When composing the music for "The Barber of Seville," Rossini craved din and distraction, going so far as to beg his friends to remain close by while he worked amid the hubbub. He wrote with lightning speed, finishing the score in roughly three weeks. Tchaikovsky, by contrast, needed silence and solitude and found both in retreats into rural surroundings. Beethoven wrote with difficulty, laboring over "Fidelio" off and on for nearly a decade, which didn´t prevent his one opera from falling short of the sublimity of his best symphonies, quartets and works for piano. These foibles and habits
Comments: Mr. Check´s review of Michael Rose´s The Birth of an Opera is an engaging glance at an art form that marries classical music and the most highly developed (and trained) singing. Until my middle age, opera held little attraction for me--after all, I speak no Italian, no German, and meager French--but anything that´s truly beautiful inevitably gains my attention. The best operas are enduring works of art, and as one learns to appreciate them, one becomes interested in how the music and the libretto came to be.
Any who wish to get more good writing and thinking on fine music [wait -- if it isn´t fine, isn´t good, maybe it´s not music?] should look for columns by Jay Nordlinger [yep] and Heather MacDonald [yep].
Despite newly revealed news that a drone strike killed four al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, the UK and U.S. are still evacuating their non-essential personnel from that country. The strike has apparently not stopped the threat. But Jay Carney is unperturbed; he argues that while the situation in the Middle East may appear to be deteriorating, that is not the case. The “core” of al-Qaeda remains dead. The snake’s head in Pakistan/Afghanistan has been crushed, even though it’s distant tail may be twitching in post-mortem spasms: As al-Qaeda’s core has been diminished through the efforts of the United States
BRADENTON, FL - Crime scene tape was wrapped around the bleachers and parents gathered to watch investigators instead of cheering on their children. Bradenton Police are urging anyone who knows who shot a man dead at a crowded youth sports complex Thursday night to come forward. It happened around 8 o´clock as the Manatee Mustangs practiced at the 13th Street Dream Center at 922 24th St. East. (Snip) "There were multiple gunmen that came on the property and singled out the victim. Apparently there was a small foot chase and they caught up with him and shot him," explained
Convicted mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has applied for admission to the University of Oslo, testing the limits of Norway´s commitment to rehabilitate criminals rather than punish them. The right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in bomb and gun attacks two years ago, wants to study political science, and prison and university officials say he could do his studies in his cell if accepted by the school. "In Norway, and I´m proud of this, we have a system where inmates, in general, can apply to study at universities, most of them from their own cell, so it will be
Think Progress, quoting the New York Times relates how President Obama found the very idea of the Keystone Pipeline funny. (Snip) But the Chinese and Indians, no less than the Japanese, take a dim view of President Obama’s ability to do anything — even keep the Navy going. They’re probably convinced, not without reason, that he’ll someday melt the ships down into Obamaphones. (Snip) Perhaps never in the history of human enterprise has so little been achieved by individuals with so exalted a view of themselves. The clowns don’t know they’re the show.
‘Massive Jailbreak: More Than 1,000 Inmates Escape From Prison Near Benghazi’ writes the Blaze and ‘Iraq jailbreak [500 escaped] highlights al-Qaeda affiliate’s ascendancy, says the Washington Post. (Snip) When Obama left the Middle East to engage in his “war of necessity” — remember that? — he forgot to turn off the oven, left the flatiron running on a shirt and put a can of charcoal lighter on a smoldering barbecue. The mainstream media is one of the biggest liabiities of the administration. It allows it to lie to itself; to continue believing that everything is alright long after the last
In an e-mail to supporters, First Lady Michelle Obama says she grew up in a family that didn´t need help from the government, and that her husband is working to make Americans free from dependence on government once again. In her message sent yesterday from firstname.lastname@example.org, Mrs. Obama says: "When I was growing up, a family like mine -- living on my hard-working father´s salary at the city water plant -- could build a solid life without much debt and without relying on any form of public assistance. Today, for too many families, that American promise is no longer
The fallout of the George Zimmerman trial continues, as one of the trial jurors made some startling admissions during an ABC interview: "The only minority on the all-female jury that voted to acquit George Zimmerman said today that Zimmerman “got away with murder” for killing Trayvon Martin and feels she owes an apology Martin’s parents. ´You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,´ said the woman who was identified only as Juror B29 during the trial. ´But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look
A Long Island beauty says NYPD cops seized her iPhone and that one of them stole sexually explicit photos and videos meant for her boyfriend’s eyes only. Pamela Held, 27, of Deer Park, is poised to sue the city and the Police Department, accusing a cop of invading her privacy by forwarding the provocative images from her iPhone. The steamy images of Held were sent to a personal cell phone that her lawyer said belongs to Officer Sean Christian. “It makes me sick,” Held told the Daily News. “I don’t even want to think about what he’s done with them.”
