Archive for February, 2011

Valentine hearts, handmade

If your Valentine dislikes the soppy or the flippant cards out there and you’re not inspired personally to create a stationery labor of love for the occasion, these are the cards for you.

There are many more designs than those in the illustration, but each one of these petite works of art is backed by quality red card stock and is accompanied by a sturdy envelope. The label says “home school” and there’s a site name (bernadettenoll.com) that’s not up and running at the moment.

The insides are left blank, leaving room for you to create your own sentiment. It’s up to you to express the feelings that you want to convey, up to you to inscribe the poetical tribute of your choice. These are not cookie-cutter greetings. The sender makes them unique.

Collect ’em all, kids, if you can’t bear to send or give one. Find these and many other suitable heartfelt tributes to the occasion at Farm to Market Grocery on South Congress.

Rossini rouser

The Italian Girl in Algiers is a complete delight: orchestra, singers, costumes, set, lighting, direction, everything. We expected to enjoy the music and we expected to have fun, but this production exceeds all expectations.

The singers enunciate clearly and there’s not a weak voice among them. The acting and direction are so good that people really do laugh when they’re supposed to. The set is very ingenious, in part a platform that opens up like a pop-up book to reveal a versatile and more elaborate set. In fact, this happened before the overture was done, and some of the audience applauded the set, drowning out the overture’s finale.

A bold and clever young woman outwits everyone, including the comical yet determined Bey of Algiers, who has resolved to bring her into his seraglio. All elements of the plot are aspects of this story, which is farcical, yet developed by means of very beautiful music, orchestral and vocal.

One performance remains: February 6 (Sunday, 3 pm). There’s really not a bad seat in the house, so the least expensive tickets are just as good as the rest. We are very fortunate that this wonderful production is in town. I attended the Saturday show last weekend. Don’t let the weather keep you away. If there were ever an inducement to venture forth, this is it.

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