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March 1, 2007

Arts News from the Outback

John Stoehr

Is Welser-Most headed home?
"The announcement [last week] that Ioan Holender will step down as head of the Vienna State Opera in 2010 has revved the rumor mill about his successor. The two earliest, and likeliest, names being tossed in the air are Franz Welser-Most, the Austrian music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Neil Shicoff, the American tenor who appears often at the Staatsoper, as the opera house is called."
(Thanks to Donald Rosenberg, classical music critic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Norman Rockwell goes to Roanoke
"The Art Museum of Western Virginia took the wraps off a whole bin full of previously undisclosed pictures and paintings Monday, including one by someone almost everyone has heard of: Norman Rockwell. The famed illustrator, who painted hundreds of covers for the Saturday Evening Post, has become increasingly prized by serious art collectors in recent years. The humorous, tables-turning "Framed," which depicts museum portraits gazing at an unsuspecting museum worker, is one of several Rockwell did on museum subjects. It was purchased for the museum, apparently in 2002, by the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust. The trust has bought dozens of paintings for the museum in recent years."
(Thanks to Kevin Kittredge, arts reporter for the Roanoke Times and a 2006 fellow of the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music)

Critic bemoans samey season of orchestral music in Dallas
"One doesn't want to belabor political correctness, but in a city that's a gateway to and from Latin America, shouldn't the DSO feel a little guilty about not programming a single composer from south of the Rio Grande? And can it really be going a whole season without a single work composed by a woman?"
(Thanks to Scott Cantrell, classical music critic for the Dallas Morning News)

Still no laurels for Chicks in the South
"Yes, the Dixie Chicks got a big publicity boost and a show of support from their peers when they picked up five Grammys this month, but their controversial Bush-bashing remarks in 2003 still leave them on the outs when it comes to radio airplay. It's a kind of perpetual banishment that leaves Chicks fans questioning the consequences of free speech, although at least one fan doesn't place the blame on radio stations. "It's not the radio stations. It's the listeners. If they (stations) play the Dixie Chicks they get all these people who complain. It's just crazy," says veterinary pathologist and Chicks fan Dr. Kelly Boyd. Boyd said the pressure tactics are like a form of domestic terrorism. "They're terrorizing these people for exercising their freedom of speech -- all in the name of patriotism. If you're patriotic, you should be able to say anything you want."
(Thanks to Michael Lollar of the Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Bart Cook, right-hand-man to Jerome Robbins, speaks freely
"Robbins died in 1998, and Cook -- in Houston last week to set The Concert at Houston Ballet -- still bristles when he remembers Robbins' studio methods. 'Many roles were done on me and given to other men, which was not very nice," Cook said. "He was a complicated man. ... He could be explosive and make people cry.'"
(Thanks to Molly Glentzer of the Houston Chronicle)

Posted by John Stoehr at March 1, 2007 1:01 AM

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