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Paul Lormier: Seven costume designs for Dietsch’s Le Vaisseau Fantôme ou le maudit des mers, dated 1842. After Richard Wagner submitted to him the scenario Le hollandais volant (The Flying Duchtman), the Director of Paris Opéra became interested… but decided to commission the opera to other composer and libretist. Dietsch’s opera was first performed in 1842 and soon forgotten. Wagner’s Die Fliegende Holländer premiered in 1843. For you interested, there’s a recording of Diescht (coupled with Wagner’s original version of Die Fliegende Holländer) conducted by Minkowski.

Gallica

Facts about February

This is fun for me: a facts list about a time. I don’t think one has been done before for h-nf. Here goes!

  • When the Romans synchronized their lunar calendar with the solar calendar in the late 700s BCE, two new months, January and February, were added to the end of the calendar.  Both had 28 days.
  • Since even numbers were considered bad luck, a 29th day was soon added to January. February remained  "unlucky" and was devoted to honoring the dead and performing rites of purification, as the word February comes from februare, which means “to purify.”
  • Youtube’s domain was registered in February 2005
  • Valentine’s Day, February 14, was first introduced to Japan in 1936 and has become widely popular. However, because of a translation error made by a chocolate company, only women buy Valentine chocolates for their spouses, boyfriends, or friends. In fact, it is the only day of the year many single women will reveal their crush on a man by giving him chocolate.
  • Although Nova Scotia was granted the British Empire’s first flag by King Charles I in 1625, Canada did not have a national flag until February 15, 1965, when its maple leaf flag was adopted by its parliament.
  • February 11th is the National Foundation Day of Japan
  • February 24th is Mexico’s Flag Day
  • On February 1, 2009, Comcast Cable accidentally aired 37 seconds of porn during Super Bowl XLIII.
  • Luciano Pavarotti received 165 curtain calls on February 24, 1988, after singing in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in Berlin.
Happy Birthday, Moz!

Today, January 27th is the 260th anniversary of Mozart’s Geburtstag! In honor of the day, I thought I’d do a little bit of writing about one of Mozart’s closest friends:

The first mention of Mozart’s starling appears on May 27th, 1784 when he bought the bird and recorded it in his personal expense book. Starlings are known for bonding strongly with their human companions, and it is generally considered that Mozart had a deep bond with the bird. 

During the birds first few weeks at the Mozart Residence, Mozart was composing his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G K. 453, and at one point, the bird started singing the opening theme, which Mozart transcribed next to the entry in his expense book. 

In his notes, the transcription is accompanied by the text “Vogel Stahrl 34 Kreuzer…. Das war schön!” which translates to “Starling bird 34 kr. That was beautiful.” 

The bird lived with the Mozart’s for three years, until it died in 1787. Mozart wrote a short poem in honor of the starling:

-AJP