performing arts

performing arts
arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing.

* * *

▪ 2009



      The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner” unfolded before 1,000 North Koreans as Music Director Lorin Maazel led the New York Philharmonic orchestra in a concert in the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. Maazel and the orchestra offered a crowd-pleasing array of iconic works, including Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony and George Gershwin's An American in Paris. The performance, which was also broadcast live via television and radio to the rest of the country, was as much a historic gesture as it was a concert as two vastly different political systems and cultures used music as a symbol of, perhaps, a new phase in cultural diplomacy.

      Another staple of Western classical music, Dmitry Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7, was also used as a symbol—albeit of an entirely different sort. In August Russian conductor Valery Gergiev journeyed to Tskhinvali in the region of South Ossetia, Georgia, to lead a performance of that symphony—the composer's paean to the defenders of Leningrad in World War II—to celebrate the “victory” of Russian troops over Georgian forces in their clash over the breakaway region.

      Two months later Gergiev led a concert in Jerusalem to promote peace in the Middle East, following in the footsteps of conductor Daniel Barenboim, who had performed at similar events in the region in recent years in efforts to bridge the gulf between Palestinians and Israelis. In January Barenboim had moved a step farther; after playing works by Beethoven in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he announced that he had become a citizen of Palestine.

      Politics as usual played out in Germany's Bayreuth Festival, an annual festival devoted to the music of Richard Wagner. In recent years the festival had been the focus of manic speculation about who would become the next head. In a power struggle to gain control upon the retirement of the composer's grandson, Wolfgang (who had ruled the event for 57 years), various branches of the Wagner family starred in an operatic duel of their own. Wolfgang's choice was said to have been his daughter Katharina, whose claim was contested by another group of Wagners in league with Gerard Mortier, then director of the New York City Opera. In the end, Katharina and her half-sister, Eva Wagner-Pasquier, won out. One of their goals was to distance the 132-year-old festival from its associations in the 1930s with the Nazis. (Wagner was Adolf Hitler's favourite composer.)

      One of the Nazis' favourite conductors, the late Herbert von Karajan, was honoured throughout the year in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. The conductor—whose political leanings were infamous but who was rehabilitated by his celebrated interpretations of the classical canon in the decades following the end of World War II—was feted at events in Berlin and Vienna, at festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, and in CD reissues of highlights from some of his 900 recordings.

      Another conductor, the late Leonard Bernstein, whose legacy extended to his roles as composer, social activist, educator, and beloved champion of classical music, was honoured throughout the year in which he would have turned 90. He was the subject of “Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds,” a multivenue celebration in New York City that featured 30 concerts and events throughout the autumn. In October a performance of Bernstein's Mass was led by conductor Marin Alsop at Carnegie Hall.

      Elliott Carter, one of the most illustrious composers of the 20th century, turned 100 on Dec. 11, 2008. Carter, a 1971 winner of the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters for Eminence in Music and a member of the Classical Music Hall of Fame, was honoured with a series of concerts and events around the world. During the summer program at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., he was feted with three orchestral programs. In September, Musikfest Berlin 08 featured a number of his works, including Soundings and Symphonia: Sum fluxae pretium spei (the latter in its German debut), performed by Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Finally, in December an international colloquium devoted to his music, “Hommage à Elliott Carter,” was held at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris.

      American composer Charles Wuorinen had a very busy year as he turned 70. Six of his works received premieres, including his Second Piano Quintet, which was performed by pianist Peter Serkin and the Brentano String Quartet at the Rockport (Mass.) Chamber Music Festival. The New York City Opera also announced that Wuorinen had been commissioned to create an operatic version of the story-turned-movie Brokeback Mountain for its 2013 season; the company's budget woes later caused the commission to be withdrawn, however.

      Milan's La Scala opera company announced in late May a new commission, a version of Nobel Prize winner Al Gore's book-turned-film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli was commissioned to create the work for the company's 2011 season, in time to mark the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification.

      In September the Los Angeles Opera (LA Opera) offered the premiere of The Fly, Howard Shore's opera based on his score for the 1986 horror movie; the production was led by the film's director, David Cronenberg. The company also featured a production of Giacomo Puccini's Il Trittico, with its three segments staged by film directors William Friedkin (The Exorcist), who prepared two, and Woody Allen (Annie Hall).

      Cinema played a central part in “An Evening with Anthony Hopkins” at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. The famed British actor hosted an evening of clips from five of his films and performances of several of his musical compositions, including The Masque of Time, which was given its world premiere by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

      Made in America, a contemporary work by American composer Joan Tower, won three 2008 Grammy Awards in February. The CD of a performance of the piece by Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony won for best classical album and best orchestral performance, and Tower was honoured for best classical contemporary composition. The work also represented a new approach to the commissioning process, in which a consortium of 65 smaller U.S. orchestras banded together in 2001 to jointly pay for the work's creation and were then given the opportunity to perform it as part of their seasons. Another new work did not fare as well. In April the world premiere of Swedish-Israeli composer Dror Feiler's Halat hisar (“State of Siege”) was canceled when musicians of Germany's Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra claimed that the volume level of the work—which incorporates simulated machine-gun fire—caused many of them to suffer ringing ears after a rehearsal.

      Two wildly disparate ensembles marked significant anniversaries in 2008. The Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, Eng., the oldest professional symphony orchestra in the United Kingdom, celebrated its 150th anniversary. In Vienna the Vegetable Orchestra marked its 10th anniversary with a concert at the city's RadioKulturhaus. The orchestra's 12 musicians had toured the world, performing on such self-made instruments as “celery bongos,” “leek violins,” and “cucumberphones.”

      In England the Ford Motor Co. created an orchestra to perform on instruments made of parts from a Ford Focus. Although the ensemble did not have a name, it was featured in a £45 million (about $66.5 million) advertising campaign in which its 15 members played everything from a “clutch guitar” to a “window harp.” The tag line for the ad was: “The new Ford Focus. Beautifully arranged.”

      A humanoid robot, ASIMO, which was created by Japanese automaker Honda, conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in May in a performance of the song “The Impossible Dream.” The segment was part of a youth program that also featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

      At Severance Hall in Cleveland, the public itself was allowed to take the baton, via the UBS Virtual Maestro. The device, which came with an electronic controller to manipulate tempo and volume level, allowed participants to conduct an onscreen virtual orchestra in excerpts of works such as Gioachino Rossini's “William Tell Overture” and Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique during the intermission of performances by the Cleveland Orchestra in May. The device later was taken to other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle.

      Media technology continued to play a role in the popularization of classical music. In September the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) in New York City broadcast its opening-night gala at Lincoln Center via a high-definition (HD) satellite hookup. The event marked the start of the third season of the company's “The Met: Live in HD” initiative, which drew more than one million viewers to cinemas around the world in its first two years. The Met's live simulcasts of several of its productions to 850 venues in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan reshaped the way cutting-edge technology had taken a venerable musical form to a wider world.

      The trend was embraced (in the form of recorded performances) in 2008 by other opera companies, including London's Royal Opera House, San Francisco Opera, and La Scala. The LA Opera recorded Plácido Domingo's 40th anniversary gala—which featured tenor Domingo and soprano Patricia Racette and conductor James Conlon leading the LA Opera Orchestra—and broadcast it to 21 venues across the United States.

      The Internet also served as a conduit to the classical music marketplace. In January 2008 online music retailer ArkivMusic announced that its revenues for the preceding year grew by more than 30%. The Web site, which at the beginning of the year offered more than 82,000 CD titles, saw this growth at a time when CD revenues in the rest of the music industry were declining at a rate of 15% annually. In a press statement, ArkivMusic's president, Eric Feidner, said, “It's hard to overemphasize the significance of this in today's music marketplace. We currently only sell physical CDs of classical music. With the industry's ever-increasing focus on digital downloads, I think this shows just how unique our particular genre of music is relative to the overall music business.”

      Before the existence of CDs, digital downloads, and other paraphernalia used for music enjoyment, there was the Edison cylinder, which played on the phonograph Thomas Edison introduced in 1877. In October the Marston record label announced that it was releasing three CDs of excerpts from recordings originally made on Edison cylinders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Julius H. Block. Thought to have been destroyed in Germany during World War II, the cylinders had recently been rediscovered in Russia. The label claimed that the cylinders represented some of the earliest recordings of works by Bach, Wagner, and others. Highlights of the first three CDs included such historic snippets as Russian writer Leo Tolstoy reading from his works, what was reputed to be the voice and whistling of composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, an 11-year-old Jascha Heifetz introducing himself at a performance, and a recording of pianist Paul Pabst, who studied with Franz Liszt.

      In 2008 the classical music world marked the passing of a number of important artists. Composer-arranger Alexander Courage, who contributed to the scores of more than 100 films, including Funny Face and My Fair Lady, along with such television programs as Star Trek, died at age 88 on May 15 in Los Angeles. British musicologist Wilfrid Mellers (Mellers, Wilfrid Howard ) died in May, and American soprano and educator Gail Robinson (Robinson, Gail ) died in October. Other significant losses included those of Italian tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano (Di Stefano, Giuseppe ), Danish soprano Inga Nielsen (Nielsen, Inga ), Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer (Gencer, Leyla ), German-born violinist Siegmund Nissel (Nissel, Siegmund Walter ), Argentine-born composer Mauricio Kagel (Kagel, Mauricio Raul ), and American composers Henry Brant (Brant, Henry Dreyfuss ) and Norman Dello Joio (Dello Joio, Norman ).

Harry Sumrall

      The jazz world was shaken when a pillar of the jazz establishment, the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), collapsed. For 40 years the IAJE—which by 2008 had 10,000 members in 50 countries—had provided services for jazz educators, published the Jazz Education Journal, and held conventions. After 1996, when the last JazzTimes convention was held, the IAJE's annual gathering became the major conclave of jazz students, teachers, and industry representatives, drawing more than 7,000 attendees in 2006 and in 2007.

      Attendance in 2008 at the IAJE convention in Toronto plunged to 4,000. After the resignations of its executive director and president-elect, the IAJE canceled its 2009 convention, suspended its journal, and filed for bankruptcy. Almost immediately thereafter, the Jazz Education Network was founded by 35 educators. Mary Jo Papich, who had been elected IAJE president, became president of the new organization.

      Much of the year's most interesting activity emerged from new artists and new jazz communities that had matured in the 21st century. After 50 years of jazz education in the United States and abroad, skillful young disciples of major artists such as Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and Wayne Shorter emerged not only from the American heartland but also from Australia, Central Europe, and Asia. Most jazz education was oriented to jazz's heritage and to fusions with other musical traditions. A number of daring mentors, however, encouraged young musicians to experiment with organic, original developments of jazz sounds, rhythms, and forms.

      New communities of musicians who played free jazz and cultivated free improvisation were often led by well-known veteran artists. Pianist Irene Schweizer was the centre of the scene in Zürich, and pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach was central to Berlin's underground jazz. Saxophonists Evan Parker and Lol Coxhill were senior members of London's large improvising community; interesting Dutch musicians appeared in the wake of drummer Han Bennink and pianist Misha Mengelberg. Pianist-composer Satoko Fujii formed big bands in Japanese cities, and drummer John Pochée and saxophonist Sandy Evans were among the leaders of Sydney's improvisers and composers. Vancouver, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and the New York City region were among North America's hot spots for exploratory jazz.

      Veterans remained at the top of their form. Two of the most visible artists in 2008 were 78-year-old saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman. Both maintained busy international touring schedules, and Rollins released the live album Road Shows, Volume 1 on his own Doxy label.

      Young alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, whose CD Awake appeared, was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship (a “genius grant”). Legendary early-jazz pianist Tony Jackson was the subject of Clare Brown's play Don't You Leave Me Here, which premiered in London. In New York City the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra and the Abyssinian Church choir introduced a new composition by Wynton Marsalis to celebrate the Harlem church's 200th anniversary.

      Jazz fused with country music as trumpeter Marsalis joined singer Willie Nelson in Two Men with the Blues, which made the hit album charts. The great jazz bassist Charlie Haden returned to the music of his childhood, singing with his family in a bluegrass concert in New York City and releasing the album Ramblin' Boy, which featured guest appearances by Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs.

      After almost two years without a venue for nationally touring performers, Chicago once again had the Jazz Showcase when Joe Segal reopened the 62-year-old club in a new location. From nearby Evanston, Ill., collector Jim Neumann donated his library of more than 100,000 jazz recordings to Oberlin (Ohio) College. The huge collection was scheduled to be housed in a new building that would be completed in 2009. In a 20-year project, the recordings were slated to be digitized under the supervision of a full-time curator. David Stull, the dean of Oberlin's conservatory, said that the college planned to establish the world's largest online jazz archive.

      Toronto-based jazz magazine Coda celebrated its 50th year in 2008. In the midst of the U.S. presidential election campaign, an all-star cast of New York musicians, including Roy Haynes, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, and Roy Hargrove, held a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, who reportedly had tracks by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker on his portable music player. Herbie Hancock's album River: The Joni Letters, dedicated to singer Joni Mitchell, became the first jazz collection in 43 years to win a Grammy Award for album of the year. Other outstanding albums included the Ornette Coleman Anthology by Aki Takase and Silke Eberhard and a belated discovery, Paul Rutherford's Solo in Berlin 1975.

      A book of major importance, A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis, came out during the year. Other notable book titles included Howard Mandel's Miles Ornette Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz and Bob Blumenthal's Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music (2007).

      With the death of American tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, (Griffin, Johnny ) jazz lost one of its last remaining hard-bop stars. British swing trumpeter and radio host Humphrey Lyttelton (Lyttelton, Humphrey Richard Adeane ), American experimental clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre (Giuffre, Jimmy ), Cuban bassist and bandleader Cachao , and young Swedish pianist Esbjorn Svensson (Svensson, Esbjorn ) were among the notable losses in 2008, as were American drummer Lee Young, American composer Neal Hefti, Italian saxophonist Mario Schiano, and Spanish drummer Peer Wyboris.

John Litweiler


      The global music scene was dynamic in 2008. Experimentation and unexpected collaborations abounded, and musicians from the landlocked West African state of Mali were highly visible. The bravery of the new African music scene was epitomized by Malian diva Rokia Traoré, who released her first album in five years, Tchamantche. Many of the album's songs reflected Traoré's subtle and bluesy electric guitar, which was matched with an ancient African lute, the ngoni. The intimate, sophisticated recording showed the quality and range of her singing and songwriting as she went from a Bambara-language song about the tragedies of illegal immigrants attempting to reach Europe to a highly individual English-language reworking of the Billie Holiday classic “The Man I Love,” which begins as a brooding ballad and develops with vigorous improvisation.

      Traoré's compatriot Toumani Diabaté, the world's best-known exponent of the kora, a West African harp, had a good year as well. He had worked with a wide range of musicians, from his own Symmetric Orchestra to the late Ali Farka Touré, but in 2008 Diabaté released only his second purely instrumental solo recording in 21 years. The Mandé Variations was a powerful demonstration of his virtuosic and varied playing; pieces ranged from references to being a griot (i.e., descended from a long line of hereditary Malian musicians) to praise songs that include playful musical references to film composer Ennio Morricone. Diabaté's wide-ranging musical interests were also reflected by his contributions to Maestro, a new album by American blues guitarist Taj Mahal, and Welcome to Mali, a new set by the highly successful Malian duo Amadou and Mariam, which also featured the adventurous British pop star Damon Albarn.

      Amadou and Mariam, Albarn, and many other artists took part in the experimental concerts organized by Africa Express, which began in 2006 and in 2008 were held in London and Liverpool, Eng., and Lagos, Nigeria. The aim was to promote equality between African and Western musicians, who were encouraged to perform together onstage. A series of impressive and unexpected spontaneous collaborations resulted; for example, Senegalese star Baaba Maal sang with the British pop band Franz Ferdinand, and Amadou and Mariam played with another British pop band, the Magic Numbers.

      Alim Qasimov, the finest exponent of the mugham, the dramatic ancient poetry of Azerbaijan, performed alongside the celebrated Kronos Quartet from San Francisco at an emotional concert in London that could lead to further joint projects. From the East charismatic Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol and his colleagues from Los Angeles in the band Dengue Fever released a new album, Venus on Earth, and toured in Europe for the first time, bringing to new audiences the Cambodian music styles that flourished in the 1960s before the country's music scene was brutally crushed by the Khmer Rouge.

      Barriers were transcended in Cuba, where 77-year-old singer Omara Portuondo was featured on three new albums, including a collaboration with Brazilian star Maria Bethania and a solo set, Gracias, which included a duet with another legendary veteran, Brazilian Chico Buarque. Portuondo could also be heard on Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall (2008), a live recording of the last-ever show by the best-selling Cuban supergroup, which took place in New York City in 1998.

      In the United Kingdom the growing popularity of traditional music led to the emergence of new folk artists, including Julie Fowlis, a singer with an exquisite, pure style who specialized in Scottish Gaelic songs. She toured in both Britain and the United States and recorded an acoustic Scottish Gaelic version of the Beatles classic “Blackbird.” She also took part in the Rogues Gallery concerts, in which pirate songs and sea shanties were revived by a celebrity cast that also included American actor Tim Robbins, Irish singer Shane MacGowan, and the project's American producer Hal Willner.

      One of the tragedies of the year was the early death of the singer and songwriter Andy Palacio (Palacio, Andy Vivien ), who had brought the world the soulful, gently rhythmic music of the Garifuna people of Central America. Another loss was Rick Wright (Wright, Rick ), the keyboard player and a founding member of the British band Pink Floyd.

Robin Denselow

United States.
      The American record industry in 2008 continued to shift from traditional models to a digital marketplace. In the first half of the year, album sales totaled 204.6 million units, down 11% from the first half of 2007. “We're in unpredictable times,” said country star Kenny Chesney, who released his Lucky Old Sun album in October. “People say, ‘The music industry is over.' It's not over, though. … People are still going to want to go out and hear live music.”

      Chesney was the only contemporary American hit maker to sell out numerous stadium concerts in 2008, and even he opted to lower some ticket prices in recognition of fans' economic stresses. Other top touring acts included Madonna, Rascal Flatts, Bon Jovi, and Eagles. Fans also supported an auditorium tour from the once-unlikely duo of Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and bluegrass thrush Alison Krauss.

      British neosoul singer Amy Winehouse (Winehouse, Amy ) was among the toasts of the 50th annual Grammy Awards, though she was unable to attend because of visa problems. By February Winehouse's erratic behaviour and substance-abuse issues were eroding what had been significant career momentum. Still, she won five Grammy Awards, including record of the year. The Grammys' top prize, album of the year, went to a jazz album— Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters—for the first time in 43 years. “I'd like to thank the Academy for courageously breaking the mold,” Hancock said as he accepted the award. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted performers Leonard Cohen, the Dave Clark Five, Madonna, John Mellencamp, and the Ventures, and Kennedy Center Honors—the highest arts awards in the United States—were bestowed on George Jones, Barbra Streisand, Pete Townshend, and Roger Daltrey.

       Hip-hop music continued to sell well. For example, Lil Wayne 's Tha Carter III album sold more than a million copies in its first week of issue. That was the highest debut-week sales figure since the release of 50 Cent's The Massacre in 2005. “Lollipop,” the debut single from Lil Wayne's album, spent five weeks atop the all-genre Billboard charts. Atlanta rapper T.I.'s Paper Trail album was another notable release, and hip-hop also showed signs of maturing as a touring genre. Early in 2008 Jay-Z's tour with Mary J. Blige grossed more than $30 million, including sellout shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In addition, a tour headed by Kanye West made more than $31 million. These were hopeful signs for a genre that had posted only one top 20 North American tour in the previous five years, according to Billboard.

      Many performers chose sides in the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. Bruce Springsteen, John Legend,, and others offered public support for Obama, while country stars Hank Williams, Jr., and John Rich were vocal in their support of McCain. Several musicians sought to restrict the use of their songs at political rallies. Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, and the Foo Fighters requested that McCain cease to use their songs; Browne actually sued the campaign. Sam Moore of Sam & Dave asked the Obama campaign to stop playing “Hold On, I'm Comin'.”

      Several former pop and rock acts released country albums in 2008. Jessica Simpson's Do You Know debuted at number one on the Billboard country chart, and Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker became the first African American singer in a quarter century to have a number one solo country single. Country labels and country radio were also partial to American Idol alumni; Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, and Kristy Lee Cook all worked in that format.

      Among 2008's notable losses were soul music legend Isaac Hayes (Hayes, Isaac Lee, Jr. ), groundbreaking guitarist Bo Diddley (Diddley, Bo ), record producer Jerry Wexler (Wexler, Jerry ), gospel greats Ira Tucker (Tucker, Ira B. ) and Dottie Rambo (Rambo, Dottie ), singer-songwriter John Stewart (Stewart, John Coburn ), singer Edie Adams (Adams, Edie ), Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs (Stubbs, Levi ), and Country Music Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold (Arnold, Eddy ); other deaths included those of country guitar virtuoso Jerry Reed (Reed, Jerry ), blues singer Nappy Brown, revered session drummer Buddy Harman, and steel guitarist Don Helms.

Peter Cooper


North America.
      Anniversaries and farewell performances were the highlights of 2008's dance activity. In and around New York City, the centennial of Antony Tudor's birth was variously marked, most prominently in a two-day conference that included symposia arranged by the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust in cooperation with the Juilliard School, where Tudor taught for a number of years, and in a fall City Center season by American Ballet Theatre (ABT). The company's annual spring-summer season at the Metropolitan Opera House opened with a rare performance of The Judgment of Paris, Tudor's acidic and hilarious take on the ancient story, transposed into the decadent 1930s. The company's fall season in the more intimate City Center included the landmark Pillar of Fire and the elegiac The Leaves Are Fading.

      The spring season of New York City Ballet (NYCB) celebrated the career of Jerome Robbins, who died in 1998, with performances of 33 of his ballets. NYCB was joined by dancers from other companies for whom Robbins worked, such as the Paris Opéra Ballet, the Royal Ballet (London), and ABT. As a complement to NYCB's season, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts offered a wide-ranging exhibition called “New York Story: Jerome Robbins and His World.”

       San Francisco Ballet (SFB) started the year with celebratory programs to mark its own 75th anniversary, culminating in the New Works Festival in mid-spring. The event featured the world premieres of 10 works that SFB had commissioned, including ballets by Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, and Paul Taylor. Selections from the festival supplied part of the repertory for SFB's U.S. tour in the fall.

      The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated its 50th anniversary. In December—during the troupe's annual monthlong season at City Center—two special premieres were given: Festa Barocca, a full-company work by Mauro Bigonzetti, and Go in Grace, a collaboration between choreographer Hope Boykin and singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, which had an erratic history (of folding and reopening) during the career of its choreographer and founder, staged a comeback to celebrate its 40th anniversary, with seasons of smaller works at the Dance Theater Workshop in New York City and larger ones at City Center.

      To mark her 35th anniversary as dancer and choreographer, Canadian Margie Gillis presented a program called M.Body.7, a group showcase created by Gillis for dancers of a wide range of ages. Laura Dean, long absent from the modern dance scene, was given the prestigious Scripps Award at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C., which celebrated its 75th anniversary.

      Several illustrious dancers retired from American stages in 2008. At NYCB two male dancers were saluted: Nikolaj Hübbe, a Dane who departed at the end of the winter season to head the Royal Danish Ballet, where he had begun his career, and Damian Woetzel, who since 2007 had also directed the Vail (Colo.) International Dance Festival. Notable ballerinas who announced their retirement included National Ballet of Canada's (NBC's) Jennifer Fournier, who made something of a second name for herself with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Russian-trained, Georgian-born Nina Ananiashvili, who danced her final Giselle at ABT and announced that she would retire from the company in 2009.

      Earlier in the year, Ananiashvili had led the State Ballet of Georgia, a troupe she had directed since 2004, on a U.S. tour. Among the offerings in repertory were some works by Aleksey Ratmansky, the departing artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet. In the fall ABT announced that Ratmansky had signed a five-year contract as artist in residence for the company. Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH was a thrilling display of daring dancing to Shostakovich at NYCB and a highlight of the season's new ballets.

       Twyla Tharp worked prominently with both Miami City Ballet and ABT. For Miami she created work to music commissioned from Elvis Costello, called Nightspot, and for ABT she made Rabbit and Rogue to music commissioned from Danny Elfman. In the fall Tharp gave Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet two more premieres, Opus 111 (to music of Johannes Brahms) and Afternoon Ball (to music of Vladimir Martynov). By year's end Tharp had been awarded a Kennedy Center Honor.

       Christopher Wheeldon wrapped up his work as resident choreographer of NYCB with a Tchaikovsky-inspired ballet called Rococo Variations. In the fall Wheeldon's own Morphoses played at City Center following its second appearance at the Vail festival. Wheeldon's Stravinsky-inspired Commedia was a highlight of the run.

       Houston Ballet's (HB's) artistic director Stanton Welch created new works for his company, including A Doll's House (a story of chaos in a toy shop). Canadian choreographer James Kudelka created for the troupe Little Dancer, a Degas-inspired work set to the music of Philip Glass. The company had to cancel the end of its run of John Cranko's Onegin in the wake of Hurricane Ike. In November, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal went to Houston under HB's auspices, taking two works that were new to the city.

      Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented two delightful samplers. In June Protégés II offered a mixed bill presenting the top pupils from prominent ballet academies around the world. Subsequently, Kennedy Center offered a five-day long celebration called Ballet Across America, which showcased companies from all regions of the country.

      International visitors to North America included the Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet in its first-ever season at New York City's relatively small City Center, where the stage could hardly contain the radiant and yet cool Uliana Lopatkina and the charmingly brash Alina Somova; the Russian dancers gave Balanchine's works a new accent. Likewise, the Kirov's dancers in the works of William Forsythe toned down some of the often frantic aspects of the dances. (Forsythe's own Impressing the Czar, in a revival by the Royal Ballet of Flanders, became the featured dance entry at the Lincoln Center Festival.) Lincoln Center's Great Performers series included dances by Michael Clark in a series of all-Stravinsky programs.

      The Mark Morris Dance Group offered Morris's new Excursions at Tanglewood, Mass., before presenting Romeo and Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare at the kickoff of a Prokofiev festival at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The three-act work used a newly discovered original version of Prokofiev's 1930s score, which differed from the work that became widely popular after the composer's revisions of the 1940s.

      Among the touring appearances by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, most notably a series at DIA:Beacon in Beacon, N.Y., the troupe gave a special performance of the Cunningham's John Cage-inspired Ocean in the Rainbow Quarry of Waite Park, Minn. The Paul Taylor Dance Company added to its own repertory Changes, set to the music of the Mamas and the Papas; the work was made by Taylor to fulfill SFB's anniversary commission.

      Events across Canada included Marie Chouinard's Body Remix/Goldberg Variations, which was performed in Victoria, B.C., and Vancouver. Alberta-born Aszure Barton offered two works with Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal during Ottawa's Canada Dance Festival. Toronto was the setting for the final, closing performance of the Danny Grossman Dance Company, which had its beginnings in 1977.

      The enduringly popular ballet film The Red Shoes celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008. Dance on film and video had highlights, most notably in “Dominque Delouche: Ballet Cineaste,” a retrospective festival of the Film Society of Lincoln Center; most of the films had been offered on DVD, notably by Video Artists International. Frederick Wiseman's 1995 documentary about ABT was newly released on DVD by Zipporah Films. Opus Arte, often in collaboration with the BBC, put out a number of titles, including the Royal Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty and La Fille mal gardée. Elton John's ballet-themed musical Billy Elliot (based on the 2000 film) went to Broadway in November.

