Meaning of YEAR IN REVIEW 2000: PERFORMING-ARTS in English

Classical Music By 1999 the history of the 20th century could be seen in full perspective, and one conclusion evident to music lovers was that it had been the most operatic century since the Renaissance and the origins of opera. Newspapers and television (the nonfiction programs as well as the ones with invented plots and characters) were filled with operatic materialif Samuel Johnson's definition of opera as an exotic and irrational entertainment was accepted. Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, and Modest Mussorgsky produced no works with more extreme characters, situations, and gestures; intense emotions; and flagrant abandonment of logic than were seen in the headlines of the century's daily papers. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that opera was the fastest-growing form of classical music throughout the 1980s and '90s; opera attendance grew nearly 25% between 1982 and 1992 and another 12.5% in the following five years. In part the opera boom was undoubtedly due to the popularity of spectacles such as the Three Tenors (Luciano Pavarotti, Plcido Domingo, and Jos Carreras) concerts and pop-opera phenomena such as Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. (See Biographies.) While the audience for opera was growing, however, all other forms of classical music suffered audience shrinkage. Despite the enormous costs of production, which were unhappily reflected in the price of tickets, new operas were being composed and performed at an accelerating paceparticularly operas on 20th-century subjects. New on opera stages in 1999 were A View from the Bridge (composed by William Bolcom, based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name, and premiered by the Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Great Gatsby (composed by John Harbison, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and commissioned by New York's Metropolitan Opera), The Golden Ass (composed by Randolph Peters with a libretto by the late Robertson Davies, based on the Latin picaresque novel by Apuleius, premiered in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company), and Le Premier Cercle (premiered at the Opra National de Lyon, France, and composed over a 12-year period by Gilbert Amy, who also wrote the libretto, which was based on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel of the same name). Still awaiting production was yet another operatic treatment of a 20th-century literary classic, Sophie's Choice, with music and libretto by Nicholas Maw, based on the novel by William Styron, commissioned to celebrate the reopening in London of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and scheduled for its premiere late in 2002. Clearly evident in the opera boom was a tendency to adapt literary works that had already established a reputation and an audience. This was a practice as old as opera itself, dating back to the time when Claudio Monteverdi adapted the final episode of Homer's Odyssey for Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Operas were also being produced with fresh subject matter, however. One of the year's most notable new operas, What Next?, was composed by Elliott Carter, with libretto by Paul Griffiths; it was not an adaptation of a literary classic but an examination of an archetypal 20th-century subject. One American critic who attended the premiere, Philip Kennicott, described it in the Washington Post as a one-act musical evocation of an auto accident, its aftermath, and the smug satisfaction that the walking woundedi.e., mankindtake in selfishness and inner preoccupation. Although the premiere, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, was at the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden, it was sung in English. This recalled the time-honoured practice of American opera companies' performing operas in foreign languages, and it may have been a sign of the growing prestige of American composers (most notably Philip Glass) in European opera houses. On the other hand, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mo., in late 1998 broke its 40-year tradition of performing all its operas in English with Italian-language performances of Verdi's La traviata and Gioacchino Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri. Carter was more than 90 years old when What Next?, his first opera, was produced, and he thereby surpassed Verdi's remarkable record for creative longevity. At the other end of the age spectrum was 30-year-old Mark Lanz Weiser, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, Md., whose opera Where Angels Fear to Tread had an impressive premiere at the conservatory. The libretto, by Roger Brunyate, was based on a minor classic, E.M. Forster's first novel. Weiser's musicbasically post-Wagnerian but capable of Italian-style lyricismhad a promising technical mastery. Operas that premiered successfully without benefit of prestigious literary sources included Tod Machover's Resurrection at the Houston (Texas) Grand Opera and the Central Park trilogy, which had its debut at the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., before its second run at the New