Met Opera Abandons Blackface For Otello For First Time Since 1891

met opera otello

The Metropolitan Opera said on Tuesday that the new production of Verdi’s Otello that will open its season next month will not use blackface makeup on the white tenor singing the title role, breaking with a performance tradition of more than a century.”

As The Met Abandons Blackface, A Look At The Legacy Of African Americans In Opera

black folks in opera

“Nineteenth-century Black singers like Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield and Sissieretta Jones sang opera but gave recitals, because the opera houses weren’t hiring them. Black churches were doing Verdi’s Requiem with all-Black casts and musicians.”

Alan Cheuse, Author And NPR Book Critic, Dead At 75

alan cheuse

“[He] published his first short story just before his 40th birthday and went on to write two dozen books, but who became even better known as a longtime NPR book critic” on All Things Considered.

‘We Rip The Band-Aid Off’ Ballet, Says Showrunner Of ‘Flesh And Bone’

flesh and bone

Moira Walley-Beckett: “This is the first time we’ve really seen the underbelly of a ballet company. And I feel like a lot of those movies have catered to the very glossy, ephemeral optical illusion that is ballet. And we rip the Band-Aid off.”

‘Athlètes Et Artistes’ – CNN Admires The Men Of The Paris Opera Ballet

men of paris opera ballet

“They are ‘les danseurs,’ the professional male ballet dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. They are the epitome of strength, their bodies acting as machines of poetry with each and every point of their toes.”

The Melancholy Pop Idol Who Haunts China

teresa teng

“There’s another popular saying: Wherever there are Chinese people, there is Teresa Teng’s music. I never appreciated her symbolism as a child, back when her music seemed soft and ubiquitous. But it’s not hard to imagine how Teng’s songs about love and distance spoke to the various migrations and political estrangements throughout the Chinese-speaking world. For immigrants throughout the Chinese diaspora, her music was a reminder of their journeys, an excuse to indulge in nostalgia, three or four minutes at a time.

G.I. Jane Is Missing In Action: Why Does Pop Culture Never Show Women At War?

gi jane

“In Afghanistan, women in uniform are widely seen in the airports and across bases heading to work. But watch a war movie and the roughly 300,000 women who have deployed in America’s post-9/11 wars are largely missing in action. These untold stories have consequences both for how America sees its women in uniform and how they see themselves.”

‘You May Know Me From Such Roles As Terrorist Number Four’ – Muslim-American Actors In Hollywood


“You’ve heard of actors getting typecast. But there is no group more slighted, more narrowly cast, than the Muslim-American actors who earn virtually their entire livings pretending to hijack planes and slaughter infidels. Jon Ronson embarks on a soul-searching odyssey with the bad guys of Homeland, American Sniper, 24, and every other TV show and movie in which the holy warriors get mowed down before they even get to finish one good ‘Allahu Akbar!’

The ISIS Book Club? These Volumes Could Help Trace Antiquities Looted From Iraq And Syria

ISIS book club

“The stash of books about ancient coins and Egyptian pyramids seemed to belong more in a 1950s library in Germany than on the back of a truck filled with shoulder-fired missiles. Then again, if you’re an Islamic State fighter with plans to loot and sell antiquities to the West in order to fund your cause, it helps to know which objects to look for.”

‘Mother’s Delusions': Shirley Jackson On Writing


“The children around our house have a saying that everything is either true, not true, or one of Mother’s delusions. … The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were.”

Mind-Bending: The Psychology Of Awe


“Awe is not an everyday emotion. You don’t wake up awestruck. A satisfying lunch doesn’t leave you filled with awe. Even a great day is unlikely to leave you in a state of jaw-dropped, consciousness-opening fear and trembling. Perhaps that’s why, up until about ten years ago, psychology had surprisingly little to say about awe.” So Jonathan Haidt and Dacher Keltner set out to change that.

Boredom – We Could Not Live Without It


Andreas Elpidorou draws an analogy with pain: almost none of us enjoy it, but not being able to feel it at all is dangerous.

The Tourism Problem (It’s Killing Travel, Killing Experience, And Killing Places)


“In an age of unprecedented foreign travel, tourists get quite a bad rap, not least from tourists themselves. Of course, many high-minded people would scoff at the notion that they are tourists, beholden to the same vulgar taste as the travelling masses, even though, as we shall see, that hierarchy is not a very convincing one.”

How To You Contextualize Theatre To The Audience It Wants To Serve?


“What quickly became apparent is that the local authority officers share our ambition to find ways of increasing the perceived “usefulness” of the arts and asking: if the regular audience to theatre comprises only 8% of the population, what might the other 92% be interested in?”

