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The Column

The Column: London's Tricycle Theatre Butts Heads with Jewish Film Festival...and Why It's in the Wrong

The Column: London's Tricycle Theatre Butts Heads with Jewish Film Festival...and Why It's in the Wrong >>

Of all the international protests in the West over the Gaza war, many of them controversial--in my opinion many of them ill-informed--one which has caused more heartache and uproar than almost any other has been the Tricycle Cinema (also a famous fringe theatre in London) dropping the Jewish Film Festival. "Dropping?" The venue, and its artistic director Indhu Rubasingham, says no. They only required the JFF to give up its nominal funding from the Israeli embassy, and her theatre even offered to make up the difference.

Oscar Hammerstein I

The Column: Remembering the OTHER Oscar Hammerstein >>

August marks the death, 95 years ago, of a flamboyant and famous impresario. Who just happened to have a grandson who became more famous still.

Carlo Bergonzi

The Column: Carlo Bergonzi (1924-2014), Memories of the Master >>

James Inverne remembers Carlo Bergonzi--the tenor who may have been, in some ways, the greatest of them all.

The Column: When The BBC Turned Teacher, And Got It Right >>

So what do we think about this new initiative from the BBC, this idea to create a UK-wide scheme to introduce children to classical music through a proscribed list of "Ten Pieces"?

The Column: Where Are Today's Oscar-Happy Classical Composers? >>

For no apparent reason, we've been perusing the list of winners of the Best Original Score Oscar since the prize was inaugurated in the 1930's. It makes for interesting reading.

The Lark Ascending

The Column: Ralph Vaughn Williams' 'The Lark Ascending Wins' Again, But Why? >>

Here comes the unaskable question - what is it with The Lark Ascending? The Vaughan Williams work has again topped the Classic FM Hall of Fame poll. It might have been edged out by the Rach 2 for the last few years, but it is a regular at the lofty summit of the list, voted on by more than 100,000 listeners to the UK radio station. It has also previously been voted Brits' favorite-ever melody featured in the popular BBC Radio show Desert Island Discs. Audiences love it, violinists love it (it is largely a violin showpiece), so it feels strangely subversive to ask, "Why?"

The Column: Will DreamCenter Shanghai Really Rival Broadway and the West End? >>

So, apparently Shanghai is going to be the next big theater center in the world. New York has Broadway, London has the West End, and now Dreamworks is piling $2.4 billion into the Chinese city to make it a third entertainment destination to rival those two great theater capitals.

The Column: Is the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 Under Threat Now? >>

What usually happens when the UK wants to express its annoyance with a state too big to rattle any sabres at (quite often Russia)? The spat will play out in the safe but very public arena of the arts.

The Column: Keep Calm and...Toi, Toi, Toi? >>

A Yiddish expression adopted by musicians worldwide.

The Column: All (or Most) Change in United Kingdom's Classical Music Scene? >>

But I wouldn't bet against Kirill Karabits being snapped up. Bournemouth has historically been a springboard for higher-profile appointments--and being from that town, myself, I yield to no one in my borderline fanatical admiration for its orchestra.

The Column: Renée Fleming's National Anthem at Superbowl XLVIII...What Controversy? >>

What's the fuss all about? The U.S. morning news bulletins are full of the news that, shock, horror, "Opera singer to sing national anthem at Superbowl." And? And yet the news teams (news!) are earnestly discussing the rights and wrongs of the decision to invite Renée Fleming to this august occasion, reading out (mostly hostile) tweets and reassuring viewers that, yes, she is actually pretty darn good.

The Column: The Crisis of the United States of America's Classical Recording Scene >>

What on earth is happening--has already happened, actually--to the North America classical music recordings scene? The self-extraction of yet a famous New York store, J&R, from classical music underlines yet again how dire things have got in the entire region. But just the disappearance of high-street shops doesn't explain it all away.

The Short Column: Classical Music Benefits Kids, A(nother) Study Says >>

So, here we go again--another year, another survey saying that classical music is good for kids. This one comes from the Institute of Education at the University of London. Children aged between seven and 10 were exposed to classical music at school assembly and a series of six lessons. The study found that their concentration skills were positively affected.

The Column: Five Great Modern Operas That the New York Times Music Staff Missed! >>

The New York Times has published an interesting piece, their classical music writers giving their thumbs-ups to the modern operas they consider the most likely candidates for perennial popularity. Which, in opera terms, means at least a production every year or two, somewhere, we'd guess. Among their choices were some fine works but, perhaps inevitably, the list felt incomplete. It was bound to, and there's the fun

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