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To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet

January 17, 2019

Cremona, Italy is home to the workshops of some of the world’s finest instrument makers, including Antonio Stradivari, who in the 17th and 18th centuries produced some of the finest violins and cellos ever made. The city is getting behind an ambitious project to digitally record the sounds of the Stradivarius instruments for posterity, as well as others by Amati and Guarneri del Gesù, two other famous Cremona craftsmen. And that means being quiet.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Friends Purchase Drama Book Shop

January 8, 2019

Lin Manuel Miranda and three of his “Hamilton” collaborators have purchased the Drama Book Shop, a century-old theater district purveyor of scripts, sheet music and other stage-related reading material.

The surprise move is an effort to sustain the store, which is a mainstay of New York’s theater scene — in 2011 it was recognized with a Tony honor for excellence — but has struggled to survive the brutal Times Square real estate market and recently announced that it was being forced to move from its current location.

The rescue plan is a joint venture between the “Hamilton” team and the city, which has pledged to find the store an affordable space in Midtown.

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Springsteen on Netflix, Where Everyone Can Get a Ticket

December 19, 2018

Netflix’s faithful film version of “Springsteen on Broadway” was directed by Thom Zimny and shot by Joe DeSalvo at two private performances this year.  A master class in pacing, dynamics, modulation of volume and tone, the film brings you right up onstage with Springsteen, giving you a more intimate view of his technique — understated, seemingly casual but absolutely controlled — than you could get in the theater. Each expression, gesture, artful hesitation and sly punch line is zeroed in on, framed for our appreciation.

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Acclaimed ‘Oklahoma!’ Revival Is Coming to Broadway

December 12, 2018

An intimately staged and darkly revisionist revival of “Oklahoma!”that enjoyed a critically acclaimed and sold-out Off Broadway run will transfer to Broadway this season.

The new production, at once joyful and menacing, is directed by the experimental theater veteran Daniel Fish and features countrified arrangements of the classic score performed by a small onstage band.

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‘La Traviata’ Opens a New Era at the Metropolitan Opera

December 4, 2018

There have been plenty of indications that the Metropolitan Opera is under new musical management. But the debate over the projectile champagne glass was as good a sign as any.

It unfolded during a recent rehearsal for a much-anticipated new production of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” When it opens on Dec. 4, this “Traviata” will be the first opera Yannick Nézet-Séguin has conducted as the Met’s new music director.

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What Happens When Fluxus Enters the Concert Hall?

November 12, 2018

Fluxus, the interdisciplinary art movement, which emerged in the 1960s,  is being celebrated by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Getty Center. The two organizations have assembled a convincing festival of Fluxus music for the Philharmonic’s 100th-anniversary season. If Fluxus is about questioning the nature of art, then this festival is about an orchestra questioning the boundaries of performance as it reflects on the past century and looks ahead to the next.

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Annapurna Devi, Acclaimed but Reclusive Indian Musician, Dies at 91

October 25, 2018

Annapurna Devi, a noted Indian musician and teacher whose decision to stop performing relatively early in her career made her something of an enigma, died on Oct. 13 in Mumbai. She was 91.

Ms. Devi learned at the feet of her father, Allauddin Khan, a revered figure in Indian classical music, and was married for years to one of his students, the sitarist Ravi Shankar. She played the surbahar, often described as a bass sitar, a difficult instrument that few if any women of her era played. The small number of people lucky enough to hear her were amazed by her mastery of it.

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After 350 Years, Paris Still Defines Opera

October 3, 2018

The Opéra National de Paris has begun to celebrate its 350th anniversary. While Meyerbeer’s “Les Huguenots,” which opened on Friday and runs through Oct. 24, has not been performed by the Opera since 1936, it was quite possibly the most popular music drama of the 19th century. Blazing worldwide after opening here in 1836, it was the first title to be put on by this company 1,000 times.

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The Met Is Creating New Operas (Including Its First by Women)

September 24, 2018

For the first time in its history, the Metropolitan Opera is commissioning operas by women. It is hoping to adapt beloved novels like “Lincoln in the Bardo” and “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.” And it will venture beyond the walls of its opera house to collaborate with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Public Theater.

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