I Origins (2014) – Mike Cahill (Friday’s Finest)


This week on Friday’s Finest we showcase another recent low budget – independent Sci-Fi movie called I-Origins. Like last week’s movie The Man From Earth, this movie probes profound questions about the human existence. I-Origins is a highly original movie about how discoveries in science and technology challenge us to look at ourselves differently and rethink our place in the world. It is about this tug of war between Science and Religion and how and if the two can be reconciled. Once again the less known about the plot going into it – the better, but I couldn’t leave you hanging without knowing the gist:

IMDB Storyline: I Origins begins when graduate student, Ian Gray, is researching the evolution of human eyes with Karen and Kenny, in order to prove that eyes have evolved instead of “appeared” as creationists claim. His fascination with eyes takes him into areas that have profound personal and cultural consequences.

I Origins begins rather unassumingly about two young people falling in love, and its a rich love story until something occurs which will leave the viewer in shock, it certainly did me. From then on, a feeling of insecurity pervades the movie where you don’t know what will happen next. Hollywood does not seem make films like this. They can do a lot of things, but they can’t seem to write scenes, scenarios, and certainly not dialog like in I Origins which so closely resemble real life.

From Steven Leibson’s review of I Origins:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Actually, we know that Shakespeare did get it right. Science adds new discoveries and corrects old theories constantly as it progresses. What’s this have to do with “I, Origins”? It’s one of the main themes of the movie: What if there’s more to the universe than what we can perceive with our senses. Ask any real scientist and you’ll find out that the concept is hardly new or controversial. We can’t directly perceive radio waves or x-rays yet we make use of them every day. Nevertheless, this movie approaches the topic in a way that makes this question, perhaps, easier to approach for non-scientists.

I recommend another Mike Cahill Sci Fi called Another Earth which I analysed in a post here.

I Origins Movie Trivia:

  • The famous National Geographic cover of the Afghan girl whose eyes mesmerized the world and who was found years later makes a cameo in the film.
  • Resurrection is a big theme throughout the movie, as Ian doesn’t believe in it and Sofi does. The eye necklace Sofi wears is the eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol for healing and resurrection.
  • The book Ian is reading in the cafeteria is called The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.
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Posted in Movies and TV, Science

Bapa (2008) – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu


Geoffrey Gurrumul wrote and performed some of the most beautiful world music of this millennium so far. Geoffrey was an Australian blind aboriginal singer who played the guitar upside down. After the release of his debut album –  (pictured above) he caught the attention of Elton John and Sting who wanted to perform on stage with him. Many of the songs from this album will appear in this music library project starting today with Bapa. Gurrumul remains one of my favourite Australian albums. The album reached 3x Platinum sales in excess of 210,000. Geoffrey Gurrumul was the most commercially successful Aboriginal Australian musician at the time of his death.

Wikipedia states: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (22 January 1971 – 25 July 2017), also referred to since his death as Dr G Yunupingu, was an Indigenous Australian musician. A multi-instrumentalist, he played drums, keyboards, guitar and didgeridoo, but it was the clarity of his singing voice that attracted rave reviews. He sang stories of his land both in Yolŋu languages such as Gaalpu, Gumatj or Djambarrpuynu, a dialect related to Gumatj, and in English. Although his solo career brought him wider acclaim, he was also formerly a member of Yothu Yindi, and later Saltwater Band.

Today’s song Bapa is a song of loss; a great loss of someone very close most likely his father. This is how we feel when we lose someone so very important in our lives, you can feel the pain, his soul is crying out for one more moment. A truly beautiful song.

Additional information about Geoffrey Gurrumul will appear in subsequent music posts which feature his music. Please enjoy Bapa.