Free “Happy Birthday!” (The Battle To Release An Iconic Song From Copyright)


A federal lawsuit filed by a group of independent artists is trying to change that, and lawyers in the case, in a filing last week, said they had found evidence in the yellowed pages of a nearly century-old songbook that proves the song’s copyright — first issued in 1935 — is no longer valid.

Lament Of The Anti-Social Writer (Does This Mean I Can’t Have A Career?)


“There’s my avoidance of readings, my fake enthusiasm as I swindle my own students out of their Friday nights to go to a lecture I won’t attend, my gag-triggering physical loathing of bookstores, my requirement that reading materials appear on my nightstand by benevolent conjury, without any consumer effort from me. There’s my acute failure as an educator to fill any tiny part of the role of writing-community steward that is assumed of me. There’s my own titanic hypocrisy most recently as I think about promoting a new book in the very community I can’t show love for. So here I am. In all my humility.”

Who Is Disrupting The Art World – A List


“We at artnet News put our heads together, polled some art-world veterans for suggestions, and assembled this admittedly subjective, non-comprehensive list of colleagues who have changed the shape of the American art world.”

Taking Stock Of The Arts In Kansas City


The city has made big investments in its arts. But it’s a time of transition as prominent leaders move on and arts institutions try to figure out what next.

Thinking About Buying A Gallery? Here’s What Can Go Wrong If You Don’t Ask The Right Questions


“I inherited a gallery manager who was extremely upset at everything. The invoice demands were flowing in – totalling at least half a million pounds – from a lot of irate people. I feel like a naive fool now.”

A First: Theatre Company Asks Taylor Swift For Song Rights Over Social Media And…


Five days before opening, all conventional efforts exhausted, the company resorted to trying to reach Swift on social media and in what may be a first, she granted the rights via Twitter just hours ago. While I suspect there are some contractual details to be worked out beyond “Permission granted,” presumably the tweet from Swift gives Belvoir Street enough comfort that they can proceed.

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The 20,000 Vinyl LPs Trapped In Guantanamo


“There’s a live Bob Marley concert and Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, John Coltrane recordings and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, part of a collection that for years the DJs wouldn’t discuss for fear that the bosses would order them to destroy them or ship the collection off the island, like other radio stations in the Defense Department broadcasting system.”

The Zen Master Of Dance In New York

zen master

“Even in the depths of summer, when New York theaters close up shop and dance companies go on break or on tour, the ballet teacher Zvi Gotheiner keeps going to work, though he may not call it that. And dancers keep flocking to work with him.”

After A Year On The Job, Andris Nelsons Extends With Boston Symphony To (At Least) 2022

bso nelsons

“On Monday, the orchestra announced it has extended its contract with Nelsons through the 2021-2022 season. The contract, which had previously run until 2019, also includes an evergreen provision allowing Nelsons and the orchestra to add additional years.”

Do New York Theatergoers Really Dress Like Slobs? And Does It Matter?

theatergoers slobs

Alexis Soloski: “Mostly I’m in favour of dressing down. It seems democratising to me. Less elitist. It makes theatre seem like the kind of thing anyone and everyone can go do, which is what I devoutly wish. (Well, that and cheaper, better wine at the concession stands.)”

The Composer That Lyric Opera Of Chicago Found On YouTube

youtube to lyric opera

The company was looking to commission an adaptation of Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto. Jimmy López remembers getting a call about it from his friend, conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya: “November 18th, 2010, I was having lunch and I got a call from Miguel. He said, ‘You need to go home and upload your vocal music to YouTube.'”

A Lot Of Art Galleries Lose Money – This Man Says He Can Fix That

art gallery lose money

“In a slim, Day-Glo orange book that caused a furor when it was published in Germany last year, … a 31-year-old German entrepreneur/professor/art adviser named Magnus Resch … argues that most galleries are undercapitalized and inefficient, and moreover, that with McKinsey-like business strategies … the entire art market could be turned into a profit-generating machine.”

How Performers Are Paid for Performance Art

performance art performers

The artists Gerard & Kelly “saw performer compensation ‘as a blind spot in how performance was entering [museum] collections’… They learned that the going rate museums paid performers in major 2010 exhibitions was about $20 an hour, which they found low and arbitrary. (This includes Marina Abramovic’s piece at the Museum of Modern Art, they said, and Tino Sehgal’s at the Guggenheim, the first performance piece that museum acquired.)” So they negotiated a wage formula for performers in their latest work, and included it in the license for any museum that wants to present it.

Orchestra That Just Fired Conductor Fires Executive Director, Too

san luis obispo symphony

The executive committee of the [San Luis Obispo Symphony’s] board of directors voted unanimously to terminate Feingold’s employment and he was let go Friday … Feingold’s departure comes less than three months after the ouster of former Music Director Michael Nowak, who had held that post for 31 years and was widely considered the public face of the symphony.”