      Losses to North American dance included several Canadians: dancer Ian Gibson, dancer and choreographer Leonard Gibson, ballerina and teacher Rosemary Deveson, teacher and choreographer Kay Armstrong, former NBC artistic director David Haber, and British-born ballerina and teacher Joy Camden. Among the Americans who died in 2008 were jazz dancer and choreographer Gus Giordano (Giordano, Gus ), ballerina Sallie Wilson (Wilson, Sallie ), Russian-born ballerina Irina Baronova (Baronova, Irina ), tap dancer Jimmy Slyde (Slyde, Jimmy ), and dancer and actress Cyd Charisse (Charisse, Cyd ), as well as ballerina Ellen Everett, ballet dancer Michael Bjerknes, Russian-born dancer and longtime School of American Ballet teacher Hélène Dudin, Colombian-born modern dancer and choreographer Eleo Pomare, and dance writer Amanda Smith.

Robert Greskovic

      The bravest initiative in the European ballet world in 2008 was undoubtedly the opening of a completely new classical company in Spain, a country that for many years had seen its most talented dancers leave for lack of opportunities at home. One of those dancers was Ángel Corella, distinguished principal of American Ballet Theatre; thanks to his drive, determination, and years of planning, the 50-strong Corella Ballet gave its official first performance in Madrid in September with Natalia Makarova's production of Petipa's La Bayadère.

      On a sadder note, the death of Maurice Béjart in late 2007 cast a shadow over the entire dance scene. His own company, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, continued to tour under the directorship of dancer and choreographer Gil Roman; one of the programs the company showed was Béjart's last piece, Le Tour du monde en 80 minutes, staged by Roman. Among other groups mounting tribute programs was the Paris Opéra Ballet, featuring Béjart's famous versions of The Firebird and Rite of Spring as well as the powerful Serait-ce la mort?

      As usual, the Paris company also presented a new evening-length work by one of its dancers, this time Les Enfants du paradis by José Martinez, set to a commissioned score by Marc-Olivier Dupin. Visitors to Paris included New York City Ballet, with a much fuller and more interesting program than those it had presented earlier in the year in London and Copenhagen. Very high prices in London had dampened sales and elicited complaints from dancegoers; a much more reasonable pricing schedule in Paris was rewarded by full houses and a very enthusiastic reception. There was some disappointment, though, that the company had to cancel Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes—never seen in Paris—when the estate of composer Richard Strauss withheld permission for his music to be used for this ballet outside the United States.

      There were major changes in Scandinavia; the National Norwegian Ballet moved into its new home in a fine new opera house in Oslo, and the national companies of Finland, Sweden, and Denmark each had a change of artistic director. Kenneth Greve took over the National Ballet of Finland, producing narrative ballets by Aleksey Ratmansky and John Neumeier and a triple bill of works by Nordic choreographers. Marc Ribaud's first season at the head of the Royal Swedish Ballet included the premiere of a piece by Patrice Bart based on the life of King Gustav III, the Swedish monarch who founded the company. Nikolaj Hübbe's first premiere for the Royal Danish Ballet (RDB) was a new production of Giselle, directed by Hübbe himself in collaboration with Sorella Englund; company ballerina Silja Schandorff and new principal dancer Nehemiah Kish performed the first night. English choreographer Tim Rushton made a new version of Askepot (Cinderella), in which the RDB was joined by members of Rushton's own Danish Dance Theatre; earlier in the season Christopher Wheeldon had made his first work for RDB—The Wanderers, to music by English composer Gavin Bryars. The company made a brief visit to China in connection with the Olympic Games in Beijing following seasons there by the Paris Opéra Ballet and the Royal Ballet (RB) from London.

      The Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet continued its extensive touring program, visiting U.S. cities as well as sending a smaller group to London with a program of short ballets. At home in St. Petersburg, the troupe premiered The Glass Heart, with choreography by company soloist Kirill Simonov; but for some months the headlines about the company focused on the rumoured departure of its director, Makhar Vaziyev, leading up to the announcement that he had indeed left the company and had been replaced by ballet master Yury Fateyev.

      The year started for the Bolshoi Ballet with a major success, Johan Kobborg's production of Bournonville's La Sylphide. Kobborg himself danced the witch, Madge, at one performance, and the young star Natalya Osipova was much admired in the title role. Later in the season Ratmansky's revival of a famous ballet from the Soviet era, The Flames of Paris, combined some elements of the original version with new choreography of his own. Some critics had reservations about the result, but there was praise for Mariya Aleksandrova, and later Osipova, in the leading role. Ratmansky's contract as director of the company expired at the end of the year, after a brilliant if sometimes difficult five-year reign.

      Kobborg later reproduced his version of La Sylphide in Switzerland for the Zürich Ballet. In Germany, John Neumeier made a new piece, Verklungene Feste, for his Hamburg Ballet, and Kevin O'Day created Hamlet for the Stuttgart Ballet. In Austria the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera gave its first performances of Kenneth MacMillan's epic Mayerling in October.

      Also in October, MacMillan's earlier piece Manon entered the repertory of English National Ballet (ENB). Made for the RB in 1974, it had been performed by companies all over the world but never before by another British company. In the summer ENB presented at the Royal Albert Hall Strictly Gershwin, a spectacular with choreography by Derek Deane; later in the year ENB played a season in its original home, the Royal Festival Hall.

      Kim Brandstrup, Christopher Wheeldon, and resident choreographer Wayne McGregor all made new work for the RB, while Jerome Robbins's Dances at a Gathering returned to the repertoire after more than 30 years' absence. Soloists Lauren Cuthbertson and Rupert Pennefather were promoted to principal rank; they joined Edward Watson as the only British dancers at the top level of the company.

       Northern Ballet Theatre, one of the most creative companies in the United Kingdom, added two new full-length works to its repertoire: a version of Hamlet by director David Nixon and A Tale of Two Cities by Cathy Marston, a former RB associate who was director of the ballet company in Bern, Switz. Scottish Ballet produced a new Romeo and Juliet, using a pared-down scenario and choreography by Krzystof Pastor. Rambert Dance Company director Mark Baldwin made a new piece, Eternal Light, to a new score by Howard Goodall, for his company's autumn tour; the outstanding Jonathan Goddard, who earlier in the year had become the first modern dancer to win the National Dance Award for Best Male Dancer, joined the company from the Richard Alston group. Alston himself, celebrating 40 years as a choreographer, showed a program that included The Men in My Life, a compilation of pieces he had made for male dancers during his career. Matthew Bourne's latest work had its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, followed by a sold-out run in London; but although Dorian Gray seemed a natural subject for him, the piece had a cool reception from the critics.

      The dance world was saddened by the deaths in 2008 of Norman Morrice (Morrice, Norman ), choreographer and former director of both Ballet Rambert and the RB; Nadia Nerina (Nerina, Nadia ), South African-born former RB ballerina; the great Bolshoi ballerina Natalya Bessmertnova (Bessmertnova, Natalya Igoryevna ); Ulf Gadd, Swedish dancer and choreographer; and former RB principal dancer Maryon Lane.

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      Controversies about public funding at the end of 2007 spilled into 2008, and the Arts Council was compelled to backtrack on a series of unpopular cuts in its grants to theatres such as the Bush in West London, a powerhouse of new writing for 30 years; the Northcott in Exeter, an important local venue that had already undergone an Arts Council-sponsored refurbishment; and the Bristol Old Vic, the most significant surviving Georgian theatre in the United Kingdom.

      Although the funding pot was increased by 8% (over a three-year period) to a total of £318 million (about $560 million), 185 organizations had their grants cut completely, and 27 saw their subsidies reduced. The Arts Council had detected a cultural shift toward what was disparagingly referred to as “clowns on stilts” theatre and site-specific ventures in nontraditional venues, but as playwright David Edgar pointed out in a powerful polemic, the increased diversity brought by Asian and Afro-Caribbean playwrights was almost entirely text-based.

      A commonly voiced complaint was that musicals were pushing the “straight play” out of the West End, though it was generally overlooked that the commercial West End—unlike the National Theatre (NT) or any other government-subsidized organization—had no obligation toward new drama. At any rate, new plays were rife on the fringe and in venues such as the Almeida, the Young Vic, and the Royal Court.

      Still, the West End came up with three highly entertaining new dramas: Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and starring Ralph Fiennes and Tamsin Greig in a battle of parents over their respective children; television stars Kris Marshall and Joanna Page in Neil LaBute's brilliant Fat Pig, a scabrous study in loyalty, love, and obesity; and Joanna Murray-Smith's The Female of the Species, in which Dame Eileen Atkins reveled in a performance widely taken to be a satiric portrait of the feminist academic Germaine Greer—who, without seeing it, denounced the play and its author. Atkins warmed up for this performance with a cutting comic display in the Theatre Royal, Haymarket's revival by Jonathan Kent of Edward Bond's The Sea, a brilliant comedy that combined elements of Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring and Shakespeare's The Tempest.

      The Haymarket's adventurous season concluded with a slightly misfired musical, Marguerite, by Michel Legrand and the Les Misérables team of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg with Jonathan Kent. Ruthie Henshall gave her all as the eponymous heroine in World War II France, caught in a web of romance and espionage, but the show was not much of a success. Compared with Trevor Nunn's disastrous new version of Gone with the Wind, though, perhaps it was a triumph after all.

      Audiences settled more happily for the irresistible Broadway import, recast for London, of Jersey Boys and found some kind of solace in a new musical version of Isabel Allende's novel of swash and buckle and derring-do, Zorro; Matt Rawle was outstanding as the hero, even if the songs by the Gipsy Kings were of average quality. The ersatz genre of the jukebox musical was represented by Never Forget—a tribute show to the British boy band Take That—and by a wonderful reimagining and staging of Jimmy Cliff's 1972 reggae film, The Harder They Come, which did not find the audience it merited.

      The West End was galvanized by two events. The first was director Emma Rice's adaptation of the 1946 David Lean film Brief Encounter (itself based on Noel Coward's one-act Still Life) as a brilliant mixed-media “happening”—video, fluid stage locations, and vaudeville—in the cinema on the Haymarket where Lean's film had received its premiere. Producer David Pugh worked in collaboration with Kneehigh, one of the United Kingdom's most innovative companies, which also performed at the NT—e.g., in War Horse (2007).

      The second jolt was provided by the Donmar Warehouse's launching of a West End season at Cameron Mackintosh's magnificently refurbished Wyndham's Theatre on Charing Cross Road. The Donmar continued to prosper at its home base in Covent Garden, with glorious revivals of Pam Gems's Piaf starring Elena Roger (it moved into the Vaudeville for a season) and Enid Bagnold's 1956 The Chalk Garden (also slated for possible transfer, starring Margaret Tyzack and Penelope Wilton). Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage launched a phenomenally interesting season with Kenneth Branagh in the title role of Chekhov's Ivanov, in a new version by Tom Stoppard, and with Sir Derek Jacobi as Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

      Branagh's return to the London stage after a five-year absence was triumphant. The actor sought no sympathy as a gentleman farmer swimming in debts and depression while his Jewish wife—to whom he is unfaithful and verbally abusive—dies of tuberculosis. The wife was played with pellucid beauty by Gina McKee, but the whole company bristled with spirit and intelligence, from Lorcan Cranitch's impetuous estate manager and Kevin R. McNally's alcoholic neighbour right through to Andrea Riseborough's startling ingenue and Sylvestra Le Touzel's rapacious social climber.

      Grandage—whose scheduled NT debut, directing Georg Büchner's Danton's Death, was delayed in 2008—imported his familiar high-level production values from his home base in the little 225-seat Donmar Warehouse; the dilapidated designs of Christopher Oram, the exquisite lighting of Paule Constable, and the gloriously discreet sound track of Adam Cork all proclaimed the new technical golden age in the British theatre.

      The RSC scored heavily with its season of Shakespeare's history plays at north London's Roundhouse. The season in Stratford—where the Courtyard proved a great success as a temporary home while the main theatre was being rebuilt across the road—had mixed success: The Merchant of Venice was generally derided, and The Taming of the Shrew starred two unattractive actors and was burdened by a cumbersome “concept.” However, David Tennant—best known as Doctor Who on BBC television—was outstanding both as Hamlet and as Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost, in productions directed by Gregory Doran.

      The best overall Shakespeare work was at the Globe on the river in Southwark, where David Calder gave a marvelously moving King Lear; hot new director Jonathan Munby gave new life and spring to A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Christopher Luscombe masterminded a delectable production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, with Serena Evans and Sarah Woodward as the jolly scheming spouses.

      There were several other notable new plays. The Globe, surprisingly, came up with Ché Walker's The Frontline, which was a contemporary Ben Jonson-style report from the muddle of drug-infested Camden Town, and the Royal Court garnered raves for American playwright Christopher Shinn's Now or Later, in which a Democratic presidential candidate's final push to victory is nearly sabotaged by his son's behaviour. Eddie Redmayne, a rising star, played the freckle-faced transgressor.

      At the NT an ongoing success story continued under artistic director Nicholas Hytner (who confirmed that he would stay on at least until London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012). There were tremendous new plays from Simon Stephens and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Stephens's was Harper Regan, an urban odyssey not dissimilar to Mike Leigh's defining movie Naked (in which the brilliant NT actress Lesley Sharp, who played Harper, also appeared), while Lenkiewicz's Her Naked Skin was directed by Howard Davies and featured Lesley Manville and newcomer Jemima Rooper as a lesbian couple highlighted against the turmoil of the Edwardian suffrage movement.

      The NT also presented Howard Brenton's intriguing chronicle play about former prime minister Harold MacMillan, Never So Good, with Jeremy Irons in the lead; a magisterial revival of Shaw's Major Barbara with Simon Russell Beale and Clare Higgins; a lively version of Thomas Middleton's Jacobean shocker The Revenger's Tragedy, with Rory Kinnear (touted as the NT's next Hamlet) entering the underworld of a sleazy nightclub; and Ralph Fiennes as Oedipus in Jonathan Kent's impressively hieratic revival of Sophocles' tragedy, in a new version by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, with Fiennes in imposing form and an all-male chorus given much individual character and speeches set to music by Jonathan Dove.

      The very best new plays of the year, however, were off the beaten track. Philip Ridley's Piranha Heights at the Soho Theatre was a stunning account of disastrous interracial dysfunctional relationships at the top of an East London high rise, and Anthony Neilson's Relocated in the Royal Court's upstairs studio was a creepy thriller of false accusation and secret fears in the context of mounting public hysteria over child abuse. Sam Shepard's Kicking a Dead Horse at the Almeida Theatre, though critically lambasted, was a far-from-insignificant Wild West version of Beckett's Happy Days, with Stephen Rea, one of Shepard's most loyal and perceptive interpreters, charting his character's comic cultural dilemma by the side of his own supine equine.

      The Almeida under Michael Attenborough had another good year, with a brilliant revival of Harold Pinter (Pinter, Harold )'s The Homecoming; an extraordinary, highly charged theatrical presentation of Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Last Days of Judas Iscariot from Philip Seymour Hoffman's LAByrinth company (recast with local actors); and an insidious, compelling revival by Anthony Page of Ibsen's Rosmersholm starring Helen McCrory and Paul Hilton.

      It was the 50th anniversary year of Pinter's The Birthday Party, and a fine production was duly given at the Lyric in Hammersmith, where the play had received its premiere; the staging was timely, in light of Pinter's death at the end of the year. The Bite program at the Barbican celebrated its 10th anniversary with a particularly rich series headed by Robert Lepage's nine-hour, nine-play masterpiece Lipsynch. Kevin Spacey's Old Vic was electrified by his double act with Jeff Goldblum in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, followed by Matthew Warchus's glorious revival of Alan Ayckbourn's famous trilogy of comedies, The Norman Conquests, in a stunningly reconfigured auditorium.

      Across the road the Young Vic offered a fascinating revival of Thomas Babe's A Prayer for My Daughter, which stood up well. The house maintained a high profile with a brilliantly theatrical revival by Richard Jones of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Soul of Szechuan (Jane Horrocks opened valiantly in the title role shortly after the real-life natural disasters in that Chinese province) and an overpowering staging of Kurt Weill's Street Scene, given too short a run but unquestionably one of the outstanding shows of the year.

      The Menier Chocolate Factory marked time with revivals of old Broadway musicals. Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's La Cage aux folles was done well, with Douglas Hodge and Philip Quast as the sentimental lovers (Denis Lawson replaced Quast when the show transferred to the Playhouse in October). Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager's They're Playing Our Song featured Connie Fisher, chosen in 2006 by television viewers to play Maria in The Sound of Music, but she failed to enhance her leading-lady status in the role of a ditsy lyricist.

       Liverpool was designated the European Capital of Culture, and the sprawling, diverse drama program included a giant mechanical spider crawling all over the office buildings in the city centre and a King Lear in which Pete Postlethwaite renewed his early roots at the Everyman Theatre. The Edinburgh Festival was a bit of a washout—it rained incessantly for three weeks—though everyone loved the raunchy vaudeville La Clique, which moved to London at the Hippodrome (formerly the Talk of the Town). The Dublin Theatre Festival hosted Vanessa Redgrave in her startling NT performance (seen in 2007 on Broadway) as Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking and presented a new dance drama, Dodgems, set on a real fairground bumper-car track.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      The radical economic downturn in the U.S. during the closing months of 2008 sent a chill through both the commercial and the nonprofit sectors of the American theatre. For Broadway the consequences were immediate: holiday tourism slumped; investment capital for all but the safest new projects went south; regular theatergoers slammed their wallets shut; and closing notices were posted in November and December for a spate of shows—including such ostensibly enduring hits as the musical Hairspray, slated to close in January 2009 after a six-year run, and Tony Award winners Spamalot and Spring Awakening—that had been expected to run for months, even years, into the future.

      The nation's nonprofit regional theatres, more insulated from the slump's immediate effects by multiseason support from foundations and corporate givers, nevertheless shifted into crisis mode as well, recognizing that belt-tightening loomed on the horizon. The ominous mood was further darkened by the closing of at least four major theatre organizations across the country, including the influential but debt-ridden 30-year-old Theatre de la Jeune Lune of Minneapolis, Minn., and once-viable resident companies in Milwaukee, Wis., Stamford, Conn., and San Jose, Calif.

      Hard times were nothing new for the theatre business, of course, and the industry took heart late in the year as the speeches and policy positions of President-elect Barack Obama offered hope that the health of the arts in general—and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in particular—would be high on the coming administration's agenda.

      The economic trepidation in some circles was matched by a proud sense of accomplishment in others. Broadway's alarming losses were compensated for, artistically at least, by superb productions of two American classics of the post-World War II era—the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, staged at Lincoln Center Theater with characteristic élan by Bartlett Sher (now in his eighth year as artistic director of Seattle's Intiman Theatre), and Arthur Miller's 1947 drama All My Sons, which received a revelatory experimental treatment from British director Simon McBurney. Working with a cast led by John Lithgow, McBurney, the moving force behind the acclaimed London-based ensemble Complicite, employed Brechtian presentation and cinematic flourishes that unleashed a strain of raw power in Miller's warhorse of a play that more conventional productions had failed to tap. (South Pacific more or less swept the 2008 Tony Awards, with seven wins, including awards for direction and design; the Miller revival would be up for award consideration in 2009.)

      It was a big year for another American theatrical icon, Edward Albee, who turned 80 on March 12. Among three major productions of his work in New York City and environs during the year were an intriguing self-directed revival of his absurdist shorts The Sandbox (1959) and The American Dream (1961) and the debut at Princeton, N.J.'s McCarter Theatre Center of Me, Myself, and I, an uncharacteristically sunny (and typically punny) treatment of family dysfunction.

      The development of new plays continued to receive widespread support in 2008, via such efforts as a new NEA-funded initiative administrated by Arena Stage of Washington, D.C.; the newly established Yale Center for New Theatre in New Haven, Conn., underwritten by a $2.8 million Robina Foundation grant; the Public LAB of New York City's Public Theater, flush with $2.7 million from the Mellon Foundation; and such new-play standard-bearers as the Sundance Institute of Utah, Minneapolis's Playwrights' Center, and New York's New Dramatists. Up-and-comers Tarell Alvin McCraney (Wig Out), Shelia Callaghan (Dead City), Itamar Moses (The Four of Us), and Julie Marie Myatt (Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter) were among the new generation of writers to watch.

      One of the most talked-about new plays of the season was Octavio Solis's Lydia, a dark, poetic melodrama of complex family relationships and sexual violence, set in the writer's native border town of El Paso, Texas. Commissioned and premiered by the Denver Center Theatre Company, Lydia was headed for high-profile productions in Los Angeles, New Haven, Conn., and elsewhere.

      All 10 of the late August Wilson's 20th-century-cycle plays were mounted in chronological order of setting at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in March and April, under the overall supervision of Kenny Leon, artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company of Atlanta, Ga. Aiming to present the works “as if they were cut from the same cloth,” Leon shared directorial duties with Wilson specialists Israel Hicks, Todd Kreidler, Gordon Davidson, Derrick Sanders, and Lou Bellamy.

      Major job changes on the American scene included a virtual round-robin of artistic directorships in Massachusetts: Diane Paulus, whose Broadway-bound Shakespeare in the Park revival of Hair was a sensation in New York, took the reins of the influential American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., and Peter DuBois moved from his associate director slot at the Public Theatre to the top job at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company. The Huntington's Nicholas Martin, hitting his stride at 70, moved northwest to head the summer-season Williamstown Theatre Festival.

      In Canada the much-discussed restructuring of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival went shockingly awry; Marti Maraden and Don Shipley, two members of the three-pronged leadership team that had been announced the previous year, abruptly backed out in March before their tenure began, leaving the American director Des McAnuff as sole head. McAnuff took on Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra as well as Romeo and Juliet and imported Stratford's first international production, Deutsches Theater of Berlin's already-well-traveled Emilia Galotti. Montreal-based auteur Robert Lepage, who had received the 2007 Europe Theatre Prize, continued to impress audiences and critics around the world with his lavishly visual high-tech interpretation of Hector Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, which impressed audiences and critics at New York City's Metropolitan Opera and elsewhere.

      Fringe festivals continued to thrive in major Canadian cities. Toronto's version marked its 20th anniversary by beginning a Next Stage fest-within-a-fest, with selected participants who had already proved themselves on the national fringe circuit (rather than being programmed by the usual lottery-selection process). These handpicked “cream of the crop” shows—in tandem with the festival's on-site heated beer tent—attracted a reported 4,500 spectators in chilly January.

      Theatre figures who died during 2008 included actress Estelle Getty (Getty, Estelle ), better known for her role in TV's Golden Girls than for her considerable accomplishments in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions; playwright William Gibson (Gibson, William ), author of The Miracle Worker and Two for the Seesaw; and director and master teacher Paul Sills (Sills, Paul ), a proponent of theatre games invented by his mother, Viola Spolin, and leader of Chicago's ragtag Compass Players, precursor of the comedy troupe Second City; other losses included Robert Alexander, creator of the Living Stage Theatre Company, which served for more than 30 years as the community outreach arm of D.C.'s Arena Stage; actress and playwright Oni Faida Lampley; Montreal-born Richard Monette, who led Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival for 14 seasons; and Barbara Ann Teer, founder of the National Black Theatre of Harlem.

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
      For Selected International Film Awards in 2008, see Table (International Film Awards 2008).

      In a year without Harry Potter, other Hollywood franchises filled the cinemas with plenty of fantasy and excitement. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gave enjoyable proof that time really can stand still; no bones creaked as director Steven Spielberg and his star Harrison Ford resumed the breezy adventure series for the first time since 1989. The tone of Spielberg's sequel contrasted sharply with the dark complexities and anguish of Christopher Nolan's second Batman adventure with Christian Bale (Bale, Christian ), The Dark Knight—a film given a frisson all its own by the death in January of Heath Ledger (Ledger, Heath ), cast as the frighteningly maniacal Joker, the most evil of Batman's adversaries.

       Daniel Craig returned as James Bond in Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster), a cold film so pumped up for action that characters scarcely had room to breathe. Livelier action-adventure was available in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army, a feast of rococo images and humour, and the Marvel Comics spin-off Iron Man (Jon Favreau), lifted out of the genre pile by the intense performance of Robert Downey, Jr. (Downey, Robert, Jr. ), as the superhero thrust into the front line against foreign foes of the United States. Klaatu, the extraterrestrial ambassador from the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, returned in the form of Keanu Reeves in Scott Derrickson's lavish but unimaginative remake.

      The year's political dramas were chiefly confined to the real world and to the American presidential elections. Still, it was hard to ignore Oliver Stone's W., a surprisingly judicial treatment of the presidency and early years of George W. Bush, boisterously impersonated by Josh Brolin. Ron Howard's film of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon extracted much human interest from the famous 1977 television meeting between interviewer David Frost (Michael Sheen) and disgraced former president Richard M. Nixon (Frank Langella). On the “war on terrorism” front, Ridley Scott's Body of Lies made superficial attempts to treat CIA antiterrorist operations realistically, but the film was essentially popcorn fodder.

      Enough thoughtful quality product kept audiences' brains engaged. Steven Soderbergh went overboard with ambition in Che, an epic two-part biography of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara; although the film was weak as drama, it was bolstered by Benicio Del Toro's central performance (he won the best actor prize at the Cannes Festival). Mickey Rourke galvanized Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler with his comeback performance as a faded wrestler trying to get back on top. In Changeling, featuring Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood directed one of his most finely controlled and vibrant films; it was inspired by a true story of murder and deception in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Revolutionary Road, Sam Mendes's scrupulous adaptation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel, locked the viewer into American suburbia in the 1950s; Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet excelled as the married couple unable to live happily ever after. The hardships of Brad Pitt (Pitt, Brad ) proved longer and stranger in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher's smoothly accomplished film about a man who ages backward from wizened youth to unlined old age.

      After several years of small-scale experimentation, director Gus Van Sant moved closer to the mainstream with Milk, a brilliantly observed account of the public career in the 1970s of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay politicians in the United States. Sean Penn (an unorthodox casting choice) lit up the film with his mischief and warmth. John Patrick Shanley's version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt featured a strident Meryl Streep as the Roman Catholic-school nun who spreads suspicions about Philip Seymour Hoffman's priest, but the play's power remained. British director Danny Boyle showed fizz galore in Slumdog Millionaire, a bustling film about a Mumbai (Bombay) street kid accused of having cheated on a TV show.

      In the animation field, the best undoubtedly was WALLE (Andrew Stanton), Pixar's tale of robot love on an Earth trashed and deserted by humans. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath) was the rare animation sequel that was actually better than the original. Teenage viewers rushed to see Zac Efron in High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Kenny Ortega). This cinema spin-off from the television-movie phenomenon was typically spirited and well staged, but it offered little dramatic nourishment.

      Michael Patrick King's film Sex and the City was thinly plotted, but four years after the television comedy series ended, fans were still happy to see Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her fellow New Yorkers, now in their 40s, talk about their lives and dreams. Bigger audiences across the world flocked to Mamma Mia!, Phyllida Lloyd's version of the upbeat stage musical garlanded with ABBA songs; it was the year's one resounding feel-good film. Vicky Cristina Barcelona, set in Spain, was a funny Woody Allen movie about sexual attraction, sparked into extra heat by the teaming of Javier Bardem (Bardem, Javier ) and Penélope Cruz. Wider audiences enjoyed Jason Segel and Kristen Bell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nicholas Stoller)—a comedy that was rude one minute and sweet the next (in the current fashion) but that was dispatched with well-drawn characters. Two giants in the film industry, Paul Newman (Newman, Paul Leonard ) and Charlton Heston (Heston, Charlton ), died during the year.

British Isles.
      No British film discomfited or transfixed the viewer as much as Hunger, the first feature by the video artist Steve McQueen, which described with eloquent visual detail the last weeks of the Irish Republican Bobby Sands in 1981 as he starved himself to death in prison. Michael Fassbender's performance was courageous and unflinching. Mike Leigh, known for exploring urban misery, lightened his mood for Happy-Go-Lucky, an ambling comedy about the daily whirl of a chattering, optimistic schoolteacher. Shane Meadows, another individualistic chronicler of modern Britain, offered Somers Town, the natural and funny tale of a cross-cultural teenage friendship. Director Terence Davies returned with Of Time and the City, a modest film essay about his home city, Liverpool.

