Verdi’s Requiem At Theresienstadt

The work Barenboim and La Scala selected for their free Tel Aviv centennial concert was a “gift [with] a special poignancy. Verdi’s Requiem was the greatest musical production of the Holocaust era. It emerged as a form of resistance – no less impressive than any undertaken in the face of the Nazi beast – in the concentration camp of Terezin.”

Organizers Cancel Leonard Cohen’s West Bank Concert

Just last month, performances in Tel Aviv and Ramallah in September were added to the schedule for the singer-songwriter’s current world tour. Then the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel issued a statement saying that “Ramallah will not receive Cohen as long as he is intent on whitewashing Israel’s colonial apartheid regime by performing in Israel.” So the hosts have withdrawn their invitation, saying the event had become too politicized.

Nelson Mandela Disowns Lithographs Of Robben Island

“In 2002 Mandela attempted to record his feelings about Robben Island in [five] limited edition, individually signed prints. … This week, London’s Belgravia Gallery opens an exhibition of Mandela’s lithographs – against his wishes. He ‘strongly dissociates himself’ from the event; his lawyer insists, ‘He did not sign those artworks.’ The gallery claims its video of him signing artworks proves its sale authentic.”

Steven Soderbergh Says He Regrets Making Che

“You know, for a year after we finished shooting I would still wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Thank God I’m not shooting that film.’ … Literally I’d wake up and think, ‘At least I’m not doing that today.'” He’s even contemplating retirement: “In terms of my career, I can see the end of it … I’ve got a list of stuff that I want to do – that I hope I can do – and once that’s all finished I may just disappear.”

Rufus Wainwright’s Opera Gets (Surprisingly) Mixed Reviews

The Globe and Mail was complimentary, giving Prima Donna three stars out of four and calling the premiere ‘a thoroughly entertaining, if slightly barmy, evening.’ … In a more mixed review, Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times agrees: ‘The opera ends with a tender aria for Regine, a long-spun melody with a gentle accompaniment riff: in other words, a Wainwright song. Would that there had been more of them.’ [But] Lynne Walker of the Independent gave Prima Donna two stars out of five, and described it as a ‘flimsy plot … spun out into a cheesy piece of full-length musical theatre’.”

LA Pol Wants Wagner Dumped From Ring Festival

Calling Richard Wagner a “Nazi composer,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has demanded that Los Angeles Opera substitute works by other composers in next year’s Ring Festival LA. He’s not the only one upset about the performance of Wagner’s epic. “Holocaust survivors and their families have contacted supervisors in recent weeks to express outrage at the festival. Some have threatened to picket.”

Brüno: Banned In Ukraine!

The Ukrainian culture and tourism ministry “has so far not explained its decision. But it appears to have taken the view that several of the scenes – among them a mock gay parade, and one in which Brüno shows off his p***s – were likely to offend conservative and religious opinion.”