Warwuyu ŋarranha mulkana
ŋaraku bapawu
ŋurununa gunipunharayu
ya..a, bäpa marrkapmirri

ŋathina wilawilayurruna
ŋuruŋuna djarrawalyurruna
liya-wayma Bekulŋura
ya..a bäpa marrkapmirri
m..m m..m m..m

[english translation]
Grief have taken hold of me
for my father
when the sun sets
o..h, beloved father

Crying and crying
when the sun goes down
my mind there at Bekulnura
o..h, beloved father
m..m m..m m..m

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‘Walk Star Shares His Successes’ – Hawkesbury Gazette

I mentioned in the recent post Wet Ghost that I received a lot of memorabilia from Australia. One such item was a newspaper clipping from my youth when I won and broke the record at the Australian National All-Schools Athletic championship. I recalled in another post called The Telegram how a school friend sent me a humorous telegram congratulating me on the victory.

Today I present to you the ‘actual’ newspaper clipping which highlighted the back-page sports section of the Hawkesbury Gazette. Also because you all seem like nice folk I’ll add another clipping from another local rag where I used to Holiday with my grandmother. They were similarly impressed…  I have few claims to fame, but as Charles Bukowski  put it, ‘Hey baby, when I write, I’m the hero of my shit’.

Walk Star

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Posted in Reading, Reflections, Sport and Adventure

Bajo el Agua (2015) – Manuel Medrano

Manuel Medrano

Manuel Medrano

Bajo el Agua (underwater) is the first song to appear from a Colombian music artist. I was shopping in ‘Exito’ (a large supermarket store) here in Bogota on the 53 (Calle / street) and I heard the song come on the loud speakers. I asked one of the shop assistants if she knew of the song. It was reminiscent of how I became familiar with the Mexican Christian singer Marcela Gandara who’s music I heard in a fragrance shop a few years back. I was captivated with Manuel Medrano’s ‘Bajo el Agua‘ and soon thereafter I noticed it saturated the radio airwaves.

Wikipedia: Manuel Medrano was born on the 29th of October 1987 in Cartagena, Colombia.  He is the winner of two Latin Grammy Awards. For several years he played in bars in Bogota while composing his songs, which, years later, made him popular. In the year 2016 he won two Latin Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Songwriting Album.

Bajo el Agua (2015) has accumulated more than 350 million views on YouTube at the time of writing this post.  It is an unrequited love song but it is atypical in the latin pop song sense because Medrano’s voice is so distinctive and penetrative and the melody likewise. It’s difficult not to want to hear it again. He hit a goldmine with this amazing song. The video below is tailored for adolescent audiences, but there is some beautiful cinematography of an indoor swimming pool. I hope this song charms you like it did me.

I want to fly with you, very high somewhere
I would like to be with you watching the stars over the sea
I want to find another way and get dressed and go for a walk with you
I want to tell the world that we are not friends,
tell them with sadness
That you don’t cross my path

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Posted in Music

26/11 – 2/12 incl. Movie stars, Little Books, The Moon, The Buddha and Jazz

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

Roundtable video discussion at Collider Videos:

With the launch of Disney+ looming large over Netflix and Hollywood at large, Collider used deepfake technology to bring together five living legends to discuss the streaming wars and the future of cinema.

Enjoy this lively conversation between Robert Downey, Jr. (Avengers: Endgame, Dolittle), George Lucas (Star Wars, Indiana Jones), Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible, Edge of Tomorrow), Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep, Obi-Wan), and Jeff Goldblum (The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic World 3), moderated by Mark Ellis (Dog Stepfather)..….… (Watch roundtable).

Article by Annika Perry at Annika Perry’s Writing Blog:

In silenced awe, I wandered around the rooms in which they lived, worked, wrote. I gasped at the exhibits, incredible to believe these were their actual writings. The rooms used by the Brontë family are largely unchanged and filled with a collection of furniture, clothes and personal possessions. One display particularly held me in reverential hush … the little books! Absolutely tiny – each the size of a small matchbox! How could they fit so much in these!…..Read Entire Article

Article at The Hofflebrock:

I’ve been setting daily goals for myself. For an entire week now. I didn’t achieve everything I set out to do, but I did about 743.94% (give or take) more than I usually do. I have seven consecutive days of winning under my belt. I even managed to snag a trophy for a surprise 5k I found myself running (walking) on Saturday. It’s crazy how that shit sneaks up on you.