York City Operanot far from Central Park. The trilogy consisted of three one-act operas set in New York City. The Festival of Regrets by Deborah Drattell, with a witty libretto by Wendy Wasserstein, had music with distinctively Jewish roots, reminiscent of both the synagogue and klezmer bands. Michael Torke's Strawberry Fields, with a libretto by A.R. Gurney, was about a woman who imagines that the events taking place around her are part of an opera. Robert Beaser's The Food of Love, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, dealt with a timely subject: a homeless woman and child. Alex Ross in The New Yorker called the trilogy a sometimes cruelly accurate snapshot of life as it is lived now. The companion piece to the premiere of Carter's What Next? was the long-overdue Berlin premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's one-act comedy Von Heute auf Morgen, which was composed in 1928. Days later Theater Dortmund (Ger.) premiered Alexander Goehr's Kantan and Damask Drum, two half-hour plays and a short comic epilogue based on Japanese no drama. Another long-overdue event was the North American premiere of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Sly, an opera about an Elizabethan poet with a plot indebted partly to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. This was given by the Washington Opera, which in 1999 also mounted the first American production of Jules Massenet's Le Cid in more than 90 years. At the Metropolitan Opera two of the 20th century's most notable operas, Schoenberg's Moses und Aron and Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, had their company premieres. In recent years some of the world's most notable opera houses had experienced problems that were as melodramatic as anything that had been shown on their stages: disastrous fires in 1994 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, and in 1996 at La Fenice in Venice and physical deterioration and managerial upheavals at Covent Garden. All three were scheduled to reopen in 1999, and two did so. The project of renovating Covent Garden, a structure dating in large measure from 1858, had been launched in the early 1980s but encountered many delayslargely because of serious financial problems, including the prospect of bankruptcy after government subsidies were cut. A BBC documentary on the company, intended to enhance its public image, instead showed serious management shortcomings; three executive directors came and went in quick succession, and the House of Commons launched an investigation and demanded mass resignations of the board and management. A new executive director, Michael Kaiser, finally turned the situation around, and the renovated Covent Garden reopened in December with air-conditioning, escalators, and new commercial tenants who would help defray future expenses. The Liceu reopened in October with Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, the last opera it had programmed before being gutted by fire. This opera was chosen, according to a spokesman, to create a sense of continuity. There was a sort of discontinuity in it as well, however. In the Liceu production a new ending was devised for Turandot, which had been left unfinished at Puccini's death. In the usual production the icy Chinese princess falls in love; in this one she commits suicide. The theatre was modernized with a larger stage, new stage machinery, and improved sight lines. La Fenice's reconstruction lagged behind the theatres in London and Barcelona. The company raised the necessary funds and remained active with a variety of opera, ballet, and concert activities, including many co-productions with American and European companies. Nonetheless, it was using alternative locations while the reconstruction of the opera house proceeded slowly, hampered not only by logistic problems (e.g., transporting building materials on Venice's canals) but also by legal and bureaucratic complications, and it failed to open as planned in 1999. The game of musical chairs among conductors at the international level seemed to accelerate in 1999. Heading the list of conductors in motion internationally during the year were Kurt Masur, who was tapped as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra but agreed to continue as music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (see Biographies); Sir Simon Rattle, who was elected by the orchestra members to succeed Claudio Abbado as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic; Seiji Ozawa, who was to leave the Boston Symphony Orchestra to become artistic director of the Vienna State Opera in 2002; Franz Welser-Moest, who was appointed music director of the Cleveland (Ohio) Orchestra; Yuri Temirkanov, who began his tenure as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, who remained music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., while taking the position of chief conductor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London; and Eiji Oue, who announced his plan to leave the Minnesota Orchestra at the end of the 200102 season to increase his work in Europe. Notable musicians who died in 1999 included American violinist, conductor, and educator Yehudi