AJ Logo Get ArtsJournal in your inbox
for FREE every morning!

Friday, October 31, 2003

Remembering Franco Corelli Tenor Franco Corelli, who died this week at 82, had animal magnetism as a performer, writes Tim Smith. "If you added up the considerable assets of the Three Tenors (even when Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti were in their prime), you still couldn't match Corelli's vocal opulence, electrically charged phrasing and movie-star looks. His one-of-a-kind packaging thrilled an opera world ever-hungry for tenors." Baltimore Sun 10/31/03

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Adorno At 100 Theorist Theodor Adorno is it in 2003, "especially in Frankfurt, where the critical theorist was born 100 years ago. There's no end to the jubilee celebrations, exhibitions, symposiums, conventions and book openings. But while there is more Adorno than ever before, a lot of it comprises simply anecdotes and recollections." Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/31/03

Cole Porter - Divided In Two Cole Porter's birthplace in Indiana was sold at auction this week. But the house rests on two plots of land, and two different buyers bought them. "A local resident, Brian Boyce, won one lot with an $800 (£470) bid, but a Michigan man, Keith Wegner, outbid him on the second parcel, buying it for $9,000. Mr Boyce said he might restore the historic house and convert it for a bed and breakfast business." The Guardian (UK) 10/31/03

"Comedy Terrorist" Convicted In Paint Throwing Self-styled "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak has been convicted of throwing paint on Jake Chapman at a gallery in London earlier this year. "The 37-year-old splattered red oil paint over Chapman and one of his artworks at the Modern Art Oxford gallery. Witnesses said Barschak gatecrashed a talk by the brothers on May 30 this year and hurled the paint at Chapman shouting 'Viva Goya'. Barschak, from Golders Green, north London, told the police that he was making his own piece of art in the same way the Chapmans had adapted another artist's work." The Guardian (UK) 10/31/03

The Conductor's Fall "The controversy surrounding the private life of one of the 20th century's leading conductors, Sir Eugene Goossens, has resurfaced in Australia as legal action is threatened to stop the performance of a play about his life. The new play, The Devil is a Woman, by the Sydney-based writers Mandy Sayer and Louis Nowra, tells the story of the scandal that ruined Goossens... At Sydney airport in March 1956, customs officers intercepted his luggage and found more than 1,000 pornographic photographs, films and books, along with three rubber masks. The ensuing scandal destroyed Goossens' career, marriage and reputation in a matter of weeks." The Guardian (UK) 10/30/03

Franco Corelli, 82 "Franco Corelli, the Italian tenor whose powerhouse voice, charismatic presence and movie-star good looks earned him the adoration of opera fans from the 1950's until his retirement in 1976, died yesterday in Milan. He was 82 and lived in Milan." The New York Times 10/30/03

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Campeau Wins Siminovitch Stage designer Louise Campeau has won Canada's 2003 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the richest art prize in the nation. Campeau, who has designed sets for some 14 companies in Montreal, will receive CAN$100,000, 25% of which she must give to a protégé of her choice. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/29/03

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Updike On Robert Hughes Robert Hughes is back, three years after a crippling car accident in Australia. "The dreadful accident in Western Australia has not extinguished Hughes’s old habits of incidental invective and capsule tirade. I have seen his prose characterized as of the Muscle Beach school, which, transposed to the higher cultural tone of Sydney’s Bondi Beach, seems fair enough. He has done the workouts to get himself into shape, and, if he turned a few handstands and kicked sand at a few ninety-pound weaklings, his pleasure in his own strength and suppleness of mind and pen was infectious." And thus a new book on Goya...
The New Yorker 10/26/03

Kaiser Gets A Surprise For His 50th Michael Kaiser, president of Washington's Kennedy Center and recently the foremost star of the arts management world, does not surprise easily. But somehow, his friends and supporters managed to pull off a massive surprise party for Kaiser's 50th birthday this week. "The entertainment was provided by Barbara Cook, Harolyn Blackwell, Patti LuPone and dancers from the Alvin Ailey troupe and American Ballet Theatre. The 136 guests included [Stephen] Sondheim, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, and lots of other A-list political, business and diplomatic bigwigs." Washington Post 10/28/03