It’s time for longer term goals. It’s time for a weekly goal. A goal of the month. Something to shoot for by the end of the season. Something target to hit by my next birthday.

And as all of this is happening, I’m having regular, prolonged chats with the moon. It’s up there right this minute, opening up to its fullest as I type this. It’s just about full. I can tell you this without looking at a lunar calendar. I’m in tune with that goddess. She’s been encouraging me to be a Sun for the last seven days...… (View Original Post).

Article at Light Traveller Kate:

This stone Buddha, hewn from the surrounding mountain, is the tallest stone Buddha in the world. It took over seventy years or the span of three generations (between the year 713 to 803 BCE) to construct him. He stands 71 metres tall.

Impressive is a feeble word to describe this wonder.

I joined other awestruck tourists making the graduated climb up to the head of the Buddha before descending in single file down the sheer cliff to the feet of the mighty statue. It was hot, rainy and steamy, I needed to be alert and conscious of where I put my feet. Like anywhere else in the world, the tourists and visitors came for a variety of reasons; some were reverential, others came for more mundane reasons. Perhaps mine were a mixture of both...…. (Read entire post)

Post All Things Thriller:

We’ve trained and employed many DJs. We’ve worked the Bonnaroo music festival, the victory party for Vice President Al Gore, the CMTV Music Awards after parties and Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s engagement party to name a few of the high profile gigs.

But mostly we’ve DJ’d weddings. Literally hundreds of weddings.

My husband and I no longer gig. We manage our collective of DJ’s and cater to an increasingly demanding clientele. As such we are music directors, marketing campaigners and event planners.….(Read entire post)

news on the march the end

Posted in Movies and TV, Music, News, Reading

Bad as Me (2011) – Tom Waits

Tom Waits Bad as Me

You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me

Tom Waits BAd as Me 1Tom Waits’ Bad as Me was released on his critically acclaimed 16th album of the same name in 2011. It was also nominated for a grammy award for best alternative music album. The title track featured today was digitally released as a single on Itunes and he netted his first top 10 album.

The lyrics of Bad as Me are lean and mean, but in typical Tom Waits fashion he presents it with a feeling of loose joy and abandon. The press release at the time of it’s release stated: This pivotal work refines the music that has come before and signals a new direction. Waits, in possibly the finest voice of his career, worked with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan.

I like this song a lot. He presents it in an debauched theatrical manner and he even cackles after he says:
‘No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me!’
I like the pounding percussion and brash guitars. It’s a self affirming song, that’s resolved in the character he has constructed although he’s still keeping himself fresh.
Someone described in the you tube comments below: ‘He’s like a stray cat who was transformed into a man by a genie or a shaman’.

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The Man From Earth (2007) – Richard Schenkman (Friday’s Finest)


Imagine you are at an impromptu farewell party for a work colleague and it becomes a mysterious interrogation and the retiring scholar whom you are fare-welling reveals he has a longer and stranger past than you could possibly imagine. The Man From Earth contains one of the most original movie concepts I have ever seen. The screenplay was conceived by Jerome Bixby in 1946 and completed on his deathbed in April 1998. After Jerome Bixby’s death, the script was given to Richard Schenkman to direct on a $200,000 budget. The film was shot in 8 days after a week of rehearsals. The whole movie was shot using 2 Panasonic DVX100 camcorders, which probably explains the overall grainy look of the film.

The problem with reviewing this movie is that I cannot reveal the big mystery and the less said about the plot – the better. The good news is – the movie is available free on you tube (see below). Watch the first 10 minutes and I am confident you’ll be glued to the screen for the rest. There are two other recent low budget independent movies which I admire for their originality much the same way as I do The Man From Earth, namely Another Earth and I-Origins. They all have a science fiction bent, but are not slotted easily into that genre. You could class them as humanist-evolutionary in their exploration of ideas. This trilogy above all else challenge conventional ideas of religion and make us rethink our place in the world.

