Author Archives: Neil Kurtzman

Don’t Look Back

Tweet The most poorly managed institution in modern western society is the hospital. I say this after half a century of steady exposure to hospitals of all sorts. I was a student, resident, fellow, staff member, section chief, department chair, chief of staff, and even a patient. Inertia at all levels was unconquerable. Newton’s first…


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The 10 Best Mezzo-Sopranos of the 20th Century

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SkyFJMC4g

Tweet It was really hard to pick 10 mezzos. There were so many great singers of this range in the 20th century that I’m sure that if I picked just 10 a week from now, the list would be different. So this ranking not only reflects personal taste and opinion, but it also is conditional….


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Antonina Nezhdanova

Tweet Antonina Nezhdanova (1873-1950) was a Ukrainian soprano who made her career in the last years of Imperial Russia and then continued after the 1917 revolution as a singer and teacher in the Soviet Union. She was the greatest Russian soprano of her era. She had a high lyric voice which negotiated all the obstacles…


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The Charlie Gard Case

Tweet By now almost everyone has heard of the the Charlie Gard case. The issue at its core is much simpler than any of the accounts that I have read of the plight of this child and his family. Medically the case is straightforward. The child suffers from a rare metabolic defect that has destroyed…


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Adolf von Henselt

Tweet Adolf von Henselt (1814-89) was a German composer and virtuoso pianist. A native of Schwabach in Munich, he went to Vienna to study under Hummel. He soon became a noted piano soloist. He was famous for his cantabile and legato playing. Even Liszt admired his playing. He also composed. Most of his compositions were…


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The Opioid Epidemic

Tweet There seems to be no end of mischief that the government can do when it plunges into the quicksand of American medicine. Let’s consider the opioid epidemic. It appears that deaths from opioid overdose have sharply increased in this country.  Let’s also grant that this surge in deaths is exactly the way it’s portrayed…


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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Orchestral Excerpts

Tweet Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is the greatest Russian opera of the 20th century and among all Russian operas is matched only by Boris Godunov.  Set to a libretto by the composer and Alexander Preys, it depicts the brutality of mid 19th century Russian life and the plight of women enmeshed in…


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The Sniffer – Review

Tweet The Sniffer is a Ukrainian TV series recorded in Russian. The stories all take place in an unspecified Russian city. The license plates are Russian and the characters often refer to oligarchs. The show has two protagonists, the title character and his childhood buddy, who after a promotion halfway through the first season, is a…


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French Opera Arias

Tweet The title is accurate, but incomplete. The arias that follow are all from operas that are rarely, if ever, heard today. Most of them are equally infrequent guests at recitals. But they all have some interest and are worth an occasional hearing. They are predominantly by French composers. I have not included Italians masquerading as…


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The Paris Climate Accord and Reasoned Debate

Tweet                                                                      The center cannot hold…                                …


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