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23.8.09

In Brief: Summer Ebbs Away Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • A. C. Douglas tipped us off to this hilarious cereal commercial from the 60s, in which music from I Pagliacci is adapted. This may say something about opera's place in popular culture around the time I was born, versus now. Or not. The actor who plays the father, with the perfect Canio laugh ("My tears will not stop / 'Til I hear Snap, Crackle, Pop"), is Johnny Haymer, an omnipresent bit part actor whom you will surely recognize if you watched any television at all in the 70s and 80s. Seeing Haymer's face in this ad instantly made me think of his memorable turn in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, as a cheesy, pathetic comedian explaining his act (at 3:58 in this clip), so that Alvy can write him some new material. [Sounds & Fury]

  • Well, everything does taste better after being seared on an open grill: with hat tip to The Cranky Professor, archaeological evidence that prehistoric humans on the island of Cyprus ate a pygmy species of hippopotamus to extinction, even serving it up diner-style out of a cave. [Reuters]

  • Fabio Vacchi, whose opera La Madre del Mostro we heard in Siena two years ago, is working on a new opera, commissioned by the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari for 2011. With hat tip to The Literary Saloon, the news is that Israeli writer Amos Oz is in Italy working on the libretto, adapting his novel The Same Sea. [Jerusalem Post]

  • NPR introduced Leif Ove Andsnes' new project, Pictures Reframed, a multimedia performance of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition this week. The Norwegian pianist will perform the work this way at a recital sponsored by WPAS in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (November 20, 7:30 pm). [All Things Considered]

  • Tragedy averted at Glyndebourne -- Jessica Duchen reports that Ana María Martínez, starring in the title role of Rusalka, fell into the orchestra pit. Fortunately, a quick-witted cellist broke her fall and she has already been released from the hospital. [Standpoint]

  • Bryant Manning points out this article about how my boyhood home, the Great State of Michigan, is developing a new business for itself, film location. [USA Today]

  • Alex Ross has published an extraordinary series of pieces this month, beginning with the Nixon documents and tapes he unearthed relating to the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass at the Kennedy Center. Unfortunately, his article this month, an ingenious survey of composers who exist only in works of literature, is not available online. Instead, we direct you to this equally interesting Augustus Saint-Gaudens piece by Peter Schjeldahl. [The New Yorker]

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