According to wikipedia: The Man From Earth gained recognition in part for being widely distributed through Internet peer-to-peer networks, which raised its profile. The film was later adapted by Schenkman into a stage play of the same name. The producer Eric D. Wilkinson publicly thanked users of BitTorrent who distributed the film without express permission, saying that it lifted the profile of the film far beyond the financier’s expectations; he encouraged fans to purchase the DVD or donate.

The Man From Earth is one of the most unusual movies I have ever seen. I have watched it countless times and I am already in the mood to see it again. The story always pulls me in like a Black Hole and I find myself wanting more and more.

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Posted in Movies and TV

Backstreets (1975) – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen 1975

No other Springsteen song springs to mind which encapsulates more fervently the idealism and escapism of youth than Backstreets. It is one of my favourite songs from my most cherished Bruce Springsteen album – Born to Run. It is the second song to appear from The Boss in this music library project. I was so taken aback by Born to Run (the album) I wrote a lyrics booklet in my youth of the whole album complete with a little nice string to thread the pages together. Lyrics weren’t so accessible back then like they are today, so I transcribed what I thought he sung as if I was doing something unprecedented. I felt like a devoted scribe of a great musical sermon.

Backstreets was released in 1975 and concluded side one of the record. The minute long piano introduction by E Street band member Roy Bittan is undoubtedly my best-loved introduction of a Springsteen song or just about any song for that matter. It seems to operate on this theatrical level and elevates the song beyond just that pertaining to rock n roll garb. Actually the whole album has this delineating theatricality which sets it apart from the standard.

Around this time when the album was released Springsteen was already being anointed as the future of Rock’n roll and Bob Dylan’s successor. Interestingly wikipedia states: The melody and organ (of Backstreets) bear some resemblance to “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan, an influence of Springsteen’s. Rolling Stone claims that it echoes mid-1960s Dylan, especially the organ part reminiscent of Blonde on Blonde.
I personally don’t see the connection, but it’s wiki and Rolling Stone – so what the hell do I know? But I’ll give credit where it’s due because Rolling Stone rated Backstreets to be the sixth greatest Springsteen song of all time, which is just about where I’d have it.

Below are two interpretations of Backstreets from songfacts which I found interesting:

  1. Asked where this song came from in a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen replied: “Just youth, the beach, the night, friendships, the feeling of being an outcast and kind of living far away from things in this little outpost in New Jersey. It’s also about a place of personal refuge. It wasn’t a specific relationship or anything that brought the song into being.”
  2. Terry is a female character in the song. It is about Diane Lozito, who was Springsteen’s girlfriend from 1971 to 1974. She is also Sandy in 4th of July, Asbury Park, Crazy Janey in Spirit in the Night and Rosalita. Her parents were not so thrilled that Springsteen was a musician. Her mother did not want her to move in with Springsteen. Her father was himself a musician, but he said that “All musicians are bums”. There is a line in Rosalita:Now I know your mama she don’t like me ’cause I play in a rock and roll band. And I know your daddy he don’t dig me but he never did understand.This is were the ‘Hiding on the Backstreets” comes from. It is about a relationship that starts a friendship, but later evolves to love:One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends …In the late 70’s Springsteen used to play Backstreets live with an interlude that later became the song ‘Drive All Night’. This is known as the ‘Sad Eyes’ interlude. In this version it is very obvious that Backstreets is not just a song about friendship and loyalty, it is a song about friendship that becomes love and about the struggles to maintain the relationship.
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Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes (Introduction)

Don Quixote.jpg

I am currently reading Don Quixote. It was recommended to me by the bookstore clerk who stated it was the greatest book in Spanish literature. His opinion isn’t without company as wikipedia affirms that Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. A founding work of Western literature, it is often labeled “the first modern novel” and is sometimes considered the best literary work ever written.


Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza, 1863, by Gustave Doré.

