Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just Released from Rhapsodize Audio!

The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot

Produced by my fellow Rhapsodize Audio founder, Denis Daly. Performed by Denis and rhapsodes of Rhapsodize Audio.


Section 1
    performed by Alan Weyman

Section 2
  Eleven Poems     performed by Winston Tharp, Carol Box, Jannie Meisberger, Alan Weyman and Jason Mills.

1 Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar

2 Sweeney Erect

3 A Cooking Egg

4 Le Directeur

5 Mélange adultère de tou

6 Lune de Miel

7 The Hippopotamus

8 Dans le Restaurant

9 Whispers of Immortality

10 Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service

11 Sweeney Among the Nightingales

Section 3
    The Waste Land
   performed by Caprisha Page, Denis Daly, Alan Weyman. Winston Tharp, Jannie Meisberger, Bob Gonzalez, Carol Box and Jason Mills.

Rhapsodize Audio is the audio recording branch of Rhapsodize, a noncommercial cultural initiative dedicated to producing, encouraging, and facilitating rhapsodizing, the dramatic performance of classic poetry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chorus from Euripides' Hippolytus

Chorus from Hippolytus

This is a video of a choral ode from my production of my translation of Euripides' Hippolytus at the University of Tampa in March 2013. The nine women of the chorus are Elisha Sayed, Hailey Hendrickson, Kelcy Owens, Anna Mayworm, Mikaela Bracken, Luisamaria Hernandez, Alexa Perez, Hana Cheplowitz, and Emily Thaler.

This is the text:

Eros, Desire, distilling liquid yearning on lovers’ eyes, 
Bringing sweet pleasure to souls you conquer, 
May you never come to me in violence, but only in harmony. 
For neither lightning bolts nor the shooting stars 
Surpass the power of Aphrodite’s arrows you throw.

All sacrifice is useless if we fail to honor Eros, 
Who holds the keys to Aphrodite’s sweet chambers. 
He ruins those he visits with every kind of calamity.

Iole, princess of Oechalia, virgin, unwed, 
Free-roaming as a footloose Naiad or reveling Maenad – 
Sea-born Kypris took her from her father’s home, 
And bound her through blood and fire with marriage to Herakles, 
Who sacked her city, killed her family, and took her by force.

Thebes, bear witness to the ways of Kypris: 
How she enticed Semele, mother of Dionysus, to lust for Zeus, 
Whose blazing lightning consumed her in his bed.

The goddess of Love is terrible, 
Hovering everywhere, like a bee, always ready to sting.

(This English version is copyright 2013 by Robert Gonzalez. All rights reserved. For production arrangements, contact me at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shakespearean Sonnet Celebration

I recorded these sonnets during the month of April 2011, U.S. Poetry Month, as part of personal project where I memorized one poem per day, usually a sonnet or of or about sonnet length. Much Shakespeare, sonnets and play excerpts. Also, Wordsworth, Frost, and others. The audio quality is not as good as my more recent recordings but I think the vigor and the interpretations make up for it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dialogue with Love

Dialogue with Love by Michael Drayton, performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

My daily repertory-building performance for today.

Text on

As Love and I, late harbour’d in one inn,
With proverbs thus each other entertain:
In love there is no lack, thus I begin,
Fair words make fools, replieth he again;
Who spares to speak, doth spare to speed (quoth I),
As well (saith he) too forward, as too slow;
Fortune assists the boldest, I reply,
A hasty man (quoth he) ne’er wanted woe;
Labour is light, where love (quoth I) doth pay,
(Saith he) light burthen’s heavy, if far born;
(Quoth I) the main lost, cast the bye away;
You have spun a fair thread, he replies in scorn.
    And having thus awhile each other thwarted,

    Fools as we met, so fools again we parted.

The Ants by John Clare

John Clare

This is my daily repertory building exercise, recording the following:

"The Ants" by John Clare

This comes from my Internet Archive page Rhapsode Daily Practice and Rehearsals, which states:

A look into process. These are slightly edited practice sessions and rehearsals wherein Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode, expands his repertory by sight-reading poems new to his performance and also rehearses poems to be used for Rhapsodize, his non-commercial cultural initiative to promote the performance of classic poetry as well as his upcoming Rhapsodize tour scheduled for spring 2015.

