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Why do people ask blind opera singer Laurie Rubin, "Do you dream in color?"

Mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin wrote the poem at the core of her new album,
Mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin wrote the poem at the core of her new album, "Do You Dream in Color?"
Jonathan Barkat

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UPDATE: Mezzo soprano Laurie Rubin is back in town for a concert November 6th, and she has a new book called Do You Dream in Color? Insights from a Girl without Sight.

People are weird. Believe it or not, the thing people fixate on when they see Laurie Rubin is that she's blind ... even when they've heard her sing, even when they've seen her in "Sex and the City" evening wear.

Rubin is out with a new album, "Do You Dream in Color," and has two upcoming performances in Los Angeles. Once you hear her sing, you'll forget she's blind:

Rubin was born blind and raised in Los Angeles, but now lives near Honolulu with her partner Jenny. She's been singing since she was a little girl, and was inspired to sing opera after going to a performance of Phantom.

Rubin is a mezzo-soprano, what she describes as "the sopranos with the balls." Her voice has a little more bass than a regular soprano, and fewer roles in the repertoire. But, Rubin says, if mezzos get short-shrift where opera roles are concerned, they do get to sing gender-bending "pants" roles, of young characters who are often, as it happens, in love with the sopranos. Rubin has performed at Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center, has duetted with Frederica Von Stade, and sung lead roles, including Cinderella in Rossini's "La Cenerentola" and Karen in Beeferman's "The Rat Land."

The heart of her new album is the title track, a new composition by Bruce Adolphe, with words by Rubin, who says "Do you dream in color?" is often one of the first things people ask her. The song tells of her encounters with various people: a curious little girl who tells her "red is the color of fire trucks," a condescending man who sees things only in black and white, a jewelry store owner honestly delighted by the way she picks out a necklace.

The album also includes pieces by Gabriel Faure, including a version of "Clair de Lune" you might not have heard, and Joaquin Rodrigo, who Rubin discovered was also blind after years of listening to his work.

Concerts: March 8th, part of USC's Visions and Voices series; and March 10th, at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino. Check Web Resources below for tickets to either concert.

(A tip of the hat to Off-Ramp contributor Hank Rosenfeld for turning us on to Rubin.)