Paris’s Opéra Comique Reopens After 21-Month Renovation

With a production of Marin Marais’s 1706 opera Alcione conducted by Jordi Savall, the historic house where Bizet’s Carmen and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande had their premieres is back with all its Belle Époque splendor renewed. Among the restorers’ proudest achievements is recreating the auditorium’s unique shade of red, somewhere between coral and brick. (slide show with text in French; Google Translate version here)

Decoded: Ancient Carvings In Turkey Tell Of Comet That Devastated The Earth

“Evidence from the carvings, made on a pillar known as the Vulture Stone, suggests that a swarm of comet fragments hit the Earth in around 11000 BC. One image of a headless man is thought to symbolise human disaster and extensive loss of life. The site is at Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey, which experts now believe may have been an ancient observatory.”

Why Do We Treat Arts Education As Remedial Activity Rather Than Enormous Possibility?

“While most community arts programs for underserved youth were planned by caring, well-intentioned organizers, they are doing serious harm. They are designed to mitigate risk — to treat participants not as creative talent full of ideas and possibility, but as disadvantaged youth or, worse, cautionary tales in the making. Their target outcomes are preventing violence or pregnancy, lowering obesity rates or other deficits attached to their community’s identity — not to prepare our country for a future of innovation and economic participation. This must change.”

NYT Classical Music Editor Talks About Attempts To Think Differently About Coverage

“How can we change what we do so that we are bringing in more readers in more places to be more engaged. It’s not a question purely of page views, but more engaged: the term that encompasses both sheer numbers and the kind of readers they are, whether they are subscribers, how long they’re spending on the articles, where in the world they’re located. So what we want in classical music, and what everyone in the paper wants, is to be bringing our journalism to a substantive and engaged readership.”

The New Generation Of “Reality” TV Shows Is Fascinating (If You Want To Understand America)

“Niche reality shows reveal a range of American cultures and give the audience a new experience: the chance to plunge into others’ unfamiliar realities. Dividing “reality” into ever more microscopic fields, the joyously weird new contest shows celebrate the deviations from the normal, amplifying a subculture’s arcana to stadium size. A cynic might cavil that networks are merely exploiting the American viewer’s new taste, trained by social media, for variety and distinctiveness.”

38 New Commissions Over 20 Years To Create Modern Riffs On Shakespeare’s Plays

The project by the American Shakespeare Center, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, “invites writers to submit plays inspired by each of Shakespeare’s, on a schedule coordinated with the theater’s season. Two winners will be chosen each year, and will be performed in repertory along with the Shakespeare play that inspired them, starting in 2019. (Each winning playwright will receive $25,000.)”

Kristine Jepson, Mezzo-Soprano, Dead At 54

Among the many roles that won her acclaim at the Met, Covent Garden, and two dozen other international opera houses were the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and, in contemporary opera, Kitty Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic and Sister Helen Préjean in Dead Man Walking.