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19.2.08

Les Journaux

Luigi Russolo, Music, 1911
Luigi Russolo, Music, 1911
Estorick Collection, London
Music and art news from the European press.

A recently opened museum I have yet to visit is the Estorick Collection in London, devoted to its namesake's main interest, modern Italian art. Souren Melikian has a review (Eric Estorick: The making of an art collector, February 15) in the International Herald Tribune of the self-retrospective exhibit now on display there, A Decade of Discovery: Ten Years of the Estorick Collection:
Great dealers expose in imagination - doing so publicly would be commercially counterproductive - the inferior knowledge of those who have millions, and their naiveté in art transactions. Many art dealers come from minority communities or are the sons of émigrés who had a hard time, or rebelled at school and botched their studies. They are snipers who shoot at society by making artistic coups. In this respect, they resemble collectors who feel much the same about museums. Ironically, great dealers and collectors sometimes make their peace with the enemy by joining him. In order to secure their place in eternity, they bequeath art to a museum, or build one. Others, however, are more ambivalent about it.
It is hard to believe that the museum has been open for ten years.

Some people love Marguerite Duras so much that they are trying to show that some forgotten book is actually part of her juvenilia, as reported by Françoise Dargent in Le Figaro. A writer, Dominique Noguez, has been tracking down a copy of Heures chaudes, a novel published in 1941 under the name of M. Donnadieu, because someone told her that Duras penned the book during the war, to avoid starvation. As quoted in the article, with a delicious pun, Duras reportedly did say at one point:
"There were also all those novels that we wrote during the war, a band of young kids, lost forever now, written to buy butter on the black market, cigarettes, coffee." Alimentary, my dear Noguez! whispers the ghost of Duras in the detective's ear.
It is time for a Gilbert Deflo production of Luisa Miller in Paris. The opera is hardly a favorite with the Parisian audience, which has not had a production of Luisa since 1983, when Luciano Pavarotti and Katia Ricciarelli were the stars. Francis Carlin brought the hammer down in the Financial Times:
The chorus, resolutely behind the beat as usual, files on and files off like conscripts. Maria José Montiel’s grotesquely acted Duchessa Federica would be comically bad without the bridal dress she wears as a clanging hint that she wouldn’t mind being proposed to by Rodolfo. Even a student production would avoid such daft options.
Marie-Aude Roux in Le Monde was more dismissive than vitriolic, although she had high praise for the singers, especially American soprano Ana Maria Martinez. New Yorkers should note that Deflo, a Belgian, is one of Gerard Mortier's favorites and he will surely be a regular at New York City Opera under Mortier. In fact, according to Jean-Louis Validire, Deflo's production of Love for Three Oranges will be part of the first Mortier season at NYCO.

For the second year in a row, as part of the European Opera Days celebration, the Tous à l'opéra! initiative was held on Saturday, during which 28 opera theaters around France hosted free events for the public, led this year by Roberto Alagna (after Natalie Dessay last year). Jean-Louis Validire wrote an article about the details (Alagna se mobilise pour un opéra plus accessible, February 15) for Le Figaro.

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