This week: A marine's stories about Iraq, debating Russia's true power, and the mystery of renaissance painter Piero della Francesca.
Every now and then, the New York Philharmonic throws a musical at you. On Friday night, they threw Sweeney Todd, the Sondheim hit (or one of several such hits). The Philharmonic had performed Sweeney before—in 2000, with a mixture of classical and Broadway singers. In the former camp was Heidi Grant Murphy. In the latter camp was Audra McDonald, who portrayed the Beggar Woman. She was back in that role on Friday night.
The title role, Sweeney, was taken by Bryn Terfel—who was originally scheduled to sing the part in 2000. In the end, it was taken by George Hearn, the Broadway star. Last week’s Mrs. Lovett was one of the greatest actresses of our time: Emma Thompson. Can she sing, too? Yes, she can. Who knew? Not me, for one.
So, Obama once again “delays” the law of the land on Obamacare. Why? Because there is an election coming up, silly, and he wants to do what he can to protect vulnerable Democrats. I pick this bit from The Detroit News more or less at random: “In announcing the latest postponement this week . . [...]
I am holed up in in beautiful Antigua (Lat. 17.07 Long. -61.81) for a few days with a small cadre of serious thinkers helping to sort out the world’s problems. In this super-connected, technological age, no place, not even this tropical paradise, can be out of contact with the long-running circus of fatuous incompetence being [...]
by Walker Mimms
Over the past few years, the high school gap year has become more and more popular—and with good reason. This interval, between high school and college, serves as a time for teenagers to transition into adulthood. It offers the important chance to explore the world outside the walls of school—before they reenter them for four more years—and to learn skills by dint of their own experience, rather than in the classroom.
If a gap year is spent wisely it has the potential to enrich the following years of college. It can introduce a taste of autonomy and maturity into collegiate study. This has been the case for several friends of mine, who either went abroad after high school to learn another language, or toured Europe and America with their bands, or even just moved out their parents’ houses and worked hard for a while. All of them, when they entered college, had grown from their exposure to the world. College-level work was, in different ways, more meaningful. And colleges themselves are recognizing the benefits of these sorts of experiences: Bennington College, for instance, where I am a senior, incorporates purposely non-academic internship periods into its own curriculum.
Last week, as the Obama administration scurried to remove the large quantities of egg that Vladimir Putin had deposited on its collective countenance, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers commented that Putin was playing chess while Obama as “playing marbles.” I think that was unfair. Marbles are inherently attractive, and their deployment is an innocent pastime that has [...]
This week: Crete's role in writing and World War II, Partisan Review releases their archives, and Wozzeck at the Met.
Gun-Brit Barkmin; photo by Fotostudio Charlottenburg
I was taking someone unfamiliar with opera to see Salome. I said, “It’s pretty much the most exciting opera in the world—along with another short Strauss opera, Elektra.” I exaggerated, of course, but not by much, I think. Anyway—Salome: What a piece of work. Tosca was famously described as a “shabby little shocker.” Salome is a shabbier, more shocking little shocker.
I and some PJM friends off thoughts on Ted Cruz: is he likely to help or hurt Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections? The more interesting question, I suggest, is whether he will help or hurt conservatives. Read my thoughts and the thoughts of my PJM colleagues here.
by James Panero
A cultural highpoint of classical music must be the development of engaging programs for children. Such events combine just the right mix of performance and narration to captivate and educate future generations (while also delighting the parents in tow).
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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March 11, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Roger Scruton
March 25, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: A conference on "Preserving an Open Society in a Perilous World"
April 01, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Piano Recital with Simone DinnersteinMore events >