David McVicar, in town to rehearse a new staging of Don Giovanni: “I think they thought about the outside before they thought about the inside. The problems of the Joan Sutherland [Opera Theatre] are extreme. It’s a very quirky space, it is inadequate for opera, it just simply is.”
“The worst: crazies, meth-heads. Anyone can walk into our bookstore in the age of meth — it’s a constant worry.”
“It is rather extraordinary that the four angels should turn up. Having these angels associated with two of the most famous names of English history, never mind 16th-century English history, is really rather astonishing.”
“This is a piece that reflects the life of a G, F, or A type star. This pulls together two major interests of mine: astronomy and composition. This piece is for a middle-sized orchestra with the addition of saxophones, but a few future projects I had in mind would be smaller chamber works. Specifically, I wanted to write a piece about the western United States.”
“Parton’s skill at being many things to many people accounts for the diversity of her fan base, capacious enough to hold drag queens and the sorts of hard-core emotional supplicants depicted in the documentary For the Love of Dolly, as well as the more mainstream country fans who surrounded us at her parade, which kept going long after Parton had fled the scene.”
“Models and imaging provide the veneer of precision; they appear to be objective, quantifiable measures of the brain. Pictures of brain activity: You can’t get more scientific than that! We just look at where the brain lights up, and that tells us … what, exactly? And that’s the problem.”
“The way that 78s are nothing like LPs has to do with the music recorded on them. 78s are often the only remaining example of a recorded song. Since metal masters were usually not made of 78 recordings, as Petrusich puts it, “if the records themselves break, or are crammed into a flood-prone basement, or tossed into a dumpster, then that particular song is gone, forever.” It took a couple of chapters to really sink in for me. But think about that for a second: There are amazing songs out there that no one living today has ever heard, or will ever hear.”
“Since 1990, it seems that the average song length has sort of stabilized around 250 seconds (over 4 minutes). Maybe that’s because humans prefer 4 minute songs. Clearly there is no technological limit to song length anymore, right? So, did new technologies influence song length?”
“A good deal of the outrage directed at the idea of selling off art from Detroit’s museum is a backlash against the vague idea that doing so would mean rejecting art as a whole, or would amount to a declaration that the residents of Detroit do not deserve to enjoy art. On the contrary. I can think of no higher expression of Van Gogh’s artistic worth than the fact that Detroit could—with the sale of a single one of his paintings—provide water to all of its citizens.”
“Enraged by a report that, as well as occupying Gramsci’s old home in Piazza Carlina, the hotel would bear his name, the academics, historians and architects have mobilised against the plan.”
“Familiarity also breeds contempt. Contempt breeds indifference. And when audiences feel like they’ve seen something, or someone, once too often, they start consulting their iPhones to check the weather and put off the movies for another week.”
The keyboardist/composer made the revelation on his website, announcing that he would be unable to attend the Sapporo International Art Festival, of which he is the guest director.
“That the majority of people don’t go to the theatre is fine: it’s a free choice. But when too many people think it’s not for them, that’s a problem. They would have an amazing time if they just rocked up one night.” So this artistic director went to a supermarket parking lot to talk people into coming, one at a time.
“Whether or not Jeff Bezos knew it – and any educated guess is that he did – Hachette was going to decline that proposal. And as Amazon knew well, the authors and agents themselves had no power to take it up on the deal.”
“Venues funded by Arts Council England are failing to attract new theatregoers and are instead relying on a core regular audience, the findings of a new report have shown.” Who is pulling in new people? The West End.
“BBC director general Tony Hall has unveiled plans to allow the Corporation’s in-house production teams to make content for rival broadcasters, as part of a shake-up he has described as a ‘competition revolution’.”
“The British Dance Council is to consider proposals that would define a dance partnership as having to consist between a man and “a lady” on 21 July, just before a major competition in Bournemouth. If it is passed, it will ban same-sex couples from mainstream contests, regulating them to same-sex-only categories.”
“The reason for the mass retraction is mind-blowing: A “peer review and citation ring” was apparently rigging the review process to get articles published. You’ve heard of prostitution rings, gambling rings and extortion rings. Now there’s a “peer review ring.”
“A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue has been sold by Northampton Borough Council for nearly £16m – and there are calls for more local authorities to cash in on their art and artefacts as councils come under financial strain.”
“The preliminary document, released Wednesday after eight months of research and ahead of a full report due at the end of the year, cites several shocking oversights; for example, the Louvre is critiqued for storing Classical sculptures in a subterranean chamber that could not be properly evacuated in the event of an overflow of the Seine river.”
“We are told that ENO is being penalised for failing to meet audience targets. But a theatre devoted to artistic adventure is bound to risk occasional box-office failure: it was precisely to buttress such eventualities that the subsidy-principle was established. If we are back to measuring artistic success by the old bums-on-seats philosophy, then we are truly heading back to the dark ages.”
Here’s the complete list of Emmy nominees for 2014.
“Tablets have become as mundane as the PCs whose decline they hastened. Instead of radical hardware innovations, the maxed-out market is racing toward as many screen sizes as shoe sizes.”
“We are all cartographic obsessives these days. It’s great in some ways, but it also feeds into the unhealthy situation in which if we don’t know exactly where we are and where everything else is in relationship to us, we start prodding our screens and thinking something is amiss. This is profoundly disempowering, for it suggests that without constant expert advice, we would all be driving in circles or off cliffs.”
“The first formal valuation of the entire city-owned collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts finds that the roughly 60,000 pieces of art are worth between $2.8 billion and $4.6 billion.” Unless they’re actually sold, in which case they’d bring in a lot less.
His appointment, just two years after his first work for City Ballet, “makes him the second person to hold this position at City Ballet, after Christopher Wheeldon, who was the company’s resident choreographer from 2001 to 2008.”
While he did write serious stage works based on Dostoevsky and de Maupassant, “he was still more widely known for lighter one-act works whose accessibility, tunefulness and economy of scale made them among the most frequently performed operas in the world … perennial favorites of college, semiprofessional and regional companies.”