Menuhin, American expatriate composer and author Paul Bowles, American choral director and orchestral conductor Robert Shaw, Spanish composer Joaqun Rodrigo, Swiss conductor and businessman Paul Sacher, Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus, Swiss composer and opera administrator Rolf Liebermann, German opera director August Everding, Russian conductor and educator Ilya Musin, and Japanese shakuhachi virtuoso Goro Yamaguchi. (See Obituaries.) Other deaths during the year included pianists Beveridge Webster, Samuel Sanders, and Gyorgy Sebok. A kind of music competitionnew to the United States, though similar events had taken place elsewherewas the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, held in Fort Worth, Texas, under the auspices of the Van Cliburn Foundation. It attracted contestants from nine countries and was won by French coin dealer Joel Holoubek. The Gramophone Awards for the best recordings of 199899 went to conductor Sir Charles Mackerras for Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka, Rene Fleming (who sang the title role in Mackerras's Rusalka) for her recital disc I Want Magic!, pianist Martha Argerich (who was named the British record magazine's Artist of the Year) for her recording of Frdric Chopin's two piano concertos, violinist Isaac Stern for lifetime achievement, Riccardo Chailly for his complete recording of the music of Edgard Varse, and Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos for a recording of a Carnegie Hall recital. Other competition winners included Italian pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi in the Cleveland International Piano Competition; Chinese pianist Yundi Li in the Gina Bachauer Young Artists International Piano Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah; soprano Barbara Quintiliani in the Marian Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition, sponsored by the University of Maryland; and Russian pianist Sergey Schepkin in the New Orleans International Piano Competition. The 1999 Grawemeyer Prize for Music Competition was awarded by the University of Louisville (Ky.) to 28-year-old British composer, conductor, and pianist Thomas Ades for his Asyla, a four-movement, 25-minute orchestral work commissioned for Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, who performed its premiere in 1997. It was announced that in its new edition, scheduled for publication in 2000, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians would have 29 volumes, 9 more than the 1980 edition. The newer New Grove would be available on-line (for subscribers who paid an annual fee) as well as in traditional print format. A German court sentenced entrepreneur Matthias Hoffmann to more than five years in prison for tax evasion on some $8 million derived from a concert by the Three Tenors under his management. A new, estimated $120 million cultural centre opened in Macau with a production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Joseph McLellan Europe. The 1999 European ballet scene was marked by the increasing dominance of full-length ballets, ranging from completely new works to a revival of the original Mariinsky production of The Sleeping Beauty, and the introduction of such oddities as a modernized La Bayadre, with an opening scene set in an Indian railway station. This trend was also beginning to creep into the contemporary dance world, with two British companies presenting new works that lasted an entire evening. In London the turmoil at the Royal Ballet subsided somewhat following the arrival of executive director Michael Kaiser, who appeared to have gained some control over the finances of the troubled Royal Opera House. Although artistic director Anthony Dowell submitted his resignation, it would not take effect for two years; meanwhile, for the first time ever, the job vacancy was being publicly advertised. The company's second year in exile saw it on tour in the Far East before a short London season in the summer, featuring a revival of Sir Frederick Ashton's Ondine and the promotion to principal dancer of Sarah Wildor after her debut in the title role. Otherwise, all energies were focussed on the reopening of the Royal Opera House in December. The opening program focused on contemporary choreography. After an extensive tour of its in-the-round version of Swan Lake, English National Ballet lost one-third of its dancers at the end of the season, but the company was back in shape in time to dance a taxing triple bill on its autumn tour, including the first company performances of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's version of The Rite of Spring. Northern Ballet Theatre appointed Italian Stefano Gianetti as director, succeeding the late Christopher Gable; Gianetti pledged to continue along the dance-theatre lines laid down by Gable and announced his own first production, an adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. Following a lengthy interregnum, Scottish Ballet also appointed a new director, Robert North, a former artistic director of the Rambert Dance Company; he had recently arrived from Verona, Italy, where he ran a ballet company. The new Sadler's Wells Theatre in London continued to present a first-class dance program, and its success was recognized by a large increase in public funding. Its second season included an important new piece by one of the country's leading contemporary choreographers, Siobhan Davies. Wild Air was her first piece in two acts. Later the Rambert Dance Company gave the first London performances of director Christopher Bruce's new work God's Plenty, another entire-evening piece, this one based on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Tetsuya Kumakawa, who in 1998 had left the Royal Ballet, persuaded five other men from the company to join him in his new ensemble, K Ballet Company. When its inaugural season in Japan was announced, all tickets for the tour sold on the first dayan impressive demonstration of the pop-star popularity of Kumakawa. No new works by major choreographers such as Roland Petit were completed, but there were some promised for the future; meanwhile, the company, with support from Royal Ballet ballerina Leanne Benjamin and some locally recruited dancers, had a great popular success with a program designed to showcase the dancers, particularly the men. The 2000 tour was already sold out. In France the Paris Opra Ballet staged evenings of choreography by Jerome Robbins and William Forsythe (including the first Forsythe piece in some time to be made for a company other than his own Frankfurt Ballet) and announced a new toile, Aurlie Dupont. The Lyons Opera Ballet brought in Australian modern dance choreographer Meryl Tankard to produce Ravel's Bolero, and its enterprising touring program took the troupe not only to Moscow, where it showed Angelin Preljocaj's Romeo and Juliet, but also to New York. The Ballet National de Marseille, now directed by former Paris Opra Ballet toile Marie-Claude Pietragalla, introduced a program of new dance to help fill the gap left by Roland Petit's withdrawal of all his ballets. The main event of the year in Russia was the Mariinsky Ballet's revival of The Sleeping Beauty, which re-created, as much as possible, the original Petipa choreography. Even in St. Petersburg opinions varied on whether this archaeological treatment resulted in a ballet valid for the 1990s. The Bolshoi Ballet, under its new artistic director, Aleksey Fadeyechev, visited London and was much better received than it had been on its critically disastrous last visit. The company boasted many new young dancers, including Svetlana Lunkina, who had a great personal success when at 18 she became the youngest ballerina ever to have danced the role of Giselle for the company. Maina Gielgud, artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet, resigned suddenly and was replaced by company soloist Aage Thordal-Christensen. His wife, former NYCB dancer Colleen Neary, was also scheduled to join the troupe. The Peter Schaufuss Balletten followed the 1998 Elvis Presley ballet The King with another work by Schaufuss that lasted the entire evening, The Man Who Longed for a Sea View, with music by a Danish rock group. The company, which established a school in its hometown of Holstebro, was given a 65% increase in its government grant. In Sweden, Petter Jacobsson took over from Frank Andersen as artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, which staged The Money of Mr. Arne, a new full-length piece by Swedish choreographer Par Isberg. The Finnish National Ballet had a new production of Giselle by Sylvie Guillem, who also danced the title role in the first performances. In Germany the Bavarian State Opera Ballet premiered Canadian choreographer Jean Grand-Maitre's Emma B, a 15-scene ballet based on Madame Bovary, and Philip Taylor's The Juliet Letters, with music by Elvis Costello. The Komische Oper in Berlin showed a modern version of The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Jan Linken. In Italy the Rome Opera Ballet, under its new director, Amedeo Amodio, mounted a production of Don Quixote; but Amodio, swimming against the tide, declared his intention to banish three-act ballets from his company's repertoire. The most important change in the dance scene in The Netherlands was the resignation of Jiri Kylian as artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater, which he had headed since 1975 and which was inextricably associated with his name. He was succeeded by Marian Sarstdt, who had danced with the company in its early days; with her appointment she became one of the few women to direct a major European troupe. Kylian would, however, maintain close contact with the company. Meanwhile, the Dutch National Ballet launched yet another multiact work, director Wayne Eagling's version of The Magic Flute. Offstage events included a weeklong festival honouring the memory of great ballet master Enrico Cecchetti in his hometown, Civitanova Marche, Italy, and a conference titled The Fonteyn Phenomenon, with the Royal Academy of Dancing in London as host. The event featured talks and discussions led by colleagues and friends of Dame Margot Fonteyn, Great Britain's greatest dancer. The annual festival of dance on video and film, Dance Screen 99, was held in Cologne, Ger., and showed some interesting work. A competition in Paris for classical choreographers disappointed, however, with