Lyric Opera’s La Boheme

IMG_20140321_155333IMG_20140321_160002In the fall of 1957, a young conductor, Russell Patterson proposed to transplant the European opera theatre to a more or less typical American setting. A number of local opera buffs welcomed the idea, but there were many qualms. Friends told them it could not be done. The Company has been proving the friends wrong ever since . Today Lyric Opera brings high quality live operatic perfomances to the people of the Kansas City area and five state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performancrs of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas.

IMG_20140321_155544IMG_20140321_155635The Company seeks to mount productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession. The Lyric Opera offers innovative programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community. The education staff works directly with teachers, parents, and young people in a collaborative effort to create award winning programs such as Opera Heroines and Opera Heroes.

IMG_20140321_160247IMG_20140321_160330During the March 7th First Friday Lyric Opera’s La Boheme preview event took place. French inspired cuisine, entertainment, and live performances by Lyric Opera apprentices brought Paris to life in Kansas City. La Boheme is an opera in four acts composed by Giancomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosi based on Scenes de la vie de Boheme by Henri Murger.

IMG_20140321_160407IMG_20140321_160450La Boheme follows the adventures of a quartet of irrepressible and impoverished young Parisians. When the seamstress Mimi and the poet Rodolfo fall in love, the fragile nature of life and love follow the course of the changing seasons. Like the parallel relationship of Rodolfo’s roommate Marcello and Musetta, Mimi and Rodolfo’s love is not without conflict. At the end of the opera, however, they are united tragically as Mimi returns to the garret and dies there, surrounded by her friends. Giancomo Puccini’s tenderly beautiful music plays in counterpoint to the comic antics of the bohemians, creating an unforgettable and enduring masterpiece. Musical devices emphasize the libretto, which consists of common language turned poetic.

IMG_20140321_160613IMG_20140321_160648Also, in 1957 Illica’s widow died and his papers were given to the Parma Museum. Among them was the full libretto to La Boheme. It was discovered that the librettists had prepared an act which Puccini decided not to use in his composition. The “missing act” is located in the timeline between the Cafe Mormos scene and act 3 and describes an open-air party at Musetta’s dwelling. Her protector has refused to pay further rent out of jealous feelings and Musetta’s furniture is moved into the courtyard to be auctioned off the following morning. The four Bohemians find this an excuse for a party and arrange wine and an orchestra. Musetta gives Mimi a beautiful gown to wear and introduces her to a Viscount. The pair dances a quadrille in the courtyard, which moves Rodolfo to jealousy. This explains his remarks to Marcello in act 3. As dawn approaches, furniture dealers gradually remove pieces for the morning auction.

 

Sources of information:

www.kcopera.org

www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255/boheme

Kona Grill Happy Hour

Meeting up with the girls for a birthday celebration lunch at Kona Grill sounded like a great idea. Knowing I would partake of their happy hour made it even better. If you’ve never eaten at the Kona Grill happy hour just know that it’s considered one of the best in the city. The food is always delicious and customer service is amazing. I’ve been to a few where it seemed like I should have made a reservation just to get a seat at the bar and they were crowded like a Taylor Swift concert. Not at all the case with Kona Grill.

Kona Grill

 

Kona Grill
444 Ward Parkway Kansas City, MO 64112
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 3-7 pm, Saturday 1-5 pm
Reverse Happy Hour: Monday-Saturday 10 pm-12 am
Select appetizers, flat breads, and sushi rolls are priced half off the lunch menu.
Atlantic Roll – $3.50 
baked salmon, spicy aioli, cucumber, tempura flakes, eel sauce
California Roll – $3.38 
crab mix, cucumber, avocado, motoyaki sauce
Avocado Egg Rolls – $5.13
 avocado, fried wonton wrappers, asian coleslaw, honey-cilantro dipping sauce

Kona Grill

Just don’t bring your child with you like I did. Seating arrangements were somewhat challenged when I got to our table, with Lily in tow. No high chairs were in sight. No problem, I thought. She’s old enough to sit in a regular chair. Although, her sitting on a high bar stool did make me nervous. I know what you’re thinking. Why would I bring my daughter to a happy hour? Before you judge too harshly know that since it was Terry’s day off I offered to take Lily with me so he could relax. Besides that I didn’t consider that we’d be in the bar area just that I was having lunch with friends. Our very sweet server, Jessica, saw Lily and got a high chair for her. Little things like that usually make a big difference in how I view a restaurant.

