An Extraordinary Life

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An Extraordinary Life: How I Met Marian Anderson, Rock Hudson, John F. Kennedy, Paul Newman, Lily Pons, Rachel Welch and Other Legends by Being Me...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453596586
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 30, 2011

    A high-flying tour de force

    Richard Kendall's first book, An Extraordinary Life, is an extraordinary tour-de-force. Richard shares with us in a very personal way his passion for music and politics by taking us on a tour of his meetings with the top stars in opera and the legends of the political world (with a few Hollywood stars - who happened to be opera lovers as well - added to the extraordinary tour). He has a special place in his heart for those individuals among us who can simultaneously create beauty and inspire us, but can also exhibit humility and warmth and generosity of spirit utterly devoid of artifice or phoniness. And Richard, with his own humility and his sheer joie de vivre, as well as his comfort with the art of honest conversation, brings out the warmth and the humor in all he meets. It turns out he is the right person in the right place at the right time! In a particularly engaging chapter, he describes his audition for the Los Angeles Master Chorale in front of Roger Wagner, who had a talent for creating fear and awe among those who aspired to join the Chorale. Richard successfully wowed the master by enjoying himself, having a little fun, and most of all taking the perspective that the audition would be an interesting learning experience. To his shock, Richard had exactly the kind of voice Wagner was looking for. For his opening chapter, Richard selected an apt quote from Marian Anderson, who aspires to a world where we don't see a black singer or a white singer, but only see a colorless soul. From the first to the last chapter of the book, Richard clearly has a "colorless soul" himself, seeing the essential humanity in political figures on the left or on the right, and the real person behind the "celebrity." The most engaging, and touching, chapters in the book have to be his sensitive descriptions of his friendships with his two favorite divas, Lily Pons and Joan Sutherland. Both divas clearly knew a kindred spirit when they met him, and opened up their hearts to Richard. Sutherland invites Richard's mother, who inspired Richard's love of opera and his interest in writing, to keep her company backstage after one of her numerous sold-out shows. And Pons gives Richard a lesson in the proper French pronunciation of Au Revoir, after graciously hosting him and some of his music students at her Palm Springs home. When it comes down to it, Richard has clearly created his own extraordinary luck by being extraordinarily humane.

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