      Among “heritage” films, Julian Jarrold's Brideshead Revisited bathed the viewer in 1920s nostalgia; though details of Evelyn Waugh's revered novel were changed, the film kept enough of its spirit. Australian director Stephan Elliott's jazzy spin on Noël Coward's play Easy Virtue met with a mixed reception, as did The Edge of Love (John Maybury), a stylistically confused drama about the wartime loves of 20th-century poet Dylan Thomas. History received a contemporary kick in The Other Boleyn Girl (Justin Chadwick), which featured Scarlett Johansson as Mary, sister of Anne Boleyn. Lavish settings and Keira Knightley's beauty dominated another American co-production, The Duchess; unfortunately, the drama about the 18th-century duchess of Devonshire lacked meat and wasted the talents of a promising director, Saul Dibb.

      Among films set in the present, Noel Clarke's Adulthood, a sequel to the earlier Kidulthood (2006; directed by Menhaj Huda, written by Clarke), pitched its antiviolence story at the level of a scream, but it proved a hit with British youth pleased to see their own lives mirrored on the screen. The powerful The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Mark Herman), adapted from John Boyne's novel, viewed the Holocaust through the eyes of the young son of a concentration camp commandant. Asa Butterfield's performance as the boy was exceptional.

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
      No film could top the ambition, length, or flamboyance of Baz Luhrmann's Australia—165 minutes of colourful melodrama, stunning landscapes, and political breast-beating wrapped around a plot about Nicole Kidman's aristocratic English outsider who is trying to hold on to her late husband's land. Brandon Walters's mixed-race child supplied the film's political conscience and best performance; Hugh Jackman's cattle drover provided pin-up appeal. On a much smaller scale, Elissa Down's The Black Balloon was impressive for its caring treatment of the pressures of living with an autistic sibling. New Zealand's film scene remained quiet.

      From Canada, Atom Egoyan's Adoration, one of the director's typically multilayered dramas, centred on an orphaned high-school student trying to make sense of his life and the dangerous world. In Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life), Benoît Pilon sensitively explored the experiences of an Inuit tuberculosis sufferer in a Quebec City hospital.

Western Europe.
      A looming global recession did nothing to stop the French industry from spending $115 million, its largest-ever sum for a film, on Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques. French critics tore Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann's comedy to shreds, but they found enough to praise elsewhere. Adapted from François Bégaudeau's memoir, Laurent Cantet's Entre les murs (The Class), the Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Festival, swept the viewer into the daily life of garrulous, obstreperous Parisian students and their junior-high-school teacher (convincingly played by Bégaudeau himself). Arnaud Desplechin, a specialist in wayward epics of introverted talk, tightened his grip somewhat in Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale), which featured Catherine Deneuve as a dysfunctional family's matriarch who needs a bone marrow transplant. The unexpected French hit of the year was Dany Boon's Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Sticks), a comedy that made fun of regional prejudices. Philippe Claudel's Il y a longtemps que je t'aime (I've Loved You So Long) told the story of two sisters reconnecting after a gap of 15 years; the director and his actors, Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein, shared the pleasant knack of finding big resonances in small things. A tougher view of life prevailed in Les Hauts Murs, Christian Faure's unflinching drama based on the true story of a teenage boy desperate to escape from an imprisoning orphanage.

       Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne pursued their customary spare aesthetic in Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence), a brooding account of a young Albanian woman (brilliantly played by Arta Dobroshi) caught in a deadly immigration scam. Bouli Lanners's Eldorado offered absurdist comedy with melancholy touches. Bolder entertainment came from Joachim Lafosse's Élève libre (Private Lessons), a subversive comedy about a naive teenager and his dangerously sophisticated summer tutor.

      Two Italian films displayed fresh energy and a new confidence about wading into the country's political life. Matteo Garrone's Gomorra (Gomorrah), based on a best-selling exposé, used a chilling documentary approach to strip the glamour from Mafia crime in Naples; the film won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Paolo Sorrentino's jaunty Il divo presented the internecine career of the politician Guilio Andreotti, wickedly portrayed by Toni Servillo. Struggling immigrants came under a sophisticated spotlight in Francesco Munzi's Il resto della notte (The Rest of the Night); the bare life of a Sardinian shepherd took centre stage in Sonetàula (Salvatore Mereu), a film that was a victory for Italian neorealism and the painterly, measured image.

      In Germany, Uli Edel's Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex) reactivated painful memories of the Red Army Faction's revolutionary terrorism in the 1960s and '70s. Nikolai Müllerschön's Der Rote Baron (The Red Baron), a biography of the World War I pilot Baron Manfred von Richthofen, looked good but suffered from a poor script. Dennis Gansel's Die Welle tracked the dangerous progress of a school course in fascist politics. In the thriller Jerichow, director Christian Petzold displayed his usual knack for tense psychological drama.

      Two Spanish films treated Basque terrorism. Manuel Guitérrez Aragón's Todos estamos invitados painted a flawed but lively portrait of a society accustomed to violence; Jaime Rosales's more forbidding Tiro en la cabeza used formal experimentation to investigate politics in the abstract.

      Among Scandinavian countries, Denmark scored with Flammen & citronen (Flame & Citron), Ole Christian Madsen's subtle treatment of life and intrigue during the Nazi occupation. The country's immigrant communities came under the spotlight in Omar Shargawi's intense thriller Gå med fred Jamil (Go with Peace Jamil) and Natasha Arthy's high-quality teenage drama Fighter, which featured a Turkish immigrant family and the martial art kung fu. Painstaking visual craftsmanship stamped the Swedish film Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (Everlasting Moments), Jan Troell's true story of a dedicated family woman who gradually discovers her gift for photography. Lacerating relationships dominated Himlens hjärta, Simon Staho's raw drama about two couples led toward danger by a dinner-party discussion about adultery. In O'Horten, the slight story of a train engineer at a loss in retirement, Norwegian director Bent Hamer offered another of his offbeat humanistic comedies.

Eastern Europe.
       Turkey's cinema industry had a bustling year. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's family drama Uc maymun (Three Monkeys) offered little relief from the clouds of doom hovering over the characters, but the director's grip was impressive; the film won the Cannes Festival's best director prize. Tatil kitabi (Summer Book), from a new director, Seyfi Teoman, was a far friendlier film, deftly illuminating ordinary lives through its story of a family in the agricultural provinces. Another impressive talent emerged in Ozcan Alper's Sonbahar (Autumn), a searching drama about a political prisoner's return home. Veteran actress Tsilla Chelton lent backbone and humour to Pandoranin kutusu (Pandora's Box), Yesim Ustaoglu's film about a country matriarch with Alzheimer disease.

       Serbia's biggest domestic hit was Uros Stojanovic's Carlston za Ognjenku (Tears for Sale), an engaging black comedy about two sisters from a war-devastated mountain village who are desperate to find a virile male. Gritty realism dominated the Russian Vse umrut, a ya ostanus (Everybody Dies but Me), Valeriya Gay Germanika's urgent portrait of troubled adolescents in the Moscow suburbs. In Kazakhstan documentary maker Sergey Dvortsevoy made a striking feature debut with Tulpan, a Cannes prizewinner that explored the lives of nomadic shepherds with a potent blend of landscape, humour, and ethnographic detail.

      Little of note emerged from Hungary, though Bela Paczolay's Kalandorok (“Adventurers”) sent three family members on a road trip with speed and a twist of personality. In the Czech Republic, Petr Zelenka's sophisticated Karamazovi (The Karamazov Brothers) viewed Dostoevsky's novel through various fancy mirrors, including scenes from a powerful stage production. The biggest hit in the Slovak language was Muzika (“Music”) by Juraj Nvota, a sad-funny sex comedy set in the 1970s. Slovakia's (and the Czech Republic's) most commercially successful film was Báthory (Juraj Jakubisko), an unwieldy but colourful English-language co-production, featuring Anna Friel as the legendary Hungarian countess.

      In Poland veteran director Andrzej Wajda returned after a five-year gap with Katyn (2007), a muted account of the Soviet massacre in 1940 of Polish army officers, intellectuals, and prisoners of war. More satisfying was Cztery noce z Anna (Four Nights with Anna), Jerzy Skolimowski's first work in 17 years; this small-scale film was nourished by the director's feeling for obsessive love and the oddities of human behaviour. Malgorzata Szumowska's German co-production 33 sceny z zycia (33 Scenes from Life) peered into its heroine's troubled life with sometimes uncomfortable dedication.

Latin America.
      No Latin American product enjoyed a grander showcase than Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles's English-language production Blindness, which opened the Cannes Festival. A plainer visual style might have drawn audiences closer to the characters from José Saramago's novel, who are trapped in a degrading world and collectively going blind. Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas found an audience with Linha de passe, a slight but humane film about four brothers in São Paulo trying to make their way honestly. In Os desafinados Walter Lima, Jr., a veteran of Brazil's Cinema Novo movement, delivered an affectionate if messy tribute to the bossa nova music boom. No affection warmed José Padilha's Tropa de elite, a high-pressured and violent celebration of Brazil's military police. The film won the Berlin festival's top prize, the Golden Bear.

      In Mexico Enrique Rivero made a notable directing debut with Parque vía, a low-key drama about a caretaker's fragile solitary life. Francisco Franco, from the theatre, was revealed as another director to watch with his sharply etched Quemar las naves, excellent in its depiction of a bourgeois family under pressure. In further signs of the region's health, impressive new directors also surfaced in Costa Rica (Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez, with El camino), Uruguay (Federico Veiroj, with Acné, a vivid portrait of adolescent pangs), and Chile, where José Luis Torres Leiva displayed a master's hand in El cielo, la tierra, y la lluvia, a bracing mood piece about isolated lives.

      In Argentina cult director Lisandro Alonso moved closer to mainstream tastes with Liverpool, a subtly textured drama about a returning sailor haunted by his past. Prison claustrophobia was vividly depicted in Pablo Trapero's Leonera (Lion's Den), and the film was further strengthened by Martina Gusman's performance as a university student fated to give birth in prison. Elegant reflections and regret dominated La ventana (The Window), Carlos Sorin's marvelously atmospheric film about an aged aristocrat who is waiting for the return of a long-lost son.

Middle East.
      No film from the region tested audiences' resolve more than Asbe du-pa (Two-Legged Horse), from the young Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf. Through stark images the film showed an Afghan youth hired to carry about on his back a crippled boy who is bent on humiliating him. Dramas featuring social issues, an Iranian specialty, included 3 zan (3 Women), Manijeh Hekmat's naturalistic study of women searching for their roots and identities, and Majid Majidi's Avaze gonjeshk-ha (“The Song of Sparrows”), an imperfect but humane story that pits rural verities against Tehran's modern whirlwind. Shot with great care, Panahbarkhoda Rezaee's Cheraghi dar meh (“A Light in the Fog”) placed the hard life of a widow under a microscope. Cult director Abbas Kiarostami experimented in Shirin, which consists of the reactions on 113 female faces—112 Iranian actresses, plus Juliette Binoche—to a 12th-century Persian play performed offscreen. The film was for connoisseurs only.

       Israel generated the extraordinary and powerful animated film Vals im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir), Ari Folman's often hallucinatory recollection of his experiences as a soldier during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In Etz Limon (Lemon Tree), Eran Riklis, director of the 1991 hit Gmar Gavi'a (“Cup Final”), renewed his ability to make intelligent entertainment out of the Israeli-Palestinian border conflict. Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor also scored well with Zarim (Strangers), a roving tale of star-crossed love.

      Commerce rather than art continued to dominate India's teeming film industry. Among Hindi costume spectaculars, Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar led the field in star power, with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan top-billed as a 16th-century Muslim emperor and a Hindu princess who are engaged in a legendary romance. For once, character portrayals mattered more than big battles. Veteran director Shyam Benegal also put characters first in Mahadev ka Sajjanpur (Welcome to Sajjanpur), a warmly textured kaleidoscope of life in a central Indian village. The year also brought Roadside Romeo, directed by Jugal Hansraj—the first installment of a proposed series of Indian animated features co-produced with Walt Disney Pictures. The film, about the street adventures of a spoiled Mumbai dog, broke no boundaries, but children left satisfied.

East and Southeast Asia.
      Costing $80 million, John Woo's Chinese production Chi bi (Red Cliff) entered the record books as the most expensive film made to date in the Chinese language. The first segment of a two-part historical epic set during the unstable ancient period of the Three Kingdoms, it balanced tough action scenes with convincing characters, a trick also managed by Peter Chan's Tau ming chong (The Warlords). Director Gao Qunshu showed a bright talent for realism in his thoughtful thriller Qian jun yi fa (“Old Fish”); Cao Baoping revealed promise with Li mi de cai xiang (The Equation of Love and Death), a teasing diversion that intertwines a drug crime with three strangers seeking love.

       South Korea maintained its furious level of production. Director Kim Ji Woon outdid himself with a strenuous spaghetti western imitation, Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom (The Good, the Bad, and the Weird). Na Hong Jin's Chugyeogja (The Chaser) supplied serial-killer thrills wrapped up in social criticism. Fans of subtler fare could enjoy Hong Sang Soo's Bam gua nat (“Night and Day”), a surreal-tinged disquisition on self-delusion and the play between the sexes.

       Japan's art cinema jewel was Hirokazu Koreeda's Aruitemo aruitemo (Even if You Walk and Walk), a deceptively modest slice of life, alert to every criss-crossing dynamic inside a dysfunctional family. Cheerful and cheeky, Koji Hagiuda's Kodomo no kodomo (“Child by Children”) spun a tale about a pregnant 11-year-old girl without giving in to sensationalism.

       South Africa delivered three notable films. Ralph Ziman's Jerusalema used glossy packaging and directorial force to make something distinctive from a stereotyped underworld story. The strengths of Anthony Fabian's Skin, a co-production between South Africa and the United Kingdom, lay in the straightforward treatment of its true story about a girl with black skin who was born to white parents. Steve Jacobs's Disgrace, co-produced with Australia, carved sturdy drama from J.M. Coetzee's novel; the film featured John Malkovich as a dissolute Cape Town academic who confronts the upheavals of South Africa and of his own soul.

Geoff Brown

Documentary Films.
      For Selected International Film Awards in 2008, seeTable (International Film Awards 2008).

      Several major documentaries of 2008 addressed topics related to the war in Iraq. Alex Gibney's Academy Award-winning Taxi to the Dark Side used a young Afghan's story to examine controversial techniques used to elicit confessions from prisoners. Errol Morris directed Standard Operating Procedure, which looked into the prisoner-abuse scandal of 2004 at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; the film received the Jury Grand Prize at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival.

      Trouble the Water, directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, won the Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The film explored the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Flow: For Love of Water, directed by Irena Salina, examined the world's water crisis. Yung Chang's Up the Yangtze (2007) chronicled the effects on the populace of the massive Three Gorges Dam project. The film received the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

      The subject of Nerdcore Rising, by Iranian American comedian Negin Farsad, was a form of hip-hop whose lyrics centred on nerd culture. The film was screened at events across the United States.

      British filmmaker James Marsh directed Man on Wire, a chronicle of tightrope walker Philippe Petit's infamous journey in 1974 between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The work won the Jury Prize for World Cinema and the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, where the Documentary Directing Award was received by Nanette Burstein for American Teen, a film about high-school seniors in Warsaw, Ind.

Ben Levin

▪ 2008

Music downloads and podcasts were ubiquitous in 2007, and computer graphics in films looked almost like live action. Musicals ruled the popular stage and returned to the multiplex. New generations rediscovered the classics of dance and theatre, and many performing arts icons left the scene.


      The classical music world bade farewell to some of its most illustrious artists in 2007, even as it greeted new technologies and broader cultural forces that would be crucial to its future. Tenor Luciano Pavarotti (Pavarotti, Luciano ), soprano Beverly Sills (Sills, Beverly ), cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (Rostropovich, Mstislav Leopoldovich ), and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (Stockhausen, Karlheinz ) were icons of their musical generation. Pavarotti was one of the most famous musical artists—of any genre—of the post-World War II era. Similarly, Sills transcended her prodigious vocal talents to become an ambassador for the music she loved and for the institutions that nurtured it. Rostropovich, considered by many to be the finest cellist of his age, was also a tireless champion of human rights. Stockhausen heralded a new era of sounds, creative strategies, and aesthetic concepts that defined vast stretches of the contemporary classical canon and offered fresh paths for the continued evolution of new music.

      Technology continued to affect the position of classical music in the culture at large. Classical music downloads made up, by some estimates, upwards of 20% of the online music market (in comparison with a steady 4–6% share of the conventional record market). A central problem of downloads—how to categorize and display data about composers, works, and performers—was solved in a system called the Classical Music Initiative, which was developed by Gracenote, Inc., and adopted by Apple for iTunes and by the Naxos and Sony BMG labels, among others, for their offerings.

      An early and inadvertent benefit of the new technology was the discovery of a stunning hoax. When a Gramophone magazine critic entered a CD by the late British pianist Joyce Hatto into his computer, iTunes (referencing Gracenote) attributed the recording to another artist. As experts began to analyze some of the more than 100 recordings issued in Hatto's name on her husband William Barrington-Coupe's Concert Artist Recordings label, it was revealed that many had been taken from recordings by other pianists. The hoax was described by a spokesperson for the trade group British Phonographic Industry as “one of the most extraordinary cases of piracy the record industry had ever seen.”

      The discovery of the Hatto hoax was a minor consequence of the burgeoning use of downloads. In November Deutsche Grammophon (DG) became the first major classical label to distribute its recordings online. In the first phase of a plan to digitize the company's entire catalog, DG announced that it would offer about 2,400 high-quality albums—600 of them no longer in release—to consumers in more than 40 countries via its DG Web Shop Internet site.

      Soprano Barbara Hendricks, who left the EMI label in 2004, founded the label Arte Verum in 2006 and in 2007 released a new album, Endless Pleasure, as a CD and online; she invited listeners to pay whatever they chose for each download. She became the first classical artist to pursue a commercial path that had been blazed by rock group Radiohead earlier in the year, bypassing the once all-powerful record labels.

      In December the San Francisco-based male chorus Chanticleer took another page from the pop music world when it gave an in-store performance at J&R Music & Computer World in New York City. The group, which was named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America magazine, was plugging its latest album, Let It Snow.

      Classical organizations intensified their efforts to reach out to a broader public via new media and technological formats. In May the Boston Pops announced that contestants in its annual POPSearch competition for amateur singers could audition on the YouTube Web site. On September 14 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performed a “virtual” concert on the Second Life Web site. Many orchestras—not to mention public radio stations—streamed concerts on the Internet, and some offered downloads of recent performances. The Metropolitan Opera Company (Met) in New York City completed the first year of its programming on a dedicated Sirius satellite radio channel. The Met also broadcast live, in a high-definition digital format, six productions to movie theatres around the world and reached more than 325,000 viewers; for the 2007–08 season the program was expanded to eight operas at more locations.

      Following the Met's lead, the National Ballet of Canada offered “Live HD” showings of its December 22 performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at various Cineplex theatres, and Britain's Opus Arte collaborated with Montreal's DigiScreen and others in presenting high-definition screenings of operas and the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker in movie houses in North America and Europe.

      The New York Philharmonic got into the act by launching a series of free podcasts that featured interviews with orchestra members and guest soloists about upcoming concerts. The podcasts were made available for download at the orchestra's Web site and from iTunes; plans were also made to offer downloads of four live concerts by the orchestra.

      The Philharmonic also made the news in October when it was invited by the government of North Korea to perform in the insular country. That month orchestra president Zubin Mehta and other NYPO officials flew to the capital, Pyongyang, to discuss details of the invitation. They later announced that the performance would take place in February 2008.

      Controversy erupted during the summer and, to no one's surprise, emanated from the perennial hotbed of scandal, Germany's Bayreuth Festival. Katharina Wagner, a great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner, made her directing debut at the annual Wagner festival with a seven-hour production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Audiences booed and critics jeered at the staging, which included a rewritten plot and full-frontal nudity. Katharina Wagner and Christian Thielemann, music director of the Munich Philharmonic, subsequently announced their intention to take over leadership of the festival, replacing Katharina's ailing father, Wolfgang, who had strenuously guarded his control of the festival for decades.

      Richard Wagner, generally regarded as Hitler's favourite composer, was also inadvertently in the news when it was reported that part of the record collection of the Nazi leader had been discovered in the attic of former Soviet intelligence officer Lev Besymenski, who had reportedly retrieved the recordings in 1945 from the ruins of Hitler's chancellery in Berlin. In addition to Wagner, Russian and Jewish composers and musicians were represented in the collection.

      In June one of the world's most illustrious chamber ensembles, the Guarneri String Quartet, announced that its members would retire in 2009. The quartet was formed in 1964 at the Marlboro (Vt.) Music Festival and over the succeeding decades was hailed for its performances of the string quartet canon. Renowned pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy also announced that he would give up concert performing because of arthritis, although he planned to continue to make recordings as a pianist. He intended to focus on his career as a conductor and in 2009 would take the position of principal conductor and artistic adviser for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In November Alfred Brendel, hailed as Britain's greatest living pianist, announced that he would retire at the end of 2008.

      As usual, conductors played musical chairs during 2007. In July the New York Philharmonic announced that current music director Lorin Maazel would be succeeded at the end of the 2008–09 season by Alan Gilbert, who in turn gave up his post as music director of Santa Fe (N.M.) Opera to Dutch maestro Edo de Waart. At the Los Angeles Philharmonic, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen (Salonen, Esa-Pekka ) said that he would leave the orchestra at the end of the 2008–09 season; he was to be replaced by Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who was 26 at the time of the announcement. Meanwhile, Dudamel began his tenure in 2007 as principal conductor of the Göteborg (Swed.) Symphony Orchestra. Donald Runnicles was named director of both the BBC Scottish Symphony and Deutsche Oper Berlin; it was announced that Charles Dutoit would direct the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and become interim conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Leonard Slatkin, longtime director of the National Symphony Orchestra, was named music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; his announced successor at the National Symphony was Ivan Fischer. In June, Franz Welser-Most was named music director of the Vienna State Opera from the start of the 2010–11 season, and he said that he would continue his duties as musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Marin Alsop (Alsop, Marin ) began her tenure as music director of the Baltimore (Md.) Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra.

      Opera companies found that calling on well-known outsiders could freshen their image. Placido Domingo, general director of the Los Angeles Opera, announced that film director Woody Allen would direct the company's season-opening 2008 production of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi; another film director, William Friedkin (The Exorcist), would direct the other one-act operas on the same bill. In 2006 the Met's artistic director, Peter Gelb, had imported a production of Madama Butterfly by British film director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), and in 2007 Gelb went on to program productions created by two American women who were new to opera but known for their creative stage work: Julie Taymor (The Lion King) and Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses).

      The classical world said farewell to American tenor Jerry Hadley (Hadley, Jerry ), Canadian Opera Company director Richard Bradshaw (Bradshaw, Richard James ), American composer Gian Carlo Menotti (Menotti, Gian Carlo ), and French soprano Régine Crespin (Crespin, Regine ), as well as Australian pianist Aaron McMillan, Polish-born pianist Natalia Karp (Karp, Natalia ), Hungarian conductor Janos Furst (Furst, Janos ), Czech composer Petr Eben, and American soprano Teresa Stich-Randall.

 As the classical ranks were being depleted by losses and retirements, the music itself continued to be renewed with the debut of new works and the revival of old. In October the San Francisco Opera presented the world premiere of Philip Glass's latest opera, Appomattox, a study of the leadership qualities of Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Abraham Lincoln. In a thoroughly contrasting work, American composer Lee Johnson's Dead Symphony No. 6, which was first performed in May by the Russian National Orchestra, explored the music and spirit of the rock group the Grateful Dead. The late Russian composer Alfred Schnittke's Symphony No. 9 (completed by Alexander Raskatov) finally received its world premiere on June 16 in a performance by conductor Dennis Russell Davies and the Dresden (Ger.) Philharmonic. In November Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B Minor (Unfinished) was “finished” by Russian composer Anton Safronov and performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, led by Vladimir Jurowski.

      In a hint of things to come, modernist mainstay Charles Wuorinen announced in September that he had begun work on an opera based on the short story and film Brokeback Mountain. The Metropolitan Opera announced that it had commissioned a collaboration between film director Minghella and composer Osvaldo Golijov for a work to be produced in the 2011–12 season.

Harry Sumrall

      An ominous undercurrent in the 21st century was the dispersing of the jazz community in New York City, centre of the jazz world, as rent increases and gentrification shuttered venues. The April 2007 closing of Tonic, a leading club that specialized in adventurous music, brought the issue into sharp relief. Musicians and fans protested (singer Rebecca Moore and guitarist Marc Ribot were arrested), and a city councilman proposed tax breaks to landlords and others who aided artists. In the summer the Alliance for Creative Music Action was formed to lobby the city for performance spaces, affordable housing for artists, and arts education in public schools.

      Jazz at Lincoln Center, previously a bastion of conservatism, presented a concert of free jazz that featured high-energy saxophonist John Zorn and innovative pianist Cecil Taylor. The JVC and Vision festivals returned; other festivals in New York City included the Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz, which hosted musicians from Africa and Europe as well as from the Americas, and the fifth Festival of New Trumpet Music, which had among its performances two rarely heard brass-ensemble works by Anthony Braxton. The young musicians of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground made news with a four-day festival at the Manhattan club Smalls. A number of young Israeli musicians received attention, among them bassists Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen, trumpeter (a different) Avishai Cohen, clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen (the trumpeter's sister), and pianist Yuval Cohen (the trumpeter's brother).

       Chicago's Umbrella Music, which had offered weekly shows at several locations, held an international festival in November. (Chicago's jazz scene, like New York's, suffered from high rents, and the Jazz Showcase, Chicago's leading jazz club, closed on New Year's Day 2007.) Perhaps the major festival of the year was the eight-night affair at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; the event began with a gala “Living Legends of Jazz” concert that included performances by the Jazztet, Regina Carter, T.S. Monk, Wynton Marsalis with Dave Brubeck, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and Nancy Wilson, among others. In a historic move, longtime jazz promoter George Wein sold his Festival Productions, which had presented the JVC and other festivals, to the Festival Network, a venture headed by Wein's former employee Chris Shields.

 For the first time, a largely improvised jazz work won the Pulitzer Prize in music: Sound Grammar, a 2006 album by alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman; the Pulitzer committee awarded a posthumous special citation to John Coltrane. Coleman also received the Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In the midst of his set at Bonnaroo, a Tennessee pop-music festival, Coleman collapsed of heat stroke, but he went on to lead his quartet later in the year.

      The Internet became increasingly important to jazz, with labels such as Ayler, artistShare, Tompkins Square, and Greenleaf selling some recordings—by artists such as Ran Blake, Dave Douglas, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra—only over the Web, usually as digital downloads. The label Verve reissued hundreds of out-of-print jazz albums as downloads. Among the proliferating artist Web sites, stood out for offering historic concert performances by tenor saxophone great Sonny Rollins, as well as monthly biographical installments that featured interviews with Rollins, his family, and fellow musicians.

      King Oliver's classic 1923 band included four great artists from New Orleans: cornetists Oliver and his 21-year-old protégé Louis Armstrong, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, and his brother, drummer Baby Dodds. Together they created true ensemble music that peeped through the fragile grooves of 78-rpm recordings in the premicrophone era and still sounded tinny in LP and CD reissues. In 2007 new sound-reproducing technology brought about a CD reissue, King Oliver off the Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings. For the first time, the players' individual sounds, intricate blending, and, most of all, their passion became real to contemporary ears.

