Pictured: All the tea in China

After the process of making Longjing tea, Wang Yuebao shows the tea boxes that she sells. Roman Pilipey/EPA. More images below.

After the process of making Longjing tea, Wang Yuebao shows the tea boxes that she sells. Roman Pilipey/EPA. More images below.

Photographic artist Roman Pilipey who captured these images has created an amazing visual for us. Viewing them makes you feel as if you have been there. All the tea in China in pictures. Published by The Guardian.

All the tea in China

According to a legend, tea was first discovered by the Chinese emperor Shennong in 2737 BC. Today China is the world’s biggest tea producer, producing 2.43m tonnes last year. The tea industry in China employs around 80 million people as both farmers and pickers, and in sales.

Employs 80 million people. That’s a lot of people. — VGrF

Image Credit

Roman Pilipey/EPA. Friday 2 June 2017 03.08 EDT.

Gallery

Click on any image to view as a slideshow. Or go here to view all of the images at their source and get their descriptions.

Last updated: 9:01 pm EST.

Pictured: A great crested Grebe in Blackwall Basin, London

A great crested grebe nurses two young on its back in Blackwall Basin, London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

A great crested grebe nurses two young on her back in Blackwall Basin, London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

The RSPB tells us:

A great crested Grebe is a delightfully elegant waterbird with ornate head plumes which led to their being hunted for their feathers, almost leading to their extermination from the UK.

They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying.

On land they are clumsy because their feet are placed so far back on their bodies. They have an elaborate courtship display in which they rise out of the water and shake their heads.

Very young grebes often ride on their parents’ backs.

Source: The Guardian

Pictured: Pupy the African elephant jailed in a zoolike park in Buenos Aires

Pupy, an African elephant, stands in the doorway of his enclosure at the former city zoo now known as Eco Parque in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photograph: Natacha Pisarenko / AP.

Pupy, an African elephant, stands in the doorway of his enclosure at the former city zoo now known as Eco Parque in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photograph: Natacha Pisarenko / AP.

Sad

There is something particularly sad to me about the capture and lifelong imprisonment of wild animals — especially the elephant.

The only ones who seem to suffer more in captivity than the elephant, often to the point of madness, are polar bears. I have observed several who met that fate over the years.

Although a horse racing photographer by trade for more than a decade in the UK and parts of Europe, I was often asked to photograph anything from a favorite pet to wild animals kept in zoos. What I saw in those zoos broke my heart over and over. It got to where I couldn’t accept the assignments.

What a provocative image of this dear soul.

The full description accompanying the image reads:

Pupy, an African elephant, stands in the doorway of his enclosure at the former city zoo now known as Eco Parque in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A year ago the 140-year old Buenos Aires zoo closed its doors and was transformed into a park. The first director decided that the animals should be housed in buildings that reflected their countries of origin. A replica of a Hindu temple was built for the Asian elephants.
Photograph: Natacha Pisarenko/AP.

Source: The Guardian.

Opera in America seeks to avoid a swan-song moment

The Metropolitan Opera House’s “Sputnik” chandeliers. Photo: Paula Soler-Moya, Flickr creative commons.

The Metropolitan Opera House’s “Sputnik” chandeliers. Photo: Paula Soler-Moya, Flickr creative commons.

Who knew that opera’s story is, in some ways, a mirror of America?
Its most hallowed hall, the Met in New York, remains an icon of an elite art form.
But to thrive elsewhere, opera might need to find a more common touch. — Mark.

NEW YORK, NY — The Christian Science Monitor published the following in The 30 Sec. Read. Written by Weston William.

New York’s Metropolitan Opera finished its 2016-17 season on a high note: Its May broadcast of “Der Rosenkavalier” was seen by a vast global audience. And that same month the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in its Lincoln Center home.

But offstage things were less celebratory. Although opera lovers argue that performance standards have never been higher, ticket sales are lagging, as is the enthusiasm of American audiences.

Opera is struggling, says Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, as it transitions “from an aging audience to a new one.” That’s why, across the United States, some opera companies are turning to smaller-scale, more unusual works that address the problems of the modern world, productions like Philip Glass’s “The Perfect American,” based on the life of Walt Disney.

At its best, opera draws on something universal that does not alter with time or trends, says Douglas Clayton, general director of Chicago Opera Theater. “[A]s long as we’re human beings … we will still have this desire to connect with other people, and to be creative about how we do that.”

I am intrigued by the idea of Philip Glass’s “The Perfect American.” Hmmm.

Opera: Lucia Popp singing Queen of the Night and O mio babbino caro.

Lucia Popp. A 1986 recording session. © Clive Barda/ArenaPAL 2014.

Lucia Popp. A 1986 recording session. © Clive Barda/ArenaPAL 2014.

One of my favorite sopranos of all time, Lucia Popp. Here are two of my favorite arias sung by this divine singer.

Queen of the Night. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Mozart.

 

If anyone sings  “O mio babbino caro” any lovelier than Ms. Popp I don’t know who it is. Gianni Schicchi by Puccini.

Opera: One to watch — Ekaterina Bakanova

Ekaterina Bakanova in the role of Musetta in La Bohème at the Royal Opera House in 2015. Credit: Royal Opera House.

Ekaterina Bakanova in the role of Musetta in La Bohème at the Royal Opera House in 2015. Credit: Royal Opera House.

LONDON — The 30-year-old soprano Ekaterina Bakanova was in the midst of a routine rehearsal at the Royal Opera House in July 2015 when she was rushed into the spotlight. The star of that evening’s “La Traviata” performance at the same venue was unwell — could Ms. Bakanova step in and sing the title role of Violetta in Verdi’s opera five hours later?

Stunned and incredulous, the Russian-born singer paused briefly to think about it, then accepted. Her performance earned a standing ovation and glowing reviews, followed by offers from major opera houses in Barcelona, Spain, and Dresden, Germany.

On June 14, Ms. Bakanova is scheduled to be back at Covent Garden in the same role (this time in her own right) for five performances.

Music critics and opera managers all recognize her artistic abilities and stage presence. Whether she is the next big opera star, they say, is something that only time will determine. Continue reading »

Source. New York Times (by Farah Nayeri, 2 June 2017).

* * *

Here’s the lady in action.

Related Video

Final Scene — “La Traviata”, Act 3.
G. Verdi, Opera Astana Kasakhstan, October 2014
Violetta Valéry: Ekaterina Bakanova
Alfredo Germont: Vincenzo Costanzo

Pictured: Kittens and Cats. Just Because.

Love looking at the pins I save on Pinterest. It is so relaxing and fun. I particularly love looking at animals.

Kittens from VGrF's Cats and Kittens pins on Pinterest. Click to go there now.

Kittens from VGrF’s Cats and Kittens pins on Pinterest. Click to go there now.

Since I have not been without a cat since the crib they tend to dominate my attention with horses ever so slightly behind. Probably because they don’t live in the house and sleep on the bed. Well, just about.

If you click on an image you will be taken away to my Pinterest cats and kittens page. To stay here, scroll through the images.