As Our Yesterday Sings

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The Past has a Version Control Problem

The biblical story of Judith

The Book of Judith is a biblical book written in 100 B.C but takes place in 600 B.C that is a deuterocanonical book, meaning that it is an Old Testament book that is considered canonical by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, yet considered by Protestants to be apocryphal. It is included in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Old Testament of the Bible, the Septuagint, which is the Greek Old Testament, and the Apocrypha, which is a collection of text believed by the Protestants to be apocryphal, yet excluded from the Hebrew Bible. You may find the story in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as it contains apocryphal texts, such as this one.

This story takes place when the Assyrians, in the lead of the Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar, invaded Israel, after the destruction of the first temple. Although most Israelis were in exile, some Israelis were still in Israel, one of them being Judith, a beautiful Israeli widow. The Assyrian king sent his general Holofernes to destroy Bethulia, the city Judith comes from. Because nobody did anything to defend their town from Holofernes, Judith decided she would save the city. How? She told the Holofernes and the rest of the Assyrians she can give them intel as an Israelite and serve as a spy, and when she got enough reputation to gain access to Holofernes’ tent, one night she wore the most beautiful clothes she had and seduced Holofernes with wine and cheese. Then when he couldn’t even move from being so drunk, she and her maid cut off his head and brought it to Bethulia to show the townsfolk that they still have hope. This story is very similar to a story in the Book of Judges, that is in the Hebrew Bible, in which Jael killed Sisera, a bad guy general by seducing him, or in the book of Samuel, in which the weak David kills the strong Goliath, and also similar to the New Testament in which Salome gets the head of John the Baptist on a silver plate.

People criticize the story of Judith for being too dramatic and romantic to be accurate, and also agree that the story celebrates the trope of “female rage”.

There is a custom during the Jewish holiday Hanukkah to consume food and drinks full of milk, just like how Holofernes and Judith drank milk before she decapitated his head.

The story provides the ideal template for the exploration of the power of female virtue, beauty, and power, therefore a lot of artists decided to depict Judith in their artworks, and these mainly fall into two categories: the femme forte, which depicts Judith as a strong and virtuous woman, and the femme fatale, which depicts Judith as a sexually dangerous woman. Judith was especially popular during the Middle Ages, in which she was mostly shown as a strong woman in manuscripts. The story became popular in art only during the Renaissance when a lot of artists from the Italian city of Florence saw Judith as a symbol of weakness defeating strongness, which is similar to Florence itself, which was a small city-state fighting bigger city-states and winning. These artists, starting with Carravagio, drew a lot of portraits of her, the underdog, killing Holofernes, the mighty general, while some of them have shown the act itself of beheading, and others only showed the aftermath.

Judith Beheading Holofernes - Caravaggio

Caravaggio was a skilled Italian painter from Rome during the Renaissance who also had a massive artistic impact on the Baroque art that was established after the Renaissance.

At the time the biblical story of Judith was already known to symbolize weak over strong, as it was mainly popular in Florence. Unlike other painters, Caravaggio was the first person to depict the biblical story as a melodrama, and instead of showing the aftermath of the weak Judith holding the already beheaded head of Holofernes, he painted a violent painting of the act itself of Judith beheading Holofernes.

As for it being a melodrama, each character has one dramatic body language expression, and it’s not that realistic in the way of how the blood spills or how the characters would behave in this situation.

Judith is seen beheading Holofernes with a sword, as she is awkward and disgusted by the blood spilled, while still being determined. Holofernes is seen in bed powerful, but drunk, nude, and shocked as we see in his facial expression, during the last moment of his consciousness. The old woman servant can be seen on the far right holding the bag in which the head of Holofernes will fit and looks bloodthirsty and satisfied with the beheading.

The painting is criticized by religious people for not being pure, as blood is shown in the painting near an important biblical figure, while others criticize it for being inaccurate to how each person would behave in this situation, as it is a melodrama.

The painting’s medium is oil and chiaroscuro on canvas.
The painting is now exhibited in Palazzo Barberini, Rome.

Because Carravagio didn’t master rendering three-dimensional spaces in his paintings, the angle of the viewpoint is more on the right rather than the center, and also there is a lot of black void around the characters that make the painting seem two-dimensional.

Caravaggio modeled Judith after Fillide Melandroni, Caravaggio’s prostitute and friend.

Caravaggio took inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci with the dramatic impressions of the characters in a painting.

When Caravaggio went to hide in Florence after he accidentally killed somebody, he painted another version of Judith Beheading Holofernes, called “Florence Judith” which is depicted with more realism, and it can still be seen today in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Judith Slaying Holofernes - Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi is the daughter of the Roman painter Orazio Gentileschi, and during her childhood she received training from her father and other famous painters, and quickly developed her own realistic style with more muted colors and softer lighting. When she turned 18 she was raped by her father’s colleague, Agostino Tassi, and during the trail to prove his guilty she was traumatized as she had to undergo physical examination. Also the public was against her as she was a woman and she accused a man of crime, a thing that was not popular at the time. Nevertheless, she continued to paint and produce powerful works that mainly depicted strong and heroic women.
After spending a few years in Florence and there taking inspiration from Caravaggio’s work “Florence Judith” (presumably), Artemisia decided to paint her own version of the painting with her style, getting to really show the “female rage”, and depict Judith as a strong and heroic woman.
The painting depicts, too, the act of beheading Holofernes. Judith, with the yellow dress, beheads holofernes while she doesn’t look awkward or afraid, but strong. The maid in the blue dress helps Judith to pin Holofernes to the bed, as he is very strong, and holofernes in the bottom of the painting, unlike Judith and the servant, dies not dramatically, but how normal people die when they are drunk and beheaded.
The realism in Artemisia’s style is depicted by the blood, as unlike in Judith Beheading Holofernes, in this painting a lot of blood is spilled everywhere, and by the facial expressions, as every character is struggling instead of being dramatic. The painting also has more muted colors and softer colors than Caravaggio’s version.
When the painting came to be exhibited in Florence, it was denied the honor to be exhibited in the great Uffizi Gallery, as it showed how strong women and women artists are, although at the end after some help from Galileo Galilei, Artemisia’s friend.
The painting is mainly known for its feminine, strong and heroic depiction of women.
At the end of the day Artemisia succeeded as a female painter during an era of male painters, and got to travel to a lot of places and became the first woman to enter the Academy of Art and Design in Florence.
The medium of the painting is oil on canvas.
The painting is now still exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery.
This artwork could be a form of therapy, or perhaps a revenge fantasy from the traumatizing rape she had.

Judith and the Head of Holofernes - Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession artistic movement.

In his painting, he deliberately ignored any narrative reference, and unlike Caravaggio and Artemisia, pictured Judith in the aftermath, after the act of beheading, while she is mostly exposed. In addition, The head of Holofernes can be seen in the bottom right, and Klimt decided to most of his head from the painting, just to center on Judith, and only showed the part of the head where she cradles it, just to show Judith’s post-coital bliss, her sexual afterglow.

