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Exhibit at the Phillips

Ernst Kirchner, Suburb of Berlin, 1912I will be posting more about this after I actually see the exhibit, but here is a taste of the new exhibit at the Phillips Collection: eight paintings from Surrealism and Modernism: Highlights from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, which opened today and will run through January 18, 2004. The painting at the left, by Ernst Kirchner, is in the show. He is one of the artists I have been finding more and more interesting this past year, and not just because of the connection to Matisse.

Also, check out the reaction (More On The Millennium Wagner Project, October 4) to my interview with Carol Berger, founder of the Millenium Wagner Opera Company, by blogger a. c. douglas. It's a carefully thought out but largely negative reaction. One of the least believable points of Ms. Berger's plan, according to a. c. douglas: the mere thought of performing Wagner "absent the full complement of instrumentalists called for by the score." Here is how my question about instrumentalists was quoted:

Do you have instrumentalists contracted for Parsifal? Will the performance be accompanied [sic!] by an orchestra?
What a. c. means by that interjection of sic and an exclamation point (one or the other would probably have sufficed to indicate incredulity at my faux pas) is this idea that the orchestra in Wagner is supposedly not an "accompaniment" but equal in importance to, if not more important than, the singers. Personally, I think this is just semantic quibbling. The piano has a lot to say in a Schumann song cycle, too (think of the end of Dichterliebe, for example), but the fact is that it is still "accompanying" a singer. There would be no opera without the singers on the stage: they are primary in importance. In his later works, Wagner has his orchestra, often quite extensive, weave a complicated web around the singers, but Verdi's late operas are just as complicated orchestrally.

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