San Miguel de Allende

Met Opera regional finalists concert was the night of the sopranos in San Miguel


Metropolitan Opera regional finalists and program producer Rodrigo Garciarroyo accept the ovations after an encore performance Sunday night at St. Paul’s Church in San Miguel de Allende.

“Something wonderful is happening here,”  said Rodrigo Garciarroyo last night, after eight of Mexico’s finest young opera singers performed for more than two and a half hours before a very full house in St. Paul’s Church last night.

Producer and host Garciarroyo is a big man, in size and personality, and I don’t think he is given to understatement but then, we were all reaching for superlatives after this concert.

And all of us felt we were coming up a bit short. Continue reading

San Miguel de Allende

Sometimes, San Miguel weddings just make you smile — and you don’t even have to be a guest


What could be more romantic than a carriage pulled by two black steeds, ready to whisk away the new bride and groom?

If it is Saturday, there are weddings to be had at the Parroquia de San Miguel in Centro.

Wedding parties are stacked up like planes over O’Hare, waiting to touch down in the gaudy sanctuary for their moment of nuptualism.

Yet, there is no assembly line feel to all this. Continue reading

San Miguel de Allende

In San Miguel, it is always one thing, then another, and another


The pied pipers of San Miguel, leading a birthday party down Cuna de Allende on Thursday evening, November 7, 2019.

The thing about San Miguel de Allende is, when you set off to do one thing, something else pops up along the way.

Then something else.

Then something else again.

And so on, until you are back home again. Continue reading

Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

My mythical past


A friend came over to dinner the other night and we subsequently discovered that her mother’s family and I share the same last name: Hawkins.

It happens.

I also share the same last name with a number of terrific athletes, musicians, and celebrities going back to the great basketball player Connie Hawkins.

In fact, if you go to, there is a list called “Famous People With the Last Name Hawkins.”

I am not on it. Continue reading

Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Uncategorized

A hint of immortality comes in the mail

20190824_142504Immortality is mine!


Well, that’s the way the old newspaper joke went. Something about “as long as I am in print, I’ll live on forever ….”

Then you’d get a picture of fish wrapped in old newsprint. Or newspapers lining the bottom of a canary cage. There’s some immortality for you, chump.

Ok, wait a minute. Continue reading

Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Uncategorized

For the record, I did not attend Woodstock …am I the only one?


See those people clustered around the blue Volkswagon microbus? None of them is me. The reason being that, given the choice of going to Woodstock or spending the weekend in a remote Pennsylvania forest, I chose the latter.

I was 19 the summer of the Woodstock music festival and lived less than 275 miles from the Bethel, N.Y. site of the concert that shaped my generation.

So, it is important to note, as the 50th anniversary begins today, that I did not attend Woodstock.

No freaking way. Continue reading

San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

When you have to wait …


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg hover above the courtyard at Paprika Restaurante.

So often we zip into Paprika Restaurante, catch a concert in the back or check for mail upfront. Then zip out again. Rarely do we slow down to appreciate the many layers of beauty which make up the interior space.

Tuesday, we were fortunate to attend a concert by violinist/composer David Mendoza and pianist Lorelei Capell in the Paprika courtyard. We found ourselves there a little early, which in itself, was a gift.

Stepping off the busy Ancha de San Antonio and into the courtyard is like stepping back in time, to something like 17th century Spain. Or, maybe a movie set.

Every corner, every niche, invites inspection. The eye flits over statues, cornices, carvings, flora, several layers of living space soaring into the sky above, and umbrellas.

Yes, a row of colorful umbrellas. They like artifacts from the French musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and convey a whimsical air to the setting from above.

As for the concert, there is none better to enhance the setting. David Mendoza has returned to San Miguel de Allende after an absence that was felt by many. He doesn’t just play the violin, he inhabits every note and imbues the music with an intoxicating joyfulness. You should see how people smile when he puts bow to strings. You can’t help it.

Lorelei Capell is the perfect complement to David’s flights of passion. Together they performed a set of deeply moving songs, mostly from classic movies. The set contained a fair number of compositions from Ennio Morricone, including from “Cinema Paradiso,” and one from Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack for “Amelie.”

“It is going to be a very romantic evening,”  Lorelei had said the day before. How right she was!

David went solo for the second half with his own compositions using drum tracks, sound loops, and reverb to augment his meditative and dreamlike music. He gently painted on layer upon layer of sound until a near orchestral density pulled at the heart.

With an uncanny sense of timing, the concert ended minutes before the skies opened and evening showers arrived.

___   ___   ___   ___   ___

David Mendoza performs in concert next on 25th September at Miguel Malo hall,  in the Bellas Artes. You can sometimes catch him around town, sitting in with other fine musicians, like Media Luna which performs Sundays at Paprika.