It was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615.  The plot revolves around the adventures of a noble (hidalgo) from La Mancha named Alonso Quixano, who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his mind and decides to become a knight-errant (caballero andante) to revive chivalry and serve his nation, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha. He gets caught up in a fictional world created by his imagination and truly believes that not only is he a knight, but the inns he encounters are castles, the prostitutes are princesses, and the windmills are… giants.
The context is important here because, at the time of the novel, chivalry romances like Amadis De Gaula had become so popular in Spain that monarchs of the time feared the influence of them on the impressionable minds of young people. Cervantes responded by writing a parody of these knightly adventures.

To set the scene for today’s book quote – Sancho and Don Quixote fall in with a group of goat herders. Don Quixote tells Sancho and the goat herders about the “Golden Age” of man, in which property does not exist and men live in peace. The goatherders invite the Knight and Sancho to the funeral of Grisóstomo, a former student who left his studies to become a shepherd after reading pastoral novels (paralleling Don Quixote’s decision to become a knight), seeking the shepherdess Marcela. The following monologue by Quixote about what it means to be a ‘Knight Errant’ provides an illuminating, albeit amusing insight into the mindset of our protagonist. Also anyone unfamiliar with the novel will gain an appreciation of Don Quixote’s audaciousness; the tone, writing style and humour of this classic novel.

Vivaldo asked Don Quixote what was the reason that led him to go armed in that fashion in a country so peaceful. To which Don Quixote replied, “The pursuit of my calling does not allow or permit me to go in any other fashion; easy life, enjoyment, and repose were invented for soft courtiers, but toil, unrest, and arms were invented and made for those alone whom the world calls knights-errant, of whom I, though unworthy, am the least of all. “The instant they heard this all set him down as mad, and the better to settle the point and discover what kind of madness his was, Vivaldo proceeded to ask him what knights-errant meant.

“Have not your worships,” replied Don Quixote, “read the annals and histories of England, in which are recorded the famous deeds of King Arthur, whom we in our popular Castilian invariably call King Arturo, with regard to whom it is an ancient tradition, and commonly received all over that kingdom of Great Britain, that this king did not die, but was changed by magic art into a raven, and that in process of time he is to return to reign and recover his kingdom and scepter; for which reason it cannot be proved that from that time to this any Englishman ever killed a raven? Well, then, in the time of this good king that famous order of chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table was instituted, and the amour of Don Lancelot of the Lake with the Queen Guinevere occurred, precisely as is there related, the go-between and confidante therein being the highly honourable dame Quintanona, whence came that ballad so well known and widely spread in our Spain.

For never sure was any knight
So serv’d By Damsel, or by dame,
As Lancelot, that man of might,
When he at first from Britain came:

With all the sweet and delectable course of his achievements in love and war. Handed down from that time, then, this order of chivalry went on extending and spreading itself over many and various parts of the world; and in it, famous and renowned for their deeds, were the mighty Amadis of Gaul with all his sons and descendants to the fifth generation, and the valiant Felixmarte of Hircania, and the never sufficiently praised Tirante el Blanco, and in our own days almost we have seen and heard and talked with the invincible knight Don Belianis of Greece. This, then, sirs, is to be a knight-errant, and what I have spoken of is the order of his chivalry, of which, as I have already said, I, though a sinner, have made profession, and what the aforesaid knights professed that same do I profess, and so I go through these solitudes and wilds seeking adventures, resolved in soul to oppose my arm and person to the most perilous that fortune may offer me in aid of the weak and needy.”

By these words of his the travelers were able to satisfy themselves of Don Quixote’s being out of his senses and of the form of madness that over mastered him, at which they felt the same astonishment that all felt on first becoming acquainted with it; and Vivaldo, who was a person of great shrewdness and of a lively temperament, in order to beguile the short journey which they said was required to reach the mountain, the scene of the burial, sought to give him an opportunity of going on with his absurdities. So he said to him, “It seems to me, Senor Knight-errant, that your worship has made choice of one of the most austere professions in the world, and I imagine even that of the Carthusian monks is not so austere.”