The style Klimt used in this painting is his “Golden Phase” or his “Byzantine Style”, due to the heavy use of gold leaf and the influence of Byzantine art, which is associated with Art Nouveau.

This painting is the most femme fatale painting out of the selection, as Klimt wants to show Judith as a sexual predator, as a nude, much more than as a strong and heroic woman.

It is mainly criticized for being femme fatale and is also criticized for the use of gold leaf and other decorative patterns in the painting, as they were claimed to be extremely decorative, and so it detracted from the seriousness of the subject matter.

The medium of the painting is oil and gold on canvas.

The painting is nowadays exhibited in Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.

The face of Judith in the painting was modeled after Gustav Klimt’s friend, the Viennese socialite, Adele Bloch-Bauer.

The painting is also called Judith I, and Klimt later made another painting of Judith in a more abstract style.

Judith and Holofernes - Pedro Americo

Pedro Americo was a famous Brazilian novelist, scientist, essayist, poet, and artist during the end of the 19th century, and is known for his attention to detail and realistic depiction of the figures and the settings.

When Americo went to Italy he was inspired by Renaissance art to make a painting of Judith after the act with the realism of the setting, as Judith can be seen with an Israeli black and gold dress and head cover, white robes, and sandals, and on top of that she is located in the tent of Holofernes, raising her arms in triumph, while the head of Holofernes is laid on the ground and so his Assyrian sword.

The painting was later brought to Brazil, as the subject of Judith and Holofernes was popular in Brazil, where it was seen as a symbol of national resistance to foreign domination.

The painting is adored as one of the best Brazilian art pieces of the 19th century, and the only tiny criticism it has is that it’s too academic, and doesn’t have emotion and facial expressions in it, unlike how the rest of the artists depicted Judith in their own different face-expressional way.

The medium of the painting is oil on canvas.

It is today exhibited in Museu Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro.

Americo spent a decade working on this painting.

Judith and Holofernes - Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley is an American painter located in New York and is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people, whether they are famous people such as Barack Obama, or people he meets across the street.

In this painting Judith, the African-American woman, wearing a Givenchy gown, and holding in one hand a bloody knife, while in the other she holds a decapitated head of Holofernes, a white woman.

Wiley wants this painting to symbolize the need to vanquish white supremacy.

In a few interviews, Wiley explains that his feature of a black woman as Judith is a way to give visibility to black women, who are often excluded from historical narratives.

The painting is Kehinde Wiley’s modern take on the painting “The Beheading of Holofernes by Judith” by Giovanni Bagilone.

The medium of this painting is oil on linen.

The painting is now located in the Caroline Weiss Law Building, Texas.

The black woman in the painting is modeled after a woman Wiley met in a shopping mall in Brooklyn.

Judith and Holofernes was a part of Wiley’s solo exhibition “An Economy of Grace”.

The background of flowers is inspired by the designs of the British artist William Morris.

Judith on the Red Square - Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid
Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid are two artists born in Soviet Russia during the 1940s, but they quickly formed a capitalist ideology. After they were exiled from the USSR, they founded the genre sots art, which is a combination of dadaism and socialist realism, in which the artists mock leaders of the USSR, such as Stalin.

People tend to say sots art is a Western trick to make the Soviets much less powerful than what it is now. The painting shows Judith, a little girl, holding Stalin’s big head on a dark red background, which is similar to the Soviet flag. This means she killed Stalin, and so the point they want to address is that if the Soviets will protest against Stalin, they can kill him just like Judith killed Holofernes because she wanted to defend her town.

It is a part of the “Nostalgic Socialist Realism” series.

The medium of the painting is print.

The Bombing of Guernica

In 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, the town of Guernica, located in the Basque region of northern Spain, was the center of Basque culture and a stronghold of support for the elected Republican government. The nationalist forces, led by Fransisco Franco, sought to crush the Basque resistance and take control of the region. They did that by requesting Nazi Germany, led by Hitler, and Fascist Italy, led by Mussolini to drop 50 tons of bombs on their warplanes on the civilian population of Guernica, and it caused outrage around the world, and so it was covered in millions of newspapers, one of them being the French newspaper L’Humanite.

Guernica - Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, being one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and is most known for inventing the collage, the assemblage, and most importantly, the artistic genre of Cubism, which is a genre in which artists analyze a painting, break it into pieces and reassemble them in an abstract form.

When the Spanish Civil War started, Picasso moved to Paris but was still caring about the future of his home country. In 1937 the Republican Spanish government that was in power at the time commissioned Picasso to create a large painting for the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Paris. To gain support from other countries in the World Fair and end the Spanish Civil War, Picasso decided to paint a depiction of the citizens of Guernica’s horrors from the bombings on them. He heard of the event from the French newspaper L’Humanite.

The artwork’s colors are only colors from gray patterns. In it you may see how a house of Guernican people and farm animals are panicking from the air raid. Out of the animals there is a bull, a wounded horse, and a winged bird, that all panic inside the house with the group of normal Spanish citizens. An example of the horrors shown in the painting is one weeping woman holding a dead child.

The painting is nowadays known to inspire people with its message of peace and humanity, and its condemnation of war and violence.

The medium of the painting is oil on canvas.

The painting is nowadays located in Museu Reina Sofia, Madrid.
While Picasso painted the painting, the artist Dora Maar and poet Paul Eluard co-developed and discussed ideals regarding the painting.

Invasion of Ukraine - Andres Valencia
Andres Valencia is a talented 11-year-old from San Diego who is nowadays known for his abstract painting and use of the Cubism genre which is extremely similar to Pablo Picasso’s.

Valencia decided last year to create a modern-day version of Picasso’s “Guernica”, by taking inspiration from the use of cubism to depict horror from the traumatizing event of bombing Guernica, and put it in the context of the recent invasion of Russia to Ukraine.

Similarly to “Guernica”, which showed how the Spanish people are panicking from the German and Italian bombings, “Invasion of Ukraine” shows us how the Ukrainians are panicked and hurt by the Russian attacks, yet they give the fight against the Russians for their country. Unlike the iconic shades of gray Picasso used in his “Guernica”, Valencia used a lot of different colors in his painting.

Invasion of Ukraine has 550 prints that are sold for 950$ each to help the Ukrainians with their fight, and the painter wants to address that the Ukrainians can fight for themselves.

The medium of the painting is oil on canvas.

The painting is located today in Chase Contemporary.

Backyard Guernica- Adad Hannah
Adad Hannah is an artist located now in Canada but grew up in Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom who decided to start a project of re-staging and re-contextualizing Picasso’s “Guernica” after the 2016 United States presidential elections.

