Cultural Life: Antonio Pappano, musician

Music

I'm listening to Dinah Shore and André Previn in a collection of standards. Dreamy. Also Kondrashin conducting Shostakovich symphonies. Discipline and Russian fire. Wow.

Television

I'm catching up on episodes of 'House' (can't believe it's Hugh Laurie!), 'Frasier', 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit', 'Match of the Day' and the BBC Proms.

Films

I saw 'Pan's Labyrinth' on DVD. Not what I expected. Violence, menace, whimsy, and fantasy. Beautiful.

Theatre

I saw Rossini's 'Zelmira' at the Pesaro Festival in Italy. Astounding singing.

Books

I've just finished reading Benvenuto Cellini's autobiography. A thrill a minute. Can it all be true? Now reading a bio of Lorenzo Da Ponte. What a life, what a scoundrel, what an artist.

Also interviews with Francis Bacon. The power of the "accidental" in art. Chance, freedom; relating this to music? This book has got me thinking a lot about art in general and how one must be open to letting go of the reins. Hard to explain.

The disc of Antonio Pappano conducting a new recording of Verdi's 'Requiem' is out now on EMI Classics

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