The week’s links 15-21/4

The week’s links 15-21/4

The New York Times online is developing a smart interactive format for the discussion of big cultural events. You can get a good sense of their approach from Circling the ‘Ring’. Earlier this month The Metropolitan Opera started three full cycles of its ambitious, sometimes crazy but often wonderfully bold staging by Robert Lepage of Wagner’s four operas. And the NYT feature is offering a range of background features, often as videos, plus discussion and an intelligently-formatted selection of comments. There’s also a very good related article by Anthony Tommasini with Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, The Met, the ‘Ring’ and the rage against the machine. For my reactions to the HD Live screenings of three of the productions, go here, here and here (and that’s Jay Hunter Morris and Deborah Voigt in Siegfried above). Also, for a way to get round the pesky NYT limit on the number of articles you can read each month – as well as for a host of other links – go across the jump.
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Simply stunning Siegfried

Simply stunning Siegfried

The live cinema presentation of Siegfried, relayed to the Clapham Picturehouse (and many other venues) from the Metropolitan Opera in New York was – simply – stunning. This was the third such ‘Live in HD’ presentation from the Met’s still under-construction Ring cycle (see posts here and here) and it was as great – and perhaps more so – than the other two. It was magical and mysterious and spectacular and beautiful and moving and complex and simple and sweeping and sublime. I liked it a lot.
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Something for the weekend

Something for the weekend

Let’s celebrate some inspired joined-up thinking from the BBC music departments. Symphony is a new four-part BBC Four series hosted by Simon Russell Beale about the development of the central orchestral form. Part one, Genesis and Genius, is on iPlayer for a month. Along with it comes an extensive series of Radio 3 broadcasts and a wonderful Music Showcase selection of audio and video associated with the series (still in alpha). And then there’s a totally delightful video on YouTube of last Thursday’s ‘pop-up’ performance at St Pancras (above) by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth – it deserves a million-plus views. There’s even a back-up OpenLearn site from the Open University (with a free introductory course to music theory). Let’s count all that as two of the choices for this weekend’s alternative viewing – and move on to another (unrelated) eight in the jump.
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Something for the weekend

Something for the weekend

The ‘YouTube film’ Life in a Day is up on YouTube now in a great print. For this ground-breaking project 4,500 hours of footage shot on 24 July 2010 was contributed as 80,000 items from people around the world and director Kevin Jackson carved out the impressive ninety-minute cut. On its theatrical release David Gritten for the Telegraph spoke with the director and the Guardian‘s Andrew Pulver reviewed the film. Andrew Schenker for Slant offered an alternative view: ‘Drawing on a horde of pedestrian user-generated content, embracing a faux-populism of the least committed variety, the film aims to celebrate a humanity that may embrace different customs and beliefs, but is essentially the same all over. In Macdonald’s project, what ultimately unites mankind is its banality.’ And in the rest of this post, more free suggestions for viewing alternatives this weekend.
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Love story

Love story

This is a short tale of television and a love affair of thirty-three years. Tonight I saw Fiona Shaw’s sparkling new ENO production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (above) at the Coliseum. I delighted in the music, thrilled at the performances, revelled in the rigorously intelligent staging – and struggled to fit my legs into a ridiculously cramped Upper Circle seat. Just as I did back in 1978, when I went to see my first live opera. Which was The Marriage of Figaro. At the Coliseum. And the director was another distinguished thespian – Jonathan Miller. That production started my life-long love affair with opera – and I owe it all to television.
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