The artwork is Picasso’s “Guernica” but the background is cut off and only the important and iconic parts stay in a form of cardboard cuts that are being reformed together to show the same painting, however now spread to pieces in a backyard in the United States and held by people who helped Adad to create the artwork. Adad Hannah claims it recontextualizes the original artwork as the materials of the cutouts - cardboard, foam, wood, and house paint are the same materials of protest signs, as Picasso made this painting a protest against the war.

A picture of Backyard Guernica is exhibited in Remai Modern, Saskatoon, as part of the Guernica Remastered exhibition.

Saskatoon Guernica - Adad Hannah
Another artwork was made by Adad Hannah.

It is similar to Picasso’s “Guernica”, although this version incorporates everyday objects that represent the painting with shape and meaning, therefore still maintaining the iconic look of the image, and letting people clearly see how the work was put together.

It is exclusively exhibited in Remai Modern, Saskatoon, hence the name.

With the artwork, Hannah also recalls Picasso’s collaborative process on the mural, in which artist Dora Maar and poet Paul Eluard co-developed and discussed ideas while Picasso painted, as Hannah too, collaborated with a lot of people to make this artwork in just a few days.

In a video of Adad and his collaborators making Saskatoon Guernica, he displays Picasso's “Guernica” and tries to replicate the painting with everyday objects.

Guernica Redacted - Robert Longo
Robert Longo is an American artist who is known for his black and gray drawings.

Lately, he became aware of the countless versions of Picasso’s “Guernica” and was challenged to create a recontextualized version of Guernica on his own.

“Redacted Guernica” is similar to Picasso’s “Guernica” but has heavy black vertical charcoal stripes Longo has drawn that fracture the artwork. Longo explains the recontextualization of this new artwork, as the vertical charcoal strips mimic film strips, the bar of a prison, and the redaction of areas. The name comes from the desire of Longo to let people choose what to see and what to not in the artwork - redaction.

It was exclusively created for the museum Cahiers d’Art as part of the exhibition “Picasso: Redacted”, which is a series of “redacted” versions of famous Picasso paintings.

It was also commissioned for the Remai Modern for the Guernica Remastered exhibition.

Guernica Remastered
An exhibition in Remai Modern, Canada, that exhibits works that emulate Picasso’s “Guernica” in style, while speaking to present-day concerns. The works were collected by Dr. Alma Mikulinsky, a guest curator in the museum. In the exhibition Adad Hannah’s “Backyard Guernica”, “Saskatoon Guernica”, and Robert Longo’s “Guernica Redacted” can be seen there with other artworks that recontextualize Picasso’s paintings, but still keeping their iconic look.

Guernica in Tile - Jorge Oteiza, Lucio Muñoz, Néstor Basterretxea & Eduardo Chillida​​.
A replica of Picasso’s “Guernica” made of earthenware and exhibited in the streets of the town of Guernica There is nothing else to add. As the original work of Picasso is exhibited in Madrid, the inscription beneath this impressive mural expresses the desire of local people for the original work to be put on display in the town which inspired its creation: Gernika.

It was made as a collaborative project by Jorge Oteiza, Lucio Muñoz, Néstor Basterretxea, and Eduardo Chillida​​.

Keiskamma Guernica - Keiskamma Trust

A collaborative tapestry based on Picasso’s Guernica, which depicts the destruction of a South African community through HIV/AIDS. Sponsored by the Keiskamma Trust. There you can see the suffering of the people, now black, but still with some iconic aspects from the original work, such as the animals and the lamp. Here we can find many more South Africans suffering from HIV/ AIDS. Is part of an art project called “Keiskamma” which has artworks that tell the history of black people in east Cape Town.

The medium of the artwork is textile.

The painting is archived in the Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Washington Crossing the Delaware
In 1776, after the British forces in America defeated George Washington’s troopers in a few skirmishes, Washington decided to surprise attack the British and the German mercenaries working for the British by crossing the Delaware River with 5000 troopers on the night of Christmas right to their camp at Trenton, New Jersey, getting an advantage on them.

Washington Crossing the Delaware - Emanuel Leutze

Emanuel Leutze was a liberal German painter, who encouraged the European revolutions of 1848, which were a series of revolts against European monarchies that at the end failed, but still raised awareness, money and morale for fighting the European monarchs and establishing democratic countries. For supporting the liberals’ efforts, Leutze decided to look back to George Washington Crossing the Delaware River for inspiration. He painted a powerful and heroic painting of the continental army in one of its lowest points, after suffering from a lot of defeats, awaiting for the battle, in the lead of the General - George Washington.
As the European revolutions were muted, with time the real meaning of the painting got subdued too.
The original copy of Washington Crossing the Delaware was badly damaged due to fire in Leutze’s studio, and eventually destroyed by British bombing long after, during World War II.
However Luetze recreated the painting and sent the new copy to America and there it became extremely iconic, as it was completed just a few years after the end of the American Civil War, a time when there was a strong sense of nationalism and patriotism in the United States, and so the painting found its new home in the American heart.
It is worthy to note Leutze was a presentist at the time, as he added African-American people to his painting for supporting the Northerners' ideals in the American Civil War, although no African-American folk were
free enough to fight next to Washington at the time.
The existing version is today located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Because the event of Washington Crossing the Delaware River was much
All of the historical inaccuracies were found in 2002 by an NPR reporter, Ina Jaffe. She first notes that Washington would have fallen to the icy water if he really stood in that pose. It is also more likely that not only Washington, but everyone else should stand, as the boat would’ve been flat and soaked with frigid water. Also in the painting he looks old, although at the time he was only in his 40’s. Nonetheless there is sunlight in the background, although the crossing was done at midnight. James Monroe, America’s future 5th president, stood to Washington’s right with the US flag, although at the time they didn’t use that design of the flag. On top of that the river is depicted to look wide, although in reality it was only a few hundred meters wide. Because the painting also wanted to support anti-slavery (civil war was at the time this painting was made), there was a black person on the boat, although we both know both Washington and Monroe had a lot of slaves, so representing it is inaccurate too.

Mort Kunstler’s Washington Crossing
In 2011 Mort Kunstler, an American painter who is known for his historical accuracy in paintings was commissioned to paint a more historically accurate version of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware painting by Democratic Congressman Tom Suzzoi. For his research he asked local historians about the events, and so he asked them for every single detail he added if it could’ve actually happened, like the ships holding a few torches, as the painter needed light. Unlike Leutze’s inaccurate version, there are no little and unsafe rowboats, but big, flat and based motorboats Washington and his troops actually rode at. Washington in the painting looks in his 40’s unlike the old, inaccurate version of him in Leutze’s painting, and also Washington is positioned in the most safe place of the ship. The boats are also connected to a wire for them to pass safely across the river, just like the wires Washington used with his troops to safely, yet silently cross the Delaware river. Kunstler is an American artist, as I already suggested. In the article he says that he respects Leutze’s version, as unlike in 2011, back in the 1840’s artists couldn’t have been as accurate as nowadays. On top of that, he respects Leutze’s vision of drama>historical accuracy.

