It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.
It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.
Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?
They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?
I never heard of the Baroque composer Agostino Steffani until last year, when the Boston Early Music Festival presented the North American premiere of Steffani's Niobe, an opera about the mythical queen who bragged so much about her many children, the gods killed them all in revenge. One of the leading roles, Niobe's husband King Amphion, was played by the early-music superstar countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who sang the opera's most sublime aria — a hymn to the harmony of the spheres. I couldn't wait to hear Jaroussky again, and was eager to hear more Steffani.
Venezuela's National Assembly has approved a measure that allows President Hugo Chávez to leave the country for medical treatment in Cuba.
Chávez, as we've reported, has been battling cancer for more than a year. His treatments and the secrecy surrounding his condition led some to wonder whether he could handle a rough reelection campaign. But he made a remarkable comeback and handily won another term in October.
There has not been a wave of defections by Republicans who signed on to his "no new taxes" pledge and even the few who have spoken about possibly going along with revenue increases won't do so in the end, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist told NPR Tuesday.
After meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice this morning, three key Republican senators emerged to say they're more troubled — not less — by what they say were intelligence failures and misleading information concerning the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead.
One, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said it's too soon to even be speculating about promoting Rice to be secretary of state.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 8:57 am
The way some doctors see it, asking patients whether they own a gun is no more politically loaded than any other health-related question they ask.
So when a Florida law that prohibited them from discussing gun ownership with patients passed last year, they moved to fight it. A federal judge issued a permanent injunction blocking enforcement of the law in July.