no entry deemed worthy of the first prize. Dancers Elaine Fifield, Kirsten Ralov (see Obituaries), and Henry Legerton died during the year, as did teacher/director Anne Woolliams and choreographers Jack Carter and Igor Belsky. Jane Simpson Theatre Great Britain and Ireland. Upheaval was in the air in 1999, as London theatres faced the future either in new buildings or under new ownership. The Royal Opera House was poised to move back into a rebuilt Covent Garden and the Royal Court Theatre into a refurbished Sloane Square headquarters; the Hampstead Theatre planned to move to a renovated site despite having little support for its program. Most convulsively, the big West End conglomerates of Stoll Moss Theatres and Apollo Leisure went on the market. The latter which controlled the Lyceum Theatre, the new London home of The Lion King; the Dominion, home to the other Disney musical, Beauty and the Beast; and various other valuable and important venues throughout Great Britainwas acquired by SFX Entertainment. Stoll Mossthe owner of such prime West End venues as Her Majesty's Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and the Palladiumdid not find a buyer by year's end. The company's asking price was about $167 million, and possible purchasers included Lord Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group and his colleague and rival Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who, in effect, ran seven London theatres; he had gained control of the Queen's and the Gielgud (formerly the Globe) on Shaftesbury Avenue, as well as Wyndham's and the Albery. Diversity remained a hallmark, owing to the more than three dozen theatres and countless fringe venues that were available for mounting plays, musicals, and the compilation musical, a popular genre that was exemplified by Buddy, a biographical concert featuring a Buddy Holly look-alike. The show celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Strand Theatre. London also played host to Soul Train, featuring Sheila Ferguson of Three Degrees fame; Four Steps to Heaven, which invented a posthumous reunion between Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran; and Great Balls of Fire, a celebration of the songs of Jerry Lee Lewis, complete with incendiary piano. The Lion King was as ecstatically welcomed in London as it had been on Broadway and was the recipient of a special Evening Standard (ES) event award. Equally successfuland sold out for weeks in advance all yearwas a superior example of the compilation musical, Mamma Mia!, which threaded two dozen pop hits of the Swedish group Abba through a story about a mother and daughter on an idyllic Greek island on the eve of the daughter's wedding. The book for the smash hit was written by Catherine Johnson; the musical was directed by Phyllida Lloyd; and sets and costumes were designed by Mark Thompson. The ES best musical of the year, however, was Spend Spend Spend, Steve Brown and Justin Greene's heartwarming old-fashioned musical based on the autobiography of Vivian Nicholson, the 1961 football pools winner who squandered her big prize money on champagne, cars, and five husbands. Nicholson, bereft of her fortune but cheerful without it, attended the opening night at the Piccadilly and applauded the performances of Barbara Dickson, who starred as Nicholson, and the vibrant Rachel Leskovac, a new star in the firmament, who appeared as a young Nicholson. Another musical, a revival of the 1954 production of The Pajama Game, also centred on money, this time in a romantic industrial dispute. The Simon Callow production at the Victoria Palace had surreal designs by painter Frank Stella and was sapped by low-energy-level performances all around. Leslie Ash was a poor substitute for Doris Day, who starred in the film, and the second-act opening song, Steam Heat, was distinctly subzero. Elsewhere in the West End, a new writing initiative at the Ambassadors, which was renamed the New Ambassadors, failed to materialize until Mark Ravenhill's second major play, Some Explicit Polaroids, attracted good notices. This was another end-of-century lament for the loss of idealism, love, socialism, and life itself. After the riches of recent years, it was a lean year for good new plays. Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water, first seen in 1996, showed up brightly with Alison Steadman leading a black comedy of three sisters at their mother's funeral. Sir Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential, his 53rd play, was a daring mix of sex, comedy, and futurism in the tale of an android actor breaking out of preprogrammed soap opera into humanity. This resistant reverse metaphor of our time was brilliantly expressed in Janie Dee's performance, and she was honoured with the ES best actress award. Neither the Royal National Theatre (RNT) nor the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) produced any worthwhile new work. At the RNT, Trevor Nunn and his old RSC colleague John Caird formed an ensemble that lit up the main Olivier arena all year. Their four undisputed triumphs were William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Money, and Maksim Gorky's Summerfolk. These four masterpieces summed up