Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Photographs of Robert Cahen – Samuel Ramey

Tweet Today is the 70th birthday of the great American bass Samuel Ramey. To mark the anniversary here are 7 photographs of the singer taken by Robert Cahen. A bonus – Assur’s mad scene from the second act of Rossini’s Semiramide. This is from the performance of the opera at the Met on Dec 29, 1990. Ramey Semiramide Deh ti…


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Mozart, Verdi, and Heart Transplantation

Tweet This observation appeared just five days ago. It sounds like it belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results rather than the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Nevertheless, here is the paper’s abstract : Auditory stimulation of opera music induced prolongation of murine cardiac allograft survival and maintained generation of regulatory CD4+CD25+ cells Masateru Uchiyama, Xiangyuan Jin, Qi Zhang,…


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Rossi’s Laws of Evaluation

Tweet 1.  The Stainless Steel Law: The better designed the outcome evaluation, the less effective the intervention seems. 2. The Iron Law: The expected value of any impact assessment of any large scale social programme is zero. 3. The Brass Law: The more social programs are designed to change individuals, the more likely the net…


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Better Human Beings

Tweet “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”–Immanuel Kant President Obama’s choice to be the next President of the World Bank is Dartmouth President Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Dr Kim is a physician who is fond of quoting his predecessor at Dartmouth John Sloan Dickey: “The world’s troubles are…


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Roumania, Roumania

Tweet Aaron Lebedeff was a Yiddish vaudeville performer whose prime was 1920-40. Born in Russia in 1873, he arrived in the US in 1920. His American career was launched by the great Yiddish actor/impresario Boris Thomashefsky –  the grandfather of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Lebedeff’s performances were filled almost maniacal energy and zany intensity. This is…


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Prostate Cancer Redux – Again

Tweet Even Scientific American has gotten into the act. An article by Harvard oncologist Marc B Garnick says, “Evidence shows that screening [for prostate cancer] does more harm than good.” Go here for an interview with Dr Garnick. Why this great awakening about the unsatisfactory effects of PSA screening? It’s the result of reality seepage and…


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The Pearl Fishers Duet

Tweet Bizet’s opera, Les pêcheurs de perles, is gradually creeping into the operatic mainstream. The composer was only 25 when he wrote the work; it was not a great success; but it’s hung around the periphery of the standard repertory for almost a century and a half. The Santa Fe Opera will stage it this summer as will the Opéra-Comique. The tenor-baritone duet (‘Au fond…


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Body – The Universal Language

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La Traviata Program Notes

Tweet Below are the program notes I wrote for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra’s performances of Verdi’s La Traviata March 2 and 3, 2012. La Traviata was Giuseppe Verdi’s 19th opera. Though the composer was dissatisfied with its initial run, the opera rapidly established itself as his most popular work. Indeed, it may be the most popular opera…


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