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20.2.11

In Brief: Washington's Birthday Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage's new opera on the life of inexplicable celebrity Anna Nicole Smith opened in London. La Cieca has some photographic evidence of the costuming of the "titular role" (heh). [Parterre Box]

  • Read the best review of Anna Nicole right here, by Andrew Clark. [Financial Times]

  • Keith Scott Brown, who created a chamber music career for his five children by packaging them as The Five Browns, plead guilty to having sexually abused his three daughters. [People]

  • The apartment in Metz where poet Paul Verlaine was born is up for sale. An Association des Amis de Paul Verlaine is trying to raise the money to buy the apartment and establish a Verlaine museum there. [Le Nouvel Observateur]

  • Some arcane information on an odd Greek verb, Βδέω, which means to "fart silently." This is why learning is so much fun: the comment thread on this post is priceless. [Languagehat]

  • Michel Gondry's exhibit at the Centre Pompidou, linked in last week's In Brief, offers visitors the chance to make their own short film, with backdrops created by Gondry. Here are some pictures of those backdrops. [Le Point]

  • Amid all the depressing news of the death of classical music, the Opéra de Paris posted an impressive year in 2010. Overall, the company sold 94% of its available seats to 457 performances (both ballet and opera). By contrast Gerard Mortier's last year as the company's director, in 2009, saw a loss in audience revenue. What is sure to sell the most tickets? Not controversial productions or new or rare operas -- although those are selling just fine in Paris, thank you very much -- but strong casting, which Joel does very well. [Le Figaro]

  • Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the death of writer André Gide. Pierre Masson, a Gide scholar from the Université de Nantes and editor of his works in the Pléiade edtion, answered some questions about Gide. What Gide book should someone new to the author read first? Answer: L'Immoraliste. [L'Express]

  • Online video: Nicolas Le Riche's Caligula, a choreography for Vivaldi's Four Seasons at the Opéra de Paris. [Medici.tv]

  • Online audio: Oscar Strasnoy's Cachafaz, live from the Opéra Comique last December. Click on the headphones icon to listen. [France Musique]

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