Five Senses Tastings

Dick jokes and opera

Soho-House-Los-Angeles-Five-Senses-Tastings

Yes, you read right.

This is the title of the show I saw on Wednesday thanks to my dear friend, Diane, yoga teacher extraordinaire and also the Founder of Love Infinity for All, a jewelry company that raises awareness and funds for mental illness. 

We really didn't know what I was getting into when we rolled up to the Soho House in West Hollywood. For those of you who don't know, Soho House (which actually began in London in 1995 and has houses all over Europe and North America, oh, and Istanbul) is where you go when you need to convince the rich and famous how rich and famous you currently are OR how rich and famous you think you are OR how rich and famous you will or most definitely should be.

"High art meets low art" is how the show was presented to the packed room. Opera arias, performed by LA-based opera singer and entrepreneur Nicole Levitt, were interspersed with stand up comedians named... yeah, I'm sorry, I have absolutely no recollection of who they were but they were great, especially the irreverent Illinois-Irish guy in the middle.

What I loved most about the event was the complete unexpectedness of it. Stand up comedy and opera? Maybe someone has thought of it before but, no surprise here, I absolutely loved the concept of putting together two things that you'd think on the surface have nothing in common with one another. But it worked because the purposefulness behind each story was there, whether high art or low art.People in the audience may never have heard opera before, and they were inclined to appreciate it not only because they knew the woman singing but because her voice stood in clear, melodious, and purposeful juxtaposition to the dick jokes and other insults hurled by the comedians. 

There are most certainly still some kinks to be ironed out in terms of the flow and presentation, but I am thrilled to bits to hear that this will not be the last installment and that the future of the show is moving towards a more meaningful connection between the two art forms.

Who says sacred music is made for the soul only?

Certainly not us!

Bach's duet n°2: "Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten" from his Cantata "Jesu, der du meine Seele" BWV78 exemplifies what is so distinctive about Bach's music: it speaks directly, and as strongly, to one's soul and one’s body. The way Bach combines and weaves together the soprano and the alto voices forms an incredibly spiritual sonority that is at the same time very sensual, taking into account that no soul lives outside a body. The texture is at once light and airy and velvety, a sound one can almost touch.

A sound that tastes like a great vintage German Riesling from a classic producer such as Dönnhoff in the Nahe region, or a sublime dessert wine from Alsace, like Domaine Weinbach’s Cuvée St. Catherine or Cuvée St. Laurence, both late harvest wines made from Riesling and Gewürtztraminer, respectfully.  With their incredible vein of acidity and minerality, both wines take your palate on a journey that is at once complex and inviting, challenging but always deeply satisfying - and sometimes even life-changing.

Many people, religious or not, have likened experiences with great German and Alsatian wines to that of a spiritual awakening. In the Bach duet, the repetition of the musical motive and the variations around it speak to this spiritualism by materializing the "faltering yet eager steps" with which we undertake our life’s journey. The rising intertwining figure gives the impression of a very human striving, towards a very spiritual goal. And as the aria unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that the spiritual goal Bach devised in his music is in fact this step-by-step journey itself.