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The Independent Culture
Los Angeles

This Wednesday sees the world premiere of an exciting new venture from Opera. Fantastic Mr Fox (below) is based on Roald Dahl's classic 1970 story about a fox who must outwit mean farmers to feed and protect his family, and features music by the American composer Tobias Picker. British talent involved in the project includes librettist and stage director Donald Sturrock, who worked on an award- winning television version of Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood, and the artist Gerald Scarfe, whose recent successes as an opera and stage director include the LA Opera's production of The Magic Flute - and whose input here has produced a 30-foot singing mechanical digger named Agnes, among other treats.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center of County, 135 North Grand Avenue, LA, USA (00 1 213 972 8001) Wed to Tue 22 Dec, $20-$68

Lille

Comprising 51 major works and some 80 engravings from museums and private collections from around the world, Goya, un regard libre is the most important French exhibition of this Spanish painter's work in 30 years. Housed in Lille's recently restored Palais des Beaux Arts, the show is arranged in five sections, reflecting Goya's favoured themes: genre paintings; still lifes; sorcery and witchcraft; portraits; and religious works. The retrospective will also feature two of the artist's masterpieces, Les jeunes and Les vieilles, which come from the museum's own collection and were the original inspiration for the project.

Palais des Beaux Arts, Place de la Republique, Lille, France (00 33 3 2006 7800) Sat 12 Dec to 14 March 1999, Ff46

Amsterdam

The latest exhibition from 1997 Turner prize nominee Christine Borland is at the De Appel gallery in Amsterdam. Her mixed-media installations are notable for their inventive explorations of human mortality and this show features a work combining two of her best-known pieces, the 1994 From Life and From Life (Berlin), in which she analyses real skeleton parts. Also on display are objects sent to Borland in response to her mail-out to 250 people for the installation, Small Objects that Save Lives - including assorted condoms, plastic dolls and Ecstasy tablets.

De Appel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10 (00 31 20 625 5651) to 10 Jan, closed Mon

Paris

Now in its 20th year, Paris's Festival d'art sacre continues to pursue its aim of exposing sacred music - both obscure and well-known works - to a wider audience. The performances are all by distinguished artists and take place in some of the city's most beautiful churches, offering a soulful alternative to the usual pre-Christmas commercial rush.

Various venues, Paris (00 33 1 4470 6410) to 24 Dec, Ff60-Ff130

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