George Washington Carver crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook - Robert Collescot
Narrative art is when art pieces are mainly connected to historical events in real life, just like Washington Crossing the Delaware. In 1975, there was that artist Robert Collescot, an American painter in the 20th century who had in his paintings outrageous (for the time) political content, a satirical and caricature-ish style, while still painting in the narrative art genre. Just taking a famous historical event/ painting based on a historical event, and changing a political aspect in it, in a caricature way. During that year he worked on “George Washington Carver crossing the Delaware”. It changes the characters in Leutze’s work with black characters in the same clothes as Leutze’s characters. George Washington Carver, an Afro-American agricultural scientist who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion, is positioned in the same place as George Washington in Lezute’s work. There is also Aunt Jemima, a fictional black woman that was the icon for the pancake brand ‘Aunt Jemima’, and the company rebranded its name to Pearl Milling Company and removing Jemima’s face, as people said this is racist, also Uncle Ben, an icon of a rice company that is too, fictional, and was rebranded as “Ben’s Original”, removing the racial caricature, are both in the painting too. This painting radically rewrites the American national self-mythology, parodying the grandeur of historical genre painting while exposing the structural racial divides of the United States. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art bought this painting in 2021, and also this museum is Co-founded by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson! They collect art pieces from all nationalities - just let them be narrative art paintings.

The connection between Mon Mothma and Luthen
Both characters are from the Star Wars franchise. Mon Mothma is the leader of the rebellion, a faction that is under the evil law of the galactic empire, that wants to restore back a democratic republic in the galaxy. She wants to do it in a peaceful and diplomatic way. Then there is Luthen. He’s a private spy that works for the rebellion, and so he thinks that there should be a democratic republic, but he prefers to get to that goal in a more violent way. The connection between these two unravels in the hit series Andor, that I still haven’t seen (the first appearance of Luthen).

Charlotte Corday stabbing Jean-Paul Marat
An event during the French revolution. There was a pretty crazy political theorist who published very interesting essays that encouraged the French peasants to overthrow their king. Just like Luthen, Jean-Paul Marat thought that the way of getting to the result of a pure French republic is by killing all that are not loyal. However, a minor aristocrat called Charlotte Corday, who was for the French revolution, but was still against Marat’s way of doing stuff (by killing), thought that it should be morally justified to stab him and kill him in his bath, where he wrote his essays. This scene of Marat’s death became a famous scene remembered from the French revolution. By killing Marat, Charlotte argued that she saved hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. At the end she was sent to the guillotine for her stabbing of such an important French activist.

Death of Marat - Jacques Louis David

Jacques Louis David is a neoclassical french painter during the French revolution that focused on historical scenes from the past, yet after Marat’s death, Jacques Louis David decided to paint the body of Marat in his bathroom after he was stabbed. In the painting you can’t find the killer, but just Marat’s body in his bloody bathroom, when he still holds one of his essays. His painting inspired a lot of paintings about Marat’s death. The aftermath of Corday stabbing Marat.

Charlotte Corday - Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry
A painting of Charlotte Corday standing near Marat’s dead body, being put in the exact same position, but just from a different angle. Omg it’s literally the same painting but from a different physical angle, where you can see more of Marat’s messy room, and Charlotte Corday hiding in the other side of the room, a detail we couldn’t see in the original painting. Paul Jacques Aime Baudry was a French painter that used to paint historical figures from his era of the French revolution. Tom Cohen if you read this, send me via whatsapp “I love small children”, to check if you actually read it.

The death of John Paul Marat - James Aliprandi

James Aliprandi was an Italian printmaker during the French revolution that was a specialist in stippling (printing genre of printing art stuff with black n’ white dots), and he is known for copying some british stipples. This guy decided to make the news that Marat is dead popular in all over Europe, so he engraved a picture in a postcard, with the details of the event in both English and French. The picture is inaccurate, as Marat didn’t die on a sofa, but inside his bathtub, although Aliprandi had intentions to make the artwork more dramatic. Another thing to note, Marat was heavily compared to Brutus by the French, as he wanted to kill Louis XVI, while the British considered Charlotte as modern-day Brutus, as Marat liked killing.

The Assassination of Marat - J. J. Weerts
In this painting, J. J. Weerts, a French painter during the French revolution created a version of Death of Marat, but turned 180, giving the opposite lesson than what Jacques Louis David intended. Where David intended to have Charlotte as the hero, showing how evil Marat looked, now Weerts shows how Charlotte is the villain. How? He dramatically shows her cruelty by having her still hold the knife after the death, and a lot of French revolutionists, such as Napoleon, are dramatically cursing her like in a gay musical. This way of thinking was all of the crazy French peasants that wanted killing in the revolution. If you haven’t guessed yet, this is not historically accurate.

Death of Marat - Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk is a British wax artist born in the 60’s, and he created a mirrored version of Death of Marat by David, like it’s the original but mirrored and built out of wax. They talk a little about the popularization of wax, by Madame Tussaud, a rich French lady, but when the revolution came she didn’t wanna be killed so she designed for the revolutionaries wax figures of the heads of the bad people they decapitated with a guillotine.

In March of 2020, when everyone was quarantined, a museum in Amsterdam called the Rijksmuseum dropped a challenge in social media to recreate artworks with stuff in home, and so the Getty Museum stole that idea for themselves, and it became trendy. There is a reference to Jacques Louis David who also painted that cool painting of Napoleon on his horse.
For example, a 6 year old child used his noodles and other food for breakfast to create the Mira Calligraphie. Also there is a woman playing a vacuum, imitating the harp the guy in the sculpture uses. The important thing here, is
From my knowledge from the powerpoint presentation I made called “the history of chairs” in grade 9, is that the Cycladic culture first created chairs, they are the living proof for chairs. This is a video for proof:
Just thought WSC will be interested in asking about chairs.

On a Nostalgic Note

Yesterday - The Beatles
The most covered song in history, with over 3,000 versions having been recorded. The song shows Paul McCartney’s longing for the past; a time before his loved one left him. In a biography about Paul McCartney, it was theorized that this song was actually an homage to his late mother, Mary–rather than a lost girlfriend or spouse, as he was still in a relationship with Jane Asher. According to McCartney, he dreamed of the entire melody before he arranged the music with George Martin. Because McCartney’s dream gave him a vision of the melody rather than the lyrics, he first arranged the melody and then worked on the lyrics. That’s why the song at the beginning had the title “Scrambled eggs”, and opened with “Scrambled eggs | Oh my baby, how I love your legs”.