      Mosaic Records reissued two vital swing-era boxed sets—Duke Ellington: 1936–40 Small Group Sessions and Classic Chu Berry Columbia and Victor Sessions. Of the year's new recordings, Roscoe Mitchell's Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 & 3 was especially rewarding for the leader's sensitive settings for strings, percussion, and winds (in particular, Evan Parker's brilliant solo on tenor saxophone). Another tenor saxophonist, Fred Anderson, offered some of his finest recent work in duets with bassist Harrison Bankhead on The Great Vision Concert. Pianists Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau (Mehldau, Brad ) and guitarist Pat Metheny were among the sidemen in Pilgrimage, the last CD by tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker (Brecker, Michael Leonard ), issued a few months after his death. Metheny and Mehldau's Quartet, trumpeter Charles Tolliver's big-band collection With Love, singer Kurt Elling's Nightmoves, and Winterreise by pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and his trio were also among the year's notable releases.

      Death took a dreadful toll in 2007. Besides Brecker, pianists Oscar Peterson (Peterson, Oscar Emmanuel ), Andrew Hill (Hill, Andrew ), Joe Zawinul (Zawinul, Joe ), and Alice Coltrane (Coltrane, Alice ), trombonist Paul Rutherford (Rutherford, Paul William ), critic Whitney Balliett (Balliett, Whitney Lyon ), violinist-composer Leroy Jenkins (Jenkins, Leroy ), alto saxophonist Frank Morgan (Morgan, Frank ), and the great drummer Max Roach (Roach, Max ) were among jazz's losses, as were conga player Carlos (“Patato”) Valdés, clarinetists Alvin Batiste and Tony Scott, bassist Art Davis, and singer Dakota Staton.

John Litweiler


 The fusion of traditional styles with Western influences resulted in some of the finest global music of recent years; in 2007 the trend continued as African artists worked with Western rock musicians or produced their own distinctive form of hip-hop. The most successful newcomer was K'Naan, who as a child fled with his parents from war-torn Somalia to Canada. K'Naan developed a unique minimalist African–hip-hop fusion, in which he was often backed only by one African drum. His approach was bravely low-key by hip-hop standards, but he succeeded because of the power of his music, in which he educated Western audiences about Somalia and asserted that he had witnessed more suffering and brutality than American superstars who bragged about gangster lifestyles and violence. He impressed crowds across the U.S., where he appeared alongside Stephen and Damian Marley (sons of reggae hero Bob Marley), and in Britain, where he made his first major appearance at the huge Glastonbury music festival.

      At Glastonbury, K'Naan also took part in “Africa Express,” a daring five-hour experimental show with an emphasis on spontaneity; no one knew in advance exactly who would turn up or which combinations would perform. Started as an angry reaction to the lack of African artists at Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert the previous summer, the show attracted such African stars as Mali's Amadou and Mariam, Toumani Diabate, and Tinariwen; Senegal's Baaba Maal; and the Algerian rocker Rachid Taha, who appeared alongside K'Naan. Participating Western musicians included the Magic Numbers, DJ Fatboy Slim, and Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz), one of the organizers.

      Albarn, a passionate enthusiast for music from around the world, also composed the music for a new and highly experimental theatrical show, his “world music opera” Monkey: Journey to the West, which incorporated Chinese folk music and circus performers. Albarn became involved in the El Gusto project, producing an album recorded in Algeria that revived the multiethnic chaabi style that flourished before the country's independence in 1962. A European tour by the 42-member El Gusto Orchestra featured several Jewish musicians, including the celebrated pianist Maurice El Medioni, who had lived in Algeria before 1962. The shows were hailed as an important collaboration between Jewish and Muslim artists.

      Another British rock performer involved in the African music scene was Justin Adams, who worked as guitarist with Robert Plant and as producer for Tinariwen, the best-known exponents of “desert blues.” On the album Soul Science, Adams set his rousing electric guitar work against the traditional ritti, the one-stringed fiddle played by the Gambian musician Juldeh Camara. (Incidentally, Plant got the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin together for a London concert, their third reunion since the band broke up in 1980.)

      Not all the African musical experiments of the year related to rock music. Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré was invited by the opera director Peter Sellars to write a new work for the New Crowned Hope project, which began as a celebration in 2006 of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart and was reprised in 2007 in London. She responded with an experimental piece in which Mozart was born in Mali, as a hereditary musician, or griot. Her songs were backed by a string quartet, as well as the traditional Malian n'goni (a four-stringed lute) and Western guitars and bass.

      The African instrumental newcomer of the year also came from Mali. Bassekou Kouyate, who started out working with the late Ali Farka Touré, was a virtuoso exponent of the n'goni, which in his hands could tackle anything from blueslike traditional songs to passages of frantic and rapid-fire improvisation worthy of a great jazz player. His debut album, Segu Blue, was recorded with his wife, singer Ami Sacko.

      In Brazil musicians also mixed revival and experiment. Members of Os Mutantes, the rock band that had been hailed as Brazil's answer to the Beatles in the '60s, released a live album to celebrate their return to the scene after nearly 30 years. Contemporary experimentalists Kassin + 2 included Alexandre Kassin, Domenico Lancellotti, and Moreno Veloso, the son of Brazilian star Caetano Veloso. Their albums mixed indie rock, electronica, and samba, but the trio also started Orquestra Imperial as a side project, playing big-band samba from the '40s and '50s. The orchestra developed a cult youth following in Rio de Janeiro.

      Among the international music figures who died in 2007 were Canadian folk-rock singer Denny Doherty (Doherty, Denny ); Australian rockers Billy Thorpe (Thorpe, Billy ), Lobby Loyde (Loyde, Lobby ), and George Rrurrambu (Rrurrambu, George ); Irish singer-songwriter Tommy Makem (Makem, Tommy ); Congolese musician Madilu System ; Brazilian producer Guilherme Araújo (Araujo, Guilherme ), and British broadcaster and record company executive Tony Wilson (Wilson, Tony ).

Robin Denselow

United States.
      Popular music in the U.S. hit several rough spots in 2007. On the scandalous side, former pop starlet Britney Spears embarrassed herself repeatedly, legendary producer Phil Spector faced a murder trial, and country singer Sara Evans weathered a messy public divorce. On the retail side, Nielsen SoundScan reported that midyear sales of CDs were down by 15% from 2006's discouraging figures. In fact, sales had been eroding throughout the new millennium. Warner Music Group laid off 400 employees; big-box retail giant Wal-Mart shrank its music inventory; and musicians and record-company chiefs began wondering whether the business was in a death spiral. Not everyone was subject to the commercial pummeling, though. Kanye West (West, Kanye ), for one, proved averse to any downturn. His album Graduation, released on September 11, posted the biggest first-week totals of any album since rapper 50 Cent's The Massacre in 2005.

 At the 49th annual Grammy Awards in February, the Dixie Chicks—a group that had received little country radio airplay in the extended wake of lead singer Natalie Maines's critical comments in 2003 about Pres. George W. Bush—swept the major categories, winning five trophies, including the top song, record, album, and country album prizes. Other big winners included hip-hop soul singer Mary J. Blige and rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Police, a group that broke up in 1984, reunited with a show-opening version of “Roxanne.” The next day the Police announced a tour that would ultimately become the year's most successful in North America. Through the summer the group earned a gross $91.3 million over 31 shows. Country superstar Kenny Chesney remained a top performer as well, drawing more than a million fans for the sixth consecutive year.

 Multiple styles were represented among the year's most successful albums. Teen-friendly sound track High School Musical 2, West's Graduation, pop-country band Rascal Flatts' Still Feels Good, jazzy sophisticate Norah Jones's Not Too Late, and rock band Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight all fared well. Major singles included pop kingpin Justin Timberlake's “What Goes Around…Comes Around,” superstars Beyoncé and Shakira's collaboration “Beautiful Liar,” and rock band Maroon 5's “Makes Me Wonder.” Clubgoers delighted in a number one Billboard single by hip-hop singer T-Pain, “Buy U a Drank,” and in Rihanna's smash, “Umbrella.”

      Longtime stars seemed unfazed by the changing commercial landscape. Bruce Springsteen released a number one album, Magic, and played numerous sold-out shows with his E Street Band. John Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, returned to the “swampadelic” sounds of his past with the much-lauded Revival. The Eagles' Long Road out of Eden sold more copies in its first week of issue than any disc except West's Graduation, even though the Eagles' CD was sold only in Wal-Mart stores. A four-hour Peter Bogdanovich-directed documentary, Runnin' Down a Dream, examined Tom Petty's career, and Bob Dylan's life was the subject of Todd Haynes's experimental movie I'm Not There, in which four men, a woman, and a 13-year-old boy portrayed “Dylan” (under different names) at various stages of his life. Critics also cheered the return of 80-year-old Porter Wagoner (Wagoner, Porter Wayne ), who released the much-heralded album Wagonmaster. Wagoner died later in the year. Country duo Brooks & Dunn experienced a rare loss in the Country Music Association Awards' duo category, but they remained a popular and profitable force in the genre.

      The year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., the Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Van Halen. Notable deaths included rock singer Brad Delp (Delp, Brad ), gospel singer James Bodie Davis (Davis, James Bodie ), longtime popular singers Don Ho (Ho, Don ) and Teresa Brewer (Brewer, Teresa ), Western-style singer Frankie Laine (Laine, Frankie ), singer-songwriters Hank Thompson (Thompson, Hank ) and Dan Fogelberg (Fogelberg, Dan ), doo-wop singer Zola Taylor (Taylor, Zola ), singer-songwriter-producer Lee Hazlewood (Hazlewood, (Barton) Lee ), and steel guitarist “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow (Kleinow, Pete ); other losses were CBGB club founder Hilly Kristal, saxophone player Boots Randolph, steel guitarist John Hughey, country star Del Reeves, and James Brown's chief collaborator Bobby Byrd.

Peter Cooper


North America.
  New York City Ballet (NYCB) made use of a special Web site, as well as the usual print advertisements, to draw attention to its first production of a new ballet set to Sergey Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet score. Calling his version Romeo + Juliet, (“and” was sometimes depicted by a dagger), Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins found the lead performers in the youngest ranks of his dancers. The two-act reduction of the work's traditional three-act scheme, with a unit set and costuming by Danish painter and designer Per Kirkeby, turned out to be more interesting on paper and on the Internet than onstage. Shown during the company's spring season in New York City and in the summer residency at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Romeo + Juliet received mixed reviews at best. Against any number of familiar productions, NYCB's youth-oriented version ended up looking thin as drama and monotonous as ballet theatre.

      At New York City's Metropolitan Opera House, American Ballet Theatre (ABT) unveiled its newest production of another classic, The Sleeping Beauty, to the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This production drew attention to the participation in the direction and rethinking of the ballet of the well-known, and sometimes controversial, former dancer Gelsey Kirkland. The final result, credited to ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie with the assistance of Kirkland and the dramaturge Michael Chernov, also received a mixed critical response. Tony Walton and Willa Kim, familiar to Broadway theatregoers, designed the generally successful sets and costumes, respectively. For a subsequent run at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, Calif., the ballet was revised, perhaps not for the last time.

      The year saw the departures from the stage of three noted ballerinas: Italy's Alessandra Ferri of ABT and the Americans Kyra Nichols of NYCB and Patricia Barker of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. NYCB's programming overall celebrated the centennial of the birth of Lincoln Kirstein, who was instrumental in the founding (with George Balanchine) and great success of the company. The Harvard Theatre Collection, along with other cultural institutions on the East Coast, variously presented special events that showcased Kirstein's interests in the literary, visual, and performing arts. A substantial biography, The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein by Martin Duberman, was also published.

      At the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, an exhibition called “Invention: Merce Cunningham & Collaborators” celebrated one of the masters of modern dance. Cunningham's company toured extensively, with one special stop at Dia:Beacon in Beacon, N.Y., the venue for another of the dancemaker's well-known “Events”—i.e., specially arranged site-specific dance works. In July, Paul Taylor and his company brought attention to the American Dance Festival, Durham, N.C., by presenting the choreographer's latest work, De Sueños, which was based on aspects of Mexican culture. In August, Mark Morris again brought dance to Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, offering a three-part program called Mozart Dances, which was broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center. Later in the summer PBS showed Nureyev: The Russian Years, a documentary about the legendary career of Rudolf Nureyev, who was also the subject of a new biography, Nureyev: The Life, by Julie Kavanagh.

      The Martha Graham Dance Company put together on short notice a New York City season to help cap its 80th anniversary celebrations, and Criterion released Martha Graham: Dance on Film, a two-disc DVD presentation of historic films expanded by recent interviews and essays. Independent dancemaker Twyla Tharp found her work the subject of a specially arranged performance by groups from five New York City-area colleges. Meanwhile, Cal Performances, at the University of California, Berkeley, offered a series called “Focus on Twyla Tharp,” consisting of programs by Miami City Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and ABT. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater staged Maurice Béjart's unconventional Firebird, as well as reviving Ailey's Flowers and Reflections in D, for its monthlong New York City season.

      Prominent among the premieres by San Francisco Ballet (SFB) was Concordia by Canada's Matjash Mrozewski. Most of the company's year was spent preparing for its major 75th anniversary celebration in 2008; NYCB, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, and National Ballet of Canada (NBC) planned to collaborate with SFB for the festivities. In 2007 the Canadian company performed the 2005 version of Balanchine's rarely performed Don Quixote, in a co-production with stager Suzanne Farrell, who held the rights to the ballet. The New York Public Library concurrently restored a historic film of a preview performance from 1965, which featured Farrell dancing opposite Balanchine himself. The library screened the remastered film and then made it available for individual viewing on the premises of its Jerome Robbins Dance Division. The NBC also presented an all-Robbins bill, including his West Side Story Suite, in anticipation of commemoration of the 10th anniversary, in 2008, of the renowned choreographer's death.

      Montreal-based choreographer Edouard Lock showed his Amjad, a postmodernist take on Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, which he presented in several Canadian cities with his troupe, La La La Human Steps. Notable festivals in Canada included the seventh Vancouver International Dance Festival and Montreal's first Festival TransAmériques, which hosted 10 contemporary dance programs. The NBC's Guillaume Côté appeared with his own company, as well as with others, including with ABT in a guest appearance as Prince Charming in James Kudelka's Cinderella. One work on the “Three World Visions” program given by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal was Polyphonia by NYCB resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Set to music of Gyorgy Ligeti, the four-couple showcase helped the choreographer launch his own venture, Morphoses: The Wheeldon Company, at the Vail (Colo.) International Dance Festival. Polyphonia joined other works that the choreographer was preparing for weeklong seasons in London and New York City.

      New York City's annual Lincoln Center Festival included wonderful music and dance offerings from Mongolia. As an outdoor event the festival presented Slow Dancing, digital portraits of individuals from across the world of dance—including the legendary Bill T. Jones (Jones, Bill T. ), Judith Jamison, and Allegra Kent—each taped in roughly 5-second solos that were processed by photographer David Michalek into hyperslow-motion 10-minute huge projections shown three at a time. In September the installation, differently configured, traveled to the Los Angeles Music Center. The Jacob's Pillow festival, Becket, Mass., began its 75th anniversary season with debut appearances by the State Ballet of the Republic of Georgia, led by its director and leading ballerina, Nina Ananiashvili.

      Following the success of his Broadway work for Mary Poppins, English choreographer Matthew Bourne toured his touching Edward Scissorhands, making a long stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). BAM's 25th Next Wave Festival included performances of the impressive work of Ohad Naharin by Batsheva Dance Company, from Tel Aviv, as well as offering the most recent work devised by experimentalist John Jasperse for his troupe. Premieres in the United States included Christopher Fleming's The Three Musketeers by the Dayton (Ohio) Ballet; Stanton Welch's The Four Seasons, danced by Houston Ballet to Antonio Vivaldi's music; and Carolina Ballet's performance in Raleigh, N.C., of artistic director Robert Weiss's two-part ballet Monet Impressions.

      News of individuals included the appointment of ABT's renowned Ethan Stiefel as dean of dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Veteran artistic director Gerald Arpino of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago was named emeritus director in July, and Ashley Wheater, ballet master of the SFB, became the Joffrey's artistic director in September. The Joffrey's former associate director Adam Sklute became artistic director of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sarasota Ballet of Florida named England's Iain Webb as its new artistic director. Los Angeles Ballet launched its second season under the direction of Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary. Marat Daukayev was appointed deputy artistic director of the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C.

      The North American dance community mourned the loss during 2007 of choreographers Glen Tetley (Tetley, Glen ), Ruthanna Boris (Boris, Ruthanna ), Michael Kidd (Kidd, Michael ), Alberto Alonso (Alonso, Alberto Julio Rayneri ), and Michael Smuin (Smuin, Michael ); NBC founder Celia Franca (Franca, Celia ); and dancers Josefina Méndez (Mendez, Josefina ) and Lowell Smith (Smith, Lowell Dennis ). Other significant losses included dance school administrator Nathalie Gleboff; ballet teachers Edith d'Addario, Antonina Tumkovsky, and Natalia Clare; dancer Hortense Kooluris and choreographer Walter Nicks from the modern dance community; Canadian ballet star David Adams, writers Mae Banner and Robert Tracy; critic and collector Ann Barzel; and 33-year NBC music director George Crum.

Robert Greskovic

 The European dance world in 2007 was, as usual, busy with celebrations of anniversaries, but one in particular stood out as a truly continentwide occasion. Choreographer Hans van Manen, who was primarily associated with the Dutch National Ballet and Netherlands Dance Theatre, celebrated his 75th birthday; the Dutch National Ballet hosted the event, and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Ballet (familiarly known as the Kirov), as well as companies from Munich, Stuttgart, Ger., and Mainz, Ger., joined in.

      The Stuttgart Ballet dedicated a season to its great choreographer and former director John Cranko, who would have turned 80 in August; he was credited with having raised the company to international status. The programs included most of his best-known works as well as a revival of his Carmen from 1971. Berlin's Staatsballett gave its first performances of Sir Frederick Ashton's Sylvia; with the Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier mounted The Little Mermaid—based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen and originally made for the Royal Danish Ballet. Neumeier also made a new work based on J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The Bayerisches Staatsballett attracted an international audience to Munich with its new production of Marius Petipa's Le Corsaire, staged by company director Ivan Liska with the assistance of American Doug Fullington, an expert in Stepanov notation, the method used to record many 19th-century classics.

      A new production of Le Corsaire was also a feature of the Bolshoi Ballet's home season in Moscow. Yury Burlaka and director Alexey Ratmansky reproduced as closely as they could the ballet as it was done in 1899, replacing lost passages with their own choreography where necessary. In an “American” triple bill, the company danced its first performances of George Balanchine's Serenade and of Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, as well as giving the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Misericordes (which later toured with the title Elsinore), based very loosely on the story of Hamlet. Other notable events were a gala to celebrate the 80th birthday of Yury Grigorovich, the debut of guest star Carlos Acosta in the title role of Spartacus, and a revival of Asaf Messerer's 1963 showpiece Class Concert. In St. Petersburg the Mariinsky company showed a reconstruction of Petipa's Le Réveil de Flore, staged by Sergey Vikharev; gave the first performance of Aria Suspended by the Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz; and featured principal Diana Vishneva (Vishneva, Diana ) in her own gala program (Silenzio. Diana Vishneva), in which the ballerina danced extracts from some of her greatest roles in an unusual contemporary setting. Former Mariinsky principal dancer Faroukh Ruzimatov was appointed director of the ballet company of the Mussorgsky Theatre, St. Petersburg. Boris Eifman premiered his latest work, The Seagull, for his own St. Petersburg-based company in January, transferring the action of the Chekhov play to a ballet studio.

      In Scandinavia the Royal Danish Ballet (RDB) mounted new works by Kim Brandstrup (Ghosts) and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (L'Homme de bois), as well as a new version of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring by Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen. Company principal Kenneth Greve staged a new production of Nutcracker. One of RDB's programs, “Silk & Knife,” featured six works by Jiri Kylian; as a prelude, the site-specific Undergardens, by Karine Guizzo, allowed the audience to wander through the backstage and cellar areas of the theatre, seeing dance performances and art installations. Director Frank Andersen planned to step down in summer 2008, to be replaced by New York City Ballet (and former RDB) principal dancer Nikolai Hübbe. Dinna Bjorn's final season as director of the Finnish National Ballet opened with Sylvie Guillem's production of Giselle in the newly renovated opera house in Helsinki; the Royal Swedish Ballet revived Ashton's La Fille mal gardée and added Jean-Christophe Maillot's production of Cinderella to its repertory.

      The Greek National Opera Ballet started the year with completely new versions of two 20th-century classics: L'Après-midi d'un faune, remade by Ioannis Mandafounis, and Les Sylphides, by Constantinos Rigos. The company's artistic director, Lynn Seymour, resigned from her post after a year, citing problems with working conditions. The city of Kalamata, Greece, again hosted its well-established international festival of contemporary dance. In Italy, for her farewell, ballerina Alessandra Ferri of La Scala (Milan) danced in the company's first performances of Neumeier's La Dame aux camélias; the Rome Opera Ballet showed Stravinsky's Persephone in a version created by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, featuring the great ballerina Carla Fracci, who was also the company's artistic director. Maurice Béjart (Bejart, Maurice ), who later died at age 80, staged a special performance at La Scala to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the murder of Gianni Versace, designer of the costumes for 12 of his ballets.

      The Paris Opéra Ballet added two major works to its repertoire: Roland Petit's Proust ou les intermittences du coeur and Ashton's La Fille mal gardée; the Ashton work was very successful, despite initial doubts about its suitability for the Paris stage and audience. In a more contemporary mode, the company also gave the world premiere of Roméo et Juliette, with choreography by Sasha Waltz and set to the music of Hector Berlioz. Étoile Laurent Hilaire made his farewell as a dancer but continued with the company as a ballet master. The Ballet National de Marseille toured to New York City and Copenhagen.

      In the United Kingdom, the Royal Ballet's year was marked by the retirement of Darcey Bussell, who was by far the company's best-known ballerina. Her final performance, in Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earth, was shown live on national television. New works for the company included William Tackett's Seven Deadly Sins and Balanchine's Jewels. The Birmingham Royal Ballet performed director David Bintley's full-length Cyrano, a completely new version of a story he had first used for the company some 16 years earlier. The title role was danced by principal Robert Parker, who retired at the end of the season at age 30.

       English National Ballet's year included open-air performances in Paris of Derek Deane's Swan Lake and also the premiere of a full-length work by Michael Corder, The Snow Queen, set to music by Sergey Prokofiev. Northern Ballet Theatre showed two new versions of Tchaikovsky ballets—A Sleeping Beauty Tale, giving a new twist to the old story, and Nutcracker; both were choreographed by company director David Nixon. The company also visited China, performing Nixon's Madame Butterfly. Scottish Ballet continued its progress, performing director Ashley Page's best-known ballet, Fearful Symmetries, as well as a new piece, Ride the Beast, by Stephen Petronio.

      The Bolshoi Ballet spent an extremely successful three weeks in London in the summer. New stars Natalya Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev made most of the headlines, but there was much praise too for Acosta's Spartacus, the new Le Corsaire, and London favourite The Bright Stream. Unfortunately, there was much less enthusiasm for two other visiting companies, the La Scala Ballet with Rudolf Nureyev's production of The Sleeping Beauty and the Peter Schaufuss Ballet with its Rolling Stones “dansical,” Satisfaction.

      The European dance world's losses in 2007 included Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Nina Vyroubova (Vyroubova, Nina ), British dancer and teacher Stanley Holden (Holden, Stanley ), and British ballerina Belinda Wright (Wright, Belinda ), and Russian choreographer Igor Moiseyev (Moiseyev, Igor Aleksandrovich ).

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
 After the successful Complete Works Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon ended in the summer of 2007, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) under artistic director Michael Boyd still could not rival the National Theatre, led by Nicholas Hytner, in terms of achievement and reputation, and the company's fortunes thus appeared volatile. The main Stratford house (and the smaller Swan too) was closed for several years for refurbishment and renovation. Nonetheless, a number of big projects were under way for RSC. Trevor Nunn, a former RSC artistic director, toured with King Lear and Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Ian McKellen played a magnificent Lear and shared the Chekhov role of Sorin with William Gaunt; they ended the tour at the New London Theatre.

      Boyd himself began directing another RSC company in the entire Shakespeare history play sequence, in the order of their composition. His Henry VI trilogy at the Courtyard (an exciting 1,100-seat temporary accommodation) in Stratford-upon-Avon was topped with a brilliant Richard III, in which Jonathan Slinger established himself in the front rank of British actors; a few months later he impressively portrayed an ethereal, hedonistic Richard II. Richard II was followed by an indifferent account of the two Henry IV plays, with Geoffrey Streatfeild as an unpleasantly knowing Prince Hal and David Warner—returning to the scene of his definitive Hamlet and Henry VI in the mid-1960s—as a rather too-likable, too-thin, Falstaff.

      Other RSC endeavours included the staging of various new-play projects, the touring of The Comedy of Errors, and the production by Neil Bartlett of a gender-bending Twelfth Night, starring Broadway actor John Lithgow as Malvolio. All the histories were slated to run in chronological order at the Roundhouse in North London in the spring of 2008, and associate director Gregory Doran planned to direct yet another RSC company back in the Courtyard. The RSC was very active, and its work was often very good, but audiences could not always find its productions.

      In contrast, Hytner's National Theatre conveyed a sense of integrated purpose, despite a varied repertoire of classics and new plays. Rafta, Rafta…, for instance, was Hytner's version of a domestic comedy from 1964 by Bill Naughton, adapted and modernized by Ayub Khan-Din; working-class characters in northern England, in an utterly convincing shift, were made South Asians. Similarly, Hytner's modern-dress revival of George Etherege's Restoration classic The Man of Mode prospered by having the “arranged marriage” side of the plot driven by the bride's Anglo-Asian ethnicity.

      Also at the National, Marianne Elliott's scintillating production of Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan (starring Anne-Marie Duff) brought up timely religious and political arguments. Howard Davies's superb staging of Maxim Gorky's first play, Philistines, illuminated universal aspects of family relationships in times of great change.

      New plays at the National included The Reporter, a slickly staged biographical play by Nicholas Wright about James Mossman (played by Ben Chaplin), a famous British television journalist who committed suicide; The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder by Matt Charman, a striking comedy of polygamy in the suburbs; and the British premiere of 19th-century Swedish writer Victoria Benedictsson's The Enchantment, a Strindbergian story that featured Nancy Carroll as a heroine in romantic turmoil.

      Three writers emerged sensationally from the Young Writers program of London's Royal Court Theatre: Bola Agbaje with Gone Too Far!, a sharp comedy about identity issues among teenagers in a London public-housing project; Alexandra Wood with The Eleventh Capital, an imaginative parable of regime change; and Polly Stenham with That Face, a lacerating study of warped mother love (Lindsay Duncan was the terrible parent). The Court's artistic director, Ian Rickson, bowed out after seven years with a superb performance of The Seagull, newly translated by Christopher Hampton and starring Kristin Scott Thomas; Rickson then made a fine National Theatre debut with a chilling revival of Harold Pinter's second play, The Hothouse.

      The new head of the Royal Court, Dominic Cooke, directed an abrasive play by American Bruce Norris, The Pain and the Itch. Cooke and associate Ramin Gray also mounted revivals of Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco and The Arsonists (better known as The Fire Raisers) by Max Frisch, in alternating repertory and in new translations by Martin Crimp and Alistair Beaton, respectively.

