Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of people in the world who would've thrilled at the opportunity to spend time in the close orbit of Ricky Jay, the illusionist, writer, performer, playing card-thrower, and scholar who died at his home in Los Angeles last weekend.

At the beginning of 2005, when I went to work for him, I was not one of those people.

Photo by Peter Cunningham


When On Site Opera explored the idea of staging Amahl and the Night Visitors, General and Artistic Director Eric Einhorn set about finding a way to bring it to an appropriate venue to tell the holiday story of charity and giving. His solution was to bring it to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York - and to partner with Breaking Ground, which provides housing and other support to the homeless, to create a chorus comprised of those who have experienced homelessness in their lives.

Lincoln Kirstein writes in one of his four pieces in Dance in America, "To write descriptions of dancing is even more aimless than to paint pictures of music."

Clearly that hasn't stopped him, or anyone else, from trying. Dancing means too much. We have to try to talk about it. But what a nearly impossible task, to collect the right essays, excerpts, and asides that will somehow become a definitive portrait of dance in America. It gets even tougher when your audience is equal parts academics and everyday fans.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's great about a culture. That's exactly what Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was when he came to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, an immigrant thrown into a new world and new sounds.

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Jessy Harmer (Fidelio Arts Ltd)

Princeton University Concerts (PUC) celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and a major focus of the season will be Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, who was named as PUC's first Artist-in-Residence. His residency will be marked with performances and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including "The Artist in Society" and "The Arts and Faith." The programs kick off Dec. 1, and A Tempo this Saturday (11/24 at 7 pm) previews some of the events.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Young Lara is asleep as Girl, Belgium's official submission for this year's Academy Award for best foreign-language film, begins. Her mane of straight blonde hair falls across her cheek as her five-year-old brother Milo (Oliver Bodart) climbs onto her bed, whispering her name.

It's clearly a ritual: As she wakes, she stays motionless — then, suddenly, hoists him in the air. The boy giggles.

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Houston Grand Opera is turning to a music-loving armadillo named Sandy in its efforts to cultivate the next generation of opera lovers.

Photo by Peter Cunningham


The chiming of bells will ring out on Nov. 11 in communities across the United States and Europe in commemoration of the 100 anniversary of the end of World War I, much as they did that day a century ago following the announcement of the Armistice, signed at 11 am on Nov. 11, 1918.

There's a new star on Broadway. He's 20 feet tall, weighs 1.2 tons and requires 15 people to move.

His name is King Kong.

The gigantic puppet is the centerpiece of a $35 million musical, based on the classic 1933 film. In some ways, King Kong is a typical Broadway musical — there are songs and dances and dialogue. But what the audience really wants to see is the giant ape.

He is quite big — when he stands upright, snorting and sniffing and roaring, he's two stories tall. And he feels alive.

The irony couldn't have been more vivid when Maria Callas sang the words "The dead don't rise again from the grave," from Verdi's opera Macbeth, on stage Friday night at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg, Va.

Roy Hargrove, an incisive trumpeter who embodied the brightest promise of his jazz generation, both as a young steward of the bebop tradition and a savvy bridge to hip-hop and R&B, died on Friday night in New York City. He was 49.

Brigitte Lacombe


The New Jersey State Council on the Arts last month unveiled its most recent Strategic Plan, and also announced the appointment of Allison Tratner as its new Executive Director. A Tempo host Rachel Katz will interview Tratner this Saturday (11/3 at 7 pm) about the goals of this new five-year plan, and about her expectations as she takes on the leadership of the Council, which distributes about $16 million annually to more than 700 New Jersey arts organizations.

'Wait Wait' Turns 20

Oct 27, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:


Joan of Arc is an emblem: a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, the inspiration of so many novels and films and George Bernard Shaw's iconic play Saint Joan.

She was also once a real teenage girl. She did farm work. And she had parents, who loved her and were with her until her end — when she was burned at the stake in 1431.

Yucel Moran


Nathan Yan

Silicon Valley, with its array of technology companies, has become synonymous with creativity, and given the correlation between science nerds and music geeks, it was almost inevitable that someone would find a way to combine these two interests into a fun-filled and fulfilling venture. The result is Techapella, an annual concert showcasing the variety of a cappella ensembles that have sprung up at the region's tech companies, including Twitter's Songbirds, Facebook's The Vocal Network, and the Pintunes at Pinterest, just to name a few.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, HOST:

Vijay Gupta's life work has been to make music accessible to all.

That passion caught the attention of others and earlier this month the Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist was awarded a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship — also known as the genius grant.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, HOST:

In a one-woman play set in the future, a British sociology professor lectures her students about the sex industry.

(SOUNDBITE OF PERFORMANCE OF PLAY, "SELL/BUY/DATE")

Joan Marcus


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