René Pape sings on horseback

René Pape as Sarastro and Tom Randle as Monostatos in Kenneth Branagh's "The Magic Flute". Click to visit image.
Rene Pape (left) in Branagh’s The Magic Flute. Source: Pinterest. Click to visit image.

René Pape.

Superb voice. Moving. Handsome. Charismatic. Everything you want in an opera singer. The great operatic Bass of our time. My time.

There’s even more to love. Pape sings on horseback! You know how I love horses. Pape has a darn good seat. How deluxe.

I only hear Pape when he performs Verdi and Mozart. How fun to come across this excerpt.

Horses are no strangers to Opera. They appear in quite a few. When I say appear, I mean live on stage.

My first time seeing horses on the operatic stage was at the Met in Aida and later on the outdoor stage at Verona in Carmen.

I doubt I’ll ever see Mr Pape live which makes me feel very, very sad. I wasn’t aware of him when I lived in New York. That was a very long time ago now. Perhaps he hadn’t even made it there yet. Sigh. Recordings will have to do.

Okay. That’s my August blogging done. Smile!

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers. Vivian.

About René Pape

German bass René Pape made his Royal Opera debut in February 1997, singing Pope Pius IV (Palestrina) and Heinrich I (Lohengrin) in parallel runs. He has since sung Count Massimiliano (I masnadieri), Méphistophélès (Faust) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal) for The Royal Opera.

Pape was born in Dresden in 1964 and sang with the Kreuzchor from 1974 to 1981. He went on to train at the Dresden Conservatory and in 1988 made his professional debut at the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden while still a student. He continues to sing regularly with the Berlin State Opera, and with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where he has sung in more than 190 performances since his debut in 1995. His repertory includes all the major Wagner bass-baritone roles, Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Philip II (Don Carlo) and Boris Godunov.

Source: Royal Opera House Biography


The Horse and Civilization t-shirts are back

Back by popular demand — “The history of mankind is carried on the back of a horse” tees (and fleece).

The Horse and Civilization (and sweatshirts and hoodies). Click to shop.
The Horse and Civilization tees (and sweatshirts and hoodies) are back. Click to shop.

Besides being beautiful featuring unique artistry created just for The Horse Fund, here is what wearing this design with pride will remind folks:

For 5000 years the horse has been an ever present ally in war and peace. Civilizations have risen and fallen on their backs. Evidence of what horses have given to mankind is seen everywhere. Yet somehow, following the increasing pace of mechanization in the 1930s, we have so quickly forgotten how indebted we are to the domestication of this magnificent animal. Help change that with this evocative design.

Available on black, charcoal grey and navy unisex and slim fit ladies and unisex youth tees. Also available in crew neck and hooded sweatshirts. Limited time offer! Shop now »

Order by March 8th.

Portrait of a racehorse

This is a grand photograph. But the look in this beautiful horse’s eyes makes me feel very wistful.

Love Story: William Shatner and his new book “Spirit of the Horse”

Image from the cover of William Shatner's new book "Spirit of the Horse".
Image from the cover of William Shatner’s new book “Spirit of the Horse”.

Jaym Gates of NPR Illinois writes a cool review of William Shatner’s book called “Spirit of the Horse: A Celebration of Fact and Fable” stating:

“I think there are two things that unite horse people above all else: love of a complex animal, and a deep appreciation for story.

“From the first words of Spirit of the Horse, it’s clear that this is a man who is wonderfully, hopelessly in love with the creatures. He weaves his own anecdotes and memories with fables, excerpts from old training manuals, and other legacies to create something that is part memoir, part question: Why do horses have such a hold on humans? What about them captures us so intently?”

Click image to buy it now at

The Amazon description reads:

“From his first time riding as a child, William Shatner has felt a deep love for horses. Whether seated in the saddle, communicating with them, or simply appreciating their beauty, his bond with these majestic animals is deep. For decades he has sought to share his joy―with children, veterans, those with disabilities, and many more―through his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show. And here, he brings that same joy to his fans and readers.

“In Spirit of the Horse, the Star Trek and Boston Legal legend speaks from the heart about the remarkable effect horses have had on his life and on the lives of others. From his first horse, bought impulsively on the advice of a twelve-year-old, to his favorite horses, acquired after many years of learning what to look for, this book draws from Shatner’s own experience and pairs it with a wealth of classic horse stories, including unique retellings of the Pegasus myth and the feats of the most famous war horses throughout history. The result is a celebration that captures the unparalleled connection between humans and horses―and the power, courage, mindfulness, and healing that they can inspire in us.”

List price at time of writing at Hard Cover. $17.95. Kindle: $12.99.