Crime & Punishment & Bungling & Retribution Canadian author Stephen Williams claims that he is being persecuted by Ontario authorities for the act of having written a couple of books about infamous Canadian serial killers and the botched police investigation which allowed them to go uncaptured for so long, and which will allow one of them to shortly be released from prison. The authorities insist that the 97 charges which they have laid against Williams are legit, in reaction to his accidental posting of two banned victims' names on his web site. Lynn Coady says that it's about time that the public got outraged on the author's behalf. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/28/03

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Jack Valenti, Mogul Wrangler Jack Valenti is 82, and he still runs the Motion Picture Association of America with consummate skill, just as he's done for 37 years now. "What's remarkable is he's managed to hold all the companies together even though we're often fractious among each other and competitive and have heavily divergent issues — some of us have networks, some have cable companies, some have theme parks, some have the Internet. We're all often truly impossible to deal with. Jack has held us together." The New York Times 10/27/04

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The Fictional Rorem Hard to believe composer Ned Rorem is 80. "His masterpiece is his artistic personality. He's an extremely acute observer and a master of paradox, which is very French. He was able to import French culture while remaining a thoroughly American figure. In an era of dumbing-down and slipping standards, he really does stand for something." The New York Times 10/26/03

George Orwell Named Names Orwell outed those he believed were communists to the government. His list is contained in a notebook that is about to be released. "The final list contained 38 names of journalists, scholars and actors, including film comic Charlie Chaplin, actor Michael Redgrave, historian E.H. Carr and left-wing Labour MP Tom Driberg. Its discovery earlier this year was proof that Orwell, after conscientious second thoughts and deletions, had sent the Foreign Office some names from his notebook drafts." The Observer (UK) 10/26/03

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bryn Terfel, Baritone In A Rugby Shirt Baritone Bryn Terfel has "risen effortlessly to become the greatest classical singer of his generation; certainly in Britain and possibly the world. His bass baritone is in demand in all the greatest opera houses, his records sell by the millions and he is that rarest of creatures, a performer with an absolutely natural talent and a golden waterfall of a voice." The Telegraph (UK) 10/24/03

Songwriter Elliott Smith Commits Suicide "Elliott Smith, whose fragile melodies and voice positioned him as a Nick Drake for a new generation, died yesterday of a knife wound to the chest, an apparent suicide; he was thirty-four... Smith's life and career eerily reflect that of Drake, who mined a similar vein of melancholy folk-rock before an overdose (it has never been determined whether intentional or not) ended his career at age twenty-six. Like Drake, Smith's output is striking and spare: Six full-length solo albums, three with his old band Heatmiser, and, true to the independent ethic that defined and dogged him throughout his career, a few handfuls of EPs and seven-inch releases." Rolling Stone 10/22/03

  • Pain and Perspective Aside from one shining moment of Oscar glory, Elliott Smith's career was mostly of note only to critics and fans who bothered to look past the corporate mess of the record charts. His music was generally full of darkness and melancholy, but rarely did it descend into despair. "He wasn't a maverick in the Kurt Cobain sense. Or a satyr consumed by passion, like the late Jeff Buckley... He sang about rejection with a wistful air, and could sound as if he were enduring an ordeal and romanticizing its aftershocks at the same time." Philadelphia Inquirer 10/23/03

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Pavarotti Hospitalized In Health Scare The Italian tenor, 68, was said to have fallen ill after a recital in Mexico and was flown to an unnamed hospital in New York. The Scotsman 10/21/03

Jennifer Atkinson, 45 "With the premature death of Jennifer Atkinson at age 45, the Boston arts community - and especially its crafts wing - lost a vibrant, vivacious leader. Atkinson had gone from being an assistant in a suburban gallery to director of a chronically troubled museum - and then transformed that institution's very identity." Boston Globe 10/21/03

Monday, October 20, 2003

Judge Raps Judgment For Eminem "A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a former schoolmate of rapper Eminem - and she included a rap of her own to explain the ruling..." Washington Post (AP) 10/20/03

Danielle Steel: Fame Hurts Writer Danielle Steel opened a gallery in San Francisco this fall. "Everyone thinks I have this glamorous life. I have been a recluse for many years. I had nine children, but the death of my son Nick hit me very hard, and it shut down my public world. It is hard being famous. People make incorrect assumptions and are very unkind." New York Times Magazine 10/19/03

