Quite often, France's coolness factor is wildy overrated abroad -- especially by many too-easily-impressed Americans. But whenever France is actually cool, it's very, very, very cool.
Today, for example, the daily Libération, didn't like the fact that the Mayor of Paris has censored Larry Clark's exhibit -- keeping minors out of Clark's show due to City Hall's fears of legal challenges (in France you can't show hardcore sexual images to minors). Therefore, to protest the decision, Libération printed a huge Clark photo, that one can not avoid to describe as X-rated, on their front page, denouncing the Mayor's choice.
Maurizio Cattelan, one of the coolest men in Italy,is about to open a big exhibit in Milan. The poster that was supposed to advertise the event, though, portrays one of Cattelan's works, "HIM", a statue that depicts a praying Hitler, down on his knees. It's classic Cattelan style.
It has been deemed too offensive to be used around town, and pulled.
Some are therefore calling for Cattelan to cancel the exhibit and move it somewhere else (Venice has been floated -- I know, I know -- as an alternate location).
The usual suspects totally hated the concept but Opera Chic thinks that, in general, a man with a great sense of humor such as Amadé would have laughed, too. Not to mention -- but this is probably true for every opera composer who ever lived, except for Wagner -- he would have simply been astonished, and pleasantly surprised, that his work is still staged everywhere, still so loved, so successful, and so relevant to our 21st Century lives.
Oh, and if you visit Amsterdam next month (insert weed jokes here) you can also catch on the Nederlandse Opera's stage that big tall order of sexy, Luca Pisaroni, reprising his role as Figaro.
For Barrett Wissman, life as an admitted felon is looking better by the day.
Yesterday, Deal Journal detailed the
hedge fund manager’s recent sojourn to the Tuscan Festival Del Sole, an
annual musical festival that he co-founded with his wife. Wissman has
pleaded guilty for his role in an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving
the New York state pension fund and has agreed to cooperate as New York
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s key witness in the case. The former
chairman of IMG Artists, which represents classical musicians, Wissman
also agreed to pay a $12 million penalty.
It seems that in addition to enjoying the beautiful classical music
and hobnobbing with actors like Anthony Hopkins at the festival,
Wissman also found time to enjoy plenty of fine Italian wine.
I don't mind the odd rasp of a cough, or rustle of a programme; but
a jingle from the depths of someone's pocket or pocket-book is about as
annoying as anything can be. Perhaps an instant fine of $2,000 would be
the incentive needed for people simply to check and make sure the
wretched things are switched off
Even a staunch Anglophile like Opera Chic could not avoid to shudder a little this morning reading how Liz Forgan, chairwoman of Arts Council England (the body that dispenses public money to the arts in the UK), keynote speaker at the Royal Philharmonic Awards, thinks music should be taught in schools.
I mean, the UK historically made caning in public schools an impressively kinky part of their otherwise splendid educational system, but to add aural abuse to the list of indignities those scared schoolchildren have to suffer at school seems to be a bit much.
them Birtwistle, Buxtehude, Ligeti, Ockeghem and Beethoven as soon as
possible. Give them the best of contemporary music of all sorts. Don't apologise."
"Throwing children alive into a boiling vat of great music does them no harm at all"
Opera Chic's advice for your children: piano (or some other instrument) lessons are generally fun, when appreciated: and let them sort out of your music collection the stuff they like (if indeed they do like it). Otherwise, your kids are better off watching the Muppets -- Beethoven was a fan of theirs, after all.
Regisseur Tilman Knabe's staging of Saint-Saens "Samson And Delilah" -- that hasn't even opened yet -- seems to be a pretty nasty piece of work. There's some seriously bad mojo in Cologne surrounding the secks & violence tone of the production, so bad that, reports Deutsche Welle:
"Israeli mezzo soprano
Dalia Schaechter, who plays the lead role of Delilah, and Samuel Youn,
as the high priest, have reportedly thrown in the towel, as has Ulrich
Hielscher, who plays the part of the old Jew."
"Director Tilman Knabe
has set his production of Camille Saint-Saen's Samson and Delilah in
the modern-day Middle East, instead of biblical Palestine. The staging
includes a bloody machinegun battle and a gang rape".
Whether or not this protest will be able to sink the show remains to be seen -- opening on May 2nd. Maybe.
Below, an image from Knabe's Turandot, another quite unorthodox production. Uncensored, Not Safe For Work (NSFW) version after the jump...
But his love of campy sex and tabloid mayhem is married with an intense
appreciation for literature, history and high art. It makes perfect
sense that he's currently trying to turn "Pink Flamingos" into an opera.
The US Senate has voted on an amendment to the economic recovery bill with a massive 73-24 majority. The amendment will make sure (bold italics are Opera Chic's) that
None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this
Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment,
aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park,
museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.
Three quarters of the Senate -- a legislative body that has as of late voted to bail out AIG with $85 billion, Bank of America and Citibank with $48 billion each, not to mention six years worth of votes in favor of the Iraq war expenditures -- think that arts are "wasteful" and/or "non-stimulative" (or better yet, in the quite Baudrillardian spelling invented by the Library of Congress, "non-simulative").
Now, people who read the Wall Street Journal for the fashion coverage are more rare than those who actually read Playboy for the book reviews (Opera Chic usually hides her copy of the Journal inside a Playboy magazine -- there are limits to the embarrassment one can be subjected to) but the WSJ fashion blogs rock; nevertheless, the decision to fire more or less the entire fashion staff -- days before Fashion Week -- sounds, if not downright douchy, certainly lame. On the other hand, it's not only the arts coverage that's being ruthlessly eradicated from the US print media, so at least classical music lovers shouldn't take the cuts as personally as they usually do -- the cuts look increasingly more like carpet bombing than precision strikes, unfortunately.
"For the first time I can remember, an opera premiere in London has been
cancelled by severe weather. The snow is six inches thick on the ground
and Jonathan Miller's keenly awaited return to the Coliseum will have to be awaited until Wednesday, as English
National Opera cannot guarantee getting its employees - let alone the
audience - safely home to bed.