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In Brief: It's Spring Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • One of the greats, actress Elizabeth Taylor, died this week. It remains a mystery to me how someone so beautiful could make herself so ugly in the role I consider her best, Martha in the acidic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. A clip at right to remember her by. [YouTube]

  • In an odd twist of fate, Elizabeth Taylor outlived the New York Times reporter who wrote her obituary, theater critic Mel Gussow, who prepared Taylor's obituary shortly before he died of cancer in 2005. [Village Voice]

  • Choral composer Eric Whitacre represents the trump of style over substance: a final verdict. [Vogue]

  • Videos from ARTE this week include La Métamorphose, an opera by Michaël Levinas from the Opéra de Lille, and installments of Daniel Barenboim's Bruckner symphony cycle with the Berlin Staatskapelle. [ARTE Live Web]

  • Alex Ross posts a photo of a the wasteful packaging of a promo DVD he received. Many times a large box has arrived at Ionarts Central, causing me to wonder which label sent me 25 promos, only to find that it is a single CD under piles of air bubble packaging. [The Rest Is Noise]

  • The Festival d'Avignon announced its season for this summer (July 6 to 26), with dance taking the lead thanks to the leadership of dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who made an impact at last year's festival with En Atendant, a choreography about the fall of night, will debut a new work about the rise of natural life, to be performed at dawn (July 16 to 19), as well as her Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich (July 24 to 26). Charmatz himself will direct his own Enfant, a new choreography for adult dancers and children (July 7 to 12), and Levée des conflits, in a new version "au style Woodstock," staged in the Stade de Bagatelle, with the audience seated on the grass. For the theater, Frédéric Fisbach will direct Strindberg's Mademoiselle Julie, with Juliette Binoche and Nicolas Bouchaud (July 8 to 26). As for music, there will be a "Cycle de musiques sacrées," organized around the churches and organs of Avignon and its region. [Le Monde]

  • Medici TV is updating its Web site. New videos there include Menahem Pressler at the Cité de la Musique in Paris (playing Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, and Schubert), Skip Sempé and Pierre Hantaï playing music by Rameau for two harpsichords, and clarinetist Paul Meyer and the Jerusalem String Quartet []

  • Alex Ross also has an allergic reaction to the PR phrase "touch base": "Dear PR caller, please touch someone else's base regarding your adult contemporary smooth jazz artist." My favorite phrase of PR speak is, "I am a regular reader of your blog, and I wanted to give you a tip about [insert name of bluegrass, rap, smooth jazz artist here]." If you really read my blog, you would know that this is mass-mailing FAIL. [Alex Ross]

  • In the world of online radio this week: Hervé Niquet directs Le Concert Spirituel in Haydn's Creation, with Sandrine Piau; a recital by tenor Jonas Kaufmann from the Opéra Garnier; the Quatuor Ébène at the Théâtre du Châtelet; a concert performance of Beethoven's Fidelio with the Orchestre national de France; the Quatuor Diotima at Ircam; and Frank-Peter Zimmermann playing both of the Szymanowski violin concertos with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. [France Musique]

  • The news is not good: cultural patronage by businesses in France fell by a stunning 63% between 2008 and 2010. [Le Monde]

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