Peter Hall's Theatreworld Peter Hall is one of the theatre's most distinguished citizens. But Hall, 72, is not a director emeritus grazing the pastures of praise, memoirs and lifetime achievement awards. Since relinquishing his role as head of the National, which he ran from its opening in 1973 to 1988, Hall has followed an independent and varied path, generating and staging works for the West End, Broadway and the world's great opera stages." Hartford Courant 10/19/03

Booker Winner Begins To Repay Debts Booker winner Peter Finlay has made good on beginning to repay those he says he swindled. "The colourful author of the comic novel Vernon God Little, which won the £50,000 prize from under the nose of Monica Ali's highly fancied Brick Lane, has paid the first £3,000 instalment of the £42,000 he has agreed to repay Robert Lenton." The Guardian (UK) 10/18/03

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Ned Rorem, American Classic "Rorem's works have been criticized, even dismissed, for not being more memorable. More to the point, as much as he seems to occupy the creative moment 100 percent, Rorem doesn't haunt. The music is there and gone, leaving few if any footprints on your brain. As listeners, we're not used to that." Philadelphia Inquirer 10/19/03

Crime Does Pay, Apparently "It's not every day that you meet the winner of Britain's biggest literary prize and end up conducting the kind of forensic interview you might with a yob on an antisocial behaviour order. But in the past week, astonishing things have been said about the enigmatic, 42-year-old Mexican-Australian who penned his debut novel, Vernon God Little, under the pseudonym, DBC Pierre." In fact, the author's shady past goes far beyond even the rumors which have dogged him recently, and Peter Finlay (Pierre's real name) isn't apologizing for any of it. London Evening Standard 10/17/03

Catalan Author Dies at Airport "Manuel Vazquez Montalban, one of Spain's most celebrated writers, has died aged 64. Mr Montalban died of a heart attack as he changed flights at Bangkok international airport on Friday, Spanish diplomats said... The Catalan author and left-wing political commentator was famed for writing 50 books - translated into 24 languages - as well as creating the fictional detective character, Pepe Carvalho." BBC 10/19/03

Friday, October 17, 2003

Tragedy and Possibility: The Sylvia Plath Revival "She died 40 years ago, succumbing intentionally to a kitchen oven's gas fumes at age 30. He survived 35 years longer before dying of cancer. They were still married but no longer together when she left the world of the living. So why are Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes the golden couple of fall 2003?" Newsday 10/16/03

New Leadership In Houston Brings Hope For Stability "The board of the Menil Collection in Houston named its new director yesterday: Josef Helfenstein, director of the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Helfenstein succeeds Ned Rifkin, who resigned almost a year ago to head the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington." The Menil Collection has functioned amid considerable internal turmoil over the last several years, but with the appointment of Helfenstein, it is hoped that an organization which has sometimes had trouble defining itself will finally have a chance to establish a firm direction. The New York Times 10/17/03

Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Wallpaper That Killed Napoleon? A little scrap of wallpaper that might have helped kill Napoleon has been sold at auction. "Tests eight years ago, on a lock said to have been cut from Napoleon's hair after his death revealed eight times normal levels of arsenic. One culprit could have been the red-and-gold wallpaper of his bedroom, at Longwood House on St Helena, where he was exiled for six years until his death in 1821." The Guardian (UK) 10/17/03

Ligeti At 80 Gyorgy "Ligeti has a unique place in the history of 20th-century music: an avant-gardist who is familiar to a wide public (even if he has Stanley Kubrick's use of his music in 2001 to thank for that popularity), and an uncompromising modernist whose music revels in its connections with other cultures, other art forms, and the music of earlier centuries." The Guardian (UK) 10/17/03

Keeping An Eye On The One With The Cash The UK's arts minister ran afoul of some of the nation's most prominent arts groups this week, when published rumors spread that she was planning to divert government funds away from large national groups such as the British Museum and the National Gallery, in favor of funding smaller, regional organizations. Estelle Morris is sharply denying that she has any such plans, and insists that she merely wants to increase the accessibility of great art. Still, wary arts execs will be watching Morris's next moves closely. BBC 10/16/03

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Resurrecting Sammy Two new biographies of Sammy Davis Jr. "spring him from ridicule, if not from doubts about his legacy, and restore a measure of dignity to a black entertainer whose huge fame and success never overcame his devout wish - indeed his lifelong effort - to be white." Straight Up (AJBlogs) 10/15/03