a century of wars and lechery, adventure and religious persecution, society marriages of convenience, and the rise of the middle classes. The RNT company included Simon Russell Beale, Roger Allam, Patricia Hodge, Jennifer Ehle, Victoria Hamilton, Denis Quilley, and Clive Rowe. The standard of presentation was as glorious as at any time in the National's history; when Nunn and Caird were not involved in RNT productions, however, the standard evaporated. The cherry on the National's cake was Nunn's brilliant, definitive revival of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in the small Cottesloe auditorium, with Henry Goodman easily the best Shylock since Laurence Olivier. Hardly surprising, Nunn won the ES best director award for both Summerfolk and The Merchant of Venice. The RSC could offer nothing comparable until late in the year when, at Stratford-upon-Avon, Antony Sher and Harriet Walter led a superb revival of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the best since Nunn's 1977 production for the RSC. Sher had already given an outstanding portrayal of Leontes in The Winter's Tale, which, like Macbeth, was directed by his real-life partner, Gregory Doran, the new hope of the RSC. Doran's Timon of Athens, the first on the main Stratford stage since Paul Scofield had the role in 1965, was salvaged by Michael Pennington in the lead when Alan Bates pulled out. Bates had already partnered Frances de la Tour in an intelligent but unexceptional Antony and Cleopatra. Also at Stratford, Adrian Noble provided a seasonal boost with his production of the children's favourite The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In London the RSC had high hopes for Sir Nigel Hawthorne as King Lear, directed by Japanese maestro Yukio Ninagawa, but this collaboration proved disappointing. Hawthorne played the pathos adequately, as he had in the stage and film productions of The Madness of King George, but he never scaled the heights. The rest was ordinary, with discreet Japanese-painted doors and a bizarre storm scene, in which the actors were bombarded with sand and stones. Before she joined the RNT, Ehle played opposite Stephen Dillane (ES best actor) in a fine revival of Sir Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing at the Donmar Warehouse. The Almeida Theatre had another good year with Peter Gill's Certain Young Men, Pierre Marivaux's The Triumph of Love, and Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, in which Ian McDiarmid was bracingly acerbic in the title role. The Almeida also enlivened the West End at the Albery with Gorky's Vassa, which featured Sheila Hancock in the lead and direction by Howard Davies, and a coruscating revival of Plenty, Sir David Hare's 1978 play of mid-century political and identity crisis; the play was directed by Jonathan Kent and starred the feline, riveting Cate Blanchett. This production also exposed the paucity and narrowness of much of the other new writing. The Royal Court in exile did little more than carry on with Conor McPherson's The Weir, the Olivier Award-winning play. The Globe at Southwark continued to be both popular and a source of critical controversy. Director Mark Rylance played Cleopatra in a lucid but generally derided all-male revival of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, and an all-male Julius Caesar was similarly ill received. The audience under the skies also enjoyed a boisterous The Comedy of Errors. Other London summer highlights included a revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, starring the veteran music-hall star Roy Hudd at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, and a fine performance at the Queen's by stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard as Lenny Bruce in Sir Peter Hall's revival of Julian Barry's Lenny. The centenary of Sir Nol Coward's birth was celebrated with a revival of his last play, Song at Twilight, starring Corin Redgrave as Hugo Latymer, a successful writer exposed as a sexual hypocrite. When Sheridan Morley's production transferred from the King's Head Theatre in Islington to the Gielgud on Shaftesbury Avenue, Corin's sister Vanessain blistering formreplaced Nyree Dawn Porter as the writer's avenging former lover. The RNT's Private Lives paraded Anton Lesser and Juliet Stevenson in the original Coward and Gertrude Lawrence roles. At the Savoy Theatre, Geraldine McEwan, daft and scintillating, starred in one of Coward's most delightful early comedies, a controversial heavily Gothic production of Hay Fever by Declan Donnellan. The regional theatre, however, paid Coward the best homage with revelatory productions of The Young Idea at the Chester Gateway and, especially, Nude with Violin at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, directed by Marianne Elliott. The Royal Exchange was fully operational again in the spectacularly rebuilt centre of Manchester, three years after an IRA bomb devastated the area. Also refurbished was the Birmingham Rep, to the tune of 7 million (about $11.6 million), and the city's second theatre celebrated with a fine revival of Tennessee Williams's Baby Doll, a screenplay whose cinematic qualities were cleverly adapted for the theatre. Chichester