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20.6.10

In Brief: Vuvuzela Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • That annoying horn thing that fans blow nonstop at the World Cup matches in South Africa is called the vuvuzela. [Wikipedia]

  • Despite apparently not caring much for soccer, Jessica Duchen has put together a fact sheet on this accursed instrument. [Standpoint]

  • All week Twitterers have been coming up with ideas for pieces to commission for the vuvuzela. [#vuvuzelapiece]

  • An acoustical engineer explains why the vuvuzela is such an accursed annoyance. [New Scientist]

  • Speaking of the vuvuzela, how did that thing get on our home page? [Ionarts]

  • It's official, and it's about time: the next generation of conductors is taking over many of the major orchestral posts. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, 35, will be named music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2012. We have reviewed him with the NSO in 2008, an appearance that had us speculating whether he was being considered for the post here in Washington. [Playbill Arts]

  • Norman Lebrecht expresses some legitimate concerns about the future of the Philadelphia Orchestra -- and they have little to do with the appointment of Nézet-Séguin. [Slipped Disc]

  • The Paris en Toutes Lettres festival last week concluded with a "Banquet Hugolien," in honor of Victor Hugo, on June 13: literary nuts of all kinds gathered near the author's home on the Place des Vosges (no. 6) in Paris to offer a tribute. [Libération]

  • People who work in opera companies and worry about attracting new audiences should read this little post by Jessa Crispin about how she became an opera addict. Jessa is exactly the sort of person whom you would expect to like opera -- smart, cultured, insanely well read -- but she had never been to one. "I have become a person who goes to the opera. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, except that..." Jessa is buying a season subscription to the opera -- now, grant you, she lives in Berlin and this is the Deutsche Oper -- for next season. [Bookslut]

  • In the same post Jessa also has some great thoughts on the sexism inherent in many operas: "The entire show was about how women are simultaneously three things: brainless automatons, prima donnas, and whores," she writes. Anyone have guesses about the opera she saw? Tales of Hoffmann, maybe? (The answer is in the link at the end.) Now about the sexism in that opera, consider the source, Jessa! Her thoughts about sexism are something to which opera directors may want to give some thought. [Deutsche Oper Berlin]

  • I am so using the word "twiffler" at the next dinner party I attend -- and boring fellow guests with its etymological derivation from the Dutch word twijfelaar. [Languagehat]

  • Starbucks To Begin Sinister 'Phase Two' Of Operation: "Though the coffee chain's specific plans are not known, existing Starbucks franchises across the nation have been locked down with titanium shutters across all windows. In each coffee shop's door hangs the familiar Starbucks logo, slightly altered to present the familiar mermaid figure as a cyclopean mermaid whose all-seeing eye forms the apex of a world-spanning pyramid." [The Onion]

  • Sometimes critics tire of what they cover, and that seemed to be what happened when Terry Teachout started writing mostly about jazz and theater, instead of classical music. Teachout had a new piece this week, in the Wall Street Journal, about what to do about regional orchestras that may be failing in the bad economy. A reader had a few problems with it. [Adaptistration]

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