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PEOPLE -November 2000

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Thursday November 30

  • TENOR OF THE WORLD: "Ben Heppner, a Canadian gentle giant of 44, is that rare bird - and, rarer still, he can not only sing the notes, but sing them with musical sensitivity and intelligence too, as well as making a fair stab at acting them out on stage." The Telegraph (London) 11/30/00
  • FAUX WILDE: A recording, long thought to be the only one of Oscar Wilde, probably isn't. "Experts have analysed the recording using the latest techniques, and have concluded it is likely to be a forgery." BBC 11/30/00

Wednesday November 29

  • THE UNRETIRING ROSTROPOVICH: Since he left the directorship of the National Symphony five years ago, Rostropovich hasn't slowed down. He still gives 100 performances a year, he teaches, and the foundation he started with his wife has provided about $5 million in medicine, food and equipment to children's hospitals and clinics in Russia." Los Angeles Times 11/29/00

Tuesday November 28

  • MACKINTOSH TO QUIT PRODUCING: Superstar musical theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh has announced he won't be producing any more new musicals. "Mackintosh, one of the greatest creative and financial mainstays of musical theatre for three decades, says he is winding down and will in future produce only revivals." Sydney Morning Herald 11/28/00
  • DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT: Identification, that is. Luciano Pavarotti tried to check in at a Sheraton Hotel in Padua, Italy, but forgot his ID. The hotel refused to check him in. "Unfortunately, in Italy, we are required by law to ask patrons for proper and valid identification. We did everything we could to help him. We called the police for help - to try to get identification for him." New York Post 11/28/00

Sunday November 26

  • REM KOOLHAAS: "His architecture is bracing and unsettling and even though nothing he has done yet has had the same popular impact as Frank Gehry's Guggenheim, he is clearly going to be the next big thing." The Observer (London) 11/26/00
  • STILL STANDING: Arthur Miller is about to open another play on Broadway. And he's about to turn 85. "Over the years, the critics have been all over the lot when it comes to judging Miller's work. But in 1984, the critics and the public began re-examining Miller. And most of them liked what they found. So when he accepted the Tony for 'Death of a Salesman' last year, it wasn't without a sense of well-earned, well-honed, irony - a sense that he's been one of the victims in 'The Crucible' who finally got the chance to put his torturers on trial." Boston Globe 11/26/00

Friday November 24

  • DEATH BY DIFFERENT INFECTION: "For decades, it has been widely assumed that Oscar Wilde died from syphilis, acquired as an Oxford undergraduate, although this notion has been questioned over the years. Research published today by two medical experts, in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of Wilde's death, says a chronic ear infection that spread to his brain was responsible for the death." Glasgow Herald 11/24/00

Wednesday November 22

  • HITCHCOCK AND ART: A new show in Montreal ponders Alfred Hitchcock's ties to the other arts. "The general idea is that Hitchcock has a great culture in literature but also in art, and sometimes he transposes to cinema some of the solutions that have been found by surrealist and symbolist artists." CBC 11/21/00
  • THE WORLD ACCORDING TO KREMER: Gidon Kremer was such a hot young virtuoso that Herbert von Karajan called him the greatest violinist in the world. But to Kremer, playing the fiddle has always been about a lot more than great musicianship. Music is a political act. The Guardian (London) 11/22/00
  • PT BARNUM OF ART: In the first half of the 20th Century Chick Austin brought a showman's touch to American art. "Not only did Austin promote artists like Picasso, Balthus, Mondrian and Dali when they were virtually unknown in the United States, but he also amassed an important collection of masterworks (especially Baroque painting, Dutch still lifes and Poussin) on view at the Atheneum to this day. Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, told Austin: 'You did things sooner and more brilliantly than any one'." New York Observer 11/22/00
  • CHURCH TRUCE: In the middle of the second day of the court case brought against her by her former manager, singer Charlotte Church settles the breach-of-contract case. The settlement is believed to be around £2 million. BBC 11/22/00

Tuesday November 21

  • THE UNPREPOSSESSING NOBEL WRITER: Just who is Gao Xingjian, the Chinese writer who won the 2000 Nobel for literature? "Mr. Gao has 18 plays, 4 works of literary criticism and 5 books of fiction to his name, but his entire oeuvre has been banned on the Chinese mainland since 1985, while his best-known novel, 'Soul Mountain,' a lyrical account of a long journey through the Chinese backlands, has so far been published only in Taiwan, Sweden, France and Australia." New York Times 11/20/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • LAMENTING A BRILLIANT PARTNERSHIP: Arthur Sullivan was made famous and very rich by his collaboration with William Gilbert. And the musical plays they wrote are still performed 100 years after Sullivan's death (the anniversary of which is this week). So why did he die believing he had wasted his life and cursing his partner? The Times (London) 11/21/00
  • ART OF EDITING: "Robert Gottlieb's near-legendary status in the publishing world owes much to sheer anomaly. Running Simon & Schuster, and then Knopf, he had just two interests: the books he edited and the books he balanced (''What people forget about Bob,' says Charles McGrath, editor of The New York Times Book Review and Gottlieb's deputy at the New Yorker, 'he was a terrific businessman'). Boston Globe 11/21/00
  • DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: It's singer Charlotte Church versus her ex-manager in court, as the manager sues to get a percentage of all her earnings through 2002. BBC 11/21/00

