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Alice Goodman on writing political operas—and her late husband Geoffrey Hill | Prospect Magazine
“When Goodman first met Hill in 1980 at Cambridge, she was a 22-year-old student who hadn’t read any of the 48-year-old academic’s poetry. But she had heard of him. She recalled some advice her teacher Seamus Heaney had given her at Harvard: “You have a historical imagination, and the two poets you really ought to read are David Jones and Geoffrey Hill.” When she did read him, after they got to know each other, what became clear to her “was that everything he did counted. Everything was there, everything was deliberate.” Hill continued writing until the last day of his life. “I found the fair copy on his desk, written that day, looking into the July that he was not going to see. Talking about how the texture of the leaves on the lime trees changed.””
Alice_Goodman  Geoffrey_Hill  poetry  music  opera  John_Adams  2017  from twitter
august 2017 by Preoccupations
David McCullough’s History Lessons
April 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Alexandra Wolfe.

David McCullough thinks that the country isn’t in such bad shape. It’s all relative, says the 83-year-old historian and author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001). He points to the Civil War, for instance, when the country lost 2% of its population—that would be more than six million people today—or the flu pandemic of 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died. “Imagine that on the nightly news,” he says.

History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[McCullough] thought back to something that the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder had said while a fellow at Yale during Mr. McCullough’s undergraduate days. When Wilder heard a good story and wished to see it on the stage, he wrote the play himself. When he wanted to read a book about an interesting event, he wrote it himself.....Even today, Mr. McCullough doesn’t use a computer for research or writing. He still goes to libraries and archives to find primary sources and writes on a typewriter. ...History, he adds, is “often boiled down to statistics and dates and quotations that make it extremely boring.” The key to generating interest, he says, is for professors and teachers to frame history as stories about people.
archives  authors  biographies  Civil_War  contextual  David_McCullough  DIY  flu_outbreaks  Harry_Truman  historians  history  John_Adams  libraries  self-importance  self-pity  sense_of_proportion  storytelling  Pulitzer_Prize 
april 2017 by jerryking
Why John Adams Won’t Write an Opera About President Trump | KQED Arts
"I left San Francisco on Inauguration Day to go to Berlin, where they did performances of my big oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary. It was just a cultural shock of the highest order to arrive in this city, which has seen so much tragedy and destruction because of its arrogance way back in the early part of the twentieth century — and is now the most tolerant, most welcoming multicultural city, probably in the world. To arrive as an American knowing that our country is heading full-throttle into what could be the worst social and political crisis in decades, if not in the history of the country, was a deeply shocking and troubling experience." "I think the creative drive is a very powerful thing if you have it. Part of it’s just a measure of your own growth, your own spiritual growth, your intellectual growth. Part of it is just ego. You’re like an athlete or anybody who wants to accomplish something in life, you don’t want to be told, “Well, it’s time to hang up your gloves and just enjoy life.” We’re all driven to keep on going."
John_Adams  opera  music  Trump  USA  Berlin  2017  interview 
february 2017 by Preoccupations
Girls of the Golden West - Earbox - John Adams
Girls of the Golden West, opera in two acts (premieres November 2017, San Francisco Opera) - Earbox - John Adams —
John_Adams  opera  2016 
august 2016 by Preoccupations
A Heartbreaking “Klinghoffer” at the Met
"The scholar Robert Fink, in a 2005 essay, convincingly argues that the opera “attempts to counterpoise to terror’s deadly glamour the life-affirming virtues of the ordinary, of the decent man, of small things. … The most troubling thing about “Klinghoffer” may be that it offers no consolation, no way out."
opera  John_Adams  music  New_Yorker  2014  Alex_Ross  antisemitism  Palestine 
october 2014 by Preoccupations

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