Text from Poems Chiefly from Manuscript by John Clare

I love his poems! I recorded his "Little Trotty Wagtail" a couple of years ago as my final poem for U.S. Poetry Month April 2012.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"The Great Lover" video

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Video of
performed by rhapsode Bob Gonzalez
video direction by Trish Parry

I recorded and was videoed performing this marvelous poem by Rupert Brooke quite a few years ago now for Trish Parry's Valentones project, where she created numerous videos of poetry, classic and original.  You can find those videos on her YouTube page

Text of The Great Lover by Rupert Brooke
Short Biography of Rupert Brooke (courtesy
Audio Recording by rhapsode Bob Gonzalez of The Great Lover on LibriVox

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rhapsode Daily Practice - A Minuet

George Santayana 

featuring a performance of 
A Minuet on Reaching the Age of Fifty  by George Santayana

Today's Rhapsode Repertory-Building Practice Session takes place in my home studio, my computer room, where I sit in from of my iMac and record into my Samson Go-Mic from a text on the computer screen. This one is from the Internet Archive copy of George Santayana's book of Poems. The poem is called "A Minuet on Reaching the Age of Fifty." It is also found in Oscar Williams' anthology, Immortal Poems of the English Language.

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known as George Santayana (December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American, although he always kept a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. His last will was to be buried in the Spanish Pantheon of the Cimitero Monumentale del Verano in Rome. (from Wikipedia article)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Project: A Look Into Process

Daily Practice - March 20, 2014 - A Look into Process   Duration: 4m 32s

This is the start of a new project documenting work-in-progress. One of the most important activities for a rhapsode is to increase his/her repertory of poems and, of course, to rehearse for upcoming performances. As I work to increase my own repertory and prepare upcoming projects for Rhapsodize Audio and material for my Sping 2015 live Rhapsodize tour, I will be recording excerpts from my daily practice and rehearsals and uploading them to a page on the Internet Archive I've created called Rhapsode Daily Practice and Rehearsals. This first one, recorded in my office in the Falk Theatre at the University of Tampa, includes poems by James Shirley, Thomas Moore, and John Keats, found in Oscar Williams great anthology, Immortal Poems of the English Language.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sonnet 146 by William Shakespeare "Poor Soul, The Centre of My Sinful Earth"

Sonnet 146

by William Shakespeare

Performed by Bob Gonzalez

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Feeding these rebel pow’rs that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servants’ loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
And death once dead, there's no more dying then.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beware the Ides of March

A Selection of Speeches from Julius Caesar performed by me in the
Rhapsodize Audio rhapsody, A Shakespeare Gallimaufry

I am including images from the 1953 film version because this was my first exposure to the play and it still holds a warm place in my heart. Above you see the legendary John Gielgud as Cassius (left) and the formidable James Mason as Brutus (right). I learned much from listening to both these men handle the language. One could listen to Gielgud for years on end and still have more to learn from him. He was phenomenal. I actually performed a mini one-man version of the whole play within my We Are Such Stuff solo Shakespeare show in 2000. It included all of the speeches contained in the audio recording.

Brando is amazing when you consider he had never done Shakespeare before. I loved him when I saw the movie and when I was first listening to the audio highlights in the 1970s. Now I think he is just shouting and rushing through the verse, and Gielgud thinks he was doing a bad Olivier impression, but it's really quite good for the time and for a look at what a phenomenal force-of-nature actor like Brando could do with the role.

I'd like to perform in the play sometime, although I believe I may be getting too old for it now. My preferred part would be Cassius, although I would accept Caesar if it was offered me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise

A Rhapsody of Judeo-Christian Scripture

performed live by rhapsode Bob Gonzalez
November, 1989 at Unity Church, Tampa, Florida

featuring Psalms 100, 8, 23 (in both Hebrew and English), 24, 51, 63, 91, and 103.
Also, Genesis, Isaiah, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus's Three Temptations in the Wilderness, and Paul's Ode to Love in I Corinthians 13

Full Collection on the Internet Archive

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sonnet 33 by William Shakespeare

Here's a little experiment with combining some moving visual imagery with my audio performance of Shakespeare's sonnet. Simple, but interesting. At least, I hope you find it so.

