities at the same time on the stage.