The New Metropolitan Opera (Hang On)

“Having symbolically flung open the Met’s doors, [Peter] Gelb set about electronically universalising the company. He has shrewdly negotiated contracts that allow Met performances to be broadcast live most evenings on a private satellite radio station for subscribers. During daylight hours, addicts are able to hear selections from the company’s archival treasury on the same channel. Over Christmas, the Met began a series of video relays by satellite across North America and in the UK.”

The Prodigy, The Bottle, And The Principal

Detroit Symphony principal cellist Robert DeMaine was a prodigy who fell from grace before Climbing back to become a star. “In hindsight, he understands that his stage fright was the byproduct of feeling unprepared, which was the outgrowth of the impossibly high standards he set for himself and a crippling inferiority complex. Like many prodigies, he never learned how to practice and found himself stymied when his natural skills began to plateau.”

The World’s First Text-Message Novel?

“The Last Messages tells the story of a fictitious information-technology executive in Finland who resigns from his job and travels throughout Europe and India, keeping in touch with his friends and relatives only through text messages. His messages, and the replies — roughly 1,000 altogether — are listed in chronological order in the 332-page novel written by Finnish author Hannu Luntiala. The texts are rife with grammatical errors and abbreviations commonly used in regular SMS traffic.”

Oscar’s Internationalist Year

This year’s Oscar nominations have a decidedly international flavor. “It’s not anymore about cultural barriers or language barriers. It’s emotion and humanity. We are using the power of cinema to cross borders. We are understanding that now there’s a cultural connection that needs to happen. Most films can reveal the nature of other countries and other people around the world.”

Tate Campaigns For Turner

The Tate Museum is mounting a campaign to raise money to buy a Turner it wants. “Nicholas Serota, the Tate’s director, described the painting as an extraordinary work of ineffable beauty, which would be of lasting benefit to scholars and visitors if they could secure it for the gallery. Ian Warrell, a curator and Turner expert, added: ‘In terms of the Turners that we would ever want, this is right at the very, very top. This has always been on the list’.”

Euphemistic: The Jargon Of Diversity

The language of the past decade “allows us not to talk about the increasingly rigid partition of our society along class lines. For as we enthusiastically fine-tune our sensibilities about how cultural or racial groupings can best be spoken about or symbolized, most social goods in our country–health care, affordable housing and higher education, income support, a living wage–drift further and further out of reach for many ordinary Americans.”

Mark Morris – Disappointing In Middle Age?

“Perhaps he’s feeling caught–or trapped–by the toll his advancing years have taken on his ability to perform. Like every great dancer (and he certainly was one), the power of his dance personality comes through whatever he does and whatever the condition of his body. However, Morris’ current bulkiness–or, if you prefer, portliness–now keeps him from dancing full-out and presents a picture that takes some getting used to.”