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Classical 101

'Song to the Moon'

There's a really big full moon coming Saturday, March 19. It's the largest in about twenty years, in fact. It has to do with the moon's elliptical orbit; sometimes the moon is closer and sometimes the moon is farther away at the time of the full moon. Astronomers say this one will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it's at its farthest from us during a full moon. Perigee and apogee are the terms used to describe the near and far points of an orbit. But, for most of us, the term may be, "wow!" if there's a break in the clouds and we actually take the time to look at our closest celestial neighbor in the nighttime sky.

Moon inspired aria

It will still be some 211,600 miles away, but in the imagination of artists, writers and composers, the moon sometimes appears more massive and magnificent. Antonin Dvořák wrote an opera called Rusalka based on a Czech fairytale about a water sprite in Slavonic mythology that falls in love with a human. The score has what must be the most beautiful aria associated with the moon titled, Song to the Moon; here is Anna Netrebko performing the piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwuNqcKUxto And here is what I am told is an authentic Czech rendition from soprano Milada Subrtova: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=108UxfghrB8