Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

“for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

Well, the time has come, we are back in October, the month that we always receive the big announcement of the new winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The time has arrived, today, Oct, 8th, 2015,  I received with joy the marvelous news, the announcement of Svetlana Alexievich as the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015.

But, just like many readers, I was wondering if Haruki Murakami was finally going to win the Nobel Prize, well, now we know that… it happened again.  (Murakami didn’t receive it and even in the social Networks people made some jokes naming Huraki Murakami the “Leonardo Dicapro of the Nobel Prize”. )

Well, let’s get back with this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature 2015, in which I received the news with joy and I will explain later why. Svetlana Alexievich is a Belarusian journalist and author who has covered the Chernobyl catastrophe, the Soviet war in Afghanistan and many other events related to the horrors of war and the dark side of human being.   In an interview that I read about Alexievich, 12 years ago, and that stuck in my head for a long time, she said these exact words and it is for reflection…. “How much of Humanity is in (Inside) the human beings”? And her own answer was…. “I come to realize that the human beings have little of humanity, just a little layer of humanity but we must defend and protect that little layer of humanity in these times of horrors”….

Through her books, Svetlana Alexievich builded a mosaic of the Russian culture in the XX Century, World War II, the  invasion to Afghanistan,  the Fall of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl disaster, just to name a few.

“It gets me sad to know that my books are still Actual because it means that nothing has changed, I wrote my books for the reason to not to have more wars”…. this is what Svetlana Alexievich said in the 2003 interview.

More closer to Dostoievsky than Tosltoy, Svetlana Alexievich  has said that ““I’ve been searching for a literary method that would allow the closest possible approximation to real life. Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, it tortured and hypnotised me, I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents. This is how I hear and see the world – as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. This is how my eye and ear function. In this way all my mental and emotional potential is realised to the full. In this way I can be simultaneously a writer, reporter, sociologist, psychologist and preacher.”

And one of her  inspirations as an author, was Belorusian writer Ales Adamovich, another extraordinary Belarusian author whom his works also had an antiwar humane  stance and his writings received translation into over 20 languages.

These are the most important books that all people should read of the new Nobel Prize in literature 2015….Svetlana Alexievich. Please, take note and write these list of titles for your next books to buy and read.

War’s Unwomanly Face

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Zinky Boys: The Record of a Lost Soviet Generation

“I’m just trying to grasp a piece of reality and tell who we are and where we are going.” —-   Svetlana Alexiyevich

Congratulations  Svetlana Alexiyevich, a very courageous, intelligent woman who deserves all our respect, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015!

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Viva Italy! Italian Opera at the MET Opera Season 2015-2016

The Met Opera Season 2015-2016 just opened on last September, Monday, 21th and it began with Verdi’s masterpiece OTELLO with  Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role, Željko Lučić as Iago (whom we had the pleasure of watching him in the title role of Macbeth last year at the MET) and Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona whom I am very sure we will hear more in the future with her splendig, beautiful voice.

What pays my attention (and many other Opera lovers and followers of the MET) is that in this new Opera season at the MET, the first 4 Operas of this season are,  Italian, (Italy, the cradle of the Birth of Opera, of course!) all different yet all marvelous and with incredible performances from many Opera singers.

This four jewels of Italian Opera that we had the pleasure of listening in these last weeks were: The already mentioned Verdi’s OTELLO, Puccini’s final masterpiece TURANDOT,  Verdi’s majestic “IL TROVATORE” (which marked the grand return of  the wonderful baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the Count di Luna… I will comment more details about his return later) and Donizetti’s historical drama “Anna Bolena”.

Many of the performances of the Opera artists in this year’s MET season were incredible. from Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Il Trovatore, to Sondra Radvanovsky, Jamie Barton and Ildar Abdrazakov in Anna Bolena to Christine Goerke, Marcelo Alvarez and veteran James Morris  in Turandot.

I am very glad to comment that it was a huge pleasure for me to listen to these four wonderful Operas on the MET Opera Radio (And also watching  Il Trovatore MET in HD simulcast last Oct 3 in which I will gladly comment later in another post!) and in these last weeks it was a magical journey to the most beautiful, exiquisite music with the most beautiful voices.

More about the first four Italian Operas of this MET Opera Season later….

A Poster announcing the new MET opera Season 2015-2016, here, Aleksandr Antonenko as Otello. And here, below, another poster announcing  the MET grand premiere of Donizetti’s “ROBERTO DEVEREUX” with Sondra Radvanovsky and Matthew Polenzani.

