Old Spanish Days 2011 Mission Float

In Events, Painting, Singing by Zoe Nathan

Though I was taking an operatic vocal workshop during the Fiesta proceedings in Santa Barbara last weekend, I did manage to participate in a fun and unique way: I helped a fellow artist paint the Santa Barbara Mission’s altar on a float that circulated in the parade on Friday. I mostly worked on the figures. The results are below. I can’t help but think when I contemplate Old Spanish Days, that although there are many things that I love about Spanish culture, isn’t this holiday really celebrating Spanish colonialism in the Americas? Is this necessarily a good thing? I’m ambivalent given the near extinction of many Native American cultures and people in the history of Spanish colonialism. Aw, if only holidays such as this and Thanksgiving could be simple! But alas, history is anything but that. On another note, the opera workshop was two and half days, and as much as it got me using my voice again, there are many ways I could improve the two arias I sang. The first was Deh Vieni non Tardar, sung by Susana in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. The second was one of Händel’s few arias sung in German, Flammende Rose, Zierde der Erden. In the first, Susana is being a bit duplicitous, dressed as the countess, she exclaims her happiness about finally meeting with her true love. The second song extols the virtues and beauty of the rose. Here are links to the arias I sang during the vocal workshop recital: