British romance novelist Ida Cook (1904-1986) wrote over a hundred books for Mills & Boon under the name Mary Burchell
, including the thirteen-book, opera-focused Warrender saga
. The passion she and her sister, Louise Cook, shared for opera carried them across oceans and countries in the years prior to the outbreak of WWII, and when Ida took account of her writing career's financial success, she was by struck by a "terrible, moving and overwhelming thought--I could save life with it." So beginning in 1937, she and Louise helped save dozens of lives by entering Germany disguised as themselves: eccentric opera fanatics. Louise Carpenter's "Ida and Louise"
looks into the lives of these two sisters, these "lives which swung dizzyingly between the purest fantasy and the utterly real." [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors
on Jul 31, 2014 -
"The thing that really gets to me about the reviews is that all of them, almost grudgingly, admit that she sang the extraordinarily difficult role beautifully. And yet the bulk of their criticism is reserved for her body type." Irish Tara Erraught
, soprano star of this year's Glyndebourne festival, garnered almost universal contempt
from London's male critics. Guardian roundup
, including a mention of Alice Coote's open letter to critics
posted by DarlingBri
on May 21, 2014 -
"The cinema was made for horror movies. No other kind of film offers that same mysterious anticipation as you head into a dark auditorium. No other makes such powerful use of sound and image. The cinema is where we come to share a collective dream and horror films are the most dreamlike of all, perhaps because they engage with our nightmares.
" And so Mark Gatiss
opens his three-part series, A History of Horror
. "One of the great virtues of this series is that it is thoroughly subjective. Gatiss does not feel any particular obligation to give us an A to Z of horror, but instead lingers lovingly over his own favourites,
" taking the viewer with him from the Golden Age of Hollywood horror through the American horror movies of the 1960s and 1970s. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jan 28, 2014 -
: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ...
But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic terms
Originally published at The Believer
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 9, 2013 -
-- HTML5 permits websites to store considerable data on your local disk. It was originally expected that the browsers would impose a ceiling on this, but IE, Opera, Safari, and Chrome do not. A properly coded HTML5 site can completely fill your hard drive. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle
on Mar 1, 2013 -
"Disney goes to Anaheim late at night to help repair the animatronic Disneyland Lincoln, which has been malfunctioning and attacking members of the audience. Disney gets in an argument with the robot about blacks, and Lincoln goes crazy again and whacks Walt...." (source
). Starting today at 2 PM Eastern time (just under 3 hours from now) and for the next 90 days, medici.tv will stream, free of charge,
Teatro Real's January 22 premiere performance of the new Philip Glass opera The Perfect American
. It's based on the novel
of the same name by Peter Stephan Jungk, which the NY Times called "a surreal, meditative, episodic account of the last days of Walt Disney." Four minute preview video. ENO rehearsal trailer
. (Happy belated 76th, Mr. Glass.) [more inside]
posted by maudlin
on Feb 6, 2013 -
For those who like a little WTF?
with their opera. [NSFW]
. Of course, there's a Making Of
video. Also NSFW
, and in German.
posted by pjern
on Jan 29, 2013 -
GlamourFilter: Opening Night at La Scala.
Pictures from La Scala
's opening nights, dating through the fifties and sixties. (Main story here
, slideshow here
, those links in Italian, but easy enough to figure out for non-speakers.) Pictures of Callas, Toscanini, Princess Grace, Dick and Liz, and many more, all looking impossibly fab and glamourous. (Via
the always informative and entertaining Opera Chic
posted by Capt. Renault
on Dec 13, 2012 -
225 years ago today, in the Teatro di Praga
, there premiered a new opera - conducted by the 31 year old composer, who was in demand after his success in Vienna the year before. Although he had completed the overture
less than 24 hours earlier, the opera was an instant smash - with the composer being "welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering". In the years to come, Kierkegaard would agree with the French composer Charles Gounod that the opera was "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection". Flaubert would call it one of "the three finest things God made". Today, it is the 10th most performed opera in the world. It is Mozart's Don Giovanni (spoiler)
. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen
on Oct 29, 2012 -
Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase
with it's familiar ARTS bug
. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel
broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly
a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials
encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
posted by wcfields
on Oct 16, 2012 -
"everything is good that / has a good beginning / and doesn't have an end / the world will die but for us there is no / end!" Thus ends Victory over the Sun
, part 2
), the "first Futurist opera". [more inside]
posted by daniel_charms
on Dec 21, 2011 -
Shakespeare was not a full-time writer without other responsibilities, like O’Neill or Williams. But what might look like a distraction for such authors—acting in his own and other people’s plays, coaching fellow players, helping manage the ownership of the troupe’s resources (including its two theaters, the Globe and Blackfriars)—was a strength for Shakespeare, since it made him a day-by-day observer of what the troupe could accomplish, actor by actor. [...]Shakespeare and Verdi in the Theater.
posted by shakespeherian
on Nov 18, 2011 -
'According to Pacini,' Julian Budden writes in The Operas of Verdi, 'it was the custom at the San Carlo theatre, Naples, for the composer to turn the pages for the leading cello and double bass players on opening nights.' The composer had to change his score to fit new voices if there were substitutions caused by illness or some other accident. In subsequent performances, he was expected to take out or put in arias for the different houses, transposing keys, changing orchestration. He was not a man of the study but of the theater.
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience.
- Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 16, 2011 -