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Fidelio, Salzburg Festival 2015

I finally saw, thanks to  Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterpiece (and only opera) “Fidelio”,and oh dear I don’t know how to start…..
To be really honest… I still don’t know if I liked it or not. Maybe I loved it and hated it at the same time. Maybe I dislike it now but I will love it years later? I don’t know…..
This Fidelio production is controversial, and I was not surprised that Claus Guth got booed at the end.  I have many things to say about this… I also think that it was a huge mistake to perform Leonore No 3 Overture during the stage changing. (What they were thinking?!)
The giant monolite was distracting (I got a little bit dizzy!) for me and I actually I hated the multiple shadows of Don Pizarro, with the black costumes and the dark glasses, they reminded me to Agent Smith from “The Matrix” films and I wouldn’t be surprised if Claus Guth is a fan of those films. I think that Claus Guth’s intentions were interesting but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me, and look that I have a very open mind for different or modern staging. As a matter of fact, the modern La Traviata with the Clock and Red dress is more interesting for me.
Definitely this Fidelio production is not “easy” and not for everyone. Which I did love was the orchestra and singing… specially Jonas Kaufmann’s “Gott” which is for history.
Yes, while I found the production, a little bit interesting and at the same time annoying, the performances and singing were, in the other hand, terrific!
BRAVO Jonas Kaufmann, his Florestan is for history and his performance is incredible (The performance of Jonas is probably the only thing that is very worth to see and to recommend about this Fidelio Production)
Adrianne Pieczonka was also marvelous as Leonore/Fidelio… BRAVA!
I liked the idea of Leonore’s shadow, but why with sign language? NOW I found that interesting though… A friend of mine in a Jonas group in which I am also a member made an interesting reference of Beethoven’s deafness and Leonore’s character. I read her review before watching this production… My friend saw Fidelio as a Theater of Shadows… and a Theater of silence… and isolation… maybe that is why the stage is like that… maybe that is why we had those annoying shadows… because it spoke of Beethoven’s isolation, deafness, love for freedom, and what we, all, the human beings are now, prisoners not only physically but also in our interiors. And I ask myself… the many shadows of Don Pizarro are metaphors of the many cruel killers and all the evils of this world? Maybe that was the new point of view in which Guth’s intensions were. Interesting idea…But, in my opinon, it was a mistake doing those shadows dressed up like Agent Smith from the Matrix.
I was dissapointed that Jacquino & Marzelline had a shorter time than in the other (normal) Fidelio productions…
Hans Peter König was marvelous as Rocco and Tomasz Konieczny (sp?!) was also very good as Don Pizarro.
I think that this production was an intellectual (challenge?!) but… unfortunatelly, it failed for me. But what I found interesting is that my European friends loved this producion while my American and also Argentinian friends disliked it.
And I also agree that it was a mistake to cut off the dialogue, which is essential for Fidelio.
I hope that I do not confuse everyone with my comment… I quite like and disliked this Fidelio at the same time… but definitely I do not recommend it to new Opera fans.

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Remembering Robert Shaw

Today is August 9th and it is the Birthday Anniversary of the extraordinary British Actor Robert Shaw.

Robert Shaw was one of the greatest actors of cinema and the world lost an amazing talent when he passed away on August 28th.

But luckily, the new generations know the extraordinary acting talent of Robert Shaw, thanks to Four classic films, “The Sting”, “A Man for all Seasons”, “From Russia with Love” and of course, “Jaws”.

His Indianapolis Speech in “Jaws” is the most amazing monologue in history of cinema and I think that Robert Shaw should have won an Academy Award for his amazing performance as Quint.  Until these days, people can not forget his impressive performance as Quint.

Remembering the magnificent Robert Shaw.

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The Birthday Anniversary of Ingmar Bergman!

Yesterday was the Birthday anniversary of the greatest Film Director of all time (along with Andrei Tarkovsky)… Ingmar Bergman.

“The Seventh Seal”, “Wild Strawberries”, “Persona”, “Winter Light”, “Through a Glass Darkly”, “Cries and Whispers”, “Fanny and Alexander”, “The Virgin Spring”, “Shame”, “The Silence”, “The Hour of the Wolf”, “The Passion of Anna” are many of his film mastepieces.
His films are shown in mostly all Art movie Houses in the world and he became a grand influence in many other fine film Directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Woody Allen, just to name a few.
 Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, and Ingrid Thulin, just to name a few, are many of the great actors and actresses that worked, in many times with Bergman.

Celebrating the Art of Ingmar Bergman!

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Jacobo Zabludovzky (1928-2015)

Este Jueves, 2 de Julio, fallecio el periodista más famoso de México, Jacobo Zabludovsky a los 87 años de edad.


Descanse en paz, Jacobo Zabludovzky.
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Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Christopher Lee (1922-2015).

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