      Some critics charged that the flood of musicals in the West End left behind the audiences for new drama and classic revivals. The criticism was not strictly fair to London's producers, who, unlike those of Broadway, could not depend on attracting a committed audience. London's theatre overall was as varied and as vibrant as ever, but audiences were unpredictable. Hence, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber repeated his publicity-seeking ploy of casting a West End lead on a television talent show, this time in his and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Adelphi. The casting of Lee Mead, winner of the viewers' voting, as Joseph ensured instant stardom for the actor and a huge surge at the box office. The production was a slightly scaled-down and much-improved revival of Steven Pimlott (Pimlott, Steven Charles )'s colourful 1991 London Palladium production. (Pimlott, a talented director with the RSC, and of operas, succumbed to cancer before the revival's opening night.) David Ian, co-producer in 2006 of Lloyd Webber's The Sound of Music, brought back his own 1993 version of Grease, directed by David Gilmore, with two other TV-talent-show discoveries, but their impact was far lighter than Mead's.

      The West End also exhumed the popular Buddy Holly tribute show, Buddy, and an old-fashioned-looking Fiddler on the Roof, starring Henry Goodman. In addition, Bad Girls—the Musical, based on a TV series set in a women's prison, proved a surprise critical hit, and singer Michael Ball and comedian Mel Smith opened in the musical Hairspray, which made its London debut five years after its Broadway bow.

      The critics were partly placated by decently presented West End revivals. David Storey's In Celebration starred Orlando Bloom as the most taciturn of three brothers returning home for their parents' wedding anniversary; Jonathan Pryce led David Mamet's blistering Glengarry Glen Ross; Daniel Radcliffe (Radcliffe, Daniel ) was outstandingly good as the horse-blinding adolescent in Peter Shaffer's Equus; and RSC veteran David Suchet played a scheming cardinal in American Roger Crane's debut play, The Last Confession, about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I.

       Patrick Stewart, another RSC stalwart, continued his remarkable reinstatement as a leading stage actor after having spent years as a main character in the Star Trek franchise; he portrayed Macbeth and Malvolio at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Macbeth, directed by rising star Rupert Goold, arrived in the West End later in the year, and the RSC announced that in 2008 Stewart would play Claudius to the Hamlet of television's Doctor Who, David Tennant (an electrifying actor of genuine RSC pedigree). Another RSC veteran, Antony Sher, graced a skillful revival by Adrian Noble of Jean-Paul Sartre's Kean, but the audience failed to materialize.

      The only major new musical was The Lord of the Rings at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, a three-and-a-half hour, $25 million spectacular that disappointed audiences. Work had been done on the show since the tepidly received Toronto world premiere in 2006, but Matthew Warchus's production still laboured to clarify the story and win the audience over with dancing hobbits and elves, ludicrous orcs, and (literally) stilted tree men. The music was nothing special.

      In comparison, Warchus's expert revival of Boeing-Boeing, a 1962 farce by Beverley Cross—adapted from Marc Camoletti's French hit—about flight attendant roommates and their befuddled shared boyfriend, was a surprise and unalloyed delight, starring Roger Allam and Mark Rylance. In another surprise hit, popular television actor John Simms played a fussy young man obsessed with his dead mother in Elling, based on a cult Norwegian film about a pair of former mental hospital inmates adjusting to life in the outside world—or, to be exact, Oslo.

      Elling was a transfer from the tiny Bush Theatre, and the other main “off-West End” venues that continued to prosper included the Donmar Warehouse—which announced a West End residency from September 2008 in Cameron Mackintosh's Wyndham's Theatre (Jude Law was announced as Hamlet)—with sparkling revivals that starred Ian McDiarmid in Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman and Samuel West and Toby Stephens in Pinter's Betrayal; and the Almeida, which excelled in two contrasting revivals of American Depression-era drama, Theodore Ward's Big White Fog and Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing!, the latter featuring Stockard Channing.

      A new West End initiative was launched in October at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, with a new company run by former Almeida director Jonathan Kent. This latest riposte to the critics' lament on the state of the West End opened with a revival of William Wycherley's The Country Wife. Announced for 2008 were a new production of Edward Bond's The Sea and a new musical, Marguerite, by the writers of Les Misérables.

      Kevin Spacey's Old Vic remained stable with a scrupulous revival by Peter Gill of Patrick Hamilton's “Victorian” thriller Gaslight, featuring the graceful Rosamund Pike, and a striking, if not wholly successful, stage version of Pedro Almodóvar's film All About My Mother by Samuel Adamson, starring Diana Rigg and Lesley Manville. Across the road the Young Vic flopped badly with The Soldier's Fortune, Thomas Otway's rarely seen Restoration comedy, but rallied with a stimulating season of short plays by Bertolt Brecht, an engaging adaptation of D.B.C. Pierre's novel Vernon God Little, and an enthralling production of Carson McCullers's The Member of the Wedding.

      The Bristol Old Vic, Britain's oldest operating theatre, was closed down for refurbishment amid concerns that its artistic future was insecure. There were, however, fanfares for the reopening of the Theatre Royal in Bury St. Edmunds and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. David Greig was the most prominent playwright of the Edinburgh Festival; he had a new play, Damascus, at the Traverse Theatre and, for the National Theatre of Scotland, a new version of Euripides' The Bacchae, starring Alan Cumming as a sexually ambiguous Dionysus.

      The Dublin Theatre Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary with a revival by the Galway-based Druid Theatre Company of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, with Marie Mullen as Mary Tyrone and the American film actor James Cromwell as her actor-husband James; novelist Roddy Doyle's inner-city makeover (with Nigerian poet Bisi Adigun) of J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey; and a visit of the brilliant Katona József Theatre of Budapest with Chekhov's Ivanov in a riotous production to complement the more sedate pleasures of Brian Friel's version of Uncle Vanya at the Gate Theatre.

      Among the major losses to British theatre in 2007 were the American-born comedy writer Dick Vosburgh, whose best-known work was the musical A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine; actor John Normington, one of the original members of the RSC; and much-appreciated broadcaster and producer Ned Sherrin, creator of the influential TV program That Was the Week That Was (1962–63).

      Other deaths included actors Barbara Kelly (Kelly, Barbara ), Ian Richardson (Richardson, Ian William ), Gareth Hunt (Hunt, Gareth ), John Inman (Inman, (Frederick) John ), and Mike Reid (Reid, Mike ), as well as the writer Sheridan Morley (Morley, Sheridan Robert ).

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      An economically debilitating 19-day strike by Broadway stagehands—the longest shutdown there in more than 30 years—made national headlines in November 2007. The walkout left only 8 of the commercial theatre sector's 35 shows up and running over the usually lucrative Thanksgiving holiday, depleting New York City's arts economy by an estimated $2 million a day. The strike disrupted the theatregoing plans of thousands of visitors to the city, and it delayed the openings of several high-profile productions, including Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, a play about the early days of the television set, and the Walt Disney Co.'s newest musical extravaganza, The Little Mermaid. On November 28 the on-again, off-again negotiations finally bore fruit, and the shuttered theatres reopened the following night.

 The year's most-acclaimed new play, Tracy Letts's August: Osage County, was a big-cast, multigenerational family drama that had originated earlier in the season at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Critics searched for superlatives to apply to Letts (known as an actor as well as the author of two much-produced thrillers, Killer Joe and Bug) as they compared the play's central figure—Violet Weston, the malicious drug-addled matriarch of a rural Oklahoma family, played by Chicago-based actress Deanna Dunagan—to such classic American stage characters as Eugene O'Neill's Mary Tyrone, Tennessee Williams's Amanda Wingfield, and Edward Albee's Martha. The production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, went to the top of the list for potential Tony Awards.

      The 2007 Tonys (as well as almost every other applicable award) were swept by the wildly energetic rock-inflected musical Spring Awakening, adapted by writer Stephen Sater and pop composer Duncan Sheik from Frank Wedekind's 1891 German play. Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia trilogy at Lincoln Center Theater won seven Tonys, a record for a play. Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson took acting prizes for their work in another unconventional musical, Grey Gardens. The flagship Alliance Theatre Company of Atlanta, under the savvy artistic direction of Susan V. Booth, received the regional theatre Tony.

      The most-produced plays of the year across the United States were John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize-winning Doubt (2004), David Lindsay-Abaire's examination of grief, Rabbit Hole (2006), and Sarah Ruhl's magic realist The Clean House (2006). The most-produced playwright was the late August Wilson; works from his landmark 10-play cycle about 20th-century African American life proliferated on theatre schedules. The annual fiscal evaluation of the field by the service organization Theatre Communications Group (TCG) revealed that most American theatres were operating in the black, though overall attendance had fallen by 8% over the previous five years and regular subscribers were increasingly hard to come by.

 Young and emerging writers continued to make impressive debuts. The Brothers Size, an evocative twist on West African myths set in contemporary Louisiana—written by 27-year-old Tarell Alvin McCraney during his studies at the Yale School of Drama—caught fire in a staging at New York City's Public Theater, won a $50,000 Whiting Award, and was produced in London and Washington, D.C. Another newcomer, Korean American playwright Young Jean Lee, raised hackles with an in-your-face skewering of identity politics in her Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven (2006), seen Off-Broadway, at festivals in Austria and Germany, and at arts centres in several cities.

      Other theatrical undertakings were notable for their unusual concepts or contexts. Theatre for a New Audience in New York City explored the idea of the “stage Jew” in a season consisting of Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and an adaptation by British writer-director Neil Bartlett of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham played the infamous Jews Barabas and Shylock (in the first two plays) in rotating repertory. Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot took on a range of new meanings when the Classical Theatre of Harlem took its production of the play (as Waiting for Godot in New Orleans) to New Orleans, performing outdoors for crowds of displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors in the city's devastated Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly neighbourhoods. Is He Dead?, a previously unpublished 109-year-old farce by Mark Twain, opened on Broadway in late November, refurbished by playwright David Ives and featuring Norbert Leo Butz as a starving French painter who fakes his own death to create sales for his paintings. At Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, an oral-history-based docudrama called It Happened in Little Rock revisited one of the civil rights movement's most resonant moments—the 1957 standoff that forced U.S. Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce the racial integration of that city's Central High School. Aging members of the “Little Rock Nine,” the black students who were the first to attend Central, took part in the play's development and were honoured at special performances.

      Notable staff changes included the appointment of Teresa Eyring, the highly regarded former managing director of the Tony-winning Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, Minn., to the executive directorship of TCG, where she was expected to work toward cohesion within the U.S.'s sprawling network of resident theatres. Adventurous director Robert Woodruff unexpectedly relinquished leadership of the Harvard-connected American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., after only six years, leaving that theatre's direction in question. Southern California's prestigious La Jolla Playhouse picked as its new artistic director Christopher Ashley, known for such crowd-pleasing projects as the hit disco-musical Xanadu; he replaced Des McAnuff.

      McAnuff moved on to become one of a trio of new artistic directors at Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival in a much-discussed restructuring of the venerable producing organization. McAnuff—who would share festival leadership with Marti Maraden and Don Shipley under the supervision of general director Antoni Cimolino—was expected to lead off his tenure in May 2008 with a multiracial Romeo and Juliet.

      In contrast to the Stratford festival, the new Festival TransAmériques of Montreal in May and June offered a bracing dose of cutting-edge theatre and dance. The event was headlined by brilliant experimentalist Robert Lepage's Lipsynch, a large-scale group work about the relationships between voice, speech, and language; among the play's devices was a projection of actors' faces onto stationary dummies. Although the performance lasted more than five hours in Montreal, the work was expected to take nine hours in its final form.

      Among the most interesting new Canadian plays was 29-year-old Hannah Moscovitch's provocative East of Berlin, a play about the post-Holocaust guilt and retribution that haunt children from both sides of the conflict. It was a hit at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre. Also earning acclaim was the first-ever co-production between Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the National Arts Center of Ottawa, a stage adaptation by Margaret Atwood of her 2005 novel The Penelopiad. The play—which had an all-female cast, including RSC veteran Penny Downie in a virtuoso performance as Odysseus's long-suffering wife—was scheduled to tour Canada.

      Noted theatre figures who died in 2007 included actor, singer, and arts advocate Kitty Carlisle (Carlisle, Kitty ); actors Roscoe Lee Browne (Browne, Roscoe Lee ), George Grizzard (Grizzard, George ), Tom Poston (Poston, Tom ), Betty Hutton (Hutton, Betty ), Charles Nelson Reilly (Reilly, Charles Nelson ), William Hutt (Hutt, William Ian deWitt ), and Robert Goulet (Goulet, Robert Gerard ); as well as Larry Leon Hamlin, founder of the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and poet, performance artist, and activist Sekou Sundiata.

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
      For Selected International Film Awards in 2007, see Table (International Film Awards 2007).

      Facing stiff competition from realistic video games such as Halo 3, the American film industry pursued the public with its own franchise successes. Sequels released in 2007 included Spider-Man 3 (Sam Raimi); Shrek the Third (Chris Miller and Raman Hui); the third Bourne film, The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass); the third Pirates of the Caribbean installment, At World's End (Gore Verbinski); a fourth Die Hard adventure, Live Free or Die Hard (Len Wiseman), after a 12-year gap; and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates), the boy wizard's fifth spin round the world's cinemas.

      A few of these films went beyond the sequel's usual chore of reinventing the wheel: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix darkened and intensified the drama of the Potter series, and The Bourne Ultimatum significantly boosted its predecessors' nervous energy and adrenaline rush. A potential new franchise beckoned with The Golden Compass (Chris Weitz), the first part of Philip Pullman's acclaimed fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

      The year's most heartening feature was the number of films with grown-up ambition, some with impressive running times to match. Paul Thomas Anderson took 158 minutes to unfurl There Will Be Blood, an uncompromising adaptation of Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!, which charted the wiles and hubris of a pioneer oil prospector. With Daniel Day-Lewis's brilliantly detailed performance and Anderson's rigorous artistic control, the film's grim spell held. Andrew Dominik scaled 160 minutes with The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, featuring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck—a poetic, slow-burning portrait of the outlaw Jesse James, his star-struck nemesis, and their journey toward fate.

 In the field of urban crime, David Fincher delivered Zodiac (158 minutes), a well-sustained, densely woven investigation into a series of San Francisco Bay-area killings in the 1960s and '70s. Veteran director Sidney Lumet produced his own quality goods in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, a crime thriller and family tragedy rolled into one—intricate and tense, with not one wasted shot. Joel and Ethan Coen curbed their whimsical proclivities to make the excellent No Country for Old Men, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel—a violent, darkly humorous thriller about an ordinary Joe who walks off with drug dealers' loot. No film of the year brought a creepier character than Javier Bardem's psychopathic villain. Even his haircut was frightening.

      Numerous films had a political dimension, most often focusing on the Iraq war and its consequences. There was a sameness to the arguments; any differences lay in the degree of anger about the U.S. government's actions or the cogency of the film's narrative or style. Paul Haggis's home-front story In the Valley of Elah fumbled its plot by straining for significance; Brian De Palma's atrocity drama Redacted seethed with inchoate anger. James C. Strouse's Grace Is Gone, another domestic story, aimed modestly—and successfully—at the heartstrings.

      In A Mighty Heart, his first film for an American studio, British director Michael Winterbottom turned to Pakistan and the story of the kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. This story, filmed in a documentary-mosaic style, adopted the point of view of Pearl's wife, convincingly played by Angelina Jolie (Jolie, Angelina ), taut with passion. Some of Winterbottom's visual flair could have assisted Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs, a talkative plea for political engagement, nearly carried by its lustrous players (Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and Redford himself).

      James Mangold continued the Western genre's revival with 3:10 to Yuma, an excellent, visually dynamic remake of a well-respected 1957 original. Indulgences in the acting and directing bloated Sean Penn's Into the Wild, but the film still impressed viewers with its lyrical account of a young man's quest for freedom in the Alaskan wilderness. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe teamed to good effect as a hoodlum and cop in American Gangster, Ridley Scott's ambitious tale about a Harlem drug lord. Elsewhere, humans were under siege. Robert Zemeckis's Anglo-Saxon adventure Beowulf refined the performance-capture technique he previously showcased in The Polar Express; life drained out of the cast. Digital effects also took over in Michael Bay's brazen Transformers, inspired by the robotlike toys of the same name.

      Popcorn cinema thrived with Knocked Up (Judd Apatow), a rude, charming, and riotously funny comedy about the unplanned consequences of a one-night stand, featuring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. Evan Almighty (Tom Shadyac) went a different route, gathering up environmental pleas and concern for viewers' spiritual well-being into a flimsy story about a latter-day Noah, played by the engaging Steve Carell. The Jane Austen Book Club (Robin Swicord) offered sophisticated fun with serious twinges, while Waitress, unveiled shortly after the murder of its writer-director, Adrienne Shelly, found warm humour in a pregnant woman's fraught domestic life. But the year's best comedy was Ratatouille (Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava), a small masterpiece of animation, blessed with nimble wit, genuine warmth, and a refreshingly different leading character—a French rat passionate about cooking. Conceived by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the animated Bee Movie (Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner) had its moments, despite its bee-sized plot. The other headline animated feature was The Simpsons Movie (David Silverman), which was modestly successful as a belated big-screen expansion of television's The Simpsons, but there were no immediate plans for a sequel. Disney's triumph, Enchanted (Kevin Lima), stood in a class of its own, deftly mixing live action and animation to transpose stereotypical Disney fairy-tale characters onto Manhattan's mean streets. Amy Adams glistened with innocence and optimism as Princess Giselle.

British Isles.
 Canadian David Cronenberg made the most gripping film shot in Britain: Eastern Promises, a brilliantly managed drama about Russian mobsters at large in London. Working from Steve Knight's ingenious script, Cronenberg moved with panther stealth from one surprise and subtlety to another. Blood and gore played their part in the spell; so did the razor-sharp characterizations, led by Viggo Mortensen's taciturn mafioso. Joe Wright's suavely handled Atonement, adapted from Ian McEwan's novel about a childhood lie and its aftermath, displayed its full British pedigree in its literary sophistication, genteel period trappings, and disguised emotions.

      Pursuing his own British tradition, Ken Loach turned his critical eye on the exploitation of immigrant labour in It's a Free World…, a mature and relatively unpreachy treatment of an urgent topic. Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth: The Golden Age, an unnecessary sequel to his Elizabeth (1998), shrieked with melodrama; Cate Blanchett, strutting her finery again as Queen Elizabeth, proved the only attraction. Another British tradition continued with Mr. Bean's Holiday (Steve Bendelack), which was set in France—and which was said to be the last screen outing for Rowan Atkinson's comic bumbler.

      David Mackenzie added idiosyncratic tweaks to British realism in Hallam Foe, an intimate coming-of-age drama with a playful touch, a strong visual sense, and a very convincing central actor (Jamie Bell). Sarah Gavron's film of Monica Ali's novel Brick Lane, about a Muslim woman's life in East London, attracted opposition from area residents, some of whom criticized Gavron's rose-tinted view. The prettiest film of all, perhaps, was Becoming Jane, Julian Jarrold's imaginary spin through Jane Austen's early life and loves, featuring the American Anne Hathaway diligently equipped with an English accent.

      Few new talents broke through, but director Tom Shankland put down a strong calling card with wAz, a smart crime thriller set in New York City. The popular touch was also pursued in Hot Fuzz, the whirlwind tale of murder in an English village, though director Edgar Wright assembled his stock ingredients only to make loud mockery.

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
      The shy side of Canadian life was given an absurdist twist in Stéphane Lafleur's Continental, un film sans fusil (Continental, a Film Without Guns), an accomplished portrait of quietly desperate lives. Louder drama was found in Clément Virgo's Poor Boy's Game, a skillful variation on his usual themes of racial and sexual identity. The action grew more raucous in Allan Moyle's mischievous comedy Weirdsville, which centred on the absurd travails of two heroin addicts. But no Canadian film was more idiosyncratic than Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, a delicious fusion of fantasy and fact celebrating the director's upbringing in his prairie hometown.

       Australian film had a quiet year. Rolf de Heer displayed plenty of quirks in the curious Dr. Plonk—part satire on modern life, part tribute to silent filmmaking. Tony Ayres's semiautobiographical The Home Song Stories was a mainstream drama that centred on Joan Chen's powerful performance as an unstable Chinese Australian mother facing assimilation problems in the 1970s. The strongest drama came from Dee McLachlan's The Jammed, a courageous treatment of enforced prostitution in Melbourne.

Western Europe.
      On July 30 the deaths of two artistic giants, Ingmar Bergman (Bergman, (Ernst) Ingmar ) and Michelangelo Antonioni (Antonioni, Michelangelo ) (see Obituaries), prompted media commentary about the decline of intellectually rigorous European cinema. Serious thinking was certainly not an issue in the German comedy Mein Führer: Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler, from the Jewish Swiss-born director Dani Levy—a film that was significant more for its novelty than for anything else. The Nazi years also inspired Die Fälscher, Stefan Ruzowitzky's absorbing drama about concentration-camp prisoners coerced into supporting the German war effort by forging foreign currency notes.

      Although no masterpieces emerged in Europe, much good work was still accomplished. German director Christian Petzold enhanced his growing reputation with Yella, a stylish thriller anchored by the director's cool gaze and Nina Hoss's performance as a young businesswoman with inner demons. Fatih Akin impressed even more with his firm but tender handling of Auf der anderen Seite, depicting the tangled lives and emotions of six people—four of Turkish background and two Germans.

      Admirers of French literary cinema had a feast with Jacques Rivette's Balzac adaptation Ne touchez pas la hache (Don't Touch the Axe), a strongly acted account of the seesawing love affair between a Napoleonic war hero (Guillaume Depardieu) and a teasing Paris socialite (Jeanne Balibar). Those who sought after the fashionable but substantial enjoyed the true-life story Le Scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)—Julian Schnabel's vivid, moving, sometimes funny depiction of the locked-in existence of a fashion magazine editor immobilized by a stroke. Mathieu Amalric's heroic performance was one of the year's best. Laurent Tirard's Molière poked around the dramatist's life in an entertaining costume drama.

      Claude Miller's Un Secret won approval as an intricately structured drama about the French occupation, and André Téchiné, another well-established director, shone with Les Témoins, a mature, urgent drama exploring the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. As always, there were frequent tales about the French in love, from Les Chansons d'amour (Christophe Honoré)—a likable semimusical—to the erudite craziness of Un Baiser s'il vous plaît (Emmanuel Mouret). Following his own tradition, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien made the demanding and eloquent Le Voyage du ballon rouge (Flight of the Red Balloon), another of his painstaking dissections of loneliness in urban life. Across the border, Belgian film found success with Ben X (Nic Balthazar), a brazen crowd-pleaser about a teenager obsessed with video games.

      For Italian cinema, 2007 was relatively uneventful. The Taviani brothers' political passions enlivened La masseria delle allodole (The Lark Farm), though its story about Armenian genocide during World War I never found a firm focus. Mimmo Calopresti kept things simple and light in his charming L'abbuffata. The striking, but far from charming, Nessuna qualità agli eroi (Fallen Heroes; Paolo Franchi) grimly stuck to the Oedipal theme of its tale of two men swapping murders.

      From Spain came Judio Medem's conceptually dense Caótica Ana, which shakily centred on the experiences of an artistic teenager who cartwheels through time to experience the lives of tragic women in history. Juan Antonio Bayona's spooky mansion drama El orfanato (The Orphanage) was much easier to understand.

       Sweden's reputation for exploring life's sombre side was maintained in Den nya människan (Klaus Härö), a powerful drama inspired by the country's former policy of enforced sterilization of those the state deemed unfit to become parents. Laughter of the dark kind dominated Johan Kling's comedy of manners, Darling. Denmark provided its own anguish with Hvid nat (White Night; Jannik Johansen), an intense, emotionally testing account of an accidental killer's dark nights of the soul.

Eastern Europe.
       Romania's surging reputation for quality cinema reached a peak with the award of the Cannes Festival's Palme d'Or to Cristian Mungiu's 4 luni, 3 saptamani, si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days), an unsparingly honest drama about illegal abortions and the struggle to survive in the Ceausescu regime's dying days in the late 1980s. Much of the film's charge stemmed from Anamaria Marinca's performance; Mungiu's use of long takes, silence, and muted colours told their own story about an imprisoning, dolorous society. Cristian Nemescu, who was killed in a car crash in 2006, achieved posthumous fame with California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (California Dreamin' [Endless]), a swirling, hyperrealist comedy of cultural misunderstanding set during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. Marking another Romanian milestone, the eternal maverick Francis Ford Coppola arrived to shoot Youth Without Youth—a flickeringly engaging talk-laden tale about regeneration and time's ticking clock, made with much local talent.

       Hungary's chief international offering was Béla Tarr's A Londoni férfi (The Man from London), concerning a train employee who stumbles on a suitcase of stolen money. The camera prowled slowly and elegantly, as usual, and time stood still in the morose air, yet the spiritual liftoff expected with Tarr never quite happened.

 Livelier product emerged from the Czech Republic. Jan Sverák, the director of Kolja (1996), scored a box-office hit with the mordant social commentary of Vratné lahve (Empties). Jirí Menzel, a veteran of the 1960s Czech New Wave, served up a likable, picaresque social comedy with Obsluhoval jsem Anglického krale (I Served the King of England). Jan Hrebejk had his own fun with Medvídek (Teddy Bear), a confidently handled relationship comedy.

       Russia found less to smile about. Aleksandr Sokurov created one of his most resonant dramas in Aleksandra (Alexandra), a muted cry against the Chechen war, dominated by the veteran opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya's powerful performance as an elderly woman visiting her grandson's army base. The Chechen conflict hung in the background of Nikita Mikhalkov's 12, a weightily acted jury drama inspired by the American classic 12 Angry Men (1957). Sergei Bodrov hit a different register in the bloody battles and scenic thrills of Mongol, the first of a proposed trilogy on the life and fortunes of Genghis Khan.

      In Poland, Andrzej Jakimowski crafted the bittersweet provincial working-class drama Sztuczki (Tricks). Turkish film looked to the not-very-distant past in Beynelmilel (The International), Muharrem Gulmez and Sirri Sureyya Onder's entertaining film about Anatolian musicians in 1982 who are forced to ditch their folk music for uplifting military fare.

Latin America.
      Carlos Reygadas, Mexican cinema's troublemaker, trod a surprisingly ascetic path in Stellet licht (Silent Light), a testing drama of adultery and spiritual crisis in a Mennonite community. More accessible were Jonás Cuarón's Año uña (Year of the Nail), an ingenious visual treatment of two people not quite falling in love, and Rodrigo Plá's vigilante drama La Zona. A 10-year-old's growing pains provided the focus for the Cuban film La edad de la peseta (The Silly Age), Pavel Giroud's winning and nimble drama set just before the 1958 Cuban revolution. Argentina scored a rarefied triumph with Música nocturna, Rafael Filipelli's elegantly cool study of an emotionally sterile marriage.

Middle East.
       Israel's cinematic fortunes rose considerably with a strong showing in international festivals and the emergence of impressive new talents. David Volach came to the fore with his tightly controlled Hofshat Kaits (My Father My Lord), an emotionally vibrant drama set in an ultra-Orthodox Israeli community, featuring veteran actor Assi Dayan as a rabbi at loggerheads with his son. Warm sentiment and playfulness bubbled out of Eran Kolirin's Bikur ha-tizmoret (The Band's Visit), about an Egyptian band stranded in an Israeli desert town; the film won eight Israeli Film Academy awards. Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret made a strong impression with Meduzot (Jellyfish), a part serious, part whimsical film about lonely lives. Amos Gitai's international production Disengagement, smoother in style than his usual work, took a provocative look at Israeli settlers evicted from the Gaza Strip.

      In volatile times, Iran produced less quality fare than usual, but Saeed Ebrahimifar's small, poignant Tak-derakhtha (“Lonesome Trees”), another father-son drama, proved exceptional. Veteran director Youssef Chahine, assisted by Khaled Yousset, represented Egypt with Heya fawda (Chaos), a visually flat but forceful drama about police brutality.