Sonnet 33: Full Many a Glorious Morning

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Day With Walt Whitman

This is the third and final chapter I recorded from May Gillington Byron's book, A Day With Great Poets, for LibriVox.

A Day With Walt Whitman     45:20

This performance of Byron's chapter features passages from Whitman's greatest poetry woven with biographical data condensed into an imagined day in his life.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Day with John Keats

This is a another chapter I recorded for LibriVox from a book by May Gillington Byron titled A Day With Great Poets, which blends selections from Keats' greatest poetry with biographical information condensed into an imaginative "day in the life of" narrative.

A Day with John Keats  46:28

I'll post the chapter I recorded about Walt Whitman tomorrow.

Enjoy your day with Mr. Keats!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Day With Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Here's a chapter I performed from a wonderful Librivox recording called
A Day With Great Poets by May Gillington Byron:

A Day With Samuel Taylor Coleridge   47:36

It blends selections of his greatest works with biographical information condensed into an imaginative "day in the life of" narrative.

I've also done one on Keats and Whitman, which I'll post another day.

Enjoy a day with Mr. Coleridge!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Calling All Rhapsodes

One of the goals of my tour is to discover and encourage rhapsodes. I do believe that some others are doing this. Benjamin Bagby performs Beowulf. But I want to find the people that are doing it more low-profile. Not poets reading their own works, not slam poets performing their works, but true rhapsodes -- performers of classic poetry. The emphasis is on the performance. Not that the words are subjugated to the performance. No, the great rhapsode, like the great actor, holds the words of the poet as sacred. But the words alone are not going to convey full meanings to an audience. It is the rhapsode's task to discover all the potential power of the words and embody them in performance. Giving a "flat" reading is no more respectful of the text than is a lover who merely assumes that his beloved knows his love.

Maybe rhapsodizing is not so prevalent. Certainly, it is under the radar. When do your ever hear of people performing a show consisting of nothing but classic poetry? Rarely. I'm sure poetry readings happen in libraries, but I'll bet that's mostly original poetry. The tradition of a solo Shakespeare show goes back at least to the early twentieth century, possibly before. John Gielgud's Ages of Man and Ian McKellen's Acting Shakespeare are possibly the most well-known examples.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Live Rhapsode Tour

I am planning a live rhapsode tour in the spring semester of 2015. It is a part of my sabbatical, for which I had to submit a proposal of activity to be vetted by the Faculty Development Committee at my university. It's quite ambitious, at least for me. I plan to perform 2 to 4 solo rhapsodies each month during January, February, March, April, and May in Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. I plan to perform -- or at least offer -- four separate solo shows to the venues I contact: one centering on Shakespeare, one on Whitman, one on Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and one a medley (or rhapsody) of several classic poets. I plan to offer these to theaters, schools, libraries, museums, and virtually any place that can provide me with a performance space and a potential audience. I have not done a full-length live rhapsodic performance since fall 2010 and it's time to go back in front of a live audience.

One of my purposes is to accelerate the Rhapsodize initiative that has stalled a bit because of my involvement in academic matters for at least the past year, if not more. I'm really as or more interested in starting a movement of rhapsodic performance than in just performing myself. But perhaps I can get some momentum going by going on the road, as limited a tour as this may turn out to be.

I know NOTHING about touring and booking tours, so I have purchased a couple books to get me started, but I admit I have been procrastinating because this entire venture really frightens me. I don't like travel at all, so I need to face and overcome this. Additionally, I see the booking process as somewhat tedious, but I need to see it rather as an adventure. I have been researching and getting in contact with others solo touring theatre performers, particularly Tim Mooney and Elaine Bromka, and hope to learn much from them when I meet them in person.

Here's are links to Tim Mooney's Website,  Tim Mooney's Blog and Tim Mooney's YouTube page.

Here is a link to Elaine Bromka's Tea for Three clip and a link to one of her Demo Reels.