Leaving San Diego Alive When Don Bacigalupi arrived as director of the San Diego Museum of Art in 1999, the museum was considered a difficult job. "What a difference four years and new leadership makes. The museum has risen to national respectability by generating high-quality exhibitions touching on all areas of the collection, revitalizing the collection itself through judicious acquisitions, and establishing a collegial relationship with other museums in Balboa Park, across town, across the United States and beyond." Now Bacigalupi departs to head up the Toledo Art Museum. San Diego Union-Tribune 10/15/03

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Explaining Maya Angelou Maya Angelou is so easy in her dispensation of wisdom, she's like a "Dial-an-Oracle" "Asked about the popularization of her poetry, she has a quick answer to any suggestion of criticism. 'A friend of mine responded negatively when I told him that I was going to write greeting cards for Hallmark. He said, 'Oh, I hope not. You are the people's poet in this country and you don't want to trivialize that.' But I thought about that. 'What am I doing? What am I talking about?' I asked myself. If I can say something on a card that can reach somebody's heart and mind, let me try. And I found that that is almost the most difficult writing that I have done. It might take me three pages of prose to write an epigram that is two or three sentences'." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/11/03

John Adams, Composer Laureate John Adams is at the stage of his career that a little self promotion may be in order. Not necessarily for more attention. But his work does need an advocate. "You know that basically I’m a very private person, the outgrowth of my Yankee upbringing. Lately I’ve had to reconcile that attitude with the demand for public works; without blowing my own horn, I like to link myself with Frank Gehry. Large pieces — operas, orchestra works, concert halls — need to preserve the personality of the maker while pleasing the outside world, and it’s not always easy.” LAWeekly 10/09/03

Friday, October 10, 2003

Godfather Of Grunge After he was dead (killing himself in 1991 at the age of 40), Seattle poet Jesse Bernstein was considered by many to be the "Godfather of Grunge" "He not only liked the naked elegance of the music, he helped shape it, opening for the bands (Nirvana, Big Black, Soundgarden, U-Men, the Crows) who went on to the big time, and working the crowd into a ecstatic heat. He liked to cause a stir. When in the mood, he added to his legend. When not, he complained about it." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 10/10/03

Court Told Of Plot To Swindle Robert Hughes A private investigator in Australia has told a court about a plan he and a partner had to swindle art critic Robert Hughes out of $30,000. The pair tried to sell Hughes favorable testimony during the critic's dangerous driving trial three years ago. The pair were arrested in 2000 after a police sting. The Herald-Sun (Australia) 10/10/03

He Who Judges The Books "The annual post-prandial lecturette on Booker night has been a thing of controversy in the hands of Lisa Jardine (too populist), Gerald Kaufman (too sinister), Kenneth Baker (too fulsome) or Carmen Callil (too critical of the home product). John Carey, however, is someone you can trust. Among the politicians, publishers, historians and media tarts who judge the Booker, he is a bona fide literary-critical star. He retired four years ago as the Merton Professor of English Literature at Oxford, (the top Eng Lit job in the land) and his weekly reviews are by common consent the ne plus ultra of waspish evaluation." The Independent (UK) 10/10/03

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

The Grandfather Of Art Critics Dave Hickey is an unusual icon in the art world, a critic who flatly refuses to embrace either academic jargon, or what he calls the "Art Brit-tabloid sleaze" now in vogue as a way to supposedly reach young people. According to Hickey, art's problems are just society's problems writ small. "Art's just not that important or that fashionable anymore. It's not cool. Not only that, it's not intellectually serious... What do you do with an art world in which the normative work of art is a giant C-print of three Germans standing beside a mailbox? What's that? Stop it, please." Denver Post 10/08/03

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Dario Fo Vs. Those In Power At 77, Italian playwright/director Dario Fo is still rabble rousing. He's in Genoa restaging Rossini's opera, Il Viaggio a Reims: "They discovered I had re-written some of Rossini's text, a story about Charles X, the King of France immediately after the French revolution. He threw out the Government, called for new elections, limited the number of voters, made laws for his own benefit. Yes! Many understood him to be similar to (the Italian Prime Minister) Berlusconi! So the politicians said we could not do this opera in Genoa. It was a big struggle. In the end, the city council said to the provincial governors, 'Sorry, the program is set, tickets have been sold, we cannot stop the production'." The Age (Melbourne) 10/07/03