South Asia.
       India's gargantuan commercial industry continued to generate blockbuster entertainments notable for splashy colour and charismatic stars. Om shanti om (Farah Khan), a showcase for the megastar Shahrukh Khan, spun a silly story of reincarnation into a dazzling audio-visual parade. Paruthiveeran (Ameer Sultan) conquered the Tamil market with an over-the-top production about star-crossed lovers. Jag Mundhra entertained more serious goals in his British co-production Provoked: A True Story, which investigated the case of a battered wife in Britain (Aishwarya Rai) charged with murder after having incinerated her husband. Melodrama won out over social realism, but it was solid fare. In Bangladesh, Golam Rabbany Biplob displayed a talent worth nurturing in Swopnodanay (On the Wings of Dreams), a sensitively handled village drama.

East and Southeast Asia.
      The Asian films with the highest international profile came from Hong Kong. Ang Lee's Se, Jie (Lust, Caution) and Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights both received prestige festival showings. Neither quite showed the directors at their best. The bare flesh in Lee's film triggered censorship in China, but this period drama about a patriotic student swept into an assassination plot during World War II ultimately displayed more caution than lust. The film won the Venice Golden Lion prize. Wong's English-language My Blueberry Nights lavished its own visual beauties, as well as pop star Norah Jones, on a troublingly slender story about Americans frustrated in love. It was enough perhaps for his die-hard fans. Less-prestigious directors in China and Hong Kong found a better balance between material and style. Li Yu's emotionally involving Ping guo (Lost in Beijing), another film subject to Chinese censorship, adopted a liberal view of modern relationships. Zhang Yang's Luo ye gui gen (Getting Home) looked at Chinese provincial life through amused and gentle eyes.

       South Korean activity slowed in 2007. For full-out scares a viewer couldn't improve upon Geomeun jib (Black House), Shin Tae Ra's spirited exercise in modern Gothic, which earned impressive box-office success at home. Seekers of art-house bliss found fewer pickings than usual. Kim Ki-duk's Sum (Breath) stripped down to the bare essentials for a typically odd and contemplative tale about love with a death-row prisoner. In Chun nyun hack (Beyond the Years), veteran director Im Kwon-taek revisited the folk-music traditions glorified in his film Sopyonje (1993) but without recapturing its emotional resonance.

      Two Japanese films made their mark. Naomi Kawase's Mogari no mori (The Mourning Forest), concerned with a young caregiver and her elderly patient, won the Cannes Grand Prix, though its mix of rarefied visual trappings, respectful plot, and docile actors didn't energize everybody. Veteran Masahiro Kobayashi picked up Locarno's Golden Leopard prize with Ai no yokan (The Rebirth), a slow-burning story of grief and trauma gradually overcome.

      Box-office business in Vietnam was brisk for Charlie Nguyen's Dong mau anh hung (The Rebel), a lavish martial-arts feast wrapped inside a bustling period drama. In Thailand the phenomenon of the year was the release of M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol's Tamnaan somdet phra Naresuan maharat (The Legend of Naresuan), an exuberant cycle of action biographies celebrating the 16th-century hero who liberated Siam from the Burmese.

      The clash between traditional tribal life and the modern world fueled two of the continent's most striking films, both from directors making their feature debut: Salif Traoré's Faro, la reine des eaux (Faro: Goddess of the Waters), from Mali, shot with documentary simplicity; and Cheick Fantamady Camara's Il va pleuvoir sur Conakry (Clouds over Conakry), made in Guinea, a robust medley of comedy, drama, and romance. From Rwanda, Munyurangabo (by American director Lee Isaac Chung), one of the few films in the local Kinyarwanda language, powerfully revisited the painful history and aftermath of the country's genocide of 1994. In South Africa, Darrell James Roodt earned a small triumph with Meisie, a humane drama about a schoolteacher and a gifted girl thwarted by her father.

Geoff Brown

Documentary Films.
      Director Jason Kohn put his own life in danger to film the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Documentary winner, Manda bala (Send a Bullet), an examination of political and economic corruption in Brazil and its tragic consequences. The Sundance Audience Award: Documentary recipient was director Irene Taylor Brodsky's Hear and Now, the moving story of her parents, both born deaf, who in their 60s had surgery that enabled them to hear for the first time—a new experience that was not without complications and challenges.

      The most commercially successful documentary of 2007 was Michael Moore's Sicko, a highly critical view of the U.S. health care system. Two of the year's other notable documentaries had musical subjects. I Love Hip Hop in Morocco, directed by Jennifer Needleman and Joshua Asen, observed a group of Muslim hip-hop artists performing in a challenging cultural environment. A winner of numerous audience awards, Jasmine Dellal's When the Road Bends … Tales of a Gypsy Caravan (also released as Gypsy Caravan) followed Roma musicians on a tour of North America.

      One of the year's most controversial documentaries and a Special Jury Prize winner at Sundance was No End in Sight by Charles Ferguson, a riveting account of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the rise of the insurgents, as recollected by former military officers and advisers to the U.S. government. Another controversial film was Meeting Resistance by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham. The film, which was screened at numerous international festivals, examined the complicated situation in Iraq from the perspectives of eight insurgents

      Amir Bar-Lev's My Kid Could Paint That explored the case of a four-year-old girl whose paintings sold for thousands of dollars. Although the film did not establish whether the child actually made all of the paintings, it did comment on the art world, celebrity, and society's fascination with extraordinary children.

Ben Levin

▪ 2007



Classical Music.
 It was mostly Mozart, most of the time, during 2006 in classical music. On January 27 composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “turned 250,” and the rest was hysteria. Throughout the classical world, orchestras, opera companies, chamber ensembles, and soloists devoted uncounted hours to the performance of many of Mozart's 626 works. On the birthday anniversary, conductor Riccardo Muti led an orchestral tribute in Salzburg, Austria, the composer's birthplace. Throughout the rest of the year, that city offered more than 250 concerts of Mozart's works, including performances of all 22 of his operas at the annual Salzburg Festival.

      There were other sides to the year's Mozart mania too, many of which had little to do with the music itself. Austria set the tone by investing a reported €30 million in a Mozart-related publicity campaign. Salzburg officially opened the yearlong celebrations at 8:00 PM on January 27, when its streets fell silent and church bells were rung in Mozart's honour. Officials then unveiled a huge chocolate birthday cake. For the rest of the year, local merchants hawked everything: Mozart T-shirts, Amadeus-themed perfume, snow domes, powdered wigs, violin-shaped candies—all of which led Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt to remark, “Austria is synonymous with Mozart this year, but that has nothing to do with him, rather with the money and the businesses.”

      In January researchers announced that they had failed to identify positively a skull at the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg as being that of the composer (who died in 1791 at age 35 and was buried in a pauper's grave in St. Mark's Cemetery in Vienna). Classic FM, a British company, issued a two-CD set, Mozart for Babies, that played on the “Mozart effect,” the theory that listening to the composer's music might raise a toddler's IQ. In April researchers in Boston used the performance of four Mozart works to gauge the emotional responses (in the form of heart rates and muscle movements) of 50 sensor-wired audience members at a concert by Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra. (Lockhart and five members of the orchestra were also wired.) In Brazil still other researchers reported that listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos improved responses in peripheral vision tests of patients with glaucoma or neurological conditions.

      Mozart's 250th was not the only anniversary of note during the year. The New York-based Juilliard School, one of the world's preeminent arts conservatories, marked its 100th anniversary with a yearlong series of events. One of the highlights was a gala concert at Lincoln Center in April featuring such Juilliard alumni as violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Emanuel Ax, soprano Leontyne Price, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, with composer John Williams leading the Juilliard Orchestra. The year also marked what would have been the 100th birthday of Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich, the modern master whose symphonies and film scores were orchestral hallmarks of the 20th century. Celebrations and memorial concerts took place throughout Russia, especially in St. Petersburg, his birthplace. Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet presented Shostakovich's 1935 ballet The Bright Stream at London's Covent Garden, and conductors Mariss Jansons and Valery Gergiev offered multi-CD sets of his music.

      American minimalist icon Steve Reich turned 70 in October, and he celebrated in arguably the best manner for a composer. That month he unveiled Daniel Variations, a new work based on the writings and last words of The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and beheaded by terrorists in 2002. A boxed five-CD set of other pieces of Reich's also appeared during 2006: Phases: A Nonesuch Retrospective, which included such masterpieces as Music for 18 Musicians (1976) and Drumming (1971). A nice birthday present for Reich was the 2006 Japanese Praemium Imperiale award in music.

      The attention given Reich's work in 2006 proved that the classical music world was not content to look back at the 18th century and dream of glories passed. The compositions of Argentine-born composer Osvaldo Golijov (Golijov, Osvaldo ) (see Biographies) were featured in venues around the world, notably at “The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov,” a festival in January–February at Lincoln Center in New York City, and as part of the 60th-anniversary celebrations of the Ojai (Calif.) Festival in June. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra collaborated on the world premiere of Golijov's Azul for cello and orchestra at Tanglewood, in Lenox, Mass., on August 4. In September the English National Opera opened its season with a production of Gaddafi: A Living Myth by Steve Chandra Savale and his British hip-hop group Asian Dub Foundation, in which electronic beats and bass lines animated the life of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. In December Chinese film director Zhang Yimou staged a production of The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The opera, by Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun, starred tenor Plácido Domingo.

      In August, outside the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank, the public was invited to take part in what was dubbed the world's first “virtual orchestra,” a way of bridging music and technology. Sounds activated by spectators' sitting on a set of plastic cubes were sent to an online sample library and combined into a new work for the Philharmonia Orchestra. Other established ensembles were also attuned to the high tech: in April and May, as part of a fund-raising drive, the American Composers Orchestra auctioned cell-phone ringtones by composers Philip Glass and Meredith Monk. The Princeton Laptop Orchestra (aka PLOrk) introduced a new concept in orchestral instrumentation: 15 laptop computers networked together to interface with a series of electronic instruments. Three traditional orchestras—the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony—all struck deals to distribute their music online via digital downloads and Webcasts. Not to be outdone, the City of Birmingham (Eng.) Orchestra inaugurated a series of podcasts featuring musical clips and interviews with the musicians.

      In September a storm of controversy broke loose when Deutsche Oper Berlin announced that it was canceling four performances of Mozart's Idomeneo because of security concerns raised by the production's use onstage of the severed head of the prophet Muhammad (as well as those of Jesus, Buddha, and Poseidon). German Chancellor Angela Merkel decried “self-censorship out of fear,” and music critics and cultural observers followed suit. In October the company agreed to reinstate the performances.

       Terrorism concerns also intruded in the form of tightened security that had an impact on the classical world. The New York City-based Orchestra of St. Luke's was forced to call off performances at the Edinburgh International Festival and London's BBC Proms when its flight to the U.K. was canceled because of the alleged terrorist plot in August to blow up airliners over the Atlantic. Following that incident, the U.K. government did not allow instrument cases in the cabins of transatlantic airliners, and musicians were ordered to check their (in some cases, very valuable) instruments as baggage. During the Proms' traditional last-night concert, conductor Mark Elder created a stir from the podium when he called for a special security exemption for musicians.

      While the furor over the bomb plot continued in August and international tension was also rising over Iran's nuclear program, the Tehran Symphony Orchestra made a brief tour of Germany, performing works by Iranian composers, including Hassan Riahi, as well as Western stalwarts Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and even Frank Zappa. During the same month, a concert in Istanbul by conductor Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (comprising Jewish and Muslim musicians) was canceled but later was allowed to proceed.

      On a brighter note, diaries written by Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev from 1907 to 1914 were translated and published in English for the first time in 2006. Previously unknown manuscripts of Johann Sebastian Bach were discovered in the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Ger. Not quite so auspicious for aficionados of the Baroque master, perhaps, was a report issued by musicologist Martin Jarvis of the Charles Darwin University School of Music in Darwin, Australia, that several of Bach's most famous works, including his cello suites, were written not by Bach himself but by his second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach. A host of Jarvis's colleagues, however, did not agree.

      Meanwhile, in Halifax, N.S., scholars were putting the restorative touches on a 16th-century manuscript in preparation for its first known performance in 500 years. The anonymous choral piece from a Cistercian monastery near Brussels was to be performed at the 2007 Scotia Festival of Music. In another first, Ludwig van Beethoven's violin was recorded for the first time, on a CD by German violinist Daniel Sepec. In May an 18th-century Stradivarius violin set a record for a musical instrument at auction when it drew a bid of $3.5 million at Christie's in New York City. That same month Texas A&M University biochemist Joseph Nagyvary claimed that he had discovered the secret to the legendary Strad sound: a preservative that violin maker Antonio Stradivari used to repel woodworms.

       Marin Alsop became the first woman to conduct the legendary Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (in 2005 she had become the first woman to be named the director of a major American orchestra when she took the reins at the Baltimore Symphony). Other conductors playing musical chairs included Barenboim, who left the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Staatsoper Berlin and later also was named principal conductor of Milan's La Scala opera company; Kent Nagano, who made his debut in September as the director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; and Toronto-born conductor Peter Oundjian, who was tapped as principal guest conductor and artistic adviser of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which was still looking for a director.

      The year was not kind to the opera world. Several of the most illustrious singers of the 20th century died, including sopranos Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Schwarzkopf, Dame Elisabeth ), Astrid Varnay (Varnay, Astrid ), and Anna Moffo (Moffo, Anna ); mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Hunt Lieberson, Lorraine ); baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr. (McFerrin, Robert, Sr. ); Wagnerian bass-baritone Thomas Stewart (Stewart, Thomas ); opera parodist Anna Russell (Russell, Anna ); and conductor Sarah Caldwell (Caldwell, Sarah ). (See Obituaries.) Superstar tenor Luciano Pavarotti was forced to cancel months of recitals when he underwent pancreatic cancer surgery in July. American soprano Dawn Upshaw, who had been especially closely associated with Golijov's music in recent years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and canceled several performances, including Golijov's Ayre with the Kronos Quartet in Vienna in November. British tenor Russell Watson had a nonmalignant brain tumour removed in September.

      Other notable deaths in 2006 included composers Sir Malcolm Arnold (Arnold, Sir Malcolm Henry ), known primarily for his film scores, including the 1957 Oscar-winning music for The Bridge on the River Kwai, modernist Gyorgy Ligeti, (Ligeti, Gyorgy Sandor ) whose most famous work, the opera Le Grand macabre, was eclipsed—at least in the popular mind—by his film music for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and Akira Ifukube (Ifukube, Akira ), who wrote music for Godzilla, among some 300 films; Hiroyuki Iwaki (Iwaki, Hiroyuki ), distinguished conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; and John Mack (Mack, John ), the leading oboist and teacher of his generation. (See Obituaries.)

      Just as an older generation of composers began to pass away, a new one began to come to the fore. Symbolic of this generation was 14-year-old American composer Jay Greenberg, who was already being called the new Mozart. In 2006 Greenberg, who had an established catalogue of solo, chamber, and orchestral works, signed a recording contract with BMG Masterworks.

      The pop and classical music worlds intersected in 2006, part of an ongoing trend that had included crossover works by pop masters such as Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello. The year saw the album Songs from the Labyrinth by rock vocalist Sting, who performed songs by English Renaissance composer John Dowland. Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter detoured from her usual operatic repertoire to record I Let the Music Speak, a set of pieces by Benny Andersson, songwriter of the 1970s Swedish pop group Abba.

      Of all the classical recordings released in 2006, perhaps the biggest was saved for last—and, of course, it had to do with Mozart. For the Christmas season the Salzburg Festival issued Mozart 22, a multidisc set of all 22 Mozart operas, recorded during the year's event.

Harry Sumrall

      Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis's extended composition Congo Square was premiered by his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Odadaa! ensemble on April 23, 2006. Located in the present-day Louis Armstrong Park, Congo Square in the 18th century was the place in New Orleans where slaves gathered on Sundays and preserved what they could of African music and dance. Ever since the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Marsalis had been a tireless advocate for the revival of his native city's music scene. He produced hurricane relief concerts, testified before Congress, rallied New Orleans college and university students, participated in city and Louisiana rebuilding commissions, and at the end of August 2006 was among the players at first-anniversary concerts in the city. All this was in addition to his teaching, performing, and conducting work, which included international touring.

      Saxophonists Donald Harrison, Branford Marsalis, and Edward (“Kidd”) Jordan, singer Harry Connick, Jr., and trumpeter Nicholas Payton were among the city's other noted jazz artists who appeared in New Orleans-oriented concerts and festival programs in the U.S. and Europe. Among other efforts to restore jazz in the art form's purported birthplace, Habitat for Humanity began building a Musicians' Village in the devastated Upper Ninth Ward. Ben Jaffe, director of Preservation Hall, founded the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund to bring 1,200 musicians home and find housing and performance spaces for them. Some jazz venues reopened, especially in the French Quarter, and in the spring the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival returned. There “Make Levees, Not War” T-shirts were a popular souvenir.

 Alto saxophone great Ornette Coleman's Carnegie Hall concert, accompanied by drums and three basses, was among the highlights of the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City. Other JVC highlights at Carnegie included pianist Herbie Hancock with saxophonist guests Wayne Shorter and, in his first appearance in a year, Michael Brecker, while Dave Brubeck led a big band that played scores by his brother Howard Brubeck and his son Chris Brubeck. Also in New York City, Anthony Braxton's Composition 19, which he had composed in 1971, was at last premiered by 100 marching tuba players at the Bang on a Can Marathon. Sam River, whose 1976 Wildflowers festival was a watershed event in the development of the free-jazz idiom, was guest of honour at the Vision Festival, where he led his big band and trio. In the autumn trumpeters Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell, and Jon Nelson sponsored an expanded Festival of New Trumpet Music, featuring classical, pop, and noted jazz players around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

      The slow, steady disappearance of jazz and classical music on public radio continued as National Public Radio stations across the U.S. converted to talk-radio formats, with the goal of attracting increased funding. Pay-radio services hoped to pick up disaffected listeners, and the leading satellite radio networks, Sirius and its larger rival, XM, featured mainstream jazz radio channels. In 2006, however, the growth of these subscription services fell below expectations. The first network jazz television series in four decades appeared for 13 weeks on PBS: Legends of Jazz, hosted by pianist and smooth-jazz disc jockey Ramsey Lewis. The cluttered 30-minute programs presented both mainstream jazz artists and lesser pop-jazz figures. New York Times reviewer Ben Ratliff noted that most of the marginal performers were associates of one of the series co-producers.

      Two major saxophonists introduced their own record companies with new albums. Tenorist Sonny Rollins's Sonny, Please appeared on his Doxy label, while Coleman issued his first album in 10 years, Sound Grammar, on his Sound Grammar label. The Art Ensemble of Chicago, once again a quintet, projected vibrant new ensemble unity in its finest album of the present century, Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City—Live at Iridium. Saxophonist Evan Parker's obscure LP The Topography of the Lungs, with guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Han Bennink, had been the first release of the Incus label in 1970. Years later, when co-owner Parker left Incus, his ex-partner Bailey asked him not to reissue the album. After Bailey's death on Dec. 25, 2005, Parker felt free to reissue the Topography session on his own Psi label; the resulting CD proved a major document of early free improvisation.

      Singer-pianist Diana Krall, joined by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, offered From This Moment On, while fellow swinger Tony Bennett, celebrating his 80th birthday on August 3, sang Duets—an American Classic with a parade of jazz and pop performers that included Stevie Wonder and the Dixie Chicks. (Dixie Chicks ) (See Biographies.) Two singers influenced by Frank Sinatra, Jamie Cullum (Cullum, Jamie ) and Michael Bublé (Buble, Michael ), also were popular in 2006 (see Biographies), as was trumpeter Chris Botti, who played Miles Davis-styled ballad themes. Another singer-pianist, Patricia Barber, composed a cycle of songs inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses and sang them in her CD Mythologies. At least as important were trombonist Roswell Rudd's Blown Bone, Randy Sandke's colourful big-band composition Subway Ballet, swing pianist Jay McShann's Hootie Blues, and modern pianist Andrew Hill's Time Lines.

      Twenty-four years after the death of composer-pianist Thelonious Monk, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his body of work, and his face appeared on the labels of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, produced by a California brewery. Hard-bop songwriter-pianist Horace Silver's autobiography, Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty, and Frank Büchmann-Møller's biography of Ben Webster, Someone to Watch over Me, were among the year's books. The death of hard-bop altoist Jackie McLean (McLean, Jackie ) was felt especially keenly. Tenorist Dewey Redman (Redman, Dewey ), pianist Duke Jordan (Jordan, Duke ), Brazilian composer Moacir Santos (Santos, Moacir ), Latin bandleader Ray Barretto (Barretto, Ray ), and singer Anita O'Day (O'Day, Anita ) (see Obituaries), Prestige Records founder Bob Weinstock, pianist John Hicks, and Australian traditional-jazz leader Ade Monsbourgh also died during 2006.

John Litweiler


      Great music and tragedy seemed to go hand in hand in 2006, with several major artists producing classic recordings in the months before they died. In Africa the greatest loss of the year was the Malian guitarist and internationally celebrated exponent of the desert blues Ali Farka Touré (Toure, Ali Farka ), who died from cancer in March at the age of 66 or 67. (See Obituaries.) Best known for his Grammy-winning album Talking Timbuktu, recorded with Ry Cooder in 1994, Touré devoted his life both to music and to the development of his local region, Niafunké, where he was mayor. For several years it seemed that he had retired from performing, but in the period before his death, he suddenly returned to music, joining with the kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate to record In the Heart of the Moon and following with an album of his own, Savane, which was released after his death. He described it as “my best album ever,” and it showed his virtuoso guitar work and singing on a variety of songs. There were tracks on which his often improvised playing was backed by the n'goni (the traditional lute) or n'jarka (fiddle), as well as harmonica and saxophone, and there were reminders that both blues and reggae must have had their origins in this part of Africa. Even by Touré's own standards, this was a remarkable achievement.

 Meanwhile, Diabate set out to show that the kora, the classical West African harp, could also be used in dance music. He was joined by the Symmetric Orchestra (his experimental big band), an array of singers, and a rousing brass section, but their album Boulevard de l'Independence was most remarkable for Diabete's own rapid-fire instrumental work. Amadou and Mariam (see Biographies), the duo of blind musicians who also hailed from Mali, continued to win praise and honours during the year, notably for their new hit album, Dimanche à Bamako.

      Farther north the Algerian rai music scene lost one of its most colourful and legendary singers with the passing of Cheikha Rimitti (Rimitti, Cheikha ) in May 2006. (See Obituaries.) She was 83 years old yet was on the brink of expanding her international audience after having signed to a new record label and recorded a much-praised new album, N'ta goudami (“Face Me”). She died just a week after its release and two days after having performed at a packed concert hall in Paris at the start of what could have been have been the comeback tour of the year, for as her new album showed, she was still a powerful and feisty singer who could produce rousing dance music that was far more exciting that the work of many of the younger rai contenders.

      This was a good year for Congolese music, with the veteran dance band Konono No 1 winning a following in Europe and receiving the best newcomers prize at the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, despite the fact that they were led by a 73-year-old, Mawangu Mingiedi. The band's unusual lineup included drums and the traditional likembe thumb-pianos, which were heavily amplified to create a deafening, hypnotic sound that became popular among some European rock and electronic music fans.

      A major Latin American music festival was held in London to celebrate the impact made by the Brazilian Tropicália movement in the late 1960s. Setting out to modernize Brazilian music and taking note of the rock music revolution in the United States and Britain, these musicians encountered the opposition of the military rulers then in power in Brazil. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (now Brazil's minister of culture) were jailed and then exiled to London. Both appeared at the London festival, as did Os Mutantes, the celebrated psychedelic rock band of the era, whose members performed together for the first time in 33 years. Also appearing was Jorge Ben, famous for having composed the anthemic song “Mas que nada,” which became a hit for Sergio Mendes in the 1960s. Mendes revived the song on his new album, Timeless, on which he was joined by the American hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas.

      The Latin music scene also suffered tragedy during the year with the sudden death of one of the world's most inventive percussionists, Miguel (“Anga”) Diaz (Diaz, Miguel ) (see Obituaries), who had worked with a variety of musicians, from Cuba's jazz heroes Irakere to Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, and other members of the Buena Vista Social Club project. Another BVSC veteran, singer-songwriter Pio Leyva, also died in 2006. Other notable deaths during the year included Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett (Barrett, Syd ), Australian singer-songwriter Grant McLennan (McLennan, Grant ), and ska and reggae singer Desmond Dekker (Dekker, Desmond ). (See Obituaries.)

Robin Denselow

United States.
      In 2006 the American music scene was marked by the continued emergence of the digital marketplace and by the dogged popularity of artists more than two decades into their careers. By midyear, digital track sales (paid downloads of songs to computers or cellular phones) were up 77% over 2005. Digital album sales in the first six months nearly matched the full-year total for 2005, and analysts at Nielsen, the entertainment industry's prime data system, estimated that overall music sales would pass one billion units for the year, possibly topping the record-setting mark of 2005. Conventional CD sales suffered, however, and the parent company of Tower Records—one of the country's largest music retailers—filed for bankruptcy in August and sold the chain two months later.

 While the manner in which consumers received music continued to evolve, many well-established recording and touring artists continued to be popular draws. Madonna, whose first album was released in 1983, embarked on her worldwide Confessions tour, which became the highest-grossing tour in history for a female artist. The Rolling Stones also proved to be a major draw in their many 2006 concerts around the world, and a revamped version of the Who, led by Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, soldiered on without deceased original members John Entwistle and Keith Moon. U2 was the biggest winner at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February, netting five trophies that night, including album and song of the year. In a comeback story, veteran R&B singer Mariah Carey (Carey, Mariah ) (see Biographies) received her first Grammy in more than a decade, while Bob Dylan's Modern Times became his first album in 30 years to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. Veteran performers Tom Petty, Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tony Bennett (who celebrated his 80th birthday), and Meat Loaf also made headlines with new albums.

      As war raged in Iraq, the expression of antiestablishment political views by major artists became more common than it had been in recent years. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., most political messages from name-brand artists were twangy and jingoistic, such as Toby Keith's “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” and Darryl Worley's “Have You Forgotten?” In 2006, though, Neil Young released Living with War, an album that included musical diatribes including “Shock and Awe,” an impassioned cry for peace in Iraq, and “Let's Impeach the President.” In an Esquire magazine interview, Petty called the war “shameful” and said that Pres. George W. Bush “lied.” Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Pink, and others also weighed in with opposition to the war. The Dixie Chicks (Dixie Chicks ) (see Biographies), a band that was excised from country music radio after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush in 2003, returned with a new album, Taking the Long Way. It too did not receive significant airplay on country stations, although the Chicks did sell more than 1.5 million copies in the United States, and worldwide that figure topped 2.5 million.

       Country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in 2006, and they also embarked on Soul2Soul II, the biggest-grossing country tour in history. Country acts Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts sold more than a million tickets each, cinching their places as two of the top touring acts in popular music. Pop singer Justin Timberlake scored a chart-topping single with “SexyBack.” Other popular singles of the year included Nelly Furtado's “Promiscuous,” Daniel Powter's “Bad Day,” Beyoncé's “Check on It,” and Nelly's “Grillz.” In March James Blunt's “You're Beautiful” made him the first British artist in more than eight years to top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Urban act Ludacris remained popular, while Beyoncé's beau, rap icon and Def Jam Records president and CEO Jay-Z, emerged from self-imposed retirement with new album Kingdom Come.

      Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Sex Pistols were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Significant American music makers who died in 2006 included James Brown, “the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business,” West Coast country music innovator Buck Owens (Owens, Buck ), blues guitarists Henry Townsend (Townsend, Henry ), Robert Lockwood Jr., and Etta Baker, record producer Arif Mardin (Mardin, Arif ), Kool & the Gang cofounder Charles Smith (Smith, Charles ), Love front man Arthur Lee (Lee, Arthur ), rock keyboardist Billy Preston (Preston, Billy ), June Pointer (Pointer, June ) of the Pointer Sisters, country songwriters Cindy Walker (Walker, Cindy ) and Marijohn Wilkin (Wilkin, Marijohn ), Carter Family member Janette Carter (Carter, Janette ), pop singer-songwriters Gene Pitney (Pitney, Gene Francis Alan ) and Freddy Fender (Fender, Freddy ), soul singer Wilson Pickett (Pickett, Wilson ), R&B singers Ruth Brown (Brown, Ruth ) and Gerald Levert, (Levert, Gerald ) blues piano player Floyd Dixon (Dixon, Floyd ), Billy Cowsill (Cowsill, William ) of the Cowsills, lyricist Betty Comden (Comden, Betty ), and master vocalist Lou Rawls (Rawls, Lou ). (See Obituaries.) Other deaths in 2006 included hip-hopper James Yancey (J Dilla), Dobro legend “Uncle Josh” Graves, record mogul Phil Walden, and Latin music star Soraya.

Peter Cooper


North America.
      Tchaikovsky's memorable score for the ballet Swan Lake remained a familiar and popular one, and during 2006 a proliferation of productions proved the point again and again. The dance year began, it could be said, almost drowning in the number of Swan Lake revivals. Peter Martins's rather dry version for New York City Ballet (NYCB) dominated the company's winter season. (The production later led off NYCB's summer season in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) San Francisco Ballet's home season kicked off with artistic director Helgi Tomasson's decorous 1988 version of the classic. James Kudelka's often grim rethinking of the work for National Ballet of Canada played at home in Toronto and on tour at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Stanton Welch's brand new, sometimes crass production was unveiled at Houston Ballet. As the year proceeded, the Tchaikovsky Ballet from Perm, Russia, toured the U.S. with its recently acquired staging by ballerina Natalia Makarova, and Christopher Stowell gave his Oregon Ballet Theatre its first complete staging of the ballet in June. Kevin McKenzie's generally pretty production of the work for American Ballet Theatre (ABT) also featured prominently in its annual season at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House. In October the Mariinsky Ballet (familiarly known as the Kirov) toured to the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, Calif., with its Swan Lake as the centrepiece of a Mariinsky Festival.

      On a smaller scale, the less-well-known but equally glorious Léo Delibes score for Sylvia (which Tchaikovsky feared put his Swan Lake to shame) was performed by ABT, which offered a second run of Sir Frederick Ashton's British staging during its Metropolitan season. A month later, in the adjacent New York State Theater, Lincoln Center Festival presented San Francisco Ballet in Mark Morris's witty and charming 2004 version of the 19th-century work, on the heels of an earlier run at home in San Francisco.

       Cinderella as a ballet-told story, usually to the somewhat familiar score of Sergey Prokofiev, got a fresh showing of its own when ABT presented Kudelka's 2004 National Ballet of Canada-created Cinderella, set not always convincingly in a jazz-age North American locale. (Scenic designer David Boechler's dirigible-like pumpkin provided some of the magic otherwise lacking in the production.) Ashton's 1948 staging, arguably the best Prokofiev-inspired Cinderella around, became the climax for the Joffrey Ballet's 50th anniversary celebrations when in October the comic and lyrical masterwork entered the company's repertory for the first time. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet played A Cinderella Story (by Val Caniparoli) in November for its home season. On a smaller scale, to a less-familiar, newly composed score (by Karl Moraski), Robert Weiss of Carolina Ballet offered his own Cinderella without straying far afield from the fairy tale's storybook world.

       Don Quixote, another so-called warhorse (to music by Ludwig Minkus), with strong Russian roots grounding its basis in Cervantes' Spanish classic, dominated the fall season of Miami City Ballet, with a new production arranged by Edward Villella, the troupe's founding director. To open its 43rd home season, Boston Ballet performed Rudolf Nureyev's 1966 production of Don Quixote.

      The work of Twyla Tharp showed strong dominance during the year, somewhere between ballet's strictest classicism and modern dance's more personal accents. As part of its repertory, Miami City Ballet offered Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs and her compelling In the Upper Room (to Philip Glass's music). ABT featured both a repeat run of In the Upper Room and a new staging of Sinatra Suite, not seen with the company since it was danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov, for whom the duet was created. Meanwhile, two companies mined The Catherine Wheel, Tharp's no-longer-performed 1981 David Byrne work. Kansas City Ballet (KCB) showed The Catherine Wheel Suite on tour in New York City, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater brought The Golden Section, the fireworkslike finale of The Catherine Wheel, into its repertory for the first time. KCB also premiered its production of Deuce Coupe in October. On Broadway—where Tharp had electrified audiences in 2002 with her Billy Joel-based Movin' Out—she reentered the world of musical dance theatre with her Bob Dylan-inspired The Times They Are a-Changin'. In addition, Pacific Northwest Ballet also featured Nine Sinatra Songs.

      In the nebulous world of modern dance, the Martha Graham Dance Company won another legal battle in the court fight initiated by Graham's heir, Ronald Protas, and thus nearly ended all the contentiousness that had weighed so heavily on the company's efforts to promulgate its mentor's legacy. Finances were so tight that the troupe was able to mark its 80th anniversary with only a New York City gala performance—on April 18, the date on which Graham had given her first recital—and a few smaller events. The Limón Dance Company celebrated its 60th anniversary with performances at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Appalachian Summer Festival, and New York City's Central Park SummerStage. Merce Cunningham Dance Company included a revival of Cunningham's 1960 Crises at the intimately scaled Joyce Theater in New York City. On the heels of his company's 50th anniversary, Paul Taylor offered a dark and disturbing work, Banquet of Vultures, within his ambitious three-week New York City season. To mark the 25th anniversary of the Mark Morris Dance Group, Morris offered a hearty three-week program, including revivals of his danced operas Four Saints in Three Acts and Dido and Aeneas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). At Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, Morris provided the 40th anniversary run of the music series with an evening of three specially choreographed works under the umbrella title Mozart Dances. Each proved itself individually strong and filled out a splendid triple bill. ABT staged a revival of Morris's enchanting Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (to Virgil Thomson's music) for its smaller-scaled New York City Center fall season.

      Celebrating its 40th anniversary as a crucible of experimental work, Dance Theatre Workshop in May included among its globe-reaching offerings Discreet Deaths, an especially haunting work by French Algerian choreographer Rachid Ouramdane. Earlier at Dance Theatre, the classical and somewhat traditional notion of working with concert music got toyed with in a postmodern mode, sometimes less than successfully, in a five-part bill called Sourcing Stravinsky. This included an often amusing take by Yvonne Rainer on Stravinsky's ballet Agon. Rainer, a longtime provocateur of experimental dance, published her memoirs, Feelings Are Facts, during the year. BAM's stress on innovative work was dominated in the spring by the text-laden and improvisational-looking Kammer/Kammer: A Piece by William Forsythe, a work that showcased the newly constituted Forsythe Company. BAM's winter run included Dogs by compelling experimentalist Sarah Michelson and climaxed with Nefés by Pina Bausch.

      New ballets per se were offered by a mostly lacklustre run of NYCB's new choreography showcase called the “Diamond Project,” but one creation in particular managed to stand out: Russian Seasons, by Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Aleksey Ratmansky to the music of the same name by Leonid Desyatnikov.

 Individual dancers gained focus with an all-male showcase called “Kings of Dance,” which played the Orange County Performing Arts Center and New York City's City Center, featuring Angel Corella, Johan Kobborg, Ethan Stiefel, and Nikolay Tsiskaridze. In the fall Paris-trained Sylvie Guillem was showcased in a four-part bill at the City Center called PUSH. Otherwise, ABT provided retiring dancer Julio Bocca with a rousing send-off in June at the Metropolitan Opera House. Likewise, an especially celebratory performance of Romeo and Juliet was given to mark the 20th anniversary of ballerina Julie Kent.

      The National Ballet of Canada chose Nureyev's staging of The Sleeping Beauty, long associated with the company and specially overseen by artistic director Karen Kain (a onetime partner of Nureyev), to help inaugurate in November the troupe's new home in Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet toured both the U.S. and Canada with two of its signature productions: Mark Godden's Dracula and Mauricio Wainrot's The Messiah.

      Ballet on the big and small screen also gained attention during the year. Perhaps the most prominent example was Ballets Russes, a much-acclaimed documentary film by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller (released late in the year on a Zeitgeist Films DVD). Also noteworthy, for the video screen, was Opus Arte's handsomely produced release of Jewels/Joyaux, a three-part plotless Balanchine ballet, as danced by the Paris Opéra Ballet. (National Ballet of Canada performed its staging of Jewels in February, and a full domestic rendering of Balanchine's masterwork was given for the first time by Pacific Northwest Ballet in June.)

      Deaths during the year included those of Fayard Nicholas (Nicholas, Fayard Antonio ), Rebecca Wright (Wright, Rebecca Diane ), Katherine Dunham (Dunham, Katherine ), Melissa Hayden (Hayden, Melissa ), and Mary Day (Day, Mary ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses included those of Elena Carter Richardson, Leslie Hansen Kopp, Sophie Maslow, Barry Martin, Heinz Poll, Wallace Potts, Mark Ryder, Roy Tobias, Willi Ninja, Danial Shapiro, Todd Bolender, Julia Levien, and Fernand Nault.

Robert Greskovic

      A look back on the 2006 dance offerings across Europe would give the dominating impression of how much dance—and particularly ballet—still depended for its inspiration on the classics of European literature.

      In the United Kingdom, for example, English National Ballet showed The Canterville Ghost, a new piece by William Tuckett based on the novella by Oscar Wilde, and also revived previous director Derek Deane's version of Alice in Wonderland. Northern Ballet Theatre's big new work of the year was The Three Musketeers, director David Nixon's adaptation of the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and to complete the literary theme, the Rambert Dance Company looked back to its own early years for an updated version of one of its most famous pieces, Andrée Howard's Lady into Fox, based on the story by David Garnett. David Bintley's company, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, spent over a year working on a project involving young people from difficult backgrounds. The process and the final result, a performance of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, were shown on national television, with the youngsters taking roles as important as that of Tybalt as well as providing much of the corps de ballet.

      In London the Royal Ballet celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding with a new Sleeping Beauty, replacing the short-lived “Russian” version by Natalia Makarova with one more in line with the company's own traditions. Director Monica Mason looked back to the famous production of 1946, stripping out some later additions and restoring Oliver Messel's original sets. New costumes by Peter Farmer came in for some criticism, but the rest of the work was well received. The company also mounted a re-creation of Sir Frederick Ashton's Homage to the Queen, which was originally staged to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Only one section of Ashton's choreography remained; the others were newly interpreted by three well-known British choreographers—David Bintley, Michael Corder, and Christopher Wheeldon. Later in the season Wheeldon's DGV,a complete new work for the company, appeared on the same bill as the premiere of Chroma, by contemporary choreographer Wayne McGregor, whose surprise appointment as the company's resident choreographer was announced on December 1.

      The biggest event on the modern dance scene was Merce Cunningham's Ocean, which opened the 2006 Dance Umbrella. Dance Umbrella also featured Speaking Dance, the final part of a trilogy by choreographer Jonathan Burrows. With only himself and longtime colleague composer Matteo Fargion, Burrows made a series of minimalist works that won a quite unexpected popularity. Choreographer Siobhan Davies celebrated her company's move into its own—beautifully designed—premises with a new piece, In Plain Clothes, that was devised to be shown in the roof-level performance space; and choreographer Rafael Bonachela left his home company, Rambert, to branch out on his own. Sylvie Guillem continued her exploration of new avenues with Sacred Monsters, a collaboration with kathak-trained choreographer and dancer Akram Khan.

      The Ballet Nacional of Cuba followed up the previous year's successful visit to London with another short season, and Suzanne Farrell took her own company to the Edinburgh International Festival for the first time and showed her recent revival of George Balanchine's Don Quixote, unfortunately to generally hostile reviews. Another first was the opportunity for London audiences to see both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky ballets in the same summer; this was represented in the press as a “head-to-head” confrontation, in which the Bolshoi came out easily the winner, with its best London season in many years following a successful spring tour of other venues around the country.

 Both of these two big Russian companies were involved in celebrations of the centenary of the birth of composer Dmitry Shostakovich. The Mariinsky troupe featured a new version of The Golden Age, which was prepared in a remarkably short time by American choreographer Noah Gelber after the originally scheduled choreographer withdrew. Gelber, who earlier in the year had created a piece based on Gogol's The Overcoat for the same company, made substantial changes to his Golden Age after the St. Petersburg premiere, but the lack of proper preparation time was still apparent when it reached London. The Bolshoi revived its own well-known production of the same ballet, made by Yury Grigorovich in 1982, and the troupe also featured director Aleksey Ratmansky's recent The Bright Stream both at home and abroad, where it was the major hit of the London season, along with the arrival of a young dancer, Natalya Osipova, whose performance in Don Quixote proclaimed her already a star.

      Two big new works shown in Denmark could hardly have been more different from each other. The Peter Schaufuss Ballet premiered its director's latest piece, Satisfaction. Based on songs by the Rolling Stones and with decor by British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, this was the final part of Schaufuss's “rock” trilogy, following his earlier works to music by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. A month later the Royal Danish Ballet gave the first performance of Requiem, by British-born choreographer Tim Rushton. Requiem showcased music by Henryk Gorecki and Karol Szymanowski to explore themes of loss and grief, using the huge stage in the new Opera House and the chorus of the Royal Opera as well as the ballet company. Rushton's own company, Dansk Danseteater, made a successful visit to the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in the U.S. The Royal Swedish Ballet's major new work of the season was Tristan, a ballet by Krzysztof Pastor using an orchestral adaptation of Richard Wagner's music from Tristan and Isolde and elsewhere.

      The Dutch National Ballet added to its repertory Makarova's production of Marius Petipa's La Bayadère and Balanchine's Jewels, which was rapidly becoming an international classic. The Royal Ballet of Flanders had a brand new work, The Return of Ulysses, from choreographer Christian Spuck. The Paris Opéra Ballet had been dancing Jewels for some time, but in 2006 it released a DVD of its performance, which attracted great interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Its major acquisition of the season was John Neumeier's La Dame aux camélias, danced at the premiere by Aurélie Dupont and Manuel Legris; and the regular audience welcomed a program entitled Hommage à Serge Lifar, including Lifar's own Suite en blanc and Les Mirages, both of them long absent from the repertoire. The Ballet du Rhin, based in Mulhouse, France, showed director Bernard d'At's ballet The Prince of the Pagodas, to a score by Benjamin Britten.

      In Germany the Dresden Semperoper Ballet had its first season under its new director, Canadian-born Aaron Watkin, a former dancer with William Forsythe's company. David Dawson moved from the Dutch National Ballet to become house choreographer in Dresden and made his first new work for the company, to music by Franz Schubert. Forsythe, in collaboration with Kendall Thomas, made a “performance installation” called Human Writes for his own company and premiered it in Dresden. The Forsythe Company toured with the previous season's Three Atmospheric Studies and also presented Forsythe's new Heterotopia in Zürich. Meanwhile in Hanover, Ger., a new ballet ensemble under the direction of Jörg Mannes premiered his two-act ballet Molière, and the Stuttgart Ballet turned to E.T.A. Hoffman's story for the inspiration for Christian Spuck's The Sandman.

      Losses to the dance world during the year included ballerina Moira Shearer (Shearer, Moira ) (see Obituaries), the highly regarded teacher Anatole Grigoriev, and former Royal Ballet dancer Pirmin Trecu.

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      The West End theatre took part in two extraordinary projects in tandem with “ reality” television in 2006. For the first of them, producer Sonia Friedman, in conjunction with Channel 4, sifted through the offerings of 2,000 first-time playwrights to present the selected winner's work for a season at the New Ambassadors. At the end of four television programs, On the Third Day by Kate Betts, a 51-year-old college lecturer, was given the nod by Friedman in defiance of her fellow judges—literary agent Mel Kenyon and actor Neil Pearson—who both preferred another play. Professional actors were employed, and designer Mark Thompson was given a big budget to stage the production. The result was a nonsensical play about a 30-year-old self-harming woman trying to save herself and lose her virginity with a man who claimed to be Jesus.

      This was followed by Andrew Lloyd Webber—whose Whistle Down the Wind, a rather more successful piece about a spurious divine visitation, was well revived by Bill Kenwright—joining a panel (with fellow producer David Ian) that over eight weeks scrutinized the performances of 10 unknowns auditioning for the role of Maria in Lloyd Webber's November production of The Sound of Music at the London Palladium. These 10 women had been whittled down from hundreds and then from a selected 20, who then performed at Lloyd Webber's country-house theatre. It was confirmed that the winner, Connie Fisher, would indeed play Maria and that Emma Williams, a professional actress hired as a stand-in, would withdraw from the production.

      This mood of flippancy continued when the drama critics of The Spectator magazine, Toby Young and Lloyd Evans, followed up their scabrous but unfunny Who's the Daddy? with an even worse play, A Right Royal Farce, at the King's Head Theatre in Islington and then started complaining that everyone except the critics had found the piece hilarious. The new debacle represented members of the royal family trying to fix a succession to Queen Elizabeth II in Prince Harry's favour, skipping over Prince Charles and Camilla. Prince Philip was shown as a dirty old man and Prince Charles as a vacant lunatic. The jokes were not even schoolboy-smut standard, and the acting was primitive beyond description.

      Though it appeared to some that the British theatre had finally lost its seriousness and its soul, that assessment was unfair. The English Stage Company at London's Royal Court Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary with easily the best program of departing artistic director Ian Rickson's seven-year tenure (he was to be succeeded by Royal Shakespeare Company [RSC] associate director Dominic Cooke). There was a series of readings of the Court's signature plays in this period, and on May 8, 2006, 50 years to the day since the first performance of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, the play that changed the British theatre for good, there was an electrifying semistaged performance starring David Tennant (BBC Television's new Dr. Who) as Jimmy Porter. Playgoers voted The Rocky Horror Show their all-time favourite Royal Court production—it started life in 1973 in the tiny Theatre Upstairs, above the main stage—a bizarre choice given the theatre's reputation for austere and socially committed drama.

      A slight rumpus ensued among the Royal Court old guard when it was announced that Tom Stoppard's new play, Rock 'n' Roll, would be directed by Trevor Nunn. Former artistic director William Gaskill, who succeeded the English Stage Company's founder, George Devine, and was planning to return to direct two productions, withdrew his participation in the season on the grounds that neither Stoppard nor Nunn had ever had any previous connection with the Court. Stoppard and Nunn, with their commercial instincts and luxuriant hairstyles, might be characterized as theatrical Cavaliers, while Gaskill represented the sterner, puritan traditions of Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads; this was a new, not very civil, British civil war.

      Rock 'n' Roll was a triumph, probably Stoppard's most personal piece to date—a mix of politics, love, and music set against the background of the long anticommunist resistance culminating in the Velvet Revolution in Prague in 1989. The first night in Sloane Square was attended by Vaclav Havel, the play's dedicatee and the historical hero of the piece, and he rose to his feet at the end to applaud the author. Brian Cox as an old-style Marxist Cambridge professor, Sinead Cusack as his feminist academic wife, and Rufus Sewell as the Stoppardian intellectual rocker who learns the decent way forward, all gave marvellous performances, and the play transferred immediately to the West End.

      Other Court highlights were Motortown by Simon Stephens, a coruscating modern Woyzeck in which a British soldier returns from serving in Iraq to find himself at odds with his girlfriend, family, and society at large; Terry Johnson's Piano/Forte, written expressly for the talented duo of Kelly Reilly and Alicia Witt; and a moving solo performance by Harold Pinter as Samuel Beckett's reminiscent eavesdropper in Krapp's Last Tape.

 The Beckett centenary was celebrated in the West End by Michael Gambon acting without words for half an hour opposite the recorded accusatory voice of Penelope Wilton in Eh Joe. Serious plays were thin on the Shaftesbury Avenue ground, which nonetheless sprouted some classy revivals: Judi Dench, slightly miscast as Judith Bliss (Maggie Smith would have been better) in Noël Coward's Hay Fever but delightful nonetheless in Peter Hall's so-so production; American rock chick Juliette Lewis and New Zealander film actor Martin Henderson in a fine Lindsay Posner revival of Sam Shepard's Fool for Love; David Haig leading Michael Frayn's Donkeys' Years, the play about an Oxbridge college reunion party, with Samantha Bond eclipsing memories of Penelope Keith as Lady Driver; and a tremendous production by actor Douglas Hodge (who also played Titus Andronicus in the Southwark Globe's open-air summer season, just to show he has a serious side) of Philip King's classic wartime farce See How They Run. It featured one of the funniest lines in English drama: “Sergeant, arrest most of these vicars.”

      In a year flecked with anniversaries, the admirable National Youth Theatre also celebrated its 50th, and on October 8 Les Misérables officially marked its 21st year on the London stage. The producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh was in a nostalgic mood, renaming one of his West End theatres—the Albery—as the Noël Coward Theatre on the day that Coward's longtime friend and lover, Graham Payn, was memorialized in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden. Like the renamed Novello Theatre (so dubbed in honour of Coward's more fustian contemporary, Ivor Novello), the Coward had been magnificently refurbished.

      In a five-year deal with Mackintosh, the Novello had become a temporary London home for the RSC, which presented a lively Comedy of Errors and a beautiful, lucid As You Like It (with Lia Williams's Rosalind nearly upstaged by Amanda Harris's brilliantly observed bespectacled Celia); the Coward was christened with Avenue Q, the puppets-with-sex show that was funny for about an hour and then became, well, less funny.

      The RSC also popped up in the Gielgud (formerly the Globe) Theatre with Dominic Cooke's superb production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible and Gregory Doran's acclaimed Swan Theatre two-part production of Geoffrey Chaucer's medieval storytelling classic The Canterbury Tales. The Chaucerian spirit seemed to have evaporated over the footlights, and the staging looked old-fashioned and awkward. This highlighted the problem the RSC had in transferring its Stratford work to London.

      Back at its Stratford base, the RSC launched its “Complete Works” season of Shakespeare in a flurry of shows—some imported, some homegrown. This seemed to imply a bid to take brand control, always the least-attractive side of the RSC image, but critics were generous in their responses to productions from many countries, including India, Japan, Germany, and the U.S. The RSC itself produced an underrated Romeo and Juliet, with actors beating the ground with sticks and performing Spanish dance steps during the fight sequences, and a wonderful Antony and Cleopatra, with Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter. Stewart's triumphant return to the RSC after his many years associated with the film and television Star Trek franchise was sealed with his Prospero in an inventive production of The Tempest by rising director Rupert Goold.

      The National Theatre, in comparison, and for once, had a quiet year. While Alan Bennett's The History Boys maintained its profile abroad, lacklustre revivals of The Royal Hunt of the Sun (a well-past-its-sell-by-date production by Trevor Nunn) and Brecht's Galileo (led by the exemplary Simon Russell Beale and directed by Howard Davies) suggested that Nicholas Hytner's regime was treading water. Oddly incongruous inclusions— such as one of the best plays of the year, The Overwhelming, about the genocide in Rwanda, co-produced with Max Stafford-Clark's Out of Joint company, and a beautifully acted production by James Macdonald of James Joyce's sole play, Exiles—served only to suggest that Hytner's fuel was running on low.

      New energy was emanating from the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, where artistic director Michael Grandage directed one of the most critically underrated plays of the year, Mark Ravenhill's The Cut, starring Sir Ian McKellen as a political apparatchik justifying his switch of loyalties. It was followed up with stage debutant Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, in which Michael Sheen as TV interlocutor David Frost ground out a confession of Watergate guilt from Frank Langella's monumental, mesmerizing Richard Nixon. The show was destined for the West End transfer enjoyed by Grandage's poetically charming revival of John Mortimer's A Voyage Round My Father, in which Sir Derek Jacobi extended his range to include a cantankerous old blind curmudgeon with a soft spot for Shakespeare and young girls.

 The musical theatre welcomed two knockout Broadway shows, Spamalot and Wicked. Tim Curry repeated his hilarious King Arthur in the former (succeeded by Simon Russell Beale after three months), and Idina Menzel re-created her sensational green-faced Wicked Witch of the West in the latter. The musical highlight of the year, however, was undoubtedly Evita by Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber, which opened 28 years to the day after its London premiere directed by Hal Prince. Elena Roger was the new Evita to challenge (and survive) comparisons with Elaine Paige and Patti LuPone, and the production was a brilliant response by Grandage to Prince's Brechtian original.

      Sir Brian McMaster's last year in charge of the Edinburgh International Festival was marked by an acclaimed program of concerts and theatre productions, notably Peter Stein's wide-screen Troilus and Cressida and Anthony Neilson's remarkable Realism, in which a fat slob, in a surrealist setting, has a dream of the day he might have had to endure if he had not been appearing in a play. The newly (and controversially) established National Theatre of Scotland—co-presenter of Realism—upstaged even these events with its Fringe production of Black Watch by Gregory Burke, a fantastic living history and vox-populi analysis of Scotland's most famous, and recently disbanded, British army regiment, whose last assignment in Iraq—they supported U.S. troops in the deployment at Camp Dogwood—yielded much of the verbatim dialogue of the soldiers in the play.

      The Dublin Theatre Festival presented the Abbey Theatre's Alice Trilogy (by Tom Murphy), which had not set the town alight at the Royal Court in the previous year, and the latest new work from Rough Magic, The Bonefire, a comedy of manners among the sectarian classes that looked set to challenge the company's own high standards in Improbable Frequency, an outstandingly witty and enjoyable Irish musical about espionage, crossword puzzles, Flann O'Brien, and Sir John Betjeman that was a highlight of the Edinburgh Fringe program at the Traverse Theatre. The Galway-based Druid Theatre Company presented Empress of India by new writer Stuart Carolan.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      Pop music exerted a powerful influence on the American musical in 2006—for better and for worse. On the plus side, one of the most honoured musicals of the year, Jersey Boys, tracked the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons—a Top 40 sensation of the 1960s and '70s—reproducing the group's distinctive falsetto-driven sound with astonishing veracity. In addition to winning the Tony Award for best Broadway musical, Jersey Boys earned Tonys for its formerly obscure lead actor-singer John Lloyd Young, for featured actor Christian Hoff, and for best lighting design. With Jersey Boys, the so-called jukebox musical reached its apogee.

      On the other side of the coin, the two most spectacular and expensive Broadway flops of the year sank to the beat of elaborate pop-music scores. Lestat, which put Elton John tunes and Bernie Taupin lyrics in the fanged mouths of Anne Rice's celebrated bloodsuckers from the Interview with a Vampire series, closed abruptly in May after a critical drubbing. A few months later, choreographer Twyla Tharp's ill-conceived circus-flavoured tribute to the music of Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin', met a similar fate.

      By far, the richest and most artistically satisfying infusion of pop sensibility into the musical form was accomplished by the team of alternative-pop composer Duncan Sheik and playwright-lyricist Steven Sater in their unlikely but compelling musicalization of Spring Awakening. The 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind about the agonies and ecstasies (but mostly the agonies) of adolescence proved surprisingly amenable to the throbbing rhythms and moody riffs of Sheik's score, and the long-gestating show (it had been in development for some six years) was an instant success when it opened in June at New York City's Atlantic Theater Company under Michael Mayer's fluid direction. An end-of-year move to Broadway yielded further accolades, but the sensational subject matter—teenage angst and sexuality, abortion, and suicide—left the question of its mainstream reception unresolved.