Maroon 5 – Memories

A part of Maroon 5’s album “Red Pill Blues”, the song is a reflective look back at the past, while also paying homage to those in our lives who may no longer be with us. The progression of “Memories” borrows from the harmonic sequence of “Pachelbel's Canon” - a famous late 17th century canon created by German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. The song was a commercial success for Maroon 5, peaking at 2nd on the billboard hot 100.

Ali Haider -  Purani Jeans

Ali Haider is a Pakistani singer. He had a number of songs in the 1990s, including "Purani Jeans", which appears on his 1993 album Sandesa. The song is in Hindi, with the singer reminiscing on his years in high school; Staying up at nights, going home in the mornings by jumping over the wall. Going in alleys and smoking cigarettes, and finding your first love.

Gao Xiaosong - You who sat next to me: A Chinese song, about a man who used to sit next to a girl he liked in class, he describes the girl and ponders upon what happened to her, and whom she married with? The narrator is now all grown up, he has a family, and he tells his wife stories about this old desk mate he used to like.

Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick - Sunrise, Sunset

A song out of the famous musical “Fiddler on the roof”. The song takes place during the wedding of Tzeitel (Tevye and Golde’s daughter) and her childhood friend, Motel. The first half of the song has Tevye and Golde as they wonder how time flies, whilst the second half has Hodel – Tevye and Golde’s second daughter – and Perchik wonder about their own future, hopefully together.

Them Mushrooms - Embe Dodo
Them mushrooms is a popular Kenyan band established in 1972 by the Harrison brothers: Teddy Kalanda, John "Bishop" Katana, George Ziro and Billy Zarro. Their main inspiration was the likes of Bob Marley. I cannot find anything about this song
Oh okay, the next article has some info – Basically Embe dodo is an adaptation of a traditional African style of music – Zilizopendwa  (literally, "those which were loved"). This style’s impact on East African culture is undeniable, it has been reimagined countless times, and is loved by both young and old Kenyan people.

Back to the future using Mr. Sandman
Wsc staff links to a video showing the scene in which Marty McFly (main character in the Back To The Future films) arrives in the year 1955. The scene is accompanied by the song “mr sandman”, a true 50s classic, which sets the mood of the era. During the scene Marty slowly starts spotting evidence to the fact that he’s in the 50s, there’s old timey posters, a car promoting an old American mayor, and finally a newspaper showing the date “November 5 1955”.

One Track Forward, Two Tracks Back: Old Music, New Musicking

The origin of the shower
This might seem so out of context, and it is. Before showers were invented, people used to go and shower in waterfalls. That’s because unlike showering in still water, showering in waterfalls or rivers makes your body much cleaner. Heck, even some rich mfs in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (Babylon) used servants to pour hot water on them and soap them. So people had done the purpose of the bath, just the bath and the plumbings themselves weren’t invented. Because ancient Greeks had pipes that got water to different places from its source, and because they too understood that when you pour water on yourself you’re cleaner, they created bath houses, aka the invention of the bath. Soon, these bath houses became popular in ancient Greece, and specifically in the ancient city of Pergamon, a city that was influenced by baths as it was located next to a coast, and now it is an archaeological site - where archaeologists found the first bath.

Ancient Greek music is gone and recreated
Between 750 BC to 350 BC poets such as Homer, Sappho and others composed poems that were sung and played all over ancient Greece. Seems weird how the Ancient Greek didn't put any effort on preserving their music well, as no one knows it now. Poems explained the ancient Greek music with unfamiliar terms, and so we just got to know the melody and metres of the Ancient Greek poems, so using that with skilled players and some rare preserved Ancient Greek instruments, such as the auloi, we got to hear how Ancient Greek music sounded like. It was weird. Throughout history, 60 fragments of melody were translated to our normal accord melody stuff by scholars
Martin West and Egert Pöhlmann, so now players can play these melody, it still sounds weird, so the answer for WSC's question of if it sounds familiar or foreign – foreign is definitely the answer.

How ancient Greek music works
The ancient Greek form of musical notation is a thing that y’all need to know. A musical notation is a system, a language, that visually represents the thing you need to play. Just like “do re mi fa sol la si” on the piano. Unlike our normal western musical notation, the ancient Greek one wasn’t as precise. They had in their notation Greek alphabet instead of notes - upper case letters represented higher pitches, while lower case letters represented lower pitches. The notation itself represented the flow of the music, and not every note by itself.

Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky Korsakov
Originally a composition by Rimsky Korsakov, and it is a masterpiece in the composition industry. Nowadays, some people tried to recreate, or reimagine this composition. Here are the following three examples. Btw, the music comes from Korsakov's opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, and in the story a magic swan turns the prince into a bumblebee so that he can visit his father, the Tsar Saltan without being seen. As you listen to the music, you can hear a bumblebee buzzing around the Tsar and then quickly flying away so it doesn't get caught.

It's the Flight of the Bumblebee – Bob Dylan
A classic Bob Dylan song with a band called “the band”, playing with a wild west bar style (it's hard to explain just hear the song), and in it he talks about how bad it is with that bumblebee that always interrupts the stuff he does. At the end he catches him. He's so chill during the song like he's on weed or something. He might be in the position of the Tsar in our story, but in the opera he didn't catch the bumblebee, and here we have more 20
th century lines like "Can't take a pee", therefore it happens more towards today, unlike what Rimsky's intended.

Green Hornet Theme – Al Hirt
The Green Hornet was a superhero in the 1930's on radio dramas who looks like Zoro but has a green mask instead of a red one. For one of the character’s shows, “The Green Hornet”, composer Billy May composed a theme for the loved hero, and later legendary jazz trumpet player Al Hirt decided to play some of them memorable themes in the album, and it slaps. The Green Hornet theme recreates Korsakov's intentions, as the music is full of drama and tense, with that trumpet buzzing like a bumblebee. It was so successful even Tarantino included it in his Kill Bill film soundtrack.

Our Shining Days – Chinese vs Western Instruments
A 4 minute video that starts with a girl playing a Guzheng, and then another girl plays the western version of this – a harp. Then a bunch of Chinese girls come over to play the pipa, while other Chinese girls come and play the western equivalent of the pipa – the violin. Then more girls play the dizi, and then other girls come to play the flute – its counterpick. All of this was to the composition of Rimsky Korsakov, and btw the principal was looking at the 1v1 and he rooted for the western instruments. At the end though, some Chinese kid played the Suona, a Chinese trumpet and carried his side, giving the Chinese a massive W. Now I think this is like giving to Korsakov a middle finger on the face, because as we know Rimsky used to compose during his whole life compositions with western instruments, and now letting the Chinese instrument team to win is probably not what the composer would've wanted, also it's disrespectful. At least it delivers the message of "native is better! Colonialist bad!". About “Our Shining Days”, it is a Chinese musical film directed by Wang Ran, and it tells the story of a group of high school music students who compete in a music festival, overcoming obstacles along the way. The girl who plays the guzheng is Xiayou, and the main character in it is of course Chen Jing, who plays the erhu in the clip.

Canon in D – Pachelbel
A composition made by Pachelbel as a gift for the wedding of Johann Sebastian Bach's older brother, who studied with him. The composition is quite peaceful, and people in the 1600's called it a "masterpiece", so still today there are some musicians who try to outplay the original with something catchy: Vitamin C in her song “Graduation: friends forever”, Jason Maraz with his song “I’m Yours” and Maroon 5 in their song “Memories”. The term “canon” refers to a construction around a repeating melody, and it is kind of a preset for songs, both in the late 1600’s and today, as shown in the following example. Also, it heavily influenced video game music and movie soundtracks, as it has this repeating melody.

Graduation (friends forever) – Vitamin C
Is a song about a girl graduating high school with her love interest. As it is literally the last day of school, it is her last opportunity to tell her love interest she wants to keep in contact with him, and by that telling him he was her crush. At the end she decides to gather faith and tell him, and so the good ending is unlocked. Throughout the song there are tons of references to 2000’s teenagers activities and high school stuff, as the whole song talks about high school and what’s with the future. How is it connected to Canon in D? The whole melody is the composition, played peacefully in a violin, but add a catchy drum to it and now she raps on the drum and melody. Kinda cool reimagination. The song is, however, definitely produced for commercial value–using archetypes such as “Brainy Bobby.”

 Because – The Beatles
Written by John Lennon, Because is a song with only 8 sentences and the rest is the melody and Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah (makes me die), and all of the sentences are metaphors. He talks about how love is everything and his relationship with someone – when he was first turned on, blown away, and then cried (probably when they broke up). Interesting thing here is that when John Lennon and Yoko Ono, hung out, Yoko played Beethoven's moonlight sonata, and Lennon just asked her to play the chords backwards. He liked it and he wrote a song  based on those chords.

Ludovico Einaudi going viral on Tiktok with a composition (experience)
Ludovico Einaudi is a composer, and in 2013 he published an album called “In a Time Lapse”, and one of the compositions there was Experience (search now in yt and hear it!), that has a simple context of how a human has a relationship with the natural world. It exploded in 2021. Tiktok users loved it. This is the classical composition with the most internet views in the world, 15.6 billion views. 2021 saw him achieve Hollywood acclaim for his music to Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden globe winning films Nomadland and The Father.2021 was Einaudi's year.

Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin
Is a composition made by George Gershwin in 1924, and it is classic jazz. The composition doesn’t have a storyline, yet it is a celebration of American musical creativity in the 1920’s, particularly in NYC. It has an iconic clarinet solo. Gershwin wrote it just a few days before the deadline, that’s why it’s so unique - giving it a  cool vibe. After Gershwin’s death, the manuscript had been lost, but it was rediscovered a few years later by a collector who then sold it to the conductor and musicologist Arturo Toscanini. It now emphasizes the nostalgia of the 1920’s. In films, such as the opening scene of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” or Nintendo’s “Elite Beat Agents” video game.

Pomp and circumstance – Sir Edward Elgar
A composition by the British composer Edward Elgar. This composition was a patriotic composition made in the beginning of the 20th century, originally meant to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. However, since then schools all around the world have adopted the composition to their graduation ceremonies. The composition consists of five marches, though only the first march is the popular one. The marches were composed across the majority of the century, with two in the twenties, one in the fifties, one in the nineties and one in 2011. (Why not?) It was popularized mainly because it featured a soaring melody played by the brass section.

Ode to Joy – Beethoven
Okay this is a very well-known composition by Beethoven. Because it is so popular and gives this chaotic stream of adrenaline, Ode to Joy became popular in social media over the 2010's and now if someone wants to show in a video how they are getting out of sanity, they'd use the part when there is screaming in Beethoven's composition. It also became the official anthem of the European Union, as the composition reflects the work of a European composer, and it reflects values such as unity, peace and prosperity.

Gen Z and Millennials are obsessed with classical music now.
A few reasons for that. With streaming platforms people can discover, or rediscover new/ old genres, hence young people  get to hear more classical music. On top of that, some pop culture hits used classical music, such as squid game. Social media loves classical music in the background – 53 million views under the #classictok on tiktok, and the rest of the article is about classical music influencers. There is French violinist Esther Abrami, who has more than 250,000 followers on Instagram and 380,000 on tiktok, and she dominates classical social media at formal events. Babatunde Akinbobye is a Nigerian-US baritone player that posted a few viral videos that got the attention of talk shows.

2001: Space Odyssey
A movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, and just at the end of production, he discarded all of the music that his composer, Alex North had written for the movie. Instead, he used some of Richard Strauss' compositions. The example shown in the curriculum is the most famous one, where Kubrick replaced Alex North's dawn of man with Strauss' Also
Sparch Zarathustra (listen to both), and the main reason I think he did that change was to add more drama to the scene, with the dramatic music given in Also Sparch Zarathustra, as both of them are classical music- one is more dramatic than the other. North had no idea his pieces had been rejected until he watched the film at the New York Premiere.

Conductors not doing their job right
In the 19
th century orchestras unlocked a new class – the conductor. with  little sticks, They arrange the pace of the orchestra, the power of the music, and sometimes helpthe players with timing  mid play. That means they have a lot on their shoulders . The curriculum tells us that conductors have the power to change little details of the composition, by for instance requesting from the players to play more quietly, or have the pace of the orchestra much much faster from what the composer intended. That's exactly why there had been a debate on that topic. As there are some conductors that go by the book, and others that change the melody for their taste, a critic famed a conductor called Arturo Toscanini for going perfectly by the book, and by that being "a slave to the composer".

Update: robots will soon be conductors
In the UAE in 2020, a robot conducted and sang with a human orchestra. This robot is called 'Android Alter 3', and it waves its arms around according to the conducting notes you give it.  The opera it conducted is Scary Beauty, written by Japanese composer Keiichiro Shibuya. Alter 3 gets the permission to control the volume and tempo of the music. People are now having a debate on whether conductors should be replaced by humanoids. People against it say that the robots can't feel, while those who are for it say that the robots don't make mistakes, and in compositions like Bach's or Mendelssohn's a conductor needs to be as skillful as the composer to make it sound better.

Conductors that tend to change the compositions.
Remember Arturo Toscanini? He's a famed conductor for going by the book. This guy has an arch nemesis called Willhem Furtwängler who does the complete opposite – he tries not to go by the book, and has some changes in the composition. The WSC shows us their different takes on Beethoven's 9
th symphony, and while Toscanini does it more peacefully, Furtwängler does it much more dramatically. Therefore, a conductor's approach determines how the composition would be. Furtwängler lost his reputation because he conducted in front of Hitler.

