We have a wide range of interviews on music and drama. Emma Smith, Stanley Wells and René Weis choose their best plays of Shakespeare. No single play is chosen by all three, although, five are chosen by two of our experts. Mark Nixon chooses his best Samuel Beckett Books and Sos Eltis discusses Oscar Wilde. Charles Isherwood looks at Broadway and Michael Billington at 20th century theatre. Florent Masse discusses French Theatre and Slavoj Zizek choses his favourite plays, including Sophocles, Shakespeare, Claudel Brecht and Beckett.
Moving from the drama of the stage to that of the screen, we have Darren Aronofsky choosing his best books on making movies and Frank Cottrell-Boyce talks about filmmaking. Barry Forshaw talks about Film Noir and Andrew Sarris looks at film criticism. Ian Christie chooses his best books on Russian cinema and Brian Mcfarlane his on British cinema. Marina Hyde looks at Hollywood and Basil James and Adrian Kohler choose their best books on puppeteering. Meanwhile Richard Walter talks screenwriting and Matt Whitecross film directing. Jane Root discusses where good ideas come from and Woody Allen talks about the books that inspired him.
Turning to music, Igor Toronyi-Lalic chooses his best books on classical music and Philip Vannini looks at the ethnography of music. Andrew Grant chooses his best books on English church music. Giles Swayne chooses his best books on the lives of classical composers, Nikola Matisic and Robert Lloyd both choose their best books on Opera and Michael Tanner discusses Wagner. Alex Ross talks about writing about music. Menrig and Rachel Bowen choose their best music books for kids.
At a more popular level, Keith Spera chooses his best books on the music of New Orleans. Dorian Lynskey looks at protest songs and Greil Marcus at rock music. Keith Kahn Harris discusses heavy metal. Susan Bordo chooses her best books on popular culture.
Nearly everyone knows the photo of Verdi’s funeral, the streets of Milan packed with people paying homage to the great composer. How did the son of an innkeeper from Le Roncole become not only one of the most famous opera composers of all time but also a prominent symbol of Italy’s Risorgimento? Verdi expert Francesco Izzo discusses the books to read to best understand the man, the myths, and the music.
Why are so many of us fascinated by the lives of celebrities? When did interest in the dark side of celebrity become mainstream? Sharon Marcus, author of The Drama of Celebrity and a professor at Columbia University, recommends books to better understand the phenomenon of celebrity.
Samuel Beckett remains one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century. Ruthlessly experimental, his plays, novels, and poems represent a sustained attack on the realist tradition. Dr Mark Nixon looks at the mutating nature of Beckett’s literary style and explains why he didn’t choose Waiting for Godot.
Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
by Ann Powers
The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World
by Damon Krukowski
All in the Downs: Reflections on Life, Landscape, and Song
by Shirley Collins
by Jessica Hopper
My Thoughts Exactly
by Lily Allen
Shakespearean scholar Emma Smith picks her five favourite plays of the Bard, and controversially argues that not only are some of his plays just too long, but also that the most moving moments in Shakespeare’s oeuvre are where we might not expect them
Richard Wagner’s works are as immense as they are influential: the four-part, 15-hour saga Der Ring des Nibelungen is the most analysed opera of all time. And yet, Wagner was arrogant and virulently anti-semitic. Can we separate the musical genius from the man? Opera critic Michael Tanner recommends the best books on Wagner.
Oscar Wilde cultivated an image of himself as an idle genius, dashing off masterpieces with a lazy brilliance. But below the glittering linguistic surface of his works, suggests Sos Eltis, lies an anarchic politics and a phenomenal analysis of power.
French theater is appreciated as much in reading as in performance. Princeton University’s Florent Masse offers us a reading from the point of view of teaching theater. How did the great men of theater—such as Jouvet, Copeau, or Vitez—build their learning? Discover the principles and references that guide the best directors. (You can also read this interview in the original French)
Running with the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music
by Robert Walser
Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent
by Amber R Clifford-Napoleone
Black Sabbath's Master of Reality
by John Darnielle
Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica, 1991-2014
by Ian Winwood and Paul Brannigan
True Norwegian Black Metal
by Peter Beste
Metal music, developed in the sixties and seventies, is notorious for its dark and disturbing imagery and its aggressive sound. But there’s nothing to be afraid of, says sociologist and fan Keith Kahn-Harris: it’s all part of the mythmaking of metal.
The philosopher and cultural critic recently made a foray into drama when he reworked Sophocle’s Antigone—not out of admiration for the original, but to examine the “stupid and morally problematic” character at its heart. Here he selects five plays he admires—but declines to see performed.
In our Shakespeare series, we ask experts to select their favourite plays from the Bard’s oeuvre. Here, preeminent Shakespearean scholar Sir Stanley Wells chooses five plays that best chart the evolution of the Bard of Avon during his 25-year career.
From Bach to Stravinsky, British composer Giles Swayne discusses the most insightful books for getting to know the real lives of classical composers. “You can have people who are really extremely mediocre with huge careers, and people who are wonderfully good but don’t have wonderful careers. Bach was one of those.”
‘Smart people went to the ballet and opera, and what the poor and lower middle classes did with their time didn’t matter. But these men in Hollywood had a vision and were creating this product that was loved by everybody of all different backgrounds.’
Le théâtre français s’apprécie autant à la lecture qu’à la représentation. Florent Masse, professeur de théâtre français à Princeton, nous propose une lecture du point de vue de l’enseignement du théâtre. Comment les grands hommes de théâtre—tels Jouvet, Copeau, ou Vitez—ont-ils construit leur apprentissage? À vous de découvrir les principes et références qui guident les meilleurs metteurs en scène.