Monday, October 6, 2003

Pavarotti: Just Call Me Teacher Tenor Luciano Pavarotti says he'll turn his attentions to teaching when he retires from singing in 2005: "I want to give something back to the younger generation. Teaching I think is the most difficult thing; teaching is more difficult than singing. Why? Because you have to transfer a thought from your brain to the brain of the other person and the throat of the other person. I want to teach people who really are good,"
BBC 10/06/03

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Sex, Lies, And Hemingway "Eight grandchildren of Ernest Hemingway have settled a feud with the widow of the writer's son over his $7m (£4.2m) estate, according to one of the family. The settlement, which includes a portion of the author's literary rights, follows the death of Gregory Hemingway two years ago. A transsexual, he died of heart disease on the floor of a cell in the women's annex of a Florida jail." The sexual identity of the younger Hemingway, who had changed his name to Gloria, was at the heart of the dispute within the family over whether he had the right to any portion of his father's estate. BBC 10/05/03

Titans Of The Keyboard This year marks the centenary of both Vladimir Horowitz and Rudolf Serkin, arguably the two finest concert pianists of the last century. They were contemporaries, but their lives and careers could not have been more divergent, whether in the repertoire they chose or the attitude they brought to the keyboard. Serkin was the conservative, striving for singular perfection in a narrow range of repertoire. Horowitz was the maverick, rarely performing a piece the same way twice, and forever seeking out new challenges and new musical voices. History may not yet be able to determine which man had the greater impact on the world of music, but their joint impact will be felt for years to come. The New York Times 10/05/03

Friday, October 3, 2003

Harbourfront Fires Another Mere months after the much-publicized firing of Festival of Authors director Greg Gatenby, Toronto's Harbourfront Centre has abruptly dismissed the man who has programmed its music for nearly two decades. Derek Andrews "was informed on Sept. 25 in a terse letter that his contract would not be renewed in December and that the non-profit corporation no longer needed his services... Andrews obsessively sought out and exposed new and young talent, helped establish Harbourfront as a key element in the international touring network, and provided a refreshing and intelligent alternative to mass-marketed commercial music." Toronto Star 10/03/03

Pevere: Kazan Doesn't Deserve Accolades It may be bad form to speak ill of the dead, but at least one writer says that filmmaker Elia Kazan deserves no posthumous forgiveness for his famous decision to "name names" in the Congressional witchhunts of the 1950s. Kazan was a great filmmaker, writes Geoff Pevere, but he chose to preserve the safety of his own situation by deliberately ruining the lives and careers of eight other individuals, and for that single, selfish, short-sighted act, he should forever be remembered not as an artist, but as a rat. Toronto Star 10/10/03

Composer Kagel Hospitalized "The German-Argentine composer Mauricio Kagel has been hospitalised in the western German city of Duisburg after a taking ill ahead of a concert he was due to conduct, the Düsseldorf Opera, where he works, said Wednesday." Kagel is a respected composer of cutting-edge electronic music, and is credited with doing much to bridge the gap between traditional "classical" music and electronica. He also has a sense of humor, having once composed a work for chamber orchestra, titled Finale, in which the conductor is instructed to fake a heart attack and "die" on the stage. Andante (AFP) 10/02/03

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Edward Said - Outsider Edward Said inspired admiration, even if you disagreed with his politics. "He lived in the world as an exile, a condition from which he drew strength. Exile, as a metaphorical state, was something we all should aspire to, Said contended, since it gives one an outsider's perspective on the world. He was a theoretician who hated theory because he loved people. A true public intellectual, he would say, possesses not just access to the media but a public (constituency would be his term) to which he or she is accountable. Ground yourself in the world." Village Voice 10/01/03

Baryshnikov's Knee Goes Down Mikhail Baryshnikov has injured his knee, and has had to postpone his upcoming tour. "When Baryshnikov, who is 55 years old, was rehearsing his solo program in late September, he tore the meniscus in his left knee. It's just a minor tear. His other knee is much more complicated." Village Voice 10/01/03

Filmmaker Jewison Among Governor General Recipients "Veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison, musician Ian Tyson and ex-Royal Canadian Air Farce comedian Dave Broadfoot are among this year's winners of [Canada's] Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. The three were among six people recognized yesterday for lifetime artistic achievement. The others were soprano Pierrette Alarie, actor Douglas Campbell and screenwriter-actress Micheline Lanctot. The awards were announced in both Montreal and Toronto." Toronto Star 10/01/03

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©
2002 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved