Friday, June 29, 2007

The Nation's Capital Celebrates Haydn And Mozart -- And Johann Hoven, Berg, Eisler, Schindler-Mahler, Zemlinsky, Weill, Szymanowski, And Webern

Austrian mezzo-soprano Elisabeth von Magnus and Dutch pianist Jacob Bogaart, under the patronage of the National Gallery of Art and the Embassy of Austria, have been giving a free, three-program overview of the Austrian and German Lied tradition, which has already featured performances of warm and exquisite songs by Haydn, Mozart, Johann Hoven, Berg, Eisler, Schindler-Mahler, and Zemlinsky.

The mini-residency concludes this evening, Friday, at the Austrian Embassy with an evening of German, French, and American songs by Kurt Weill.

*

Program information to the performance of songs by Berg, Eisler, Schindler-Mahler, and Zemlinsky, at the National Gallery of Art, this past Wednesday -- part of the superb music program accompanying the exhibition Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945 -- are available here.

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This Sunday, July 1, at 6:30 PM, the Royal String Quartet from Warsaw, performs a free program of Webern and Szymanowski's two string quartets at the National Gallery of Art. Further information here.

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"Johann Vesque von Püttlingen (pseudonym Johann Hoven; July 23, 1803, Opole, Galicia [Silesia] - October 29, 1883, Vienna) was an Austrian composer who belonged to a noble family originally from Lorraine, the Vesques de Puttelange.

He befriended Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn, and beginning in 1828, he published a number of his own compositions, most of which, like the rest of his oeuvre, were contributions to the lyric vocal repertoire. In the end, he would compose over 330 lieder, notably the Ironischen Lieder; ten operas, including Turandot (1838) and Jeanne d'Arc (1840); and about twenty quartets, in both sacred and secular settings." (Wikipedia)
















The New Europeans are coming, the New Europeans are coming ... and they are not afraid of Western classical music!!

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Bonus Quote for the Day:

"I don't think there is much American music."
Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Photo credits: (c) Courtesy of the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Royal String Quartet, Warsaw, Poland. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What Do A Modernist Opera House And A Transnational Serial Strand Of Primeval Beach Forests Have In Common?

"The World Heritage Committee on Thursday afternoon inscribed four cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape (Japan), Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (Turkmenistan), Sydney Opera House (Australia), and the Red Fort Complex (India). ...

Inaugurated in 1973, the Sydney Opera House, is listed as a great architectural work of the 20th century that brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation, both in architectural form and structural design. A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour, the building has had an enduring influence on architecture. The Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted ‘shells’ which roof two main performances halls and a restaurant. These shell-structures are set upon a vast platform and are surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses. In 1957, when the project of the Sydney opera was attributed by an international jury to the then almost unknown Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it marked a radically new and collaborative approach to construction. In listing the building, the Sydney Opera House is recognized as a great artistic monument accessible to society at large.

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad - the new capital of the 5th Mughal Emperor of India, Shahjahan (1628-58). It gets its name from its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone. It is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Sur in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht, or the Stream of Paradise. The palace was designed as an imitation of paradise as described in the Koran; a couplet inscribed in the palace reads, ‘If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here’. The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Emperor Shahjahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red For's innovative planning and architectural style, including its garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield. The monument's significance is further enhanced by the importance of events that happened. Through its fabric, the complex reflects all phases of Indian history from the Mughal period to independence.

*

The World Heritage Committee today inscribed two natural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: Teide National Park (Spain); Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian (Slovakia, Ukraine). The Committee also inscribed the Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda (Gabon) as a mixed – cultural and natural – site. Four cultural sites were inscribed: the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Lanscape (South Africa) as a cultural landscape, and Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes (Namibia), the Kaiping Diaolou and Villages (China) and Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq), which was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. It furthermore decided to approve the extension of the natural site of Jungfrau - Aletsch - Bietschhorn, (Switzerland).

Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park covers 18,990 ha and features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak in Spain. Standing 7,500m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third tallest volcanic structure and is situated in a spectacular environment. The visual impact of the site is all the greater due to atmospheric conditions that create constantly changing textures and tones in the landscape and a ‘sea of clouds’ that forms a visually impressive backdrop to the mountain. Teide is of global importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands, complementing those of volcanic properties already on the World Heritage List, such as the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (U.S.A.).

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian constitute a transnational serial property of ten separate components along a 185 km axis from the Rakhiv Mountains and the Chornohirskyi Range in the Ukraine, west along the Polonynian Ridge, to the Bukovské Vrchy and Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia. The ten sites represent an outstanding example of undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit the most complete and comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. They contain an invaluable genetic reservoir of beech and many species associated with, and dependent on, these forest habitats. They also represent an outstanding example of the re-colonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities after the last ice age, a process which is still ongoing." ...

The World Heritage Committee is expected to inscribe more sites later today [Thursday, June 28, 2007].















The Lviv, Ukraine Opera House [above] and the Sydney, Australia Opera House [below]. Both now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

[Click on images for enlargement.]

Photo credit: Wikimedia.com and (c) Steven Siewert and the Sydney Morning Herald. All rights reserved. With thanks.

While Pan Attends Seminar On Black Sea Development Synergies, Alex Ross And The Juilliard School Celebrate Technology And Music Composition

... "Juilliard has now set up a handsome, high-tech website for its manuscript collection. You can roam through masterpieces of ancient and modern music [and American music], using zoom features to examine pages closely (for example, to see Leonard Bernstein's cartoons in the margins of his arrangement of Copland's El Salón México). It's hard to think of a comparable site where the working methods of so many great composers are made instantly accessible. This is a magnificent and generous use of digital technology."

Alex Ross The Rest Is Noise June 27, 2007

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BLACK SEA SYNERGY - STRATEGIES FOR EUROPE'S NEW FRONTIER:

WHAT:
Dr. Fabrizio Tassinari, Contributing Scholar for the Southeast Europe Project; Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen; and Associate Fellow for the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. This event is being co-sponsored by the Southeast Europe Project, the Kennan Institute and the East European Studies program.

WHEN:
Thursday, June 28
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

WHERE:
6th floor Moynihan Board Room
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars One Woodrow Wilson Plaza 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC











Chersonesos, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine, Future European Union.

Photo credit: www.ukrainetour.com. With thanks.

As The Earth Dances ... or, Where O Where Could My Old Viola Be?

Dear Pan,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased the full score to Theseus Game: for Large Ensemble with Two Conductors by Harrison Birtwistle or other books in the "Music/Classical" category have also purchased The Fiddler Play-Along Viola Collection by Edward Huws Jones. For this reason, you might like to know that The Fiddler Play-Along Viola Collection is now available. You can order your copy for just $29.95.

*

"21 pieces from around the world, creatively arranged for viola. The book contains piano accompaniments, as well as a second, easy viola part for beginners. The CD features accompaniment backing tracks, as well as full performances. Contents: Carolan's Air * Red-Haired Boy * Makin Whoopee * The Flower of the Quern * Staten Island * Mrs. McLedod's Reel * A Hero's Farewell * On the Balcony * Little Sadie * Blackberry Blossom * Pastime with Good Company * The Silver Leaves of the Poplar Tree * The Four Corners of My Handkerchief * We Three Kings of Orient Are * Il Est Ne, le Divin Enfant * Russian March * Glwysen * Nyth y Gwew * Dance! Dance! * Quizas, Quizas, Quizas * La Cumparsita."

*

Today is the last day for free shipping on ordered copies of Harrison Birtwistle's Earth Dances full score -- from 1986, and which has already been separately interpreted and recorded in England, the United States, and Germany.

BIRTWISTLE ON BIRTWISTLE'S MASK OF ORPHEUS


















Photo credit: explorecrete.com. With thanks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Suddenly A Wonderful New Poem By Adam Zagajewski Appears In Pan Cogito's Oyster

At the Cathedral's Foot
by Adam Zagajewski

In June once, in the evening,
returning from a long trip,
with memories of France's blooming trees
still fresh in our minds,
its yellow fields, green plane trees
sprinting before the car,

we sat on the curb at the cathedral's foot
and spoke softly about disasters,
about what lay ahead, the coming fear,
and someone said this was the best
we could do now-
to talk of darkness in that bright shadow.

Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

(c) Adam Zagajewski [and Clare Cavanagh]. All rights reserved 2007. Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Adam Zagajewski is the author, most recently, of A Defense of Ardor: Essays (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Via The New Republic Online.



















Adam Zagajewski

Photo credit: (c) onet.pl and Typgonik Powszechny. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Gershwin Prize Greets Mark Twain Prize: Our National Capital's Budding Cultural Capital Arts Scene Honors Paul Simon And American Songwriting

Paul Simon: Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

"Paul Simon, one of America's most respected songwriters and musicians, will be the recipient of the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world's culture. The prize will be given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. Taped at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC, the all-star gala concert will feature appearances by Simon's friends and fellow musicians, including Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony, Buckwheat Zydeco, Billy Collins, Bob Costas, Dixie Hummingbirds, Jerry Douglas, Aretha Franklin, Art Garfunkel, Alison Krauss, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lyle Lovett, Stephen Marley, Lorne Michaels, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder."

WETA Television American and International Public Broadcasting for Greater Washington Wed, June 27, 2007 9:00 PM EDT
















Paul Simon, American lyricist, songwriter, and musician is honored in one of America's budding cultural capitals.

Photo credit: (c) Elly Roberts and www.allgigs.co.uk. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Message From The National Coalition To Prevent Classical Music Abuse: 1000 Classical American CDs Found Gagged And Buried In N. Virginia Farmland

... "Still, the classical audience is an old one. Two-thirds of WETA listeners are 55 and older, according to ratings ...

[Classical WETA Lite's Vice President Dan] DeVany says he's not worried about the older audience, which would cause panic at commercial stations. The jump in listener donations -- from 3,000 during the last pledge drive under the news-talk format to 6,150 pledges during the first classical fundraiser -- more than makes up for concern about aging listeners.

Although DeVany says his plan is "to stay the course," he also promises that WETA will become a more locally oriented station, adding broadcasts of area concerts this fall. The station also is considering picking up some of public radio's excellent nationally distributed classical programming, though any such changes are likely to be limited....

Most other public stations that play classical are sticking with the format WETA used for many years before its 2005 switch to news: Those stations use classical music as a bridge between National Public Radio's cash cows, "Morning Edition" -- the nation's most popular morning show since Howard Stern's move to Sirius satellite radio -- and its afternoon drive-time progenitor, "All Things Considered." Stations that mix those shows with classical often choose musical pieces that, according to research, are least offensive to listener-donors whose first allegiance is to public radio's news coverage.

That approach tends to appall serious fans of the music. "That's really a horrible way to look at your programming," says Paul Bachmann, senior program director for classical music at XM satellite radio and a former programming manager at WGMS and several public stations. Bachmann believes public radio's mandate is to fill a niche, not to maximize audience.

Bachmann suggests that WETA take the classical niche seriously and live up to the traditional public radio mission by providing programming that commercial radio can't or won't offer. "Be the arts center of Washington," he urges. "Washington is a vibrant arts community, second only to New York on the East Coast, and WETA should be its cultural home."

DeVany agrees WETA should emphasize its role as a center of culture in the region, promoting local concerts and performing groups." ...

Washington Post Writer "A Classical Gas, for Now" Washington Post June 24, 2007

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/
article/2007/06/22/AR2007062200386.html?tid=informbox














Ruins of Stone Bridge, Bull Run, Virginia, March 1862. Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson.

Photo source: U.S. National Archives via Answers.com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Which Pan Cogito Checks To See Whether Modern And American Classical Music Is Still Studied At American Colleges And Universities

MUSI 033. The Art Song

A study of various solutions by various composers to the problems of relating poetry and music. The emergence of the German Lied in the 19th century (Schubert and Schumann); its later development (Brahms, Strauss, Wolf, Mahler, Schoenberg, and Berg); and its adaptation by French (Debussy, Ravel, and Messiaen) and American (Ives, Barber, and Crumb) composers. For students who are either singers or pianists, informal performances may replace papers.

Prerequisite: MUSI 011 or the equivalent.

1 credit.

*

MUSI 036. Music Since 1945

A study of contemporary concert music, including such composers as Messiaen, Crumb, Boulez, Cage, Babbit, Carter, Lutoslawski, and Ligeti. Electronic music, collage, chance and improvisation, and minimalism will also be examined as well as the current trends toward neo-Romanticism and stylistic pluralism.

Prerequisite: MUSI 011 or the equivalent.

1 credit.

*

MUSI 037. Contemporary American Composers

A study of the works and thought of six important American composers. The course will stress intensive listening and will include discussion meetings with each of the composers.

Open to all students without prerequisite.

1 credit.

*

MUSI 101. J.S. Bach

Study of Bach's compositions in various genres, examining music both as a reflection of and formative contribution to cultural history.

Prerequisites: MUSI 011-012. GERM 001B and RELG 004 or 005B are strongly recommended.

1 credit.

*

MUSI 102. Color and Spirit: Music of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Messiaen

A study of 20th-century music focusing on the great renewal of musical expressions, diverging from the Austro-German classic-Romantic tradition, found in the works of these three very individual composers, as well as the connections among them, and the resonance of their music in the work of their contemporaries and successors.

Prerequisite: MUSI 013 (concurrent enrollment possible by permission of the instructor).

1 credit.

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MUSI 103. Mahler and Britten

This course is an intensive study of the music of two seminal 20th-century composers. We will consider song cycles by both composers and their connections to larger genres: Mahler's symphonies and Britten's operatic works, as well as the War Requiem.

Prerequisites: MUSI 011 to 014; a knowledge of German is recommended.

1 credit.














An Asian gamelan orchestra in Bali, Indonesia. This style of music has influenced much twentieth and early twenty-first century music; including that of Debussy, Bartok, Britten, Messiaen, Boulez, Birtwistle, and numerous American classical music composers such as Lou Harrison, Steve Reich, and Gerald Levinson.

Photo credit: (c) Galen Fry Singer. All rights reserved. With thanks.

University of Maryland's National Orchestral Institute Dedicates Two-Thirds Of Programming To The 'New Entarte Musik' Banned On Classical WETA-FM Lite

Saturday, June 16 . 8PM
NOI Orchestra Concert I
James Ross, conductor
Jon Spelman, narrator

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4
Ives: Decoration Day
...
Strauss: An Alpine Symphony

This performance of Charles Ives' Decoration Day included celebrated storyteller and narrator Jon Spelman reading a text that honors the sacrifices of those who have died in wars.

*

Saturday, June 23 . 8PM
NOI Orchestra Concert II
Edwin Outwater, conductor

Dutilleux: Métaboles
Bartok: Miraculous Mandarin Suite
...
Brahms: Symphony No. 4

*

Saturday, June 30 . 8PM
NOI Orchestra Concert III
Jorge Mester, conductor

Mozart: Sinfonia in D major
Bernstein: Divertimento
...
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4

The University of Maryland School of Music's National Orchestral Institute. See link for a complete list of NOI's orchestral concerts, as well as free events and chamber recitals.




















Detail from Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth Regiment. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States.

American Classical music-less Classical WETA-FM Lite, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

By 1971, Why Did Western Visionary Modernism Turn Into Anti-Renaissance, Modular, Serial Modernism?














Marcel Breuer’s 1971 Cleveland Trust Tower was abandoned in the late 1980s.

See Christopher Maag "New Focus on a Forlorn Cleveland Tower" New York Times June 19, 2007.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

"Marcel Lajos Breuer – Lajkó to his friends – was born on 21 May 1902 in the provincial city of Pecs, Hungary. His early study and teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau in the twenties introduced the wunderkind to the older giants of the era of whom three – Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius – were to have life-long influence upon his professional life." ...

Robert F. Gatje "Marcel Breuer: A Brief Biography"

Pecs, Hungary, European Union: UNESCO World City of Peace

Pecs, Hungary, European Union: European Capital of Culture 2010

Sibiu, Romania, European Union: European Capital of Culture 2007

Photo credit: (c) David Maxwell for The New York Times. With thanks.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What Exactly Can Conservative Washington, D.C. Classical Music Audiences Expect When 'Alarm Will Sound' Performs At Library Of Congress Next Season?

"Alarm Will Sound is a band of twenty musicians from New York whose mission is to perform and to record contemporary music in the broadest sense of the word. In their brief history they have already created a stir in the USA with their new sound and their repertoire. Alongside a work composed especially for them by German composer Wolfgang Rihm and Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum they will also play [at the Holland Festival 2007] a dazzling mix of works by the mediaeval Ars Nova composer Johannes Ciconia, Conlon Nancarrow’s piano studies in an arrangement for the ensemble as well as an extract from John Adams’ Hoodoo Zephyr. The programme as a whole will be interspersed with ensemble versions of works by DJs and electronica heroes such as Autechre, Mochipet en Venetian Snares."













Scene from the 2005 production of Leos Janacek's From the House of the Dead at the Paris Opéra Bastille: José Van Dam as the newly arrived Alexander Petrovitch Gorianshikov and Jiri Sulzenko as the prison camp commandant.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: (c) Ruth Walz via OperaJaponica.org. With thanks.

Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director Designate Manfred Honeck Welcomes Leonard Slatkin As Principle PSO Guest Conductor; NSO May Follow Model

"Music Director Designate Manfred Honeck [of Austria] and the [Pittburgh Symphony Orchestra] today announced the appointment of Leonard Slatkin as the new Principal Guest Conductor effective September 1, 2008. His initial contract will be for three years, and he will conduct a minimum of three weeks per season to include a combination of Mellon Grand Classics subscription weeks, special projects, domestic tours, and other activities. He will also establish an annual Conducting Institute similar to the one he founded in Washington. Slatkin’s many years as music director of the St. Louis Symphony, Washington’s National Symphony, and the BBC Symphony have enabled him to develop an extensive repertoire, which he brings to the benefit of the PSO as Principal Guest Conductor. His unique track record in contemporary American music also complements Music Director Designate Manfred Honeck’s depth and expertise in the core German repertoire, in which the PSO’s heritage is so deeply rooted....

Music Director Designate Manfred Honeck is also pleased to announce that, in continuing with the Pittsburgh Symphony’s on-going commitment to living composers, there will be three giants from the composing world taking the role of Composer of the Year for the next three seasons. In 2007-08, John Corigliano will join the Orchestra for four weeks, and the world premiere of his Percussion Concerto, written for Evelyn Glennie, will be performed in February 2008 under the direction of Marin Alsop. In the 2008-09 season, John Adams will be the PSO’s Composer of the Year. In the 2009-2010 season the position will be held by Richard Danielpour.

The PSO began its Composer of the Year program in 2001, in an effort to bring audiences and living composers closer together. By focusing on a different composer each season, Pittsburgh audiences are able to build a level of familiarity with the work of living composers whose work they might otherwise encounter only once or twice. Past Composers of the Year have included Rodion Shchedrin, Krzyzstof Penderecki, Michael Hersch, Christopher Rouse, Jennifer Higdon, and Christopher Theofanidis.

Manfred Honeck was appointed the Music Director Designate of the Pittsburgh Symphony in January 2007. He begins his tenure with the PSO in September 2008."

Press Release Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra June 15, 2007
















Manfred Honeck, above, is slated to be the next Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra, earlier, failed to secure the principal services of another Central European Master Conductor, Ivan Fisher.

Photo credit: (c) Toshiyuk via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com. With thanks.

Enlightening The Heart Of Sub-Saharan Africa: Eight Of 10 Most Unstable Countries In The World Are In Post-European Colonial, Sub-Saharan Africa

"Iraq is now the second most unstable country in the world, a private survey finds, its standing deteriorating from last year's fourth place on a list of the 10 nations most vulnerable to violent internal conflict and worsening conditions.

In the third annual ''failed state'' index, analysts for Foreign Policy magazine and the not-for-profit Fund for Peace said that Iraq and Afghanistan, which ranked eighth, show that billions of dollars in development and security aid may be futile without a functioning government, trustworthy leaders and realistic plans to keep the peace and develop the economy.

Preventing Iraq from becoming a failed state is a key part of the Bush administration's argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. The administration says the troops are needed to keep Iraq from becoming a breeding ground for international terrorists.

The ratings are based on 12 social, economic, political and military indicators.

Sudan, which topped the list, and seven other sub-Saharan African countries are among the top 10. Violence in the Darfur region was the main contributing cause to Sudan's top position.

As evidence that troubles in failing states often cross borders, the report cited violence spilling from Darfur into the Central African Republic and Chad.

The five other African nations found most vulnerable were Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea.

Another African country, Liberia, was credited as the most improved, partly because an election in 2005 brought stability after more than a decade of civil war.

Liberia's economy is growing at 7 percent a year and it has disbanded its militia." ...

Associated Press "Study: Iraq Second Most Unstable Country" New York Times June 18, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Failed-Nations.html
















The planned, new headquarters building, in Washington, D.C., for the United States Institute of Peace.

Photo credit: Courtesy USIP.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On The Turntable: Modern Central European Classical Operas By Karol Szymanowski, Paul Hindemith, And Leos Janacek

Was under the weather yesterday. So, while my spouse was off at her museum, I had the chance to revisit, in full, three wonderful modern Central European operas: Karol Szymanowski's King Roger [Król Roger], Paul Hindemith's The Harmony of the World [Die Harmonie der Welt], and Leos Janacek's From the House of the Dead [Z mrtvého domu].

While Hindemith and Janacek wrote their own libretti, Szymanowski's King Roger is based upon a libretto by the Polish writer Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz.















Leos Janacek, above, continued the tradition of Western opera.

*

Karol Szymanowskibiography at Culture.pl, the online magazine promoting Polish culture abroad, run by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.  Karol Szymanowski was born in, and spent his childhood in, Tymoszówka, Ukraine, two hours by car southeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, through highly picturesque countryside.

Photo credit: Via Gavin Plumely and www.leosjanacek.co.uk. With thanks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pan Cogito Studies Vaclav Klaus's Diatribe Against Environmentalism, And Pauses At Klaus's Confidence In 'The Spontaneous Evolution Of Human Society'

..."As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

The writer is President of the Czech Republic"

Vaclav Klaus "Freedom, not climate, is at risk" Financial Times June 13, 2007.















'The Spontaneous Evolution Of Human Society' and ...

Acid rain, woods, Jizera Mountains, Czech Republic
July 7, 2006

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: Via Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

The State Of The 'Classical' Musical Artform In An American Center Of The Classical Musical Artform -- Composers To Be Announced

Preview of the 2007-2008 Library of Congress Concert Season:

The following performers and events are currently being scheduled for the next concert season. All dates are still TBA (therefore they are not indicated below). The full season will be announced later in the summer.

Alarm Will Sound
Alban Berg Quartet
Allen Toussaint/Henry Butler
Barnatan/Ferschtman/Weilerstein Trio
Beaux Arts Trio
“Bojangles” Tap Dance Festival
Borromeo Quartet /Parker Quartet
Café Zimmermann
Camerata Bariloche
Camerata Pacifica
Chamber Orchestra Kremlin
Concerto Copenhagen
Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
Dahfer Youssef with Jatinder Thakur and Divine Shadows Quartet
Del Sol Quartet
Film Festivals: Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll
Florestan Trio
Formosa Quartet
Fred Hersch with Blair McMillen and Gramercy Trio
Guillermo Klein Sextet
Ensemble Matheus with Jennifer Larmore
Fabio Biondi & Europa Galante
Holloway/Linden/Mortensen Trio
Imani Winds
Irene Schweizer
Lynn Harrell, Mark O’Connor & Rosanne Cash
Orion Quartet with David Krakauer
Pacifica Quartet
Pavel Haas Quartet
Post-Classical Ensemble
Quatuor Ysaÿe
Škampa Quartet with Iva Bittová
St. Petersburg Quartet with Michael Tree
Vijay Iyer Trio/Miguel Zenón Quartet




























The 2007-08 Library of Congress Concert Series may -- or may not -- include Western classical musical masterpieces by Alban Berg and Pavel Haas, pictured above.

Photo credits: www.naxos.com and www.brikcius.com. With thanks.

Concerts from National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Celebrate Central European Classical Musical Modernism and Benign Nationalism

Concerts from National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., celebrate Central European classical musical modernism and benign nationalism:

June 13
Hartmut Rohde, violist
Mykola Suk, pianist
Music by Bloch, Hindemith, Kolessa, and Zimmermann
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
12:10 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall

June 17
Boris Krajný, pianist
Derek Katz, lecturer
Music by Janáčk, Ježek, Klein, Schulhoff, and Slavický
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
6:30 p.m.
East Building Auditorium

June 20
Vilmos Szabadi, violinist
Gergely Szokolay, pianist
Music by Bartók, Dohnányi, Gershwin, Kurtág, and Szokolay
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
12:10 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall

June 24
Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska, pianist
Music by Scriabin, Szymanowski and other central European composers
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court

June 27
Elisabeth von Magnus, soprano
Jacob Bogaart, pianist
Music by Berg, Eisler, Schindler-Mahler, and Zemlinsky
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
12:10 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall

July 1
Royal String Quartet
Music by Szymanowski and Webern
Presented in honor of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945
6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court



















Fathers and Sons. Filiaret (1871–1947) and Mykola (1903 - 2006) Kolessa.

Filiaret Kolessa (1871–1947) was a musicologist, folklorist, and composer. A graduate of the Universities of Lviv and Vienna, he taught at several gymnasia in Galicia before being appointed Professor at Lviv University in 1939. He has written extensively on Ukrainian folk songs and dumas while his studies on Subcarpathian, Polisian, and Lemko folk songs were pioneering works on Ukrainian musical dialects.

Mykola Kolessa (1903-2006) was a prominent Ukrainian composer and conductor, born in the village of Sambir near Lviv. His father Filaret was a prominent Ukrainian ethnomusicologist and composer and his cousin was the celebrated pianist Lubka Kolessa. He studied in Prague under Vitezslav Novak and Otakar Ostrcil. His works include two symphonies (1950 and 1966), symphonic variations (1931), a 'Ukrainian Suite' (1928) and 'In the Mountains' (1972), all for orchestra, and a number of chamber and incidental works as well as song cycles and piano works.

Photo credits: (c) University of Toronto and Czech Radio. With thanks.

Jeremy Denk, A Renaissance Musician's Musician Explores Classical And New Musical Logic And Storytelling Without Trace of Deconstruction

"The winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, [Jeremy] Denk has traveled the world as superstar violinist Joshua Bell's pianist since 2004, and this season made important debuts with the San Francisco and Houston symphonies and at Carnegie Hall as a soloist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. His repertoire is unusually broad, ranging from Bach through music so new the ink is still wet, and at the Great Lakes festival he's performing pieces by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, William Grant Still and Leon Kirchner.

"Jeremy is a musician's musician," says Bell. "Everything he does has a logic to it, but that's not enough in music. He's really a storyteller, which is the most important thing." ...

What's the intent?

Classical music is a re-creative art for the performer, whose job is to realize the intent of the composer. This is, as Denk says, "a complicated transaction." A century ago, Romantic performance tradition gave musicians the right to take certain liberties with the written score to communicate their own subjective emotional response to the music.

The notion of an objective style of performance took hold in the 20th Century. Textural fidelity became a mantra as every phrase marking, tempo indication, accent and other details in the score were to be treated as scripture. But the interpreter still has countless decisions to make -- How loud? How short? How fast? The answers are always contextual, tied up with an understanding of musical structure, historical style, a composer's language and musical meaning.

Denk says that his interpretations begin with a desire to "hear the pitches freshly." He calls himself a "fervent score believer" but is equally mindful that the composer can never write down everything. He recoils from dry performances that make such a fetish out of the accents, slurs and other markings in the score that the performer seems oblivious to the meaning of the notes.

"There's a certain school of objectivity that's become in vogue, but everybody is willing to admit that objectivity is a dubious notion -- the kind of objectivity of observing every dot and slur in the score is itself an interpretive choice and may not fit in the context of the way the music was written. There is so much else out there."

Denk turns to Beethoven's "32 Variations in C minor." The piece is built on a compact 8-bar theme and descending bass line in waltz time that Beethoven subjects to dazzling alterations. Denk demonstrates the theme, noting two main events: a serious melody that builds to climax with a sharp and sudden accent, followed by a hushed snippet that sounds like mice scampering away. As he plays, his head and eyes dart in an involuntarily dance with music.

The humorous contrast between Beethoven's weighty melody and what Denk calls a "deliberately cheeky" tag provides a thread. "I've been thinking a lot about how to bring those two ideas out," he says. "The outburst idea versus the retracting opposition, the little joke."

In the 32nd variation, for example, a stormy passage precedes a delicately scampering episode in a quirky, offbeat pattern. Denk underlines the humor by intensifying Beethoven's articulation markings, exaggerating the inflections for puckish effect. But he also adds ideas not found in the score -- he relaxes the tempo at times and plays the chords in his left hand so that the second beat is softer than the first.

"You make little choices of nuance that amplify the humorous point of the whole," he says.

Must have options ...

Denk experiments constantly. The ornamented pirouettes in the 25th variation, for example, sprint upward in an elegant rush of passion. Beethoven marks the opening "leggiermente" (lightly) and "piano" (softly). Otherwise, the composer says nothing.

A pianist following the score literally might play these measures in an inexpressive monotone. Denk isn't sure how he wants to play the passage, so he demonstrates his options, applying different dynamic shadings with each repeat the way a painter might explore several hues of green in a landscape. The music blooms with feeling.

"What often happens to me is that I come up with an idea I like and then it's hard for me to imagine any other because I get convinced," he says. "Eventually, you decide that your idea is the most brilliant ever and you totally go with it. Otherwise a certain uncertainty can creep into the performance, whereas I think a certain uncertainly is useful in the learning process."

Tempo is probably the most contentious facet of performing Beethoven. The composer acquired a metronome soon after it was invented and began using it to indicate the speeds he wished for his music. The trouble is that some of his markings are so fast that the music easily turns into a garble.

How to interpret Beethoven's metronome markings has become a hornet's nest, but, as it happens, the "32 Variations" does not have a designation.

Instead, Beethoven gives a one-word clue at the beginning. He writes "allegretto" (a little quick). Denk plays the piece with a spring in his step, but he also allows some variations to breathe with rubato -- slightly slowing down or speeding up the tempo -- to wring extra emotion from the music." ...

Mark Stryker "KEEPING SCORE: Inside the mind of pianist Jeremy Denk as he breaks down Beethoven" Freep.com (Detroit Free Press) June 13, 2007.

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Also see he highly insightful Think Denk at jeremydenk.net.


























Jeremy Denk at the historic American harbor once musically celebrated by American composer Elliott Carter.

Now let us praise American musical artists who are proud to be deeply a part of their own musical culture.

Photo credit: (c) Jeremy Denk via Lafeyette College. With thanks.

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Today's Bonus link: William Grant Still's opera, Troubled Island, the first grand opera by an African-American.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

“It Is Like 1,000 Cities Having The Same Appearance.”

"China’s rapid urbanization has devastated the country’s architectural and cultural heritage sites, state news organizations reported Monday.

“Senseless actions” by local officials in their pursuit of renovation and modernization have “devastated” the sites, Qiu Baoxing, the vice minister of construction, was quoted as saying by the newspaper China Daily.

He said the destruction was similar to what happened during the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, when relics and sites of historical value were destroyed.

China’s cities have been transformed in recent years, with old neighborhoods being pulled down to make way for high-rise buildings and highways. But many historic buildings have also been destroyed.

“They are totally unaware of the value of cultural heritage,” Mr. Qiu was quoted as saying about some officials.

“This is leading to a poor sight — many cities have a similar construction style,” he was quoted as saying on the sidelines of an international conference on urban culture and city planning. “It is like 1,000 cities having the same appearance.” ...

Mr. Tong said a $130 million, five-year nationwide survey on cultural relics had been started to gain a clearer picture of their status."

Associated Press "China’s Growth Harms Heritage, Minister Warns" New York Times June 12, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/12/world/
asia/12china.html

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Chinese UNESCO World Heritage Lite Sites.

May 16, 2007

Inauguration of a World Heritage Training and Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific Region in China















The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Brief Description

The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves created by Tan Yao, with their strict unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese Buddhist art.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion i The assemblage of statuary of the Yungang Grottoes is a masterpiece of early Chinese Buddhist cave art. Criterion ii The Yungang cave art represent the successful fusion of Buddhist religious symbolic art from south and central Asia with Chinese cultural traditions, starting in the 5th century CE under Imperial auspices. Criterion iii The power and endurance of Buddhist belief in China are vividly illustrated by the Yungang grottoes. Criterion iv The Buddhist tradition of religious cave art achieved its first major impact at Yungang, where it developed its own distinct character and artistic power.

Photo credit: UNESCO via Theodora.com. With thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pan Cogito Contemplates His Homeland In 1890, 1930, And 1946














Pan Cogito is standing to the right.

Photograph taken by Jindrich Marco in Warsaw, Central Europe in ca. 1946.

Maps showing Warsaw and Lviv [Lemberg, Lwow], Central Europe in 1890 and 1930.

Foto: Modernity in Central Europe 1918 - 1945 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Jindrich Marco. From the Melvin And Lorna Rubin Family Collection via the National Gallery of Art. With thanks.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rites Of Silent Spring (... Or, Julia Will Be 25 In The Year 2011)

"Two decades after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sent clouds of radioactive particles drifting over the fields near her home, Maria Urupa says the wilderness is encroaching.

Packs of wolves have eaten two of her dogs, the 73-year-old says, and wild boar trample through her cornfield. And she says fox, rabbits and snakes infest the meadows near her tumbledown cottage.

''I've seen a lot of wild animals here,'' says Urupa, one of about 300 mostly elderly residents who insist on living in Chernobyl's contaminated evacuation zone.

The return of wildlife to the region near the world's worst nuclear power accident is an apparent paradox that biologists are trying to measure and understand.

Many assumed the 1986 meltdown of one reactor, and the release of hundreds of tons of radioactive material, would turn much of the 1,100-square-mile evacuated area around Chernobyl into a nuclear dead zone.

It certainly doesn't look like one today.

Dense forests have reclaimed farm fields and apartment house courtyards. Residents, visitors and some biologists report seeing wildlife -- including moose and lynx -- rarely sighted in the rest of Europe. Birds even nest inside the cracked concrete sarcophagus shielding the shattered remains of the reactor.

Wildlife has returned despite radiation levels in much of the evacuated zone that remain 10 to 100 times higher than background levels, according to a 2005 U.N. report -- though they have fallen significantly since the accident, due to radioactive decay. ...

[Tim] Mousseau and his colleagues have painted a far more pessimistic picture.
In the journal Biology Letters in March, a group led by Anders Moller, from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, said that in a study of 7,700 birds examined since 1991 they found 11 rare or unknown abnormalities in a population of Chernobyl's barn swallows.

Roughly one-third of 248 Chernobyl nestlings studied were found to have ill-formed beaks, albino feathers, bent tail feathers and other malformations. Mousseau was a co-author of the report.

In other studies, Mousseau -- whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society -- and his colleagues have found increased genetic damage, reduced reproductive rates and what he calls ''dramatically'' higher mortality rates for birds living near Chernobyl.

The work suggests, he said, that Chernobyl is a ''sink'' where animals migrate but rapidly die off. Mousseau suspects that relatively low-level radiation reduces the level of antioxidants in the blood, which can lead to cell damage." ...

Associated Press "Chernobyl Area Becomes Wildlife Haven" New York Times June 7, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/
AP-Chernobyl-Wildlife.html

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Kate Ravilious "Despite Mutations, Chernobyl Wildlife Is Thriving" National Geographic News April 26, 2006

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Chernobyl Children’s Project International
















"A herd of Przewalski's horses roams Ukraine's Chernobyl "exclusion zone." These small horses were once found throughout the grassy plains of Mongolia (see map), but hunting and habitat loss caused the species to go extinct in the wild.

The lands near Chernobyl were blanketed by radiation two decades ago by the infamous nuclear reactor explosion. But a group of captive-bred horses released in the region in the 1990s, along with native wildlife, is now thriving there." (National Geographic)

Photo credit: © Tim Mousseau. All rights reserved. With thanks.

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John Keats (1795–1821)

Ballad of La Belle Dame Sans Merci

I.

O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

II.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms! 5
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

III.

I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew, 10
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

IV.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light, 15
And her eyes were wild.

V.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan. 20

VI.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

VII.

She found me roots of relish sweet, 25
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
“I love thee true.”

VIII.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept, and sigh’d fill sore, 30
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

IX.

And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d 35
On the cold hill’s side.

X.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!” 40

XI.

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

XII.

And this is why I sojourn here, 45
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

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John Keats: Fragment from an Opera

Asleep! O sleep a little while, white pearl!

ASLEEP! O sleep a little while, white pearl!
And let me kneel, and let me pray to thee,
And let me call Heaven’s blessing on thine eyes,
And let me breathe into the happy air,
That doth enfold and touch thee all about, 5
Vows of my slavery, my giving up,
My sudden adoration, my great love!

Notes.

Source: Bartleby.com. Great Books Online

Almost Caught Morning Napping In Codornices Park Without His Shirt, Pan Cogito Runs Downhill Towards Bay And Hides Behind Redwood Tree

Be advised that Pan Cogito is currently studying closely the role of Google's new Maps Street View in the coming International Renaissance ...




















One of the first parks in Berkeley, Codornices Park was opened in 1915 with a splendid field house, a fine tennis court, and many other play features. By an agreement dated October 11, 1921, the City of Berkeley leased the land, which was owned by the Water Company (succeeded by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, or EBMUD) for $1.00 a year for 50 years. The City exercised the option to buy the land in 1967 and acquired the property from EBMUD for $68,968 on January 22, 1976. The softball field was added in 1970. A community group, Los Amigos de Codornices [also Friends of Five Creeks], came together in 1980 to develop a park plan and begin a series of community work parties to restore paths, meadows, hillsides, bridges, and trails.

Photo credit: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Society. With thanks.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pan Cogito Welcomes Pidhirtsi Castle-Palace Complex's Addition To World Monuments Fund's 100 Most Endangered Sites List, 2008

"Bombs in Iraq, better commutes in Ireland and melting ice caps are threatening the world's architectural and cultural gems, a nonprofit group said on Wednesday as it named 100 endangered monuments.

The World Monuments Fund's list for 2008 for the first time included climate change as a hazard for some of the world's great historic sites.

Surging development and commercialism, along with political conflict, also pose risk to sites such as the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem.

"On this list, man is indeed the real enemy," said Bonnie Burnham, president of the fund. "But just as we have caused the damage in the first place, we have the power to repair it."

The group said Peru's Machu Picchu is threatened by unchecked tourism and St. Petersburg's skyline will be changed forever if Gazprom's planned skyscraper is built for the state-controlled gas export monopoly.

Tara Hill in Ireland, considered a sacred landscape, is now threatened by the development of a highway meant to ease the commute from Dublin. Canada's Herschel Island, situated on the edge of the Yukon and home to ancient Inuit sites, could be washed away in melting permafrost, the group said.

Meanwhile, the war in Iraq has put that country's entire cultural heritage at grave risk, the nonprofit group said.

"The archeological sites of Iraq are being looted at an alarming rate and the loss is catastrophic," said Michelle Berenfeld, program manager at the fund. "Unlike objects in museums -- for which there is at least some record of their existence and in most cases where they came from -- objects that are stolen out of the ground are completely lost, forever." ...

Reuters "Global Warming, War, Development Threaten Historic Sites" New York Times June 6, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/
international-world-monuments-endangered.html

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Complete 2008 list at www.worldmonumentswatch.org.
















Pidhirstsi Castle-Palace, near Lviv, Ukraine, Future European Union, is now "threatened by fire and abandonment" -- according to the World Monuments Fund Endangered Sites List, 2008.

"Pidhirtsi Castle was constructed by the Italian architect Andrea dell'Aqua between 1635 and 1640 for the Hetman (Cossack chief) of the Polish crown. Built for leisure rather than for defensive purposes, the castle-which remained in the hands of Polish military leaders into the eighteenth century-is a clear departure from previous castle constructions in the region. It is more of a country house or palace, with a landscaped French and English-style park and two churches. The proprietors of the complex also amassed a major collection of painting, sculpture, armor, and crafts, in a private collection now managed by the Museum of Fine Arts in L'viv, which has overseen the site since 1991. The site is designated part of the national cultural heritage of the Ukraine.

The complex underwent a number of renovations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and suffered damage during the twentieth. During the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) the castle was seriously vandalized, and after World War II it was converted into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. At that time various unsympathetic were initiated, especially adaptations for drainage, water, and electrical systems. In 1956, a fire started by a lightning storm caused major damage, and during the Soviet regime the castle was at various times either abandoned or misused. All of these factors have resulted in the deterioration of the east and west galleries of the palace, infiltration of water into the foundations of the courtyard and the park, and the impending collapse of many walls. The Museum of Fine Arts is willing to return the Hetman's collection to Pidhirtsi if the means and technical expertise necessary to restore the castle can be found."

Source: World Monuments Fund, 100 Most Endangered Sites, 2008

Photo credit: (c) Vladyslav "Slav" Tsarynnyk and Lviv Ecotour. With thanks.

Gideon's Trumpet Call ... Plus 389 Operatic Remains Of The Day From The Years 1900 To 1950

Top Dog American Should Enjoy Its Last, Precious Years Commentary by Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times Monday, June 4, 2007

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Kain d'Albert Eugene 1900
Louise Charpentier Gustave 1900
The Rose Of Persia Sullivan Sir Arthur 1900
The Juggler of Notre Dame (Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame) Massenet Jules 1900
Zaza Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1900
Fregolinette Varney Louis 1900
Tosca Puccini Giacomo 1900
La Fiancee de Thylda Varney Louis 1900
Mademoiselle George Varney Louis 1900
Les barbares Saint-Saens Camille 1901
Fräulein Leutnant Lehar Franz 1901
The Rival Poets German Edward 1901
Das Club-Baby Lehar Franz 1901
Arabella, die Kubamerin Lehar Franz 1901
Rusalka Dvorak Antonin 1901
Le maschere Mascagni Pietro 1901
Romeo -- Juliet and Darkness Fischer Jan 1902
Princesse Bebe Varney Louis 1902
Chérubin Massenet Jules 1902
Le Chien du regiment Varney Louis 1902
Dimitrij Dvorak Antonin 1902
Pelléas et Mélisande Debussy Claude 1902
Germania Franchetti Alberto 1902
La tilda Cilea Francesco 1902
Der Rastelbinder Lehar Franz 1902
Merrie England German Edward 1902
Der Improvisator d'Albert Eugene 1902
Adriana Lecouvreur Cilea Francesco 1902
Le billet de Joséphine Kaiser Alfred 1902
Siberia Giordano Umberto 1903
My Lady Molly Jones James Sidney 1903
The Medal and the Maid Jones James Sidney 1903
Tiefland d'Albert Eugene 1903
A Princess of Kensington German Edward 1903
Cendrillon Viardot Pauline 1904
Jenufa Janacek Leos 1904
Die Juxheirat Lehar Franz 1904
Der Göttergatte Lehar Franz 1904
Der Roland von Berlin Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1904
Madama Butterfly Puccini Giacomo 1904
Ariane Massenet Jules 1904
Hélène Saint-Saens Camille 1904
Tatjana Lehar Franz 1905
Re Enzo Respighi Ottorino 1905
Amica Mascagni Pietro 1905
The Merry Widow Lehar Franz 1905
La Vida Breve de Falla Manuel 1905
Salome Strauss Richard 1905
Die lustige Witwe Lehar Franz 1905
L'age d'or Varney Louis 1905
Tiefland [rev] d'Albert Eugene 1905
Flauto solo d'Albert Eugene 1905
Die schwarze Nina Kaiser Alfred 1905
Der Wildling Zajc Ivan 1905
Thérèse Massenet Jules 1905
See, See Jones James Sidney 1906
Maskarade Nielsen Carl 1906
La jeunesse de Figaro Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1906
Peter und Paul reisen im Schlaraffenland Lehar Franz 1906
La coppa del re Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1906
Elektra Strauss Richard 1906
L'ancêtre Saint-Saens Camille 1906
Der Schlüssel zum Paradies Lehar Franz 1906
Francesca da Rimini Rachmaninoff Sergey 1906
The Miserly Knight Rachmaninoff Sergey 1906
Tom Jones German Edward 1907
Mstislaw der Moderne Lehar Franz 1907
Ariane et Barbe-Bleue Dukas Paul 1907
Tragaldabas d'Albert Eugene 1907
Bacchus Massenet Jules 1907
Marcella Giordano Umberto 1907
L'uccellino d'oro Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1907
Monna Vanna Rachmaninoff Sergey 1907
Gloria Cilea Francesco 1907
Il grillo del focolare Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1908
Der Mann mit den drei Frauen Lehar Franz 1908
Tatárjárás Kálmán Imre 1908
The King of Cadonia Jones James Sidney 1908
Don Quichotte Massenet Jules 1908
Savitri Holst Gustav 1908
Fallen Fairies German Edward 1909
The Golden Cockerel (Le coq d'or) Rimsky-Korsakov Nicolai 1909
A Persian Princess Jones James Sidney 1909
Erwartung Schoenberg Arnold 1909
Ein Herbstmanöver Kálmán Imre 1909
Il matrimonio selvaggio Cilea Francesco 1909
Roma Massenet Jules 1909
Izeÿl d'Albert Eugene 1909
Sous le voile Kaiser Alfred 1909
Der Graf von Luxemburg Lehar Franz 1909
Das Fürstenkind Lehar Franz 1909
Semirama Respighi Ottorino 1910
Zigeunerliebe Lehar Franz 1910
L'arlesiana [rev 2] Cilea Francesco 1910
Malbrouck Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1910
La Fanciulla del West Puccini Giacomo 1910
Hugh the Drover Williams Ralph Vaughn 1910
Az obsitos Kálmán Imre 1910
Stella Maris Kaiser Alfred 1910
Mese Mariano Giordano Umberto 1910
Maia Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1910
Der Rosenkavalier Strauss Richard 1911
Ariadne auf Naxos Strauss Richard 1911
Der gute Kamerad Kálmán Imre 1911
Oce nas Zajc Ivan 1911
Die Spieluhr Lehar Franz 1911
Isabeau Mascagni Pietro 1911
L'heure espagnole (The Spanish Hour) Ravel Maurice 1911
Conchita Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1911
Eva Lehar Franz 1911
Déjanire Saint-Saens Camille 1911
Maddalena Prokofiev Serge 1911
Cléopâtre Massenet Jules 1911
Panurge Massenet Jules 1911
I Gioielli della Madonna Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno 1911
Der Zigeunerprimas Kálmán Imre 1912
The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang) Schreker Franz 1912
La reginetta delle rose Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1912
Mona Parker Horatio 1912
Der kleine König Kálmán Imre 1912
Prvi grijeh Zajc Ivan 1912
Zingari Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1912
Melenis Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1912
Die verschenkte Frau d'Albert Eugene 1912
Liebesketten d'Albert Eugene 1912
The Blue House Kálmán Imre 1912
The Land of the Misty Water Cadman Charles Wakefield 1912
Rosenstock und Edelweiss Lehar Franz 1912
Theodor Körner Kaiser Alfred 1913
Die ideale Gattin Lehar Franz 1913
Parisina Mascagni Pietro 1913
Kivándorlók Kálmán Imre 1913
Julien ou La vie du poète Charpentier Gustave 1913
L'amour au faubourg Charpentier Gustave 1913
The Girl From Utah Jones James Sidney 1913
Are you There? Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1913
Mimi Pinson Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1913
Gold gab ich für Eisen Kálmán Imre 1914
Francesca da Rimini Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1914
Die Frau ohne Schatten Strauss Richard 1914
Endlich allein Lehar Franz 1914
Le Rossignol (The Nightingale) Stravinsky Igor 1914
Marie-Victoire Respighi Ottorino 1914
Doktor Faust Busoni Ferrucio 1914
I Mori di Valenza Ponchielli Amilcare 1914
TREEMONISHA Joplin Scott 1915
The Gambler Prokofiev Serge 1915
La candidata Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1915
Zsuszi kisasszony Kálmán Imre 1915
Die Csárdásfürstin Kálmán Imre 1915
Madame Sans-Gêne Giordano Umberto 1915
A Florentine Tragedy (Eine florentinische Tragödie) Zemlinsky Alexander von 1916
Violanta Korngold Erich Wolfgang 1916
Prestami tua moglie Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1916
Der Ring des Polykrates Korngold Erich Wolfgang 1916
The Happy Day Jones James Sidney 1916
Goffredo Mameli Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1916
Der Sterngucker Lehar Franz 1916
Die toten Augen d'Albert Eugene 1916
La rondine Puccini Giacomo 1917
Die Faschingsfee Kálmán Imre 1917
Lodoletta Mascagni Pietro 1917
Arlecchino Busoni Ferrucio 1917
Die Gezeichneten (Those marked by the seal) Schreker Franz 1918
Il Tabarro [Trittico] Puccini Giacomo 1918
Der Stier von Olivera d'Albert Eugene 1918
Shanewis or The Robin Woman Cadman Charles Wakefield 1918
Suor Angelica [Trittico] Puccini Giacomo 1918
Bluebeard's Castle [Duke] Bartok Bela 1918
A Pacsirta Lehar Franz 1918
Gianni Schicchi [Trittico] Puccini Giacomo 1918
The Diary of One Who Disappeared Janacek Leos 1919
Sì Mascagni Pietro 1919
A chi la giarrettiera? Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1919
The Fiery Angel Prokofiev Serge 1919
Revolutions-hochzeit d'Albert Eugene 1919
Intermezzo Strauss Richard 1919
La via della finestra Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1919
Das Hollandweibchen Kálmán Imre 1920
Edipo Re Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1920
Die Tote Stadt Korngold Erich Wolfgang 1920
Die blaue Mazur Lehar Franz 1920
Giove a Pompei Giordano Umberto 1921
Il piccolo Marat Mascagni Pietro 1921
Katya Kabanova (Kát'a Kabanová) (Kata Kabanova) Janacek Leos 1921
Die Bajadere Kálmán Imre 1921
Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) Zemlinsky Alexander von 1921
Scirocco d'Albert Eugene 1921
Die Tangokönigin Lehar Franz 1921
The Love for Three Oranges Prokofiev Serge 1921
Frühling Lehar Franz 1922
Frasquita Lehar Franz 1922
La danza della libellule [rev. Der Sterngucker] Lehar Franz 1922
Kleider machen Leute (The Clothes Make the Man) Zemlinsky Alexander von 1922
The Cunning Little Vixen Janacek Leos 1922
Giulietta e Romeo Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1922
La bella dormente nel bosco Respighi Ottorino 1922
Ciottolino Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1922
Pierozzo Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1922
Sancta Susanna Hindemith Paul 1922
Mavra Stravinsky Igor 1922
The Sunset Trail Cadman Charles Wakefield 1922
Diana Zádor Jeno 1923
La via della finestra [rev] Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1923
Mareike von Nymwegen d'Albert Eugene 1923
Il primo bacio Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1923
Belfagor Respighi Ottorino 1923
Die gelbe Jacke Lehar Franz 1923
La cena delle beffe Giordano Umberto 1924
Gräfin Mariza Kálmán Imre 1924
Cloclo Lehar Franz 1924
The Seal Woman Bantock Sir Granville 1924
The Student Prince Romberg Sigmund 1924
La Virgen de Mayo Torroba Federico Moreno 1925
Wozzeck Berg Alban 1925
The Garden of Mystery Cadman Charles Wakefield 1925
Paganini Lehar Franz 1925
Mala Floramy (Little Floramy) Tijardovic Ivo 1925
La maschera nuda Leoncavallo Ruggiero 1925
Orpheus Orff Carl 1925
L'enfant et les sortileges Ravel Maurice 1925
I cavalieri di Ekebù Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1925
Der Golem d'Albert Eugene 1926
Die Zirkusprinzessin Kálmán Imre 1926
A Witch of Salem Cadman Charles Wakefield 1926
Gigolette Lehar Franz 1926
The Ghost of Lollypop Bay Cadman Charles Wakefield 1926
La bella e il mostro Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1926
Lelawala Cadman Charles Wakefield 1926
Turandot Puccini Giacomo 1926
Cardillac Hindemith Paul 1926
Der Protagonist Weill Kurt (Julian) 1926
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Weill Kurt (Julian) 1927
The Poisoned Kiss Williams Ralph Vaughn 1927
There and Back (Hin und zurück) Hindemith Paul 1927
Golden Dawn Kálmán Imre 1927
Royal Palace Weill Kurt (Julian) 1927
Na und? Weill Kurt (Julian) 1927
Jonny spielt auf (Johnny Strikes Up the Band) Krenek Ernst 1927
La campana sommersa Respighi Ottorino 1927
Show Boat Kern Jerome 1927
Das Wunder der Heliane Korngold Erich Wolfgang 1927
Der Zarewitsch Lehar Franz 1927
Giuliano Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1928
Revisor Zádor Jeno 1928
Splitski akvarel Tijardovic Ivo 1928
Sir John in Love Williams Ralph Vaughn 1928
Die Dreigroschenoper Weill Kurt (Julian) 1928
Jesse James Moore Douglas 1928
Der Zar lässt sich photographieren Weill Kurt (Julian) 1928
A holtak szigete Zádor Jeno 1928
The Belle of Havana Cadman Charles Wakefield 1928
Die schwarze Orchidee d'Albert Eugene 1928
Die Herzogin von Chicago Kálmán Imre 1928
Friederike Lehar Franz 1928
The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) Weill Kurt (Julian) 1928
Happy End Weill Kurt (Julian) 1929
Il re Giordano Umberto 1929
Orpheus [rev] Orff Carl 1929
Das Land des Lächelns Lehar Franz 1929
TRANSATLANTIC Antheil George 1930
Arabella Strauss Richard 1930
Schön ist die Welt Lehar Franz 1930
Frühlingsmädel Lehar Franz 1930
Das Veilchen von Montmartre Kálmán Imre 1930
Der Jasager Weill Kurt (Julian) 1930
X-mal Rembrandt Zádor Jeno 1930
Orphée Charpentier Gustave 1931
Harpies, The Blitzstein Marc 1931
The Awaking of Sleeping Beauty Zádor Jeno 1931
Ronny Kálmán Imre 1931
The Harpies Blitzstein Marc 1931
Die Bürgschaft Weill Kurt (Julian) 1932
Moses und Aron Schoenberg Arnold 1932
Maria Egiziaca Respighi Ottorino 1932
Gloria [rev] Cilea Francesco 1932
South in Sonora Cadman Charles Wakefield 1932
Mister Wu d'Albert Eugene 1932
Luisa Fernanda Torroba Federico Moreno 1932
Der Fürst der Berge Lehar Franz 1932
Der Teufelsreiter Kálmán Imre 1932
La farsa amorosa Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1933
Der Silbersee Weill Kurt (Julian) 1933
Una partita Zandonai Riccardo(Antonio Francesco) 1933
THE EMPEROR JONES Gruenberg Louis 1933
Die ägyptische Helena Strauss Richard 1933
Der Kreiderkreis Zemlinsky Alexander von 1933
As Thousands Cheer Berlin Irving 1933
La fiamma Respighi Ottorino 1934
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District Shostakovich Dmitri 1934
Der Kuhhandel Weill Kurt (Julian) 1934
MERRY MOUNT Hanson Howard 1934
Giuditta Lehar Franz 1934
La Chulapona Torroba Federico Moreno 1934
Le astuzie di Bertoldo Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1934
Four Saints in Three Acts Thomson Virgil 1934
White Wings Moore Douglas 1935
Porgy and Bess Gershwin George 1935
Der Weg der Verheissung Weill Kurt (Julian) 1935
A Kingdom for a Cow Weill Kurt (Julian) 1935
The Fall of the Antichrist Ullmann Viktor 1935
Nerone Mascagni Pietro 1935
Kaiserin Josephine Kálmán Imre 1936
Cyrano de Bergerac Alfano Franco 1936
Down in the Valley Weill Kurt (Julian) 1936
Johnny Johnson Weill Kurt (Julian) 1936
Cradle Will Rock, The Blitzstein Marc 1936
Asra Zádor Jeno 1936
Der König Kandaules Zemlinsky Alexander von 1936
Lucrezia Respighi Ottorino 1937
Lulu Berg Alban 1937
Carmina burana Orff Carl 1937
Tanz der Spröden Orff Carl 1937
The Eternal Road Weill Kurt (Julian) 1937
I've Got The Tune Blitzstein Marc 1937
Mr Fortune Nordoff Paul 1937
The Headless Horseman Moore Douglas 1937
Die Kathrin Korngold Erich Wolfgang 1937
THE SECOND HURRICANE Copland Aaron 1937
The Cradle Will Rock Blitzstein Marc 1937
Amelia Goes to the Ball Menotti Gian Carlo 1937
L'arlesiana [rev 3] Cilea Francesco 1937
Riders to the Sea Williams Ralph Vaughn 1937
The Duchess of Malfi Thomson Virgil 1938
Brundibar Krasa Hans 1938
Mathis der Maler (Mathias the Painter) Hindemith Paul 1938
Naaman: the Leprosy of War Gundry Inglis 1938
Knickerbocker Holiday Weill Kurt (Julian) 1938
Christoph Columbus Zádor Jeno 1939
Railroads on Parade Weill Kurt (Julian) 1939
Semyon Kotko Prokofiev Serge 1939
Il malato immaginario Napoli Jacopo 1939
Der Mond Orff Carl 1939
Klage der Ariadne [rev] Orff Carl 1939
The old Maid and the Thief Menotti Gian Carlo 1939
The Devil and Daniel Webster Moore Douglas 1939
Tanz der Spröden [rev] Orff Carl 1940
Betrothal in a Monastery Prokofiev Serge 1940
Ghirlino Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1940
The Ballad of Magna Carta Weill Kurt (Julian) 1940
Der Zerbrochene Krug (The Broken jug) Ullmann Viktor 1941
Lady in the Dark Weill Kurt (Julian) 1941
The Masterpiece Nordoff Paul 1941
No For An Answer Blitzstein Marc 1941
Paul Bunyan Britten Benjamin 1941
The Return of Odysseus Gundry Inglis 1941
Khan Buzay Prokofiev Serge 1942
The Island God Menotti Gian Carlo 1942
Oklahoma Rodgers Richard 1943
Garabonciás diák Lehar Franz 1943
Die Kluge Orff Carl 1943
Catulli carmina Orff Carl 1943
One Touch of Venus Weill Kurt (Julian) 1943
L'orso re Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1943
The Emperor of Atlantis Ullmann Viktor 1943
Miseria e nobilità Napoli Jacopo 1945
The Firebrand of Florence Weill Kurt (Julian) 1945
Marinka Kálmán Imre 1945
Peter Grimes Britten Benjamin 1945
The Rape of Lucretia Britten Benjamin 1946
Annie Get Your Gun Berlin Irving 1946
The Medium Menotti Gian Carlo 1946
The Partisans Gundry Inglis 1946
The Telephone Menotti Gian Carlo 1947
The Mother Of us All Thomson Virgil 1947
Street Scene Weill Kurt (Julian) 1947
The Story of a Real Man Prokofiev Serge 1947
Brigadoon Loewe Frederick 1947
Albert Herring Britten Benjamin 1947
Die Bernauerin Orff Carl 1947
Love Life Weill Kurt (Julian) 1948
The Beggar's Opera Britten Benjamin 1948
Distant Seas Prokofiev Serge 1948
Buricchio Ferrari-Trecate Luigi 1948
Regina Blitzstein Marc 1949
Antologia di Spoon River Negri Gino 1949
Slow Dusk Floyd Carlisle 1949
Lost in the Stars Weill Kurt (Julian) 1949
Avon Gundry Inglis 1949
Antigonae Orff Carl 1949
Giants in the Earth Moore Douglas 1949
The Emperor's New Clothes Moore Douglas 1949
The Consul Menotti Gian Carlo 1950
Puss in Boots Moore Douglas 1950
THE JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY Foss Lukas 1950
The Enchanted Pear Tree Overton Hall 1950
Der Mond [rev] Orff Carl 1950
Jonah Beeson Jack 1950
Un curioso accidente Napoli Jacopo 1950

Source: AllAboutOpera.com. Your Gateway to Opera on the Web.














In the distance to the right, the Opera House of Minsk, Belarus; following the conclusion of World War II/The Great Patriotic War.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: www.belarusguide.com. With thanks.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Drop Your Jewel Cases, Classical WETA-FM Lite! Living American Classical Music Has You Surrounded Here In The Nation's Capital!

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Libretto and Music by Lowell Liebermann, based upon the novel by Oscar Wilde.

City Center Opera Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

WORLD PREMIERE

June 6, 2007 at 8pm
June 9, 2007 at 8pm
June 10, 2007 at 2:30pm
June 12, 2007 at 8pm

Synopsis

Act I — Scene 1

In the studio of Basil Hallward, his old university friend Lord Henry Wotton, a worldly aristocrat and man about town, is chatting with Basil as the painter is putting the finishing touches on his portrait of Dorian Gray, a handsome young aristocrat who has become Basil’s muse. Lord Henry is eager to meet Dorian but Basil says he would be a bad influence on him. Nonetheless, after Dorian arrives to pose for Basil, the latter becomes so absorbed in his work that he does not notice or prevent Lord Henry from charming the young man with his witty conversation. On completing his work, Basil declares it to be his masterpiece and Dorian laments the fact that while he will grow old, the picture will remain young forever. “If it were only the other way . . . for that, I would give my soul.” Basil is struck by a change in his young friend and accuses Lord Henry of becoming a bad influence on him. Not wanting his painting to come between him and his two dearest friends, Basil attempts to destroy it but is prevented by Dorian, who says that would be murder. Lord Henry invites the two of them to the opera that evening. Basil declines and asks Dorian to say behind to dine with him, but Dorian chooses to accept Lord Henry’s invitation.


Act I — Scene 2

A month later, visiting Lord Henry’s house, Dorian tells him he has fallen in love with a beautiful young Shakespearian actress, Sibyl Vane. He presses Lord Henry to bring Basil with him to Sibyl’s performance as Juliet the next night, and Lord Henry accepts, musing after Dorian has left on his attraction to and influence over the young man.

Act I — Scene 3

The next night, as Sibyl is dressing for the performance, Dorian and she sing of their love, Dorian telling her “You are all the heroines in the world to me” and Sibyl replying “You are more than all the heroes in the world to me.” After Dorian leaves, Sibyl’s brother James, a sailor, enters to say goodbye on the eve of his departure for Australia. He has heard that a gentleman visits her backstage every night and demands his name. Romeo, Sibyl replies. James, still worried, tells her that if this man does her any wrong, he will “kill him like a dog.”

Act I — Scene 4

Following the performance, while the audience is booing and hissing, Dorian, Basil, and Lord Henry go backstage to see Sibyl, whose acting has been incomprehensibly awful. Embarrassed, Dorian sends his friends away before Sibyl enters the dressing room. When she does, she explains that she will never be able to act again because now that Dorian has shown her real love, she cannot “mimic passion” on the stage. Dorian responds that she has killed his love for her: “Without your art, you are nothing!” Sibyl begs him not to leave her, but as she lies sobbing at his feet, he stalks out. In the soliloquy that ends the scene, she longs for his return, recalling fragments of Romeo and Juliet, and staring at the prop poison bottle in her hands.
Synopsis (continued)

Act I — Scene 5

When Dorian returns home the next morning, he notices that his portrait has changed: there is a cruel expression around the mouth, and Dorian muses that the painting has become “the visible emblem of my conscience.” He vows to reform his life and make amends by marrying Sibyl. But Lord Henry enters to tell him that Sibyl Vane has committed suicide. He calms Dorian by assuring him that she was less real than the Shakespearian heroines she portrayed, and Dorian agrees to go to the opera with him that night, saying “No one understands me like you do.” Looking again at the portrait with its new touch of cruelty around the mouth, he resolves to let it continue to take the toll of the life he plans to lead, seeking “pleasures secret and subtle, wild joys and wilder sins.” Basil rushes in to console him for the loss of Sibyl and is dismayed to find Dorian calmly dressing for the opera. But however much he thinks Dorian has changed for the worse, Basil leaves, promising never to speak again about the matter. Before he leaves for the opera, Dorian tells his butler to hire two men to move the painting to the attic. As the curtain falls on Act I, Dorian is gazing with pleasure into a gilt hand mirror.

Act II — Scene 1

Eighteen years later, Dorian and Basil meet in Dorian’s home. Although Basil has aged considerably, Dorian looks exactly as he did in the first act. Before he leaves for Paris, Basil wants to speak to Dorian about the disturbing rumors circulating in society about his decadence. Dorian invites him to come to the attic, where he will show him his soul.

Act II — Scene 2

In the attic, Dorian pulls the cover off his portrait, and Basil is shocked at the bloody, distorted image he sees. Saying that Dorian must be far more evil than the rumors suggest, Basil begs him to pray for forgiveness. Dorian’s response is to seize a knife on the table near the portrait and stab Basil to death.

Act II — Scene 3

Later that night, Dorian enters a sleazy dockside tavern, frequented by whores and sailors. When a whore he apparently knows solicits him, he shuns her and she mocks him by singing. When he leaves in disgust, she calls out his nickname, Romeo. Hearing that, one of the sailors leaps up and follows Dorian out the door.

Act II — Scene 4

Outside the tavern, the sailor identifies himself as Sibyl Vane’s brother James and pulls out a gun, vowing to kill Dorian for causing her death. Dorian pretends he doesn’t know her and asks how long ago she died. When James answers 18 years, Dorian tells him to look at him under a street light, and when he does, James says he must be wrong, because such a young man could not possibly have known his sister 18 years ago. As Dorian leaves, the whore comes up and tells James that Dorian corrupted her 18 years ago. She, like many others, believes that Dorian sold his soul to the devil for a pretty face. She offers to tell him how to find Dorian, if he will give her money.

Act II — Scene 5

On a hunting party at Lord Geoffrey’s estate a few days later, Dorian tells Lord Henry of his fear of death. When Lord Geoffrey aims at a hare, Dorian tells him not to shoot such a beautiful creature, but his host fires anyway and a terrible, human scream is heard. Dorian is badly shaken and thinks it a bad omen, until the gamekeeper arrives and says the dead man is a stranger, apparently a sailor. Demanding to see the body, Dorian is relieved to discover that it is that of James Vane, although he says he has never seen the man before.


Act II — Scene 6

A few weeks later, in Dorian’s sitting room, Dorian tells Lord Henry — who looks old and tired, while Dorian, of course, looks fresh and youthful — that he has vowed to reform and offers as proof a story of his having spared a young country girl from sexual exploitation. Lord Henry scoffs, saying that all Dorian has done is to make himself feel good while possibly breaking the girl’s heart. Dorian replies that he never should have told Lord Henry about the girl, and the latter reminds him that Dorian will always tell him everything. Dorian asks what Lord Henry would say if he told him that he had murdered Basil Hallward. Lord Henry dismisses the idea and changes the topic to the mystery of Dorian’s lasting youthfulness, comparing the wonderful life Dorian has lived to his own lost youth. As he leaves, he asks Dorian to join him the next day to go riding. After Lord Henry’s departure, Dorian picks up a hand mirror, peers into it, then throws it down in disgust, crushing it under his feet.

Act II — Scene 7

Alone in the attic, Dorian contemplates the degradation of his life and the evil influence he has had on others. Thinking about the young girl he is still convinced he has spared from that evil, he removes the cover from his portrait, hoping to find some erasure of the signs of his evil it has inscribed over the years. To his dismay, he sees instead a new look of hypocrisy and corruption. So, hoping to destroy the one visual proof of his evil, he seizes the same knife he used to stab Basil and slashes at the portrait. A terrible scream is heard. The portrait has regained its fresh and youthful beauty, while on the floor, covered in blood, with a knife in its heart, is the horribly disfigured body of a wrinkled old man.

Synopsis (c) Lowell Liebermann and Central City Opera House.


*


June 7, 2007 (Thursday)
2 pm
"Classical Music: What Will the Future Bring?"
Lecture by Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker
National Orchestral Institute, University of Maryland School of Music
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Maryland

June 7, 2007 (Thursday)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
Haydn Symphony #85; Mark Adamo, Four Angels (World Premiere); Mahler, Symphony #1
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington, D.C.

June 7, 2007 (Thursday)
7:30 pm
Jessica Krash, composer/pianist, Fog and Ice (World Premiere)
Mansion at Strathmore, North Bethesda, Maryland



















Unwanted By Sharon Rockefeller's new 56-65 Years of Age Listener Pandering Classical WETA-FM Lite, in the Nation's Capital: Living American Classical Music Composers and Critics.

Photo credit: (c) Various. All copyright controlled. With thanks.