Festival Theatre played safe with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, a fine production featuring Patricia Routledge as Lady Bracknell, and more risky with a revelatory revival of David Turner's Semi-Detached, a forgotten surreal suburban gem that once starred Olivier. At Ayckbourn's home base at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, the highlight was a new play by Ben Brown, Larkin with Women, which created a tapestry of words, poems, and comic confrontations in Hull between Philip Larkin, the gloomy poet who was librarian at the University of Hull in Yorkshire, and three concurrent mistresses. The Edinburgh Festival presented the Stary Theatre of Cracow in a mammoth three-part version of Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers, a chronicle of people finding their footing and losing their souls prior to and after World War I. Other notable productions included The Speculator, a wonderfully ambitious play by Scottish writer David Greig. The setting was 1720 in Paris, where the richest man in the world, John Law, launched his Mississippi investment scheme and playwright Pierre Marivaux tried to rewrite the rules of comic drama. The Abbey Theatre in Dublin scored a hit with Tom Murphy's haunting The Wake, a play about homecoming and exile, faith, and national identity. Ben Barnes was named successor to Abbey artistic director Patrick Mason, who resigned after six successful years in the post. Mason's farewell production was a new play from Frank McGuinness, Dolly West's Kitchen, which brought the issue of Ireland's neutrality during World War II into sharp focus in Donegal. McGuinness, one of the leading lights of Ireland's playwriting renaissance, had recently had a few disappointments but was reinstated in the vanguard with his latest play. Jazz The music of Duke Ellington, one of the greatest jazz composers, dominated the jazz scene in 1999. The centennial of his birth was celebrated worldwide at festivals, concerts, and nightclubs and prompted a proliferation of recorded tributes by singers and instrumentalists. On April 29, Ellington's birthday, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, played Ellington's band's theme song, Take the A' Train, on a New York City A train subway ride from 125th Street to Columbus Circle, then paraded up Broadway to the Lincoln Center plaza, where 500 high-school jazz musicians joined them in playing Ellington songs. Both the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, conducted by David Baker, toured the U.S. with all-Ellington programs. In addition, RCA Victor issued the 24-compact disc (CD) box set The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings 19271973, which included early masterpieces and the complete recordings of his classic early 1940s band. Meanwhile, Columbia/Legacy planned to reissue a three-CD box of 192761 works that Ellington had recorded for Columbia, The Duke, and rereleased a handful of his 1950s LPs on CD, including his Shakespeare-inspired suite Such Sweet Thunder. Some festivals also paused to honour the centennial of the birth of Hoagy Carmichael, composer of a number of jazz standards. Much of the freshness in jazz of the 1990s was stimulated by other musical traditions. Latin jazz had long been popular, and pianist Danilo Perez and trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez's Fort Apache Band exemplified the best of younger Latin jazz artists. Brian Setzer and Lavay Smith became popular figures among devotees of the new swing music, or neoswing, which originated in rhythm-and-blues and in Las Vegas, Nev., lounge acts as well as in jazz. As for other jazz fusions, alto saxophonist John Zorn joined klezmer themes and free jazz in Masada, his high-energy quartet. The threesome Jon Jang on piano, Max Roach on drums, and Jiebing Chen playing erhu, a Chinese two-string violin performed songs based on Chinese scales in Beijing Trio, one of several releases on the Asian Improv label, which featured Asian-American artists; the label also issued a revised version, using Asian instruments, of Ellington's Far East Suite by the Asian American Jazz Orchestra, led by drummer Anthony Brown. The remarkable singer Sainkho Namtchylak and her ensemble, including men who played traditional instruments and practiced Tuvan throat singing, performed folk music of Tuva as well as free improvisation. Faced with uncertain funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public radio stations increasingly turned to market testing determine jazz programming. The testing involved playing 1015-second snippets of recordings to rooms full of people, who rated whether they liked or disliked them. The results generally led to radio programming of more conservative jazz. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which in the past had awarded grants to long-established jazz artists, broke with its own tradition by granting a fellowship to Ken Vandermark, a younger Chicago saxophonist. A play by Warren Leight about a jazz-obsessed musician, Side Man, was among the year's Broadway hit shows. The Montreal International Jazz Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary by featuring pianist Oliver Jones and saxophonist Joe Lovano, each in a series of concerts. In New York City the two June jazz festivalsthe long-running JVC Jazz Festival and the newer Bell Atlantic Jazz Festivalwere preceded by a new two-week May festival named Vision, which focused on free jazz composers and improvisers. Death took a dreadful toll on the jazz community in 1999, claiming, among many others, Red Norvo, xylophonist and vibraphone soloist; vibraphonist Milt Jackson, a bebop pioneer best known as the principal soloist of the Modern Jazz Quartet; pianists Jaki Byard and Michel Petrucciani; trumpeters Harry (Sweets) Edison, Art Farmer, Lester Bowie, and Al Hirt; guitarist Charlie Byrd; saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.; singers Helen Forrest, Mel Torm, and Joe Williams; blues singer-pianist Charles Brown (see Obituaries); and critic Stanley Dance. With the original players of early jazz, swing, and bop nearly all gone, the remaining second generation of bop-era musicians and the pioneers of free jazz were now the senior jazz artists. While the flood of new recordings continued unabated, just a few senior artists made important contributions, including Roscoe Mitchell with Nine to Get Ready (ECM) and Steve Lacy, offering septet settings of poems by a bold Bangladeshi woman, Taslima Nasrin, in The Cry (Soul Note). One of the finest releases of the decade was Momentum Space (Verve) by the trio of Dewey Redman (tenor saxophone), Cecil Taylor (piano), and Elvin Jones (drums). Among younger jazz generations, Wynton Marsalis offered no fewer than eight new albums, including his first string quartet, At the Octoroon Balls, his Igor Stravinsky-inspired A Fiddler's Tale, a disc of two ballets, a four-CD set of live performances, and tributes to Thelonious Monk and Jelly Roll Morton (all Sony/Columbia). Singer Cassandra Wilson (see Biographies) honoured Miles Davis in Traveling Miles (Blue Note); the important composer-pianist Myra Melford contributed Above Blue (Arabesque); and Canadian piano virtuoso D.D. Jackson presented a dynamic solo album, So Far (RCA Victor). Among the year's books, Future Jazz by Howard Mandel and Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz 19151945 by Richard Sudhalter stood out. John Litweiler Motion Pictures (For Selected International Film Awards in 1999, see Table.) With the start of the motion picture's second century, a global economic imbalance in cinema production was becoming more visibly a universal cultural crisis. The ever-increasing dominance of American films on the screens of practically the entire world was an undeniable fact. With a few possible exceptions, such as the thriving film industry of India, called Bollywood (see Sidebar), the result over the years had been to make it progressively more difficult for the films of other nations to find audiences, even in their own territories. In 1999 more than ever before, it was evident that diminishing economic opportunities in many parts of the world were having an adverse impact upon cultural expression and creative ambition in those areas. Nontheatrical Films Climbing Mt. Everest is one of the world's great challenges, but carrying a heavy movie camera to the top for an IMAX film is an incredible feat. That film, Everest, by MacGillivray Freeman Films was breathtakingly beautiful. The CINE Golden Eagle honoree won the La Gode (IMAX) Film Festival grand prize in Paris plus awards at five other events. For the second year in a row, an Austrian film took the Grand Prix at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival in Chicago. The Genesis of Wine in Austria, a documentary by Rudolf Klingohr (Interspot Film GesmbH, Vienna), revealed that wine was originally used for medicinal purposes. The Dragons of Galpagos, a National Geographic documentary by David Parer and Elizabeth Parer-Cook, captured the life cycle of the iguana in a remarkable account of fauna on the islands off South America. It won two Emmys in the U.S. plus Australia's top award, the AFI, and three other honours. Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street (Daedalus Productions), using footage taken over six decades, took the top award at the Columbus (Ohio) Film Festival. The producer of this personal, warm documentary was the noted photographer's daughter, Nina Rosenblum. Slow Dancin' down the Aisles of the Quickcheck, a quirky romance from the Florida State University Film Conservatory, was a standout among student films. Winner of a CINE Eagle and 10 festival awards, it had an exceptional production quality that put director Thomas Wade Jackson in the league of professionals. Thomas W. Hope Dance North America. The recent domination of large-scale narrative ballets made headlines in mid-1999 when Ballet Alert, a Washington, D.C., newsletter, sounded the alarm: Son of Dracula, Story Ballets, Pop Dance Take the Bite out of the 19992000 Season. Even New York City Ballet (NYCB) presented a nearly two-hour two-act production of Swan Lake, a departure from the so-called abstract ballets that it had specialized in during its heyday. The full company work, mounted by ballet master Peter Martins as part of NYCB's continuing 50th-anniversary c

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