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This is not just about opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is […]

We don’t need no stinkin’ reviews

The news about Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb squelching Opera News is pretty juicy stuff.  While I can sympathize with the man’s wincing at criticisms of his productions in his magazine, surely he must have known that there’s no way the new policy is going to do any favors for him or the Met. […]

So much for good intentions

Reporting back from the ART production of Porgy and Bess, I can’t decide if the moral of the story is a) don’t mess with the classics b) stick to your guns or c) don’t tell people what you’re “planning” to do. Although director Diane Paulus  and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks had announced that they were changing […]

>Hubris alert

>I am looking forward to the ART production of Porgy and Bess, the first opera I ever saw from good seats (I was taken by the late great Oz librarian Margaret Trask twenty-five years ago in Sydney)  and thus responsible for my financial ruin. And I understand that this production is not going to be […]

>January-February Horn Book Magazine

>The new Magazine is out but I haven’t seen a copy yet–here’s hoping the color looks as good as we wanted! Fanfare, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award speeches, and other selected content can all be linked to from the table of contents posted on the website. I hope everybody had good holidays. Mine were a blur […]


Wow, what a great movie. I’d gone in expecting another Spirited Away, which I found gorgeous but rambling and portentous and adult, but Ponyo is a true kids’ movie. That’s not to say I didn’t have a fine time playing spot-the-allusion–forget “The Little Mermaid,” Ponyo has The Magic Flute all over it–but the heroes seem […]

>Looking over his shoulder

>and not liking what he sees, Stephen King dismisses Stephenie Meyer as not able to “write worth a darn. She’s not very good.” What do you think possessed the old gas bag? Maybe he doesn’t like the way she spells her name? In mentioning his “formative influence” on J. K. Rowling and praising her work, […]

>Just one more musical moment

> Gertrude Stein by Robert Indiana Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s opera The Mother of Us All is a wildly fantasized biography of Susan B. Anthony, who, wondering and worrying over whether her celebrity has obscured her cause, asks of her supporters (in her tremendously moving final aria), “Do you know because I tell you […]

>A bipartisan moment

>in honor of the election. Ginsburg and Scalia find common ground in Leontyne Price. Here she is, in what looks to me like an earlier White House appearance:

>And we don’t care about the young folks

>Angel-Juan Diego Florez (wow, is he good-looking) did not repeat his repeat of “Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!” in the Met’s “HD Live” transmission yesterday afternoon. Good for him, although he perhaps needn’t have implied, in an intermission interview, that he decided against the encore because the audience didn’t clap hard enough. It […]