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'West Bank Story': A message of hope through music, laughter and film

A friend alerted me yesterday to this 2005 film written by Ari Sandel and Kim Ray. It's a 20-minute West Side Story spoof, set in two rival fast-food restaurants, one Israeli, one Palestinian: David and Fatima fall in love and determine...Show More Summary

What an ENO singer does on a gloomy London day

The Israeli-born, New York-based mezzo Rinat Shaham is presently singing Preziosilla in English National Opera’s production of Verdi’s Force of Destiny. That means being holed up in London for three of the greyest months of a singularly colourless year. So she does what singers do when it’s dark: she sings. And the songs she is recording […]

Creating La Boheme in wartime Paris - an encounter with Nina Brazier

Ryedale Festival Opera - The Coronation of Poppea, with Elizabeth Holmes (Poppea) and Stephanie Marshall (Nero) Photo Emma Lambert You have one of the most iconic operas of all time, limited resources, no chorus and just a piano forShow More Summary

Composing on the periphery - Quator Tana, plus my pre-concert talk

Quatuor Tana - photo Nicolas Draps The Quatuor Tana, whom I last saw playing Gabriel Jackson & John Taverner at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in 2014 (see my review), is playing at Conway Hall this Sunday (22 November, 6.30pm) in their Sunday Concerts programme. Show More Summary

The Flying Dutchman was meant to be a Scot…

The Theater an der Wien, where Wagner in 1863 conducted scenes from Der fliegende Holländer, has a new production in the original 1841 version, where the opera is set in Scotland, not Norway. You can watch it here on livestream, next Tuesday. The conductor is Marc Minkowski (with Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble) and the director […]

Schoenberg spricht

Randol Schoenberg, grandson of Arnold Schoenberg and president of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, speaking to the Los Angeles Times: "Obviously, many Americans in 1943 felt the same as many do today — that we cannot risk admitting...

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Itzhak Perlman: ‘This is my interview’

The great violinist has subjected himself to the Nick Canellakis interrogation. He survives, kind of. Might be one of his best interviews. Could be a whole new artform. Enjoy.

Cellist of Sarajevo author is suspended by university

The Canadian novelist Steven Galloway has been suspended by the University of British Columbia, where he chairs a creative writing program, over what are called ‘serious allegations.’ He has not been told what the allegations are, or how they will be investigated. He has been suspended on full pay. It’s all a bit Kafkaesque. Steven, 40, […]

The first woman to head Chicago Symphony in 125 years

Like Julius Caesar in another context, Helen Zell thrice refused the crown. She never wanted to be chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But the pressure was on and when she accepted, writes Shia Kapos in a fascinating profile, ‘a barely audible “Yes!” went up from a half-dozen women at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s annual meeting.’ […]

US Congress integrates the arts into science education

Americans for the Arts Action Fund has won what it claims to be a major concession on the school syllabus. In the midst of the biggest shakeup of federal education law in over a decade, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) successfully added an amendment today to the rewrite of the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) […]

Breaking: French police raid music-hating imam

The home and mosque of the charismatic preacher Rachid Abou Houdeyfa have been raided during the night in Brest by dozens of security police. The operation is continuing. It is not clear if Rachid Abou Houdeyfa has been formally arrested. You may have watched his video on Slipped Disc earlier this week, teaching small children that […]

London Friday Photo

London Fruit & Wool Exchange May, 2014 Now demolished or soon to be demolished as a result of redevelopment on Brushfield St.

Schoenberg’s grandson: Let’s not make the same mistake again

E. Randol Schoenberg, president of the L.A. Museum of the Holocaust, and the real-life hero of Helen Mirren’s film Woman in Gold, has been speaking to the Los Angeles Times about Congress slamming the doors on Syrian refugees: ‘Obviously, many Americans in 1943 felt the same as many do today — that we cannot risk […]

Peter Gelb: We’ve sold 18 million movie tickets

The Met’s manager has come out with some figures for his Live from the Met screenings, in an interview with Vienna’s tabloid Kurier. The headline is impressive. Even more so is the disclosure that two out of three Met movie tickets are for screenings outside the United States. That is the extent to which Gelb’s […]

Hansel revisits Vienna after 70 years

This was last night’s curtain call.   And this, below, was the showbill for the Vienna State Opera’s last production of Hansel and Gretel, which ended when the house was shut by Goebbels in 1944. Note the emblem in the upper lefthand corner and the casual assumption that, in Vienna at least, Hansel and Gretel […]

Terror threat to La Scala?

It is being reliably reported that the US Embassy in Italy has warned of a threat to ‘potential targets’, specifically St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and La Scala, Milan. The Embassy has issued this notice in a warning to the Italian Government and to US citizens in Italy. RAI has quoted Italian officials saying ‘there are […]

Andris Nelsons casts wife as Aida

The shape of next summer’s Tanglewood has been announced. At the heart of it is two acts of Verdi Aida with the music director’s marital partner singing the title role. Kristine Opolais is a terrific singer and the tangled woods are lucky to have her, but when the lead headline of the upcoming festival is […]

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