Looking for more restaurants in Kansas City where you can take your kids that don’t have a playground? Check out my list of Unexpectedly Kid Friendly Restaurants in Kansas City.

March Challenge


During the month of March I challenged myself to find at least one free event everyday. I posted all of them on  KiaraLovesKC’s Facebook page. Any time I see the word “free” used in the description of something happening in Kansas City it grabs my attention. And those who are reading this may be surprised to know that I see that word a lot. Most of the entertainment I enjoy in the city is free or extremely cheap. (Remember, my favorite theater shows movies for under $5.)

IMG_20140401_175542imageIMG_20140401_175718 2014-03-01 15.27.18

My main concern was finding events that would appeal to a wide range of people. I’m a bookworm so I’m at the library sometimes twice a week. But, of course, listening to an author peddling their latest book isn’t for everyone. Fortunately I have a list of go-to-sources  that made searching for things to do quite easy: IfamilyKC, The Kansas City Star, Visit KC, The Pitch magazine, KC Parent magazine, Ink Magazine, Kansas City on the Cheap, and The Kansas City Public Library.

IMG_20140321_160613IMG_20140321_160002IMG_20140321_155821

  •  IfamilyKC can be picked up at different locations around town. I make sure to get a copy from the KCPL plaza branch, in the kids area. It’s filled with deals for fun places. Signing up for the newsletter emails gets you in on IfamilyKC Kids Events at places like Gymboree, Martial Arts Institute, and Summit Lanes.
  • Ink Magazine’s website has a full calendar that provides lots of details about what’s going on in the city.
  • The Pitch Magazine has a great music section that lists musicians and where they’ll be playing any day of the week. The website posts chances to win free stuff like concert tickets, movie passes, and Pitch hosted special events.

IMG_20140321_162256IMG_20140321_163051IMG_20140321_161845

  • kansascityonthecheap.com sends emails on free stuff, coupon deals, giveaways, and has great info on things in Kansas City that are always free.
  • KC Parent Magazine has an extensive calendar of daily events, monthly info highlighting special events, plus a Thursday-Sunday weekend guide.
  • Kansas City Public Library programs include themed movie series, family fun nights, education for personal finances, children’s story times, and guest speakers discussing topics like the economy, community development, and politics.

IMG_20140321_163859IMG_20140322_232356IMG_20140401_100738

March 1 – 75 Years of Oz exhibit, visit with Glinda the Good Witch, watched fudge makers at Chips Chocolate Factory
March 5 – Visited City Hall
March 7 – Lyric Opera’s 1st Friday preview of La Boheme and dinner at Deco Street Eats food truck
March 8 – Niece Olivia’s 3rd birthday party at Fun Run Indoor Play Center
March 11 – Author Kevin Cook discussed his book  about Kitty Genovese at the KCPL central branch
March 13 – Miller Lite Fan Fest and Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Street Festival
March 15 – Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade
March 17 – Kansas City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 18 – Kansas City Zoo free day
March 20 – Author Eric Mann presented progressive ideas on how to impact communities, cities, and society as a whole at the KCPL plaza branch

IMG_20140401_114225IMG_20140401_114525IMG_20140401_114459

Over the past 31 days of this March challenge I found so many great events that represent just how eclectic Kansas City is. Tours of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, local artists performing in the 18th & Vine Jazz district, parades, cooking classes, cultural festivals, gallery exhibits, kids workshops at Home Depot, comedy showcases, and karaoke. ALL FOR FREE! Proof that Kansas City has steadily grown into a city that has a myriad of possibilities for accessible enjoyment for everyone who lives here.

The Pitch Sugar Rush

Local eateries came together to see which deserved the crown of best sweets in The Pitch Sugar Rush. Let me say the competition was tough. All the restaurants brought their A-Game but a few just shined brighter than the rest.

DSC_0682[1]DSC_0658[1]DSC_0713[1]

 

The winner was Accurso’s Italian Restaurant for the second year in a row. Although, I think they had an unfair advantage. Their melon granita with mint and basil. Sometimes I wonder what foods I will taste in heaven and this is on that list.  After a few turns of the room I was desperate for something cool to drink. Except with long lines and impatience I went back to the sweet refreshing dessert for seconds and thirds. Ok, fourths too. Accurso’s also served up a red velvet cheesecake with white chocolate ganache and a Maker’s Mark bourbon cherry and blood orange infused ice cream.

