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Notes from All Over

I am hoping to find out what happened with this, but I have to mention the very idea, which I think is the farthest any classical music institution has gone to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd. I also love the combination of Saint-Saëns and a big doobie. The Neuköllner Oper in Berlin staged that composer's drug opera, La princesse jaune. To help the audience get into the mood, the house is encouraging operagoers to smoke down with the actors on stage. (A little more info from Deutsche Welle last year, in English. I'm a little confused, because the Neuköllner Oper Web site says that the production was mounted in September 2005.) Sweet, dude! (Link from

Jessica Duchen asks a sensible question about instruments and their instruments on aircraft (Serpents on a plane!), given the present ban on carry-on luggage. BBC News reports that the Bolshoi orchestra may have to change its travel plans. As a keyboard player, I don't have to travel with my instrument, but I would like to see an airline official try to separate Mrs. Ionarts from her beloved flute. (Link to Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog)

A lot of ink was spilled over the fact that Pope Benedict XVI joined the Hitler Youth and was enlisted in the German Army during World War II. Now it turns out that Günter Grass "was a member of the SS (he'd tried to join the submarine division, but hadn't made it)." (Link from The Literary Saloon)

Our favorite blogging music theorist, Scott Spiegelberg, has an interesting post about how composers make a piece of music's opening bars sound like the beginning of something. He approaches this from the perspective of modern works that try to destroy that sense of opening: "Berio blurred the lines of beginning in Sequenza III by having the singer come on stage muttering. The beginning of the piece occurs before the audience is ready, so it is eternal in a sense." (Link to Musical Perceptions)

Harpist Helen Radice certainly plays some interesting gigs. Ah, the life of a professional musician... (Link to Twang Twang Twang)

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