The Diary: Bryn Terfel; Jeff Koons; Yaron Lapid; Adam Curtis; Arundhati Roy
Friday 27 March 2009
An inside job
When Bryn Terfel slipped into Wandsworth Prison to take part in a rehearsal performance of 'West Side Story' alongside the inmates earlier this month, prisoners were left dazzled, according to Pimlico Opera's musical director, Toby Purser. But the world's most famous bass-baritone was himself blown away by the experience, according to a source. In an effort to shrug off his Wagner blues, Terfel – who was in between performances of 'The Flying Dutchman' at Covent Garden – turned up to the rehearsal at Wandsworth and then stayed on for the evening performance of the show, which involved a cast of inmates and professionals playing the Sharks and the Jets, with the famous dentist-turned-singer Andrew Bain as the lead character, Tony. One former inmate called Kevin Wood, who was described by Purser as "the most naturally gifted actor I've ever met", has since been receiving voice coaching from the conductor.
Family man Koons
The Tate's website currently features an interview with Jeff Koons. An insider who showed the team around the artist's studio, told me that Koons appeared the epitome of "Texan middle-management". When asked if he would like to write about his favourite restaurant, the artist said he didn't like to eat out. His reinvention as a family man appears complete.
Israeli film-maker Yaron Lapid will screen a controversial movie, 'Arcadia Downtown', at London's James Taylor Gallery. It features a Russian man in distress with an Israeli prostitute coming to his aid. The video aims to show the seamier side of Israel that is, he says, rarely seen by the international community. The film will air as part of a larger exhibition in April.
The documentary maker, Adam Curtis has paired up with singer Damon Albarn and Punchdrunk theatre company on an experiential history of America. They will create a haunted house filled with BBC footage of historical events and a range of alarming surprises through which viewers will be made to walk. According to Curtis, the piece, housed in a disused building in Manchester and the centrepiece for the city's International Festival this July, will come with a health warning for "people of a nervous disposition".
Ever since he flew to India in 1998 to sign up Booker prize winning author, Arundhati Roy, the literary super-agent David Godwin has become agent of choice for Anglo-Indian scribes. Only months ago, he snaffled Aravind Adiga as a client after he scooped the Booker. Could that be why Godwin appeared at the Author's Club 54th First Novel Award dinner this week dressed head-to-toe in a black djellaba? And was it a self-branding exercise or a nod to his love of Eastern apparel?
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