Pandora: Burstein's new opera takes potshots at Iran

Stand by for fireworks. Keith Burstein, the composer whose last opera Manifest Destiny led to a David-and-Goliath-style High Court battle with the London Evening Standard, is back.

Last year, Burstein tried to sue the newspaper with the help of Rabinder Singh QC – a Matrix Chambers colleague of Cherie Booth – after one of its reviewers criticised the opera's "anti-American" tone. He lost the case and was declared bankrupt after being unable to stump up the estimated £67,000 in legal costs incurred.

Now, however, Burstein tells us he has almost finished work on a sequel to the controversial work. "It will be called The Empress of America and is set 10 years from now, when a country not unlike Iran appears to be about to launch a nuclear strike," says Burstein. "When they explode their 'bomb', it releases an explosion of love all over the world instead of destruction."

The production is likely to make use of the same company, Daniel X Opera, as last and Burstein hopes it will debut at the Edinburgh Festival. Even better, it appears a third instalment might be in the pipeline too. "It's in the offing!" he chirps. Critics beware!

Le Bon Jnr shows her rapid reflexes

*No faux nonchalance from Amber Le Bon, daughter of Duran Duran frontman Simon. Currently pursuing a career as a model, she clearly feels little need to distance herself from her father's legacy. Touring the dining room at the Grey Goose Character and Cocktails fundraiser for the Elton John Aids Foundation in a bespoke up-for-auction Roland Mouret dress, she fell victim to an impertinent heckler. "What's your favourite Duran Duran song?" he cried. Not a beat missed, Le Bon replied: "'The Reflex'." Rapid ones indeed.

Minister barking up the wrong tree?

*All together now. Recession? What recession? The Department of Health became an unlikely target for a horde of paparazzi yesterday afternoon when a written parliamentary answer from the Health minister Phil Hope revealed that it had managed to find £2,485 to spend on a single Christmas tree. The specimen in question can, apparently, be found at Skipton House, a ministry building near London's Waterloo, although Pandora has yet to ascertain precisely of which precious metal it is made.

News for you on Deayton

As 2010 rears its head, the makers of Have I Got News For You prepare to celebrate their 20th year of broadcasting. The current affairs quiz first aired back in 1990, with Angus Deayton as its host.

Earlier this year, it was suggested that Deayton – who was forced to stand down following a spate of unseemly hookers-and-drugs tales in the papers – might be invited back on to the programme as a one-off guest host. Alas, it seems the rumours are unfounded. We're told the stunt – unlikely to have won a fan in Ian Hislop, whose frequent on-air jibes at Deayton left little love lost between the pair – has not fallen into place.

"We won't be doing anything special, as it happens," says a spokesman.

Cowell rages as No 1 spot slips away

*Simon Cowell's defence of his right to a Christmas No 1 has done little to serve his cause. In the wake of the X Factor judge's comments that campaigns to stop him and competition winner Joe McElderry were "stupid", Rage Against The Machine climbed to the top of the charts. Meanwhile, the world breathed a sigh of relief as Gordon Brown, hitherto preoccupied with visiting the troops, finally weighed in on the weekend's results, reassuring us that he had, in fact, had time to congratulate to all three finalists – if only by post. Phew!

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk