Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sarah Caldwell and John Cunningham: Problem-Solvers

Philippe Rameau helped create the opera Hippolyte et Aricie, which was first performed in Paris in 1733. Audiences loved it; critics did not. Sarah Caldwell wanted to produce the opera in 1966, and she wanted to find the orchestra parts, … Continue reading

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Tex Avery and Red Hot Riding Hood

When Tex Avery began working at the early Warner Brothers Cartoon Studio, he found himself in a group of other crazy people. The first time he met the other gag writers, they built a fire in the middle of the … Continue reading

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Political Correctness

In 1975, Beverly Sills made her Metropolitan Opera debut in The Siege of Corinth, which also starred Shirley Verrett and Justino Diaz. This production was much anticipated, and Ms. Sills wondered aloud during a rehearsal whether the critics would think … Continue reading

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Mr. and Mrs. Strauss

Richard Strauss once worked with a temperamental singer named Pauline de Ahna. In a rehearsal in which she sang the role of Elizabeth in Tännhauser, she made a mistake and he criticized her. They quarreled, and she ran to her … Continue reading

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Sergei Rachmaninoff and John McCormack

Sergei Rachmaninoff and Frances Alda are two famous names in music. One you would especially like to hear play the piano, and the other you would especially like to hear sing. Ms. Alda, a soprano, was playing piano at a … Continue reading

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“Take His Money”

Ed McMahon worked for many years with Jerry Lewis in the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. His daughter Claudia worked for a year with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and she was able to let him know that yes, the money the telethon … Continue reading

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Gutzon Borglum

Political cartoonist Herblock once wrote his boss for a raise. In the letter, he said that he didn’t mind having a low salary, but he hated to see to see his dog looking wistfully at scraps of food. The letter … Continue reading

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