A stirring preview of World War I opera All Is Calm.

Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.
Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Yesterday I sat on a folding chair inside the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park blinking my eyes. Several voices singing divinely about our essential humanity had nearly brought me to tears.

I’d just enjoyed a short but stirring preview of San Diego Opera’s upcoming production of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914. This unique chamber opera is a mixture of the spoken word and male singing unaccompanied by instruments.

Together voices relive a profound moment during the horrific trench warfare of World War I, when “soldiers from France, England, and Germany ventured into no-man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Soldiers exchanged food and gifts, swapped prisoners and performed burials, and played football and sang Christmas carols.”

The inspirational opera All is Calm contains no original music. It is composed entirely from music that was popular just before the onset of World War I, hymns and timeless Christmas carols. The actual letters of common soldiers and orders from officers are among the historical texts that are interwoven with song. Young soldiers from both sides, manning hellish trenches that were infested with rats and lice, made even more miserable with winter rain and freezing snow, are moved to walk out into the field of fire, risking their lives, to share a moment of common humanity.

The opera will be staged in early December in downtown’s Balboa Theatre, a smaller and more intimate setting than the San Diego Civic Theatre, where San Diego Opera usually performs. There is some singing in French and German, but the opera is primarily in English. Silent Night is sung in different languages by many voices, which eventually combine and rise together as one. Music moves the human heart like nothing else can.

The brief preview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 was simply amazing.

It gave me goosebumps.

These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where a few parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare's horrors.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare’s horrors.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this unique chamber opera.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this very unique chamber opera.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. It will touch your heart deeply.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. Its music touches the heart.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

If you’d like to read a few stories about life, click Short Stories by Richard.

A paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

“There is no shortcut to true success.”

Statue of National Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
Statue of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” Those are the words of Trevor Hoffman, 2018 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

The wise quote adorns the base of his bronze statue, which was unveiled this summer at Petco Park.

Great achievements require hard work and persistence. Achievements that endure the test of time must be built game by game, inning by inning, pitch by pitch.

The San Diego Padres have honored two of their Hall of Fame players with magnificent statues at Petco Park. Both Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman are now immortalized in bronze. Both sculptures were created by artist William Behrends, who has been referred to as the Sculptor of Sporting History.

I posted a few photos of the Tony Gwynn statue five years ago here.

Neither Trevor Hoffman nor Tony Gwynn chose the easy path. Both worked constantly, studied the game, and never stopped honing their skills.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” To those who have high aspirations, important words to remember.

A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
Two legends of baseball intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Two legends of baseball now intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Bronze sculpture of Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.
The bronze sculpture of legendary pitcher Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.

A thank you, and a note to my readers!

Almost October. Another year is flying by.

In the daily hustle and bustle, one can forget important things.

I’d like to thank you all, the readers of Cool San Diego Sights.

Thank you for following along during my walks around San Diego. We’ve peered into unexplored corners, lingered in the sunshine. We’ve had a laugh or two. We’ve experienced a good deal of wonder in a beautiful city.

Thank you for your comments and your sharing.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately–about the best way to spend my weekends and free time before and after work.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more inclined to sit in a tranquil place and simply write. Deep down that’s what I really love. So I’ve decided from this point forward I will concentrate more on writing fiction, less on photoblogging.

I’ll still walk, of course–and if I happen to spy something cool or interesting, I’ll post photos right here on Cool San Diego Sights, or my companion blog Beautiful Balboa Park. But once I find that perfect seat, my old camera will be set to one side as I pick up notebook and pen.

Some of those scribbled words will eventually make it to my website Short Stories by Richard. That’s where small philosophical works of fiction await curious readers.

My camera might be idle for hours as I brainstorm, dream and write, but my feet are still restless! I’m sure more photos will appear in the days ahead. Many corners await exploration!

Ahead into the future!

Richard

The secret of how to magnify one’s heart light.

Another short story has poured from my fingertips. This one concerns a strange natural phenomenon that isn’t explained by science.

The story might seem to be about a lighthouse and the refraction of physical light.

But it’s actually about how to magnify one’s heart light.

I’ve titled the story One Lone Candle.

Read it here.

Kid entrepreneurs showcase their creativity!

Two youthful entrepreneurs in San Diego invite prospective customers to Build Your Own Cookie!
Two youthful entrepreneurs in San Diego invite prospective customers to Build Your Own Cookie!

This morning I headed down to check out the first ever San Diego Kidpreneur Expo at Waterfront Park. And look what I discovered!

Kid entrepreneurs were greeting visitors and showing off all sorts of cool, very creative products!

I had spent almost all of my pocket money on a haircut before heading on down, so I’m afraid I didn’t buy anything. But I did take a bunch of inspirational photos!

What an outstanding event! Hopefully it becomes a regular thing. You can learn more about San Diego Kidpreneurs here.

