Opera In English – Bring On The Surtitles…

So English National Opera is going to use English supertitles for its productions in English. This is a great thing, writes Anthony Holden. “The fundamentalist objection is that you can’t do two things at once: read the words while listening to them properly. But the problem is that, half the time, you simply cannot make out the words – in English or any other language.”

Are You A “Prosumer?”

The word ‘prosumer’ was coined in 1979 by the futurist Alvin Toffler. Initially, it referred to an individual who would be involved in designing the things she purchased (a mash-up of the words ‘producer’ and ‘consumer.’) These days, the term more often refers to a segment of users midway between consumers and professionals. This kind of prosumer doesn’t necessarily earn money by making music, videos, or photos, but is still willing to invest in more serious hardware and software than the typical dabbler, and spend more time using it.”

Rap Nostaligia Sets In

“Nostalgia for the not-so-long-ago sounds of early rap is kicking in hard for longtime fans who find themselves left cold by the genre’s latest hits. The booming, market er-friendly audience members in their 20s and 30s are starting to find more mature alternatives to the ever-young party and gangster rap that populates the pop charts.”

Is Arts Criticism Dead?

“Blame it on Pablo Picasso. Anyone who took a college arts course knows that modernism began in 1907 with his painting Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. Implicit in modernism, as seen in Picasso’s use of flat perspective, non-Western art and the deconstruction of the human body, was a critique of art itself. From the death of art to the death of art criticism is a step that, amazingly, has taken a full century. The Internet is but the latest manifestation of modernism. And it follows that if in art anything goes — as opposed to the Academism that modernism rejected — the same is true for criticism. Everybody’s a critic. Blog it.”

Venice Biennale – First Among World’s Fairs

Wold’s fairs were important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for sharing information. “The Venice Biennale remains the first, the biggest, the best. More important is who goes there. And everybody goes there. Documenta may be more influential; it is certainly more coherent. But nothing brings out the art world like Venice. It’s a spectacular place to go. The national pavilions are part of it, but so are the other exhibitions.”

100 Years Of Ashton

Celebrating Frederick Ashton’s 100th birthday has been a major undertaking. “During the Ashton 100 season, along with Scottish Ballet, British companies have performed 23 ballets and excerpts, while overseas American, Russian, French and Asian companies have joyfully learnt ballets often described as “typically” English – forever burying the myth found readily expressed at the Royal Ballet only 10 years ago that Ashton was parochial and out-of-date. No one, surely, would have been more surprised than Ashton himself.”

Beautiful Watermill Theatre For Sale

Britain’s countryside Watermill Theatre is housed in an 1820s redbrick mill, and it’s for sale. “Under the directorship of Jill Fraser, backed up by her husband James Sargant, who worked in senior positions for the RSC for many years, this rural idyll has quietly become one of the most admired and influential theatres in the country. In the past five years, it has transferred more shows to the West End than any other theatre in Britain.”

Hollywood’s Latest Marketing Tool? Blogs

“Costing almost nothing to maintain, the vast majority of blogs are mental clearinghouses for their authors, lo-fi Web confessionals or bully pulpits that vary from current events to niche pastimes to sex. Directors’ blogs, by contrast, are slickly engineered to virally market their movies — to stoke fan ardor. Some observers say this approach allows studios to put a spin on moviemaking — and, by playing to fan interest, head off potential controversies. Movie marketers say the sites allow blogger-directors to reach out to fans in an up-close-and-personal way.”

Playwright Veto: When You Can’t Do It That Way

A Philadelphia theatre tries to mount an all-female production of “Grease” but the musical’s creators object. So “how much control does a creator retain after releasing a play for production? When does a director’s interpretation override an author’s intention? There is a “strong presumption” in the theater community to protect the intentions of the playwright, and that outrageous staging could be framed as a copyright violation. Whether a court would side with the playwright or the producer in such a case is uncertain, because almost no cease-and-desist letters result in court action.”