“He was a powerfully individual composer, an amazingly talented conductor” – Balanchine thought he was the best ballet conductor out there – “and one of the most quotable critics ever to put pen to paper.” He was also Margot Fonteyn’s lover, and he was brilliant at dirty limericks. “[He] complicated posterity’s job by deliberately choosing not to specialize in a single line of creative endeavor.”
The Golden Mask festival began in 1995 as Moscow’s equivalent of the Tonys. Now theater companies (and opera and dance troupes) from throughout Russia spend three weeks in March and April in the capital competing for awards in 34 categories – and that’s not even counting fringe fests and tours.
“Why do these thinkers’ personal lives and ideological compromises seem unusually relevant to their work, beyond the usual scandal-sheet Schadenfreude? It may have something to do with their distinctive views regarding the relevance (or, rather, irrelevance) of character and personality to the objects of their study.”
“I recall many people viewing it as handwaving nonsense meant to cover over reality. It was a laughingstock … but wasn’t [it] a brilliantly pithy piece of popular epistemology? Decoupled from its context, it seemed smart … and I’d wager most people couldn’t tell you what Rumsfeld was talking about when he said it.”
“After all, scalping—or price-gouging, if you prefer—already works for airlines and sports teams and hotels and Broadway shows and nobody seems to complain—at least, not those that can afford them. And furthermore, like it or not, pretty soon everybody will be doing it. So hey, why fight it?”
Following up on an incisive analysis of what’s really wrong at the company, Dawn Fatale says the Met needs to be more exciting – and makes some intriguing and inventive suggestions for just how to do that.
“The company fosters an atmosphere that is the antithesis of intimidating: You can wander in and out without too much worry about losing your place in the story. Shouting during a favorite moment is hardly a breach of etiquette. And if you’re moved (or you pretend to be moved) by a power ballad, the rhythmic waving of a hand clutching a lighter is not out of place.”