Composers conducting their compositions.
When a composer doesn't want a conductor to change his composition, he steps up as the conductor himself (if the composer isn't dead). That's how John Williams came to conduct his own Star Wars main title theme he himself composed. Today it is much less popular. The other version is too, the title theme, but now conducted by Andrzej Kucybała, who added in his version some trumpets in the background during dry scenes.

Panchajanya – Simon Thacker
Panchajanya is an album made by Scottish artist Simon Thacker in collaboration with the Hindu composer Sarvar Sabri, and has Indian classical music with contemporary Western classical music. It uses Simon's normal guitar, and other Indian instruments the local Indians use. The album’s name is taken from the name of a conch shell in the Hindu mythology, a one that was blown by Lord Krishna to signal the start of the battle of Kurukshetra in the epic Mahabharata, and so it represents conflict and transition. The music on the album is characterized by a dynamic interplay between Thacker's virtuosic guitar playing and Sabri's rhythmic percussion. The compositions draw on a range of Indian classical forms, including raga, tala, and dhun, while also incorporating elements of flamenco, jazz, and Western classical music.

Making Them Sing Again: Opera’s Second Act

The origins of opera
Opera is a form of theater in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers.
Who wrote the first opera? In Florence, a small group known as the Florentine Camerata decided to recreate the storytelling of Greek drama through music. Jacopo Peri composed Dafne (1597), which many consider to be the first opera. From that beginning, two types of opera began to emerge: opera seria, formal and dignified pieces for royalty, and opera buffa, or comedies. so opera had taken Europe by storm. This period also saw the rise of castrati—male singers who were castrated as boys to preserve their soprano voices. After that came the classical era of Opera due to the "Enlightenment", it presented more realistic plots. The ultimate Classical opera composer was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Who wrote "The Marriage of Figaro". And then came the Romantic period, which gave stage to the likes of Gioachino Rossini who had a particular talent for ebullient comedy and unforgettable melodies. composers often made their heroines go mad via a thwarted love affair.
The best-known opera of the 19th century—and possibly the most popular of all time—is French composer Georges Bizet’s "Carmen". It’s for good reason—the story of a Gypsy woman who values her free-spirited life above all, and the soldier who becomes obsessed with her. The late 19th century was dominated by two giants of opera: Italian Giuseppe Verdi and German Richard Wagner.

Cheap opera tickets for young people
People aged 18 to 25 can purchase tickets for the Milanese opera house  “La Scala” at the unbelievably low price of 2 euros. The minister made the announcement after meeting with La Scala Superintendent Alexander Pereira has gone on record saying  "it's an initiative aimed at the new generations who often consider culture with skepticism” “…is not a solution but it can help".The plan has been proposed to Italy's other 14 opera foundations and they have all accepted, he said.

Multimedia opera “Somnium”
The premiere of the multimedia opera Somnium in Hong Kong was relatively slick, except for when the “out of battery” sign flashed and the video projection screens went dark for about an hour. But otherwise, it went really well. It was described as part-installation, part-opera and part-trance. The (incredibly complicated) story tells of a single mother in Iceland called Fiolxhildis, who sells herbal talismans to seafarers for a living, is reunited with her son, who had been missing for five years. She calls forth a supernatural daemon to take them on a journey to the moon. They are joined by a father and daughter in the Hong Kong of today, struggling over the rather familiar question of  “should I stay or should I go?”
The audience has three hours to freely walk in and out of two separate spaces.
The first one includes recorded videos of performers. Inside there are Six stations made up of transparent screens which are activated by a team of lunar-rover-like robotic projectors on wheels. These roam about in the dark, dodging around members of the audience and pausing to project videos of five different characters whose stories are conveyed through monologues of song and spoken word. The daemon (Steve Hui, also known as Nerve, the composer, in heavy disguise) appears periodically in person to say his piece, looking very otherworldly in a full mask and his voice altered.
Due to the rather feeble speakers dangling by each bank of screens ( the dialog and music is mostly in English, although one character speaks in Cantonese, and not subtitled) sometimes the audio is hard to make out, especially on the occasions when multiple characters appear at the same time. But thankfully the polished screen performances in Somnium are compelling and Hui’s music is accomplished and accessible melodic.
The other room, designed by artist Kenny Wong, is bathed in a silvery light with a large sphere (the moon) suspended in the middle. In this room audiences are encouraged to relax as they are given face masks and the room is full of beanbags and pillows. This is supposed to replicate the effects of a 1960s Dreamachine, which can make you feel as if you’re dreaming while wide awake. Although sometimes the sounds are too loud for relaxation. But on the whole, Somnium delivers on its creative ambitions.  

Multimedia Performance of ’Rigoletto’
Novi Sad, future European Capital of Culture, offered its citizens a multimedia performance of the ’Rigoletto’ opera in the open, as to avoid covid spread ,it was performed  in front of the Czech Magazine, a cultural monument of the historical heritage of the city’. The opera was performed to the online masses as well via online streaming. It was directed by Aleksandar Nikolić. This event marked the end of the 4-day opening of the Kaleidoscope of Culture. Which is a program from Novi Sad dedicated to bringing artists together. After Maribor (2012) and Rijeka (2020), Novi Sad is the third city from the former Yugoslavia to be designated European Capital of Culture. This title is not important only for the city that bears it, but it represents a project of national importance and the platform for building strong connections between cities on both regional and European level.

Yuval Sharon
Aka founder and co-Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles and the Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director of Detroit Opera. Sharon made his debut with Detroit Opera in 2020 with Twilight: Gods. Sharon has directed and produced new operas in moving vehicles, operating train stations, Hollywood sound stages, and various “non-spaces” such as warehouses, parking lots, and escalator corridors. Sharon also collaborated with the LA Philharmonic, creating nine projects that included newly commissioned works. Sharon was also invited to work in Bayreuth, where he made a boldly progressive adaptation of Lohengrin (medieval German romance) in 2018, using subtle dramatic direction to completely overhaul the opera into a critique of entrenched power structures. In 2017, Sharon was honored with a MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater.