Please check out some of the websites and other info that I’ve included in the captions…

San Diego Kidpreneurs is working to inspire young entrepreneurs to reach for the stars!
San Diego Kidpreneurs is working to inspire young entrepreneurs to reach for the stars!
A young person is filmed by a news crew at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo. Her enterprise is Valeria's Pom Poms Palace.
A young person is filmed by a news crew at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo. Her enterprise is Valeria’s Pom Poms Palace.
Families check out what future business leaders are up to at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo.
Families check out what future business leaders are up to at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo.
Young lady sings during a cool event on San Diego's Embarcadero--the first ever Kidpreneur Expo!
Young lady sings during a super cool event on San Diego’s Embarcadero: the first ever Kidpreneur Expo!
Online programs and introductory curriculum where students can learn about entrepreneurship are available at KidEntrepreneurship.com
Online programs and introductory curriculum where students can learn about starting and running a business are available at KidEntrepreneurship.com
These nice ladies welcoming visitors to the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo event at Waterfront Park smiled for a photo!
These nice ladies welcoming visitors to the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo event at Waterfront Park smiled for a photo!
Amy has a website called Little Dragonite. A portion of the sales from littledragonite.com go to help kids in regional hospitals.
Amy has a website called Little Dragonite. A portion of the sales from littledragonite.com go to help kids in regional hospitals.
Amy makes handcrafted jewelry which is full of color. She is inspired by the beauty of nature.
Amy makes handcrafted jewelry which is full of color. She is inspired by the beauty of nature.
Amy of Little Dragonite has enjoyed great success at art fairs and other events. She wants to make a positive difference in this world. I predict even more success!
Amy of Little Dragonite has enjoyed great success at art fairs and other events. She wants to make a positive difference in this world. I predict even more success!
This young entrepreneur created all sorts of very cool Clay Kreations, including magnets and awesome artwork.
This young entrepreneur created all sorts of very cool Clay Kreations, including magnets and awesome artwork.
One young person at the expo hand painted some very colorful smooth stones.
One young person at the expo hand painted some very colorful smooth stones.
These friendly kids have created @catsolutionscomics. Check it out on Instagram!
These friendly kids have created @catsolutionscomics. Check it out on Instagram!
Fun artwork on display created by young aspiring entrepreneurs!
Fun artwork on display created by young aspiring entrepreneurs!
These young ladies of Musicl.ly Brave the Sparkle had lots of cool slime and plants for sale at their table!
These young ladies of Musicl.ly Brave the Sparkle had lots of cool slime and plants for sale at their table!
Look at all the slime they have in stock!
Look at all the slime they have in stock!
These young ladies of the Sunday Morning Studio had lots of really great handmade watercolor greeting cards for sale.
These young ladies of the Sunday Morning Studio had lots of really great handmade watercolor greeting cards for sale.
Another very young entrepreneur made some very pretty flower hair clips.
Another very young entrepreneur made some pretty flower hair clips.
This guy made some super cool Minecraft cubes! He painted some spongelike material to look like Minecraft blocks.
This guy made some super cool Minecraft cubes! He painted some spongelike material to look like Minecraft blocks.
I think the people at Minecraft should partner with this kid! Awesome idea! His enterprise is called FriezTheHeat.
I think the people at Minecraft should partner with this kid! Awesome idea! His enterprise is called FriezTheHeat.
I saw all sort of creative stuff at a large variety of tables at the event. These items were created by the Legacy Creations Kids.
I saw all sort of creative stuff at a large variety of tables at the event. These items were created by the Legacy Creations Kids.
This kid at the Brave Dragon table made lots of exciting amusement table games. His dad works as a designer.
This kid at the Brave Dragon table made lots of exciting amusement table games. His dad works as a designer.
Here's a fun Lego ring toss game.
Here’s a fun Lego ring toss game.
Lots of business was transacting at the Pokemon Center.
Lots of business was transacting at the Pokemon Center.
More slime for sale! It seems to be a very popular item!
More slime for sale! It seems to be a very popular item!
A young artist was showing his great artwork at his booth called Artsy Peak.
A young artist was showing his great artwork at a booth called Artsy Peak.
The smiling young man shows his super colorful artwork!
The smiling young man shows his super colorful artwork!
Here's the Kate B Slime Co. Looks like a great selection of slime is available!
Here’s the Kate B Slime Co. Looks like a great selection of slime is available!
Two young people operate Double Lens Photography. Some of their photos were astoundingly good, including one of a sandstone canyon.
Two young people operate Double Lens Photography. Some of their photos were astoundingly good, including one of a sandstone canyon.
More cool, super creative stuff at the expo.
More cool, super creative stuff at the expo.
You can frame a picture or make an airplane with a popsicle stick.
You can frame a picture or make an airplane with a popsicle stick.
A talented and super nice family had created lots of really great art.
A talented and super nice family had created lots of really great art.
Pikachu and two young artists at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo!
Pikachu and two young artists at the San Diego Kidpreneur Expo!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The ribbon of life, five years later…

A photo of the mural Our River was the first thing I ever posted to Cool San Diego Sights. I had paused during a walk in Mission Valley, and had felt inspired take a few pictures. That was five years ago.

Today I returned to the same mural.

The beautifully painted artwork, depicting the San Diego River as a blue ribbon, has faded a little. Time is inexorable. But the message of unity and care has touched many.

Perhaps life unspools like a river. Sources along the way expand our being. We deepen and grow. Until we finally become a part of that great ocean.

Let us sparkle along the way.