Monday November 20

  • DRIVING EDWARD VILLELLA: In the 15 years since he founded it, Edward Villella has turned Miami City Ballet into a respectable, successful company. "But Villella, though exhausted by years of overwork and in failing health - he has a bleeding ulcer and underwent his third major hip operation last May - keeps pushing toward new peaks. It's almost as if the closer he gets to the mountaintop, the harder he drives himself - and the more frustrated he becomes at not reaching it." Miami Herald 11/19/00

Friday November 17

  • BUSY LIFE: Composer/conductor/educator/horn player Gunther Schuller is turning 75 and writing a memoir of his life. But he's only at his 19th year and already he's written 250 pages. "I spent about four pages just describing what was available on the radio in the way of classical music. I am self-taught in everything except the French horn, and the radio is one of the ways how I learned so much music. I had to do some research because I had forgotten how much there really was, and I was flabbergasted; it helps explain things about me and others like me. There was no excuse for anybody's being culturally illiterate, as most Americans are today." Boston Globe 11/17/00
  • JAMES LEVINE, OPERA CONDUCTOR: James Levine is in his 30th year at the Metropolitan Opera. "The man is simply wedded to the job. He even speaks the way he conducts, in long, flawlessly constructed paragraphs. He pays attention to verbal detail, too, rather as he might with some orchestral point in rehearsal, pausing to find just the right word or phrase to express what he wants to communicate. And then there is also, unmistakably, a certain personal reserve, a distancing that is sometimes a feature of his performances, a sense of his own importance that is conveyed by a reluctance to talk in depth about anything except conducting." The Guardian (London) 11/17/00

Thursday November 16

  • SAWALISCH'S NEW INTENSITY: Wolfgang Sawallisch is on his way out the Philadelphia Orchestra's music director. But as he's turned 77 the critics are noting a new intensity in his performances. While Sawallisch notes the change, he's at a loss to explain it. Philadelphia Inquirer 11/16/00

Wednesday November 15

  • GREENSPAN A SWINGER: Dour-looking US Fed chairman Alan Greenspan "studied music at Julliard, and long before he was tracking interest rates he was mastering music scales. Early on, in fact, he spent a year on the road playing saxophone and clarinet with the acclaimed Henry Jerome band." National Post 11/15/00

Sunday November 12

  • UPDIKE AT 68: John Updike is 68 and contemplating his life's profession. "There is a dumbing down of fiction, don't you think? In so many other areas there is dumbing down. People are impatient with any attempt of the novel to pry apart their expectations or surprise them, challenge them. Make them look up a word, think over a prejudice. I think, yes, by and large people read less and maybe they read less intelligently, because they read less and there are more alternatives." Baltimore Sun 11/12/00

Friday November 10

  • WILDE ABOUT OSCAR: On the 100th anniversary of his death, Oscar Wilde is everywhere in London. His grandson is the biggest keeper of the Wilde flame. He "seems to tread a fine line between a personal crusade to defend the family honour and a belief in the strict observation of factual accuracy." London Evening Standard 11/10/00
    • WILDE IN AMERICA: Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic made note, made fun and lionized, chronicling every change of attire and every quotable quote, whether he actually said it or not. And so was born the international legend known as Oscar Wilde, hitherto merely a London poetaster of some social notoriety. New York Times 11/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Monday November 6

Sunday November 5

  • WAS SHAKESPEARE A POT-HEAD? "Two South African scientists are about to embark on a series of forensic tests to prove a case that will blow smoke in the eyes of traditional Shakespearean scholarship. They believe that the man who bestrides the classical canon was not just a genius, but a very early pot head." The Independent (London) 11/05/00
  • BALLET FOLKLORICO FOUNDER DIES: "Amalia Hernandez, the founder of Mexico's Ballet Folklórico and a pioneer in the revival of traditional Mexican dance styles over the last 50 years, died Saturday at the age of 83." Dallas Morning News (AP) 11/05/00
  • THE FIRST GREAT AMERICAN COMPOSER: "Copland was the first, the only and probably the last American classical composer upon whose greatness and importance everyone could agree. His 100th birthday is Nov. 14, and the celebration has taken on something of an iconic status. If we fall into the temptation to look back at the 20th century as the American century, Copland, born as it began, becomes a ready symbol for a nation coming of age." Los Angeles Times 11/05/00

Friday November 3

  • WAS RED HIS FAVORITE COLOR? "Picasso as a Cold Warrior for the Evil Empire? Although the artist's membership in the Communist Party in the late 1940s and early '50s is well known, it has been largely ignored by scholars as a casual flirtation, with slight, if any, bearing on his art." A new book wonders if it really was so casual. ARTNews 11/00
  • NEW LINCOLN CENTER PREZ: Gordon Davis, on taking the top job running Lincoln Center: "If you go to Lincoln Center in all its different facets, there is already a wide diversity of audiences, which is wonderful. What some people don't understand is that you don't try to reach more diverse audiences because it's somehow "The Right Thing To Do.' You do it because that is where creativity ultimately comes from-broadening and invigorating the arts. It's in our self-interest to reach the broadest audience." Backstage 11/03/00

Wednesday November 1

  • STEVE ALLEN DIES at age 78 on Monday. A multitalented entertainer - comedian, singer, author, composer, actor, and TV host - Allen was most well known as the pioneer of late-night television and creator of "The Tonight Show." CNN 10/31/00