“As austere it may perhaps be,” replied our Don Quixote, “but so necessary for the world I am very much inclined to doubt. For, if the truth is to be told, the soldier who executes what his captain orders does no less than the captain himself who gives the order. My meaning, is, that churchmen in peace and quiet pray to Heaven for the welfare of the world, but we soldiers and knights carry into effect what they pray for, defending it with the might of our arms and the edge of our swords, not under shelter but in the open air, a target for the intolerable rays of the sun in summer and the piercing frosts of winter. Thus are we God’s ministers on earth and the arms by which his justice is done therein. And as the business of war and all that relates and belongs to it cannot be conducted without exceeding great sweat, toil, and exertion, it follows that those who make it their profession have undoubtedly more labour than those who in tranquil peace and quiet are engaged in praying to God to help the weak. I do not mean to say, nor does it enter into my thoughts, that the knight-errant’s calling is as good as that of the monk in his cell; I would merely infer from what I endure myself that it is beyond a doubt a more laborious and a more belaboured one, a hungrier and thirstier, a wretcheder, raggeder, and lousier; for there is no reason to doubt that the knights-errant of yore endured much hardship in the course of their lives. And if some of them by the might of their arms did rise to be emperors, in faith it cost them dear in the matter of blood and sweat; and if those who attained to that rank had not had magicians and sages to help them they would have been completely baulked in their ambition and disappointed in their hopes.”


Don Quixote wikipedia
Emily May book review (Good Reads)

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Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 – Heitor Villa-Lobos


Heitor Villa-Lobos. Conductor, cellist, pianist, and guitarist described as “the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music”. Villa-Lobos has become the best-known South American composer of all time. – wikipedia

Today we explore Brazilian composer’s Heitor Villa-Lobos – Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 of his 9 suites written between 1930 and 1945. Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 was scored for soprano and orchestra of cellos and is the most famous of his suites. Villa-Lobos made a number of recordings of the Bachianas Brasileiras, including a complete recording of all nine compositions made in Paris for EMI in the 1950s, with the French National Orchestra and Victoria de los Ángeles (recording provided below) as the soprano soloist in the no. 5 with 8 cellos.

The musical form is embolada (a rapid poem/song) of the Brazilian Northeast. It is a poem of nostalgia for the birds of the Cariri Mountains, in the state of Ceará. The lyrics contain a list of species of birds: ben-te-vi (Pitangus sulphuratus), sabiá (Turdus fumigatus), juriti (Leptotila rufaxilla), irerê (Dendrocygna viduata), patativa (Sporophila leucoptera), cambaxirra (Odontorchilus cinereus). The music imitates birds singing: “La! liá! liá! liá! liá! liá!” “Sing more”, the words say, “to remember Cariri” (“Canta mais! canta mais! prá alembrá o Cariri!”).

The English translation of the Portuguese lyrics is as follows:

In the evening, a dreamy, pretty cloud, slow and transparent, covers outer space with pink. In the infinite the moon rises sweetly, beautifying the evening, like a friendly girl who prepares herself and dreamily makes the evening beautiful. A soul anxious to be pretty shouts to the sky, the land, all of Nature. The birds silence themselves to her complaints, and the sea reflects all of Her [the moon’s] wealth. The gentle light of the moon now awakens the cruel saudade [nostalgic or melancholic longing] that laughs and cries.

Victoria_de_los_Angeles_Allan_warren Victoria de los Ángeles (1 November 1923 – 15 January 2005) was a Spanish operatic lyric soprano and recitalist whose career began after the Second World War and reached its height in the years from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. She studied voice under Dolores Frau and guitar with Graciano Tarragó at the Barcelona Conservatory, graduating in just three years in 1941 at age 18.

In 1941, while still a student, she made her operatic debut as Mimì in La bohème at the Liceu, afterwards resuming her musical studies. In 1945, she returned to the Liceu to make her professional debut as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro.

I am indebted to various wikipedia pages (see links above) for the aforementioned information.

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