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In Brief: Happy Easter Edition

LinksNo MP3 playlist this week, and here is your regular dosage of interesting items, from Blogville and beyond, a day early:

  • In January, Joshua Bell played a little mini-concert, unannounced, in the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station. It was an experiment set up by the Washington Post Magazine, which I previewed at DCist today. [DCist]

  • Leon Dominguez wrote a hilarious mash-up combining a review of the Netrebko/Villazón gala at the Met on Tuesday night with American Idol. This is a kind and entertaining way of saying that the musical performances were of an embarrassingly low quality, at least as I heard them via Sirius Radio. Netrebko was alright, unmistakably Russian as Mimi-ushka or Manon-iya. The choral introduction to the Manon was awful. Villazón was the worst: it sounded like he was pretty sick. The Des Grieux was painful to hear at times. [Sieglinde's Diaries]

  • The cherry trees are in bloom here in Washington, and apparently in England, too. Jessica Duchen recalls memorizing an A. E. Housman poem (rather famous) about a cherry tree. [Jessica Duchen]

  • The Met is about to open its new Greek and Roman Antiquities galleries. Edward Winkleman has a great response to, as he puts it, "works that still thrill, let alone still survive, after millennia of mankind have come and gone, lived and died." [Edward Winkleman]

  • Bob Shingleton quotes at length from a nice article on Into Great Silence, the film about monastic life in La Grande Chartreuse that I mentioned recently. [On an Overgrown Path]

  • We are not big fans of Mascagni's opera schtick here, but Opera Chic has the goods on how you, too, could conduct Cavalleria Rusticana and his other works JUST LIKE THE COMPOSER. [Opera Chic]

  • Not all of Peter Gelb's changes at the Met may be welcome. A New York Times article by Daniel Wakin raises the red flag on Gelb's decision to reconsider the roles for Ruth Ann Swenson at the Met (first brought to my attention by Sieglinde's Diaries). La Cieca opens the issue up to the commenters. [Parterre Box]

  • Matthew Guerrieri is a church musician, too, which as he puts it, means that his "week has essentially been vacuumed up and pulverized into a fine, delicate powder." He also makes the following quip: "I wonder if my synagogal counterparts have the same feelings about Passover or High Holy Days. 'Why is this night different from every other night?' Because there's no extra rehearsal." You've got that right, brother. [Soho the Dog]

  • Jeremy Denk paraphrases Dante's Inferno, after Vilaine Fille imagined casting a movie version of the Divine Comedy (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) after Sean Penn references Dante. Apparently, I too must abandon ogni speranza: I have recently learned that I will be in Siena, Italy, for six weeks this summer, participating in an NEH summer seminar on Dante's Commedia. [Think Denk]


Anonymous said...

Note from the Jews: Ok, just for the record, 'cause I saw Soho the Dog's amusing Easter post too...but, generally speaking, there is no big synagogue service for Passover. It's not like Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. It's a festival and is primarily celebrated at home, so there's no big push to get service music ready. But we appreciate the thought!

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks for the note, Anonymous. Actually, I think that was Matthew's point at the end of the section I reproduced here. He quotes one of the four questions at the Seder and then adds that there is no extra rehearsal for that event. Did I not get the joke?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I guess we could ask him. I just meant that no, his synagogal counterparts would not have the same feelings that he has, because they're not particularly busy this week.

Anonymous said...

That Joshua Bell experiment was fascinating!