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*+-Since the Mona Lisa affair was reported, other petitions and protests have emerged. Earlier this month (September 17) the protests agains the huge cruise ships that pass through the lagoon in Venice were renewed with vigor. The invaluable Tomaso Montanari has organized a petition against the privatization of the Brera in Milan. At the beginning of the month, in the United States, the New York Times demoted Allan Kozinn, one of its more intelligent music critics, who has been writing for them since 1977 and a staff member since 1991. He is now a “general cultural reporter.” Norman Lebrecht, who announced the bad news, received an avalanche of mostly angry and disgusted comments. Petitions were organized on Facebook, urging the Times to change their mind…but to no avail. Kozinn’s gone. For some years it has been hard to imagine that once upon a time Paul Griffiths wrote music criticism for The New York Times, and both he and Andrew Porter for The New Yorker.
*+-They looked like a normal Broadway audience, these adults attending a matinee of Seminar. Then ten minutes into the play, when Alan Rickman, the star, made his entrance, they went berserk—screaming as if he were Professor Snape, his Harry Potter film character, instead of an actor on stage—and stopped the show in the middle of […]
*+-Women on the Verge 2012 Opera Manhattan presents a special Valentine’s Day production, Women on the Verge, all about women unhappy in love. The centerpiece of the production will be Poulenc’s one-act monodrama for soprano, La Voix Humaine, which hasn’t been presented in New York City since 1993. If the opera isn’t familiar, the story is–a […]
*+-This year the Lincoln Center Festival will be longer and richer than ever. It will offer 116 performances by ensembles and artists from some 20 countries, and will include 6 World, North American, U.S., and New York premieres unfolding in seven venues on and off the Lincoln Center complex. In spite of all this cultural […]
*+-Virtue rampant. It’s something of a drawback when an opera has no characters, but this wasn’t always so. At the height of the 18th century’s classical style, an emblem would suffice, or a slightly animated statue. In Mozart’s Idomeneo something like the ideal is achieved. No one is really flesh and blood but rather personified virtues: Nobility caught between Filial Devotion and conflicted love from Chaste Constancy and Heartfelt Passion. Or as the playbill has it, Idomeneo, king of Crete, is trapped by a vow to Poseidon to sacrifice his son, Idamante, while two women pine longingly, Ilia, a captured princess of Troy, and the infamous Electra, daughter of Agamemnon. These pawns on the Greek chessboard were available to any dramatist or poet of Mozart’s day, to be shuffled through the paces of opera seria, the musical equivalent of high tragedy.
*+-My immediate reaction to Michael Miller’s commentary on the Karajan centenary [Oh no! He’s not back again, is he? – May 2, 2008] was rather choleric, but I’ve settled down a bit since then and can write this from a relatively balanced perspective.
*+- Montagu Slater, Libretto Metropolitan Opera House, March 15, 2008, 1.30 pm (transmitted “live encore” in HD, March 29) Donald Runnicles, Conductor Peter Grimes – Anthony Dean Griffey Ellen Orford – Patricia Racette Captain Balstrode – Anthony Michaels-Moore Mrs. Sedley – Felicity Palmer Auntie – Jill Grove Niece – Leah Partridge Niece – Erin Morley Hobson – […]