DSC_0694[2]DSC_0662[1]DSC_0669[1]

 

If there had been a second place, in my opinion, the silver medal would have gone to Manos Chocolates. I really don’t care too much for chocolate or what most make chocolate out to be. Double dark chocolate fudge with triple dark chocolate fudge filling? There is such a thing as too much chocolate. These are for the chocolate loving purists. I can best describe the taste of them as brownie like. They’re not too sugary or too bitter and made with organic vegan ingredients.

DSC_0702[1]DSC_0683[1]

Worthy of an honorable mention for most attractive display is Our Sassy Pantry. The award would be for their Balsamic Blueberry Gin Fizz. The Drunken Pig Truffle Tartlet topped with Bacon Jam was also an unique experience.

I must also take a moment to talk about The Funnelcake Truck.  Thanks to them I had my first deep fried Oreo. It was a drop of iconic guilty pleasure carnival food goodness.

Dinner at The Melting Pot

While scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw a post about getting a group together for a ladies night dinner at The Melting Pot. I’ve wanted to dine there for awhile but the menu prices have kept me from stepping through the doors. My husband, Terry, tends to be the kind of person who doesn’t consider it a meal unless there’s meat on his plate. So once we start looking at their entrée selections it could be a pricey dinner for the two of us. My friend Rachel informed us the special that night was three courses for $16. That’s a lot better than possibly spending $25 or more per person. Count me in!

The Melting Pot

 

I arrived with my friend, Chaffawn. The stairs leading down to the host podium look very ominous. Lighting was way too dark for me. I have never understood why setting a romantic tone means making a restaurant look like a candlelit dungeon. The hostess was nice. She said hello and asked if we wanted a table or booth. I told her what party we were with and without another word she guided us to our table. Great, no waiting to be seated! I noticed a couple of women in a booth and one person in the bar. I only had a quick glance though. He could have been a waiter. It was quiet except for the lively conversations at our two large tables by the kitchen. Seems like the restaurant would be filled for a ladies night special.

California Salad from The Melting Pot

 

Not long after we got settled our drink orders were taken. With 19 women altogether we had two waitresses, Lindsey and Anna. Lindsey managed our table, Anna managed the other. Lindsey wasn’t overly friendly but polite. She did appear hurried in completing her tasks and gave short answers to our questions. Tableside preparation of the fondues added to the ambience. The consistency of the cheeses Lindsey stirred up were lumpy and stringy which made them difficult to chew and swallow. Anna, on the other hand, did an admirable job of mixing. Each one of hers was deliciously creamy and smooth. I enjoyed a sip of their Godiva Chocolate Martini which was $5. It’s made with Godiva dark chocolate and white chocolate liqueurs, creme de cacao, and Stoli Vanil vodka. It tasted like chilled melted white chocolate ice cream with a touch of warmth from the vodka. For the second course I ate a California salad*. Mixed baby greens with petite diced tomatoes, crunchy candied pecans, tangy Gorgonzola cheese, and sweetly tart raspberry black walnut vinaigrette.

First course: Cheese Fondue

Cheese Fondue at The Melting Pot

 

  • Cheddar- aged medium sharp cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses mixed with lager beer, garlic, and seasonings.
  • Fíesta- cheddar cheese blended with lager beer, jalapenos, and salsa. Great with bites of juicy tomato and left with a spicy kick at the end.
  • Spinach and Artichoke*- Butterkase and Fontina cheeses with spinach, artichoke hearts, and garlic.
  • Wisconsin Trio*- Butterkase, buttermilk bleu, and Fontina cheeses blended with scallions, sherry, and white wine. Deliciously tasty with crisp sweet Granny Smith apples.

Third course: Chocolate Fondue

Dessert at The Melting Pot

  • Bananas Foster*- chunks of banana in a caramel-y sauce sprinkled with cinnamon and flambeed. (Would have been better with banana puree.)
  • Cookies and Cream- dark chocolate and marshmallow cream blended together. Topped with crushed Oreo cookies.
  • Flaming Turtle- a mix of milk chocolate and caramel with crunchy candied pecans. With such a title I assumed this one would be flambeed also. It wasn’t.
  • S’mores- milk chocolate and marshmallow cream with pieces of Graham crackers mixed in.
  • Yin/Yang*- scrumptious combination of dark and white chocolates swirled together in perfect harmony.

Good atmosphere, great food, awesome company. The Melting Pot has specials Monday-Friday and a happy hour seven days a week. I definitely want to come back for an evening out with Terry.

*=My favorites