Prosecutors have begun making the case to a Suffolk County grand jury that former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez should be charged in the shooting death of two men on a South End street last July, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation. “The case against Hernandez appears to be strengthening,” one of the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case publicly. The proceedings are conducted behind closed doors, so details of the case against Hernandez are unknown. But the fact that the case has gone
NEW YORK — New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admits he sent additional explicit photos and texts to a woman online. The new lewd correspondence was posted Monday by the gossip website The Dirty. The woman involved was not identified. Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 after acknowledging having sexual conversations with at least a half-dozen women. The woman says her online relationship with Weiner lasted for six months and continued into last summer. In his statement, Weiner does not address when the newly revealed exchange happened. He does say his behavior created “challenges in our marriage
TALLAHASSEE - State authorities on Monday sent a warning letter to the lead group behind the now-weeklong Capitol sit-in, saying the organization wasn´t registered to solicit donations and could be fined. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which enforces Florida´s charitable contributions law, sent the letter to Dream Defenders´ business address in Hialeah. A copy of the letter was provided to The Tampa Tribune. Dream Defenders filed papers with the Department of State in August 2012 to be recognized as a nonprofit corporation. The group did not, though, file paperwork with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been suspended without pay for the rest of the season, a 65-game ban announced Monday by Major League Baseball in what appears to be the first salvo in the league´s fight against players allegedly tied to the Biogenesis lab. The announcement from commissioner Bud Selig said the suspension was for violations of the basic agreement and its joint drug prevention and treatment program and is effective immediately. "As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in a statement released by MLB that did not
The owner of a shop in Zurich where US talk show host Oprah Winfrey says she encountered racism has called the incident a "misunderstanding". Winfrey, one of the world´s richest women, claimed an assistant refused to serve her in an upmarket handbag shop. She was apparently told one of the bags on display was "too expensive" for her. Shop owner Trudie Gotz told the BBC that Winfrey was "absolutely allowed" to look at the $35,000 (£22,500) bag, which was kept behind a screen. "My salesperson wanted to give her the handbag in her hand. But she didn´t want
Retired 68-year-old US Army general and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley K. Clark has won yet another esteemed decoration — he is dating 30-year-old Shauna Mei, the founder of online retailer AHAlife.com. Clark, who was married to Gertrude Kingston Clark for 45 years before filing for divorce last year, is spending time with the young New York-based entrepreneur, who graduated from MIT and worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker before launching her luxury e-commerce site. Clark and Mei were spotted together recently in the Hamptons,
Nanny State: If any question remained about the Obama White House´s appetite for running everyone´s life from Washington, it should be settled now. This administration even wants to dictate neighborhood makeup. Like your neighborhood? Don´t get used to it. The Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development might decide it wants to dictate changes. HUD is, according to Fox News, considering "a new rule that would allow the feds to track diversity in America´s neighborhoods and then push policies to change those it deems discriminatory." The proposed rule, disclosed last month by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at
In a remarkable admission that is likely to rock the Internal Revenue Service again, testimony released Thursday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp reveals that an agent involved in reviewing tax exempt applications from conservative groups told a committee investigator that the agency is still targeting Tea Party groups, three months after the IRS scandal erupted.. In closed door testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee, the unidentified IRS agent said requests for special tax status from Tea Party groups is being forced into a special "secondary screening" because
“IQ is a metric of such dubiousness that almost no serious educational researcher uses it anymore,” the Guardian’s Ana Marie Cox wrote back in May. It was a breathtakingly ignorant statement. Psychologist Jelte Wicherts noted in response that a search for “IQ test” in Google’s academic database yielded more than 10,000 hits — just for the year 2013. (Snip) There is a large discrepancy between what educated laypeople believe about cognitive science and what experts actually know. Journalists are steeped in the lay wisdom, so they are repeatedly surprised when someone forthrightly discusses the real science of mental ability.
Tonight, I went on Lawrence O´Donnell´s show, and Lawrence O´Donnell yelled at me. Or, rather, he O´Reilly´d at me. That O´Donnell interrupted and harangued and mansplained and was generally an angry grandpa at me is not what I take issue with, however. What bothers me is that, look: your producers take the time to find experts to come on the show, answer your questions, and, hopefully, clarify the issue at hand.
The Clintons have decided to rent a different house in the Hamptons this summer after they only received a small portion of their security deposit back from the home they rented last year. The famous Democrats have been frequent visitors to the expensive summer getaway in Long Island, and rented the same beachfront house in 2011 and 2012. [Snip] When it comes to rentals in the Hamptons, many owners use the security deposits as a way to pay for the utility fees like heat and grounds-keeping charges. It should be little surprise then that the Lily Pond Lane home
At a White House press conference Friday afternoon, President Obama said that health insurance plans offered under Obamacare will be "significantly cheaper" than plans currently on the market, but a string of recent reports say that isn´t true. "What happens on October 1, in 53 days, is for the remaining 15 percent of the population that doesn´t have health insurance, they´re going to be able to go on a website or call up a call center and sign up for affordable, quality health insurance at a significantly cheaper rate than what they can get right now on
Nobody tells Oprah she can´t afford a handbag. Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest entertainers in the world, thanks to her willdly successful 25-season run on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and her latest media foray with the newly revitalized Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The entertainer earned an estimated $77 million from June 2012 to June 2013 alone, according to Forbes, but she says she still experiences racism because she is African American. Take this latest incident in Switzerland, where "The Butler" star went to attend the nuptials of good friend and singer Tina Turner last month.
WASHINGTON—The White House announced that President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, to 16 recipients including television star and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey, legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and former President Bill Clinton. “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” Mr. Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world.”
Justice: The wife of a Fort Hood survivor claims the Defense Department is "slapping victims with gag orders" and telling family members not to talk to the press following testimony in the trial of Nidal Hasan. One of the great scandals of the Obama administration has been its shameful designation of the Nov. 5, 2009, rampage at the Army base in Killeen, Texas, by Maj. Nidal Hasan as "workplace violence." It has only compounded the pain and suffering of the victims and their families who have now apparently been ordered to shut up about it.
Forty to 50 House Republicans will support immigration reform, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) predicted Thursday. Gutiérrez said many of the Republicans supportive of immigration reform don’t want to be identified, but he insisted they would support comprehensive immigration reform. “If they ask me today, go find those 40 to 50 Republicans, I’ll tell them I found them. I know where they’re at,” Gutiérrez said in an interview with Ed O’Keefe at The Washington Post.