June 2012


La Nuit des Musées, Paris

Each year, there is a cultural event in Europe, La Nuit des Musées, when for one Saturday night in mid-May participating museums throughout Europe are open free and late. If you are in Europe in May it is an event definitely worth investigating, if not for the opportunity to enter museums free of charge then for the sheer experience of some of the world’s most famous museums after hours, surrounded by more locals than tourists. Another plus is that as part of the event, many of the museums have special events, such as concerts and guided tours. Attending, however, requires special planning. Paris, the city where I was located during their La Nuit des Musées, had 45 participating venues with 179 events. I utilized roughly the entire time span of the event, 6pm – 1am, and managed four venues.
New York Arts in Australia

The Sydney Theatre Company Plays Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood

It is no easy task to stage a radio play, or even a "Play for Voices." We're not talking about, say, making a dreadful Hollywood movie, or even a schlocky 1950's film of War of the Worlds; in Under Milk Wood nothing happens. That's not so much even the main difficulty, though, as is presenting something to the eye which complements Dylan Thomas' "prose with blood-pressure," an actor's doing things — or choosing to stay immobile — and creating activity in a sensible way without stepping on the imagination's toes. Something similar goes for the cooperative efforts of the costume, set, and music. One way might be to make a sort of symphonic concert out of it, in three movements: night, day, and evening, the actors using their voices mainly with minimal secondaries of costume, gesture, lighting and music, a verbal analogue to a recital or concert. The other extreme might be to turn it into a 'proper play,' with with changing sets of Coronation Street


The New York Philharmonic; Alan Gilbert, conductor; Yefim Bronfman, piano; at Davies Hall, San Francisco, play Dvořák, Lindberg, and Tchaikovsky

I caught recently one of the concerts given in Davies Hall by the New York Philharmonic, my old hometown band, as part of our 100th Anniversary Season. It was enough to set me thinking again about the role a good hall plays in shaping the fame of an ensemble. Fifty years of struggle with the Lincoln Center acoustic has clearly left its mark on the New York orchestra's reputation — though I must say not on the quality of its playing — which remains stunningly world class. But one is surprised to find in the sonority a burnished warmth and tonal delicacy similar to that of the Cleveland Orchestra. Understated tonal virtues have seldom been possible at Broadway and 65th Street. At least in the way we think of the orchestra. But they were notable here and speak well of Alan Gilbert's Music Directorship.
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