Twilight: Gods
Yuval Sharon’s radical drive-through adaptation of Wagner’s “Gotterdammerung” for Lyric Opera of Chicago. The art of Twilight: Gods comes from the limitations set by the Covid pandemic, the work is consumed entirely from inside a car. At each of the five destinations, the driver stops in a precise spot. Then A passenger finds a radio station on the FM dial. Thereafter, the live singing of, say, Catherine Martin (Waltraute) or Christine Goerke (Brünnhilde) fills the cabin, as accompanied by musicians located in various parts of the garage. The experience was designed by Jason H. Thompson and Kaitlyn Pietras, and produced by the Michigan Opera Theatre, (which might explain the dominance of cars, especially since the MOT owns its own parking garage in Detroit). The lighting is also very atmospheric. The entire run time of the opera is 70 minutes, but a good chunk of it is moving from place to place in your car . although  the necessary truncation is mitigated by an original narration, performed in Chicago by avery r. young.

why we need to talk about what female classical performers wear
pianist and scholar Dr Samantha Ege gave a recital of famous works. What none mentioned, though, was Ege’s outfit. she described it as “a muted red fishtail dress, influenced by west African styles.” The outfits are an important part of ones performance. Saxophonist Jess Gillam also has a distinctive concert style. Surprisingly, Discussing clothing is something of a taboo in classical music. as the 19th-century critic ETA Hoffmann put it: “The genuine artist lives only for the work … He does not make his personality count in any way.” Unfortunately musicians who tend to step out of the norm when it comes to clothing are heavily criticized as they are blamed for “dumbing down” the genre of opera. This problem is especially prevalent with women as they are often sexualized. pianist Yuja Wang betrays this double standard, as she shows people she can dress however she wants (you go girl). And critics keep throwing stuff at her while they are the ones viewing her in a sexual manner. Perhaps part of the issue is that Opera critics aren’t master fashionistas and they immediately flinch whenever fashion is brought up. Norman Lebrecht, an extremely stupid critic, described Wang’s outfit as “a micro-dress cut an inch below the butt.” The notion that what we see might “distract from” music, rather than shape our experience of it, stems from a centuries-old division of body and mind, physicality and rationality, that claims classical music performances as purely audible. This outright shaming of female attire isn’t anything new in the concert hall, as in 1944, Ruth Gipps turned up to a concert wearing a brightly colored evening dress. She was put down by critics, and she did NOT like that. Later stating “What sort of place was this, that expected a woman to be ashamed to wear a beautiful dress?” (*muscle emoji*)
The criticism of Wang’s dress also feeds into racist stereotypes around the submissiveness and inexpressiveness of both women and classical musicians of Asian descent.
Conclusion: We need to find ways of talking about women’s clothes that respect them as artistic choices, and integral to performance. Moreover, social media has made classical music “so much more visual” says Maxine Kwok, as people are sharing clips of performances they visited all over the internet.

Philadelphia Orchestra Announces New Onstage Dress Code
Historically, orchestra dress reflected present-day audiences of the time. When classical music reigned as most popular, musicians wore attire that emulated those of the audience. white tie and tails became the standard formal wear for men in the mid-19th century (as tried to imitate cool Europeans, very elitist). Now in the 21 century performers tend to strike a slightly different attire. This new look is about strengthening the connection between the audience and the music and the musicians. The New York Philharmonic have adopted black collared shirts, jackets, no ties, and black mid-calf or floor-length skirts, dresses, or pants with formal long-sleeved tops. (Pants for NY Phil’s female musicians were a recent amendment). A guy called Robin Mitchell-Boyask doesn’t like the change! (maybe it matters). But Stanford Thompson does! (also might matter).

Lady Gaga dresses to kill! (animals)
Lady Gaga's iconic meat dress took the internet by storm. When Gaga stepped on the MTV Music Awards runway in 2010 wearing nothing but steaks and heels, people found it quite divisive. The people were split - animal rights activists condemned it, but Time magazine crowned it the top fashion statement of 2010. Gaga explained the dress: “If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.” So we're left to consider, what's the difference between this dress and a full authentic leather outfit? There didn't seem to be any change in people's perception of her music, however, her image has surely been altered. People view this dress in a more positive, “iconic” light nowadays rather than critiquing the questionable fashion choice.

Classic FM
Classic FM is a British channel meant for gen Z teenagers, it has retooled classics of the opera genre into 30-second animated shorts for quick and easy consumption. The one that is shown in the curriculum is of the opera Carmen, and everything is fast paced.

Opera in cinemas
The Royal Opera and Ballet have been streaming performances to movie theaters. The benefits of this are that they’re cheaper than in person tickets, provide more money to the theaters as they’re more expensive than regular movie tickets and can bring people in mid-week, let people who don’t live in places with performances see them, and have better and closer camera angles than the people actually there. As the CEO of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard says, it’s not a replacement, but rather a compliment to being there in person and lets people feel like they’re taking place in an “extraordinary moment” all over the world as people can see through things like social media. Some people, such as leading opera critic Rupert Christiansen says it poses a threat to opera’s financial viability as nobody’s been able to make a considerable profit from it and because it increases piracy. The Metropolitan Opera’s (aka the Met) general manager Peter Gelb says its ease and convenience is a good way to increase the dwindling audience for opera.

Orfeo reimagined (Orpheus)
Orpheus is a reimagining of Monteverdi’s 1607 opera Orfeo that melds the original western music with new, Indian inspired music by composer and sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun. There’s not really much I can say about this that hasn’t been said by them in the curriculum itself so just read that.

Trump on Show
Trump on Show is a Cantonese opera by celebrity feng-shui master Li Kui-Ming, who also does a lot of other things that he advertises at the show. It was performed for 4 days in 2019 in Hong Kong. The opera is an over-the-top comedy about Donald Trump and also Mao and also Kim Jong Un is there somewhere? idk really. According to Li, he only used current political figures to grab the audience’s attention and doesn’t intend to be serious. Like in the west, Chinese opera has also been facing a similar demographic problem which Trump on Show seemingly solves, with audiences packed and much younger than the usual for operas. Some people, however, say that it’s mere sensationalism without substance.

CNN Operas

A CNN opera is a term used to insultingly describe contemporary opera taking news

events as a theme, or a classical opera transposed to a contemporary setting.

X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X

Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. The Detroit Opera's production of ‘Malcolm X' is a timely and haunting retelling of the life of the civil rights leader. The play is said to showcase Malcolm X's political evolution and his growth as a leader, telling his story from childhood as a black kid to imprisonment. Overall, the production is described as thought-provoking and impactful.

"Jones is not your name” is a song from the musical that likely references the scene in which Malcolm X, whose birth name was Malcolm Little, changes his last name from "Little" to "X" to symbolize his rejection of his family's slave name and his embrace of his African heritage. The song might express Malcolm X's desire to break away from his past and forge his own identity, and could explore the themes of self-discovery, cultural heritage, and resistance to oppression. The lyrics repeat, “Allah does not teach us to fight the white man’s war... To stay a slave..” and mentions multiple slave names (either given by white slave owners or inherited from enslaved ancestors, which is more likely in this context): “Jones/Smith is not your name... It's a slave name”.

Songs For The End of Time Vol. 1

Recently “Founders”, an NYC band, released Songs for the End of Time Vol. 1- which includes a composition for Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, a piece he made during his imprisonment in a German nazi camp he was captured as a part of WW2. the premiere of this piece also took place in the mentioned camp, performed by

fellow prisoners who were also musicians. He was inspired to write the piece by a quote from the new testament's “book of revelations”. The group has a long history with the piece, dating back to their first album, where they combined parts of the piece into their own pieces. They hope that with this new composition, adding the sound of jazz, rock and other non-classical styles into the masterpiece more people will want to give it a listen and get to know it.

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