 No such doubts troubled Grey Gardens, another musical transfer, in this case from Playwrights Horizons. Based on the famous 30-year-old Maysles brothers' documentary film about a disenfranchised mother and daughter, poor relations of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the musical featured a relatively traditional score by Scott Frankel and a career-high performance by Christine Ebersole as both Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, “Little Edie.” Other musicals still running strong in New York at the end of the year included the frothy musical-within-a-musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which won five Tonys; the landmark revival (some called it a virtual reproduction) of Michael Bennett's 1975 dance classic A Chorus Line; British director John Doyle's spare but electric staging of Stephen Sondheim's 1970 relationship musical Company, in which the singers double as the orchestra; and a pair of new Disney mega-entertainments, both with protagonists who take to the air—Tarzan (with a Phil Collins score) and producer Cameron Mackintosh's rendition of Mary Poppins.

      Beyond New York City, a unique theatrical experiment captured the fancy of nearly 600 theatres and producing organizations. Innovative playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, a Pulitzer Prize winner for her Topdog/Underdog (2001), spent a full year writing one play each day and then offered the resulting 365 texts to all comers for a series of staggered productions scheduled to run from November 2006 to November 2007. The 365 Days/365 Plays project would take Parks's adventurous and sometimes inscrutable work to every major American city and points between.

      Another national initiative, this one devoted to audience development, was set into action by Theatre Communications Group, the New York-based service organization for not-for-profit theatre. After getting its toes wet in three locales in 2005, TCG's Free Night of Theater campaign expanded in 2006 to 13 additional cities and regions of the country. Participating theatres committed to giving away blocks of tickets for a single night, October 19, and on that date some 35,000 theatregoers—first come, first served—attended performances cost-free. Initial statistics showed that the giveaway turned a whopping 29% of free-night patrons into ticket purchasers, and TCG planned to broaden the initiative in 2007.

      Also in the regions, news was made by the appointment of a new artistic director for the flagship Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Pathbreaking director Bill Rauch, who cofounded the community-focused Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles and led it for 20 years, assumed the reins of the repertory powerhouse, succeeding Libby Appel to become only the fifth artistic director in the festival's 71-year history. One of the most admired figures in contemporary American theatre, Rauch was expected to bring a populist, collaborative spirit to the venerable company. On the East Coast another important organization, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., moved into its second year with new leadership: 31-year-old Wendy C. Goldberg became the first woman to head the budget-strapped summer conference devoted to new-work development.

      Among the most exciting new plays of the season were Adam Rapp's grungy and sexually explicit three-hander Red Light Winter, which had sold-out runs in Chicago and New York, and Sarah Ruhl's audacious and compassionate comedy The Clean House, which was seen on both coasts, including in a sterling Lincoln Center Theater production directed by Rauch. Though Rapp's drama was among the plays short-listed for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, no award was given; this marked the 15th time in the 90-year history of the Pulitzer that no play was honoured.

      Reports on the general financial health of the theatre industry in the U.S. detected something of a turnaround—more not-for-profit theatres found themselves in the black than in past years, and both earned and contributed incomes were judged to be on the rise. Ironically, actual attendance numbers were down, which indicated, for one thing, an increased reliance on grants and contributions to keep the performances coming.

      On the Canadian scene, the two big-draw theatre festivals offered contrasting seasons. Ontario's Stratford Festival, the largest classical repertory theatre in North America, displayed artistic vigour in its next-to-last year under the stewardship of artistic director Richard Monette. Stage and film actor Colm Feore was the main attraction, pleasing crowds and critics in three drastically different roles: the title parts in Coriolanus (directed by Antoni Cimolino, the man who would succeed Monette) and Molière's Don Juan, as well as Fagin in the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! At the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, however, where artistic director Jackie Maxwell had been criticized for erratic choice of repertory and for selecting guest directors of variable talent, things were hit-or-miss. Her own musical-comedyish season opener, George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, failed to galvanize festival visitors, and little followed to pull the company out of its slump.

      Back in Toronto, the good news included the completion of a major new facility, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, a 4,100-sq-m (44,000-sq-ft) high-tech home, carved out of a former distillery, for both the increasingly distinguished Soulpepper Theatre Company and the nationally important George Brown Theatre School. Concurrently, the city lost a well-known asset when director Daniel MacIvor closed the shutters on his influential experimental theatre company da da kamera.

      Major theatre figures who died in 2006 included director and educator Lloyd Richards (Richards, Lloyd ), playwright Wendy Wasserstein (Wasserstein, Wendy ), Broadway impresario Cy Feuer (Feuer, Cy ), and actors Shelley Winters (Winters, Shelley ) and Barnard Hughes (Hughes, Barnard ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses included those of playwright John Belluso, a champion of the disabled; critics Henry Hewes, founder of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Richard Gilman, author of The Making of Modern Drama (1972); and actor, director, and producer Harold Scott.

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
      For Selected International Film Awards in 2006, see Table (International Film Awards 2006).

 At the end of 2006, major films from actor-directors reminded audiences that Hollywood could still produce resonant, high-quality product. Veteran Clint Eastwood delivered two ambitious films treating the World War II battle for the Pacific island of Iwo Jima from both sides of the conflict. Flags of Our Fathers, from the American viewpoint, deeply impressed with its physical intensity, its humanity, and the rounded portrayals of the three U.S. flag raisers pounced upon by Washington as morale boosters for a wavering nation. The Japanese-language Letters from Iwo Jima took a more intimate approach but pursued the same view of war as both awful and necessary. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, a full-blooded drama about the dying days of the Mayan civilization in Central America, took audiences on a voyage into the unknown. The extraordinary jungle landscapes, the brutal violence, and the dialogue spoken in the Yucatán Maya dialect by indigenous nonprofessionals all made Apocalypto a film like no other.

      Different ground was broken with Snakes on a Plane (directed by David R. Ellis), which emerged after unprecedented Internet chatter from fans of low-grade movie hokum. Samuel L. Jackson barked unspeakable lines; the snakes writhed; passengers screamed. Everyone got what they wanted. Expectations soared almost as feverishly for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Gore Verbinski), the summer's biggest box-office hit, though Johnny Depp's eccentric pirate had fewer charms than in the first Pirates film in 2003. Harry Potter took a year off from the movie houses, but other sequels proliferated. The boldest and sleekest was Superman Returns (Bryan Singer), the Man of Steel's most thoughtful screen adventure to date. Camp frivolity was avoided; there was even sensitivity in Brandon Routh's superhero. Hollywood's past also returned in Mission Impossible III (J.J. Abrams, with recent Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Hoffman, Philip Seymour ) [see Biographies] as the villain); Poseidon (Wolfgang Petersen), an unnecessary remake of The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Omen (John Moore), a modest remake of the 1976 film; and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the first return fight for Stallone's boxing hero in 16 years.

      Other major directors during the year happily rose above factory product. Martin Scorsese made a satisfying return to the contemporary mean streets in The Departed, based on Infernal Affairs, a popular Hong Kong thriller. The Boston setting and the script's shared focus on gangsters and police marked a departure, but the film's epic weight, its blood and grit, and the vivid performances proved entirely characteristic. Robert Altman (Altman, Robert )'s idiosyncrasies (see Obituaries) were also paraded in his last production, A Prairie Home Companion—another of his Americana mosaics, coloured this time by the genial temperament of the film's inspiration, the Minnesota Public Radio show of the humorist Garrison Keillor. At year's end Steven Soderbergh released The Good German, a valiant attempt to recapture the look and feel of Hollywood's bittersweet romances of the 1940s, with George Clooney (Clooney, George ) (see Biographies) and Cate Blanchett suffering among the ruins of post-World War II Europe. With Babel the Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu completed a loose trilogy begun by Amores perros (2000) and 21 Grams (2003). A mosaic of a far grimmer kind, the ambitious epic charted a global chain of human woes, launched by a married couple's tragedy on vacation in Morocco. Where González Iñárritu's ambitions rose above the American mainstream, Rescue Dawn showed the veteran German maverick Werner Herzog successfully tapering old obsessions to suit multiplex audiences. In plain but powerful images, Herzog revisited the real-life story of a U.S. Navy pilot's escape from a POW camp in Laos during the Vietnam War, a subject first treated in his 1997 documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Christian Bale—lean, mean, and tightly wound—gave a performance almost worthy of Herzog's old acting partner Klaus Kinski. The film, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was scheduled for release early in 2007.

      Other American films left the art of cinema no more advanced but still dominated media headlines. Production of The Da Vinci Code (directed by Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou (Tautou, Audrey ) in the leads) continued despite Roman Catholic complaints about the sensationalist slant of Dan Brown's best-selling novel and its presentation of fiction as truth. There was nothing sensational about the film, however; Brown's story about a Harvard professor, a French cryptologist, a murdered monk, and shock revelations about Jesus' home life emerged unduly talky and stodgy. Audiences watched regardless. Complaints also pursued Larry Charles's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a rude and uproarious “mockumentary” conceived by the British comic Sacha Baron Cohen. The Kazakhstan government was not amused, but audiences worldwide relished humour untainted by the politically correct. The French, in turn, took some exception to the brash contemporary styling of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, cheekily premiered at the Cannes Festival. Most audiences appreciated the romp and ignored the mishandled history.

      In 2006 the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, finally entered American commercial films. Oliver Stone quieted his excitable style for World Trade Center, a claustrophobic drama featuring Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña as two Port Authority police trapped in the skyscrapers' rubble; the film proved worthy of respect, though it was uphill entertainment. United 93, from British director Paul Greengrass, positioned the viewer on board one of the planes seized by the terrorists, following events in the manner of a hyperactive documentary.

      Box-office successes sometimes arrived unexpectedly. The industry expected little from The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel), yet this adaptation of a best-selling novel about a personal assistant's hellish year with a hateful queen of the fashion world become an international hit. One reason for the film's success was Meryl Streep's stiletto bitchery; the appeal of an innocent thrown into the lion's den was another. Hopes were higher for Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, based on James Ellroy's fictionalized account of an unsolved Los Angeles murder, but weak performances compromised the director's flair. Artistic successes also arose out of the blue. Michael Mayer's Flicka, a remake of the boy-loves-horse classic My Friend Flicka (1943), displayed dignity and visual splendour. There were no surprises of any sort with Happy Feet, George Miller's slick animated musical about a tap-dancing penguin, a film custom-built for audiences to love.

British Isles.
      Two British icons dominated screens in 2006. One was James Bond, reincarnated in prototype form by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, filmed by Martin Campbell in a relatively low-tech style. The casting of Craig had not been universally popular, but the tough edge he gave to Ian Fleming's spy immediately gave fresh life to the franchise. The second icon was Queen Elizabeth II, seen surmounting the difficult week of the death of Diana, princess of Wales, in the modest and spry The Queen, written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Frears. Helen Mirren's central impersonation was beautifully subtle and sympathetic; the wickedness in Morgan's treatment lay only round the edges.

      Ken Loach continued his antiestablishment explorations in The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a partisan, sincerely felt account of an Irish family ripped apart by the anti-British rebellion of the 1920s. Performances were strong and the landscapes eloquent, though the film stopped just short of being compelling. Another veteran British talent, writer Alan Bennett, enjoyed a decent showcase in The History Boys (Nicholas Hytner), an adaptation of his popular state-of-the-nation play about schoolboys facing university entrance exams.

      British cinema had a quiet year overall, though there were still encouraging signs of new talent. The most notable was Andrea Arnold, winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes for her working-class drama Red Road, set in Glasgow. The core of the material stuck close to the British norm, but the penetrating observations and direct focus on female sexuality created a strong impression. Other promising feature debuts included Sean Ellis's Cashback, a romantic comedy with some imaginative kinks; Menhaj Huda's raw slice of London life Kidulthood; Col Spector's compact Someone Else, full of jokes and feelings; and Rankin and Chris Cottam's The Lives of the Saints, a look at London criminals through the prism of magic realism. Paul Andrew Williams's London to Brighton, a grittier underworld story, also had admirers.

      In a year without showy period literary adaptations, usually a British constant, contemporary subject matter ruled. Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering dealt overearnestly with immigrants, dysfunctional home lives, and London's regeneration plans. The prolific Michael Winterbottom, working with Mat Whitecross, made the graphic and angry The Road to Guantánamo, about four British Muslims who landed in the U.S. camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after a trip to Pakistan for a wedding. Shane Meadows turned back the clock to the 1980s for the largely autobiographical This Is England, about skinhead gangs, but still kept his imagination fresh; this was no trip to a style museum.

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
      No Canadian film could top the eccentricity of Guy Maddin's Brand upon the Brain!, a quasi-silent feature, shaped like a serial (but without the thrills), expensively premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival with live orchestra, chorus, sound-effects technicians, and narrator. Time hung heavy eventually, though there was fun in Maddin's images, which paid their usual respect to German Expressionist cinema and Hollywood's pulp junkyard. Away from Her, featuring Julie Christie and directed by another fine actress, Sarah Polley, was a far more sober proposition: a sensitively handled study of the domestic erosions of Alzheimer disease, based on an Alice Munro story.

      The year's most artistically ambitious Australian feature was Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes, a multifaceted cautionary story of rivalry and respect set a thousand years ago, and the first feature shot in an Australian Aboriginal language. A lesser director might have turned the film into a pretty trawl through wilderness landscapes; de Heer never lost the story's moral spine. Ana Kokkinos's The Book of Revelation, a boldly conceived semithriller about a male dancer's recovery from sexual humiliation, was also striking. Meanwhile, low-budget cinema scored a triumph in Em4Jay (Alkinos Tsilimidos), a film sharp-witted enough to find new life in the old story of urban losers spiraling downward with drugs. New Zealand's Out of the Blue (Robert Sarkies), a documentary-style drama about the country's largest mass murder, also impressed.

Western Europe.
       Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar generated the year's biggest international hit with Volver, the story of a Madrid airport cleaner (Penélope Cruz) who finds herself living with the ghost of her dead mother (Carmen Maura). Almodóvar's stylistic mannerisms were gentler than usual, though the mix of comedy, melodrama, childhood memories, and reverence for vibrant women still made it typical. Another Spanish individualist, Guillermo del Toro, displayed his strengths in El labertino del fauno, a gripping magic realist drama about children suffering in wartime Spain in the 1940s, blessed with a most expressive young heroine in Ivana Baquero. A new feature director, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, came to the fore with the quirkily titled Azuloscurocasinegro, a confidently handled relationship drama crisscrossed with moral conflicts; it won numerous awards at international festivals. Among more commercial product, the popular swashbuckler Alatriste (Agustín Díaz Yanes) remained mostly notable for its $28 million budget, the biggest to date for a Spanish-language feature.

       German cinema continued its renewal with the excellent Das Leben der Anderen, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's fictional portrait of an East German writer coming under state surveillance in the early 1980s. Perfect casting, subtle characterizations, and crisp images drained of robust colours contributed to the film's strengths, duly recognized at the European Film Awards (it was chosen as best film) and the German Film Awards. Visual excitements outweighed narrative thrust in Tom Tykwer's English-language Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, based on Patrick Süskind's best-selling novel about an 18th-century orphan driven to murder to find the perfect scent. Volker Schlöndorff returned to his chronicles of 20th-century history in Strajk—Die Heldin von Danzig, a compelling saga of the Polish Solidarity movement, while documentary maker Valeska Grisebach showed distinct promise with Sehnsucht, a poised study in marriage and infidelity, spare without being precious.

       French cinema made limited impact internationally, though it was pleasing to see veteran filmmakers gainfully employed. In Coeurs, based on an Alan Ayckbourn play about urban loneliness, the 84-year-old Alain Resnais warmed visual artifice with tender feelings, and the actors, led by André Dussollier and Pierre Arditi, scarcely put a foot wrong. Isabelle Huppert strengthened the spine of L'Ivresse du pouvoir, Claude Chabrol's legal drama inspired by a real-life business scandal. Both directors, however, were outdistanced by 97-year-old Manoel de Oliveira, the world's oldest working director; his Belle toujours, co-produced with Portugal, revisited the characters of Luis Buñuel's 1967 classic Belle de jour with sly autumnal wit. Other notable films included Patrice Leconte's Mon meilleur ami, a light but never insignificant piece about an unlovable antiques dealer (Daniel Auteuil) determined to find himself a bosom pal, and Jardins en automne, a typically airy, near-wordless jeu d'esprit from the Georgian émigré Otar Iosseliani. Humour was much scarcer in Laurent Achard's Le Dernier des fous, a powerful, austere tale of madness and despair; the dystopian animation of Renaissance (Christian Volckmann); and the war-is-hell sentiment of Bruno Dumont's sombre Flandres.

      Numerous films underlined Scandinavia's reputation for gloom. Sweden contributed Container, a challenging avant-garde exercise from Lukas Moodysson, set in grunge landscapes in Romania and at Chernobyl. Iceland chilled audiences with Ragnar Bragason's Börn, a downbeat treatment of dysfunctional children. Neither of these penetrated as far with audiences as the Danish Efter brylluppet, Susanne Bier's tightly controlled and claustrophobic drama about a philanthropist's personal dilemmas.

      Zwartboek, an entertaining if superficial Resistance drama, marked Paul Verhoeven's successful return to The Netherlands after two decades in the U.S. Switzerland made its mark with Andrea Staka's Das Fräulein, an affecting, unsentimental story about three women émigrés from Yugoslavia living in Zürich; it won the top prize at the Locarno International Film Festival.

       Italy had a mild year. Nanni Moretti's Il caimano found local fame by its veiled attack on Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister, but a fidgety script led to muffled impact elsewhere. Gianni Amelio's ravishingly photographed La stella che non c'è had a timely theme in China's rapid industrialization, though it lacked the narrative strength to do the topic full justice.

Eastern Europe.
      The best Eastern European films stayed small and kept their local accent. Romania furthered its rising reputation with the Cannes Caméra d'Or winner A fost sau n-a fost? (12:08 East of Bucharest), Corneliu Porumboiu's sharp and bouncy comedy about the country's fortunes 16 years after the end of communist rule. There was also Cătălin Mitulescu's Cum mi-am petrecut sfârșitul lumii (The Way I Spent the End of the World), a charming tale of love transcending tragic times. The Czech Republic generated Kráska v nesnázích (“Beauty in Trouble”), a bustling drama by Jan Hřebejk following a family's splintering after losing possessions in the Prague floods of 2002, though it was not hard to see behind the characters a parable about the Czechs' own fortunes. The idiosyncratic Jan Švankmajer made his own oblique commentary on contemporary society in Šílení (“Lunacy”), a spirited, part-animated excursion into the motifs and ideas of Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis de Sade.

      In Hungary, István Szabó also used the distance of time for veiled topical comment in Rokonok (“Relatives”), an impressive cautionary drama, set in the 1930s, about an idealistic lawyer finally compromised by the lure of power. In Russia, Pavel Lungin delivered a parable about faith and salvation in the well-tooled Ostrov (“The Island”). No serious thoughts bothered the Russian makers of Dnevnoy dozor (“Day Watch”), Timur Bekmambetov's second effects-laden adventure about a paranormal patrolman with the gift of rewriting history. Twentieth Century-Fox bought the franchise for a Hollywood makeover.

Latin America.
       Argentina strode forward with Pablo Trapero's Nacido y criado, an emotionally turbulent drama about a father, a car accident, guilt, and demons, visually nourished by the frozen expanses of Patagonia. From Peru, Francisco J. Lombardi's Mariposa negra fashioned a gritty, disturbing political thriller from a real-life story of murder and revenge during the corrupt regime of Alberto Fujimori.

Middle East.
      Turmoil in Iraq did not prevent the production of Jamil Rostami's Marsiyeh barf (2005; “Requiem of Snow”), a fable about a daughter dreaming of escape from a forced marriage. In 2006 it became the first Iraqi film to be submitted for the Academy Awards. Iran, with a stronger cinema tradition, had a relatively weak year, though Jafar Panahi's Offside, about young women posing as boys to attend a World Cup match, beneficially mixed humour with social observations. The subtlety of Asghar Farhadi's study in marital infidelity, Chaharshanbe-soori (“Fireworks Wednesday”), was equally welcome. Israeli cinema output was dominated by Aviva ahuvati (“Aviva My Love”), Shemi Zarhin's popular social drama about a wife and mother struggling to keep her family together without selling her soul; it won six major Israeli Film Academy awards. Egypt's big draw was Marwan Hamed's Omaret Yacoubian (The Yacoubian Building), a lengthy star-studded edition of ʿAlāʾ al-Aswānī's best-selling novel and the country's most expensive feature to date, with enough plot threads and heated issues—political corruption, terrorism, drugs, prostitution, and a frank treatment of homosexuality—to ensure meaty popular cinema.

 Popular Indian cinema's propensity for cannibalizing American films bore exuberant fruit in the Hindi-language sci-fi spectacular Krrish (Rakesh Roshan), featuring Hrithik Roshan, the director's son, as the superhero tasked with saving the world from yet another megalomaniac scientist. More serious Hindi product included Omkara, Vishal Bharadwaj's dark and powerful version of Shakespeare's Othello, updated to the milieu of gangsters in a village in Uttar Pradesh. Rang de basanti (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra), centring on young people making a documentary about freedom fighters opposing the British raj, stretched Bollywood's boundaries with its fusion of politics and romance. In Kabul Express Kabir Khan married breezy comedy with the devastated landscapes of war-torn Afghanistan, with mixed results.

East and Southeast Asia.
      The diversity and panache of South Korean films continued to amaze. At the populist end of the spectrum, Bong Joon-ho's Gwoemul (“The Host”) offered a quirky thrill ride in the company of a gigantic mutant tadpole with a taste for gobbling the citizens of Seoul. Yu Ha's Biyeolhan geori (“A Dirty Carnival”) invested its story of a small-time criminal's rise and fall with a convincing epic sweep. Hong Sang-soo conjured the spirit of French director Eric Rohmer with Haebyonui yoin (“Woman on the Beach”), an endearing, thoughtful comedy-drama about a film director's relationship ditherings, marked by its improvisational, conversational flow. Kim Ki-duk, another prized director, fell a little below his best in the unusually talky Shi gan (“Time”), though he earned points for spinning his film around plastic surgery, one of South Korea's rising obsessions.

      In terms of size and budget, China's major recent film was Wu ji (2005; “The Promise”), Chen Kaige's bumper bundle of martial arts, folk myths, Beijing Opera stylization, and below-par digital effects. The plot about a war orphan's Faustian bargain contained its own promise, but the action highlights had to fight against technical flaws, some undue silliness, and an imperfect cast. Smaller films reached a higher level. Wang Chao's Jiang cheng xia ri (“Luxury Car”), a subtly played domestic drama, admirably caught the texture of contemporary Chinese life. China's industrialization and its controversial Three Gorges Dam project was the theme of Zhang Ke Jia's Sanxia haoren (“Still Life”); the film won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival, though not everyone fell for its slow, contemplative style.

       Taiwan's Tsai Ming-liang, another individual stylist, returned to his birthplace, Malaysia, for Hei yan quan (“I Don't Want to Sleep Alone”), though the sexual yearnings and cryptic, hypnotic images remained as before. From Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda gave an idiosyncratic slant to the samurai film in the endearing Hana yori mo naho, while in Sang sattawat (“Syndromes and a Century”), Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul successfully spun memories of his doctor parents into a teasing, magical diversion, baffling and riveting at the same time.

      African cinema's traditional strengths—strong, simple narratives and visuals without frills—returned to prominence in Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Daratt (“Dry Season”), a compelling, reflective two-character drama about violence and revenge, filmed in Chad. From Mali, Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako discovered lively entertainment in serious economic issues. Mark Dornford-May's gripping Son of Man (South Africa) updated the story of Christ to an African kingdom torn by ethnic strife and violence.

Geoff Brown

Nontheatrical Films.
      Though several of the 2005 major documentaries featured animals as principal subjects, the 2006 offerings were noteworthy for the variety of topics and themes explored. Wordplay, a 2006 Sundance Film Festival selection directed by Patrick Cleadon, focused on the New York Times crossword, its editor, Will Shortz, and others devoted to the puzzle, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Daily Show TV host Jon Stewart, baseball star Mike Mussina, filmmaker Ken Burns, and the folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls.

      Although British director Michael Apted was best known for feature films (notably Gorillas in the Mist and Coal Miner's Daughter), he also directed documentaries. The film 49 Up was the latest installment in the ongoing series about a group of British citizens from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and the changes that take place in their lives over time. Starting in 1964, with subsequent filming taking place every seven years since then, the result was a set of unique documents using new footage combined with clips from the previous films.

      In An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim, former vice president Al Gore hosts a thorough examination of the current and impending effects of global warming. The film, which received wide distribution, was based on his multimedia presentation that formed the basis for his traveling lecture tour.

      TV Junkie, Michael Cain and Matt Radecki's 2006 Special Jury Prize winner at Sundance, was created from more than 3,000 hours of personal footage shot by TV reporter Rick Kirkham, starting at age 14 and extending to the present. The film explored his career, including his work on the program Inside Edition, and his struggle with drug addiction.

      This Film Is Not Yet Rated, by Kirby Dick, looked at the Motion Picture Association of America's controversial rating system from the perspective of directors, attorneys, actors, critics, and former raters who believed that there were major problems with the classifications as they had been applied, resulting in a potential negative impact on both creative intentions and the marketing of the films.

Ben Levin

▪ 2006



Classical Music.
      Any cultural tradition that endures and flourishes for a thousand years must move at a considered pace. Thus it was that a mere five years late, in 2005 classical music entered the 21st century. The move, when it came, was not heralded by a revolution in sound—as with the new music of Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg at the turn of the previous century—as much as a new sensibility, one that opened the doors to fresh ideas and realities.

      In June the BBC offered free downloads of Beethoven's nine symphonies on the Internet. The performances, by conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic, were drawn from the network's The Beethoven Experience series. Initially the offer was made as an experiment to gauge interest in the music on the part of the public. By the end of the month, the experiment had turned into a phenomenon; listeners downloaded the music 1.4 million times in two one-week periods (Beethoven's Ninth Symphony proved to be the most popular, drawing 220,461 downloads). The immensity of the response—comparable to that of hit recordings by pop music artists—attested to the enduring popularity of classical music. In a more tangible sense, however, it offered the flagging classical music industry new insights and business models for making the product available to the public via the distribution of “virtual” classical recordings that could expand the form's accessibility and commercial viability.

      Classical music also combined with the digital realm in February when the world's largest music publisher, London-based Boosey & Hawkes, concluded a deal with the Music Solution, London, in which the former made available the rights to themes from 300 popular classical music pieces, including “Russian Dance” from Stravinsky's Petrushka and Aaron Copland's “Fanfare for the Common Man,” for use as ringtones on cellular phones.

      The classical world flirted with another pop culture phenomenon in the form of the “Dear Friends” concert tour, which traversed the U.S. during the year. The program featured music by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu from the immensely popular video game series Final Fantasy. The tour suggested yet another way in which the classical world could reach out to younger listeners, many of whom had inadvertently been introduced to classical music via the sound tracks to the games.

      In a more traditional sense, composers and orchestras continued their public outreach efforts by launching their own labels. Following the lead of the London Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra founded its own record label and in April issued its initial releases, which included two archive recordings and two recent live performances of works by Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Rachmaninoff. Released from a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, which had undertaken to fund his project of recording all of Johann Sebastian Bach's sacred cantatas, conductor John Eliot Gardiner started his own label, Soli Deo Gloria, which issued its first recordings during the year. Meanwhile, two British composers were taking matters into their own hands. Michael Nyman (best known for film scores such as that for The Piano [1993]) and the venerable Scottish iconoclast Peter Maxwell Davies also formed their own respective record labels. “My motivation is pure greed,” Nyman assured The Guardian newspaper, “but it's a greed to get as much of my music as possible out there for the public to sample.”

      Even when technology and business innovations were not involved, change was in the air. Finally entering the 20th century—albeit in the 21st—the classical world was rocked when Marin Alsop was named music director of the Baltimore Symphony. She thus became the first woman to attain such a post at a major American orchestra.

      Space—and a galaxy far, far away—figured in two new musical works that made their debuts in 2005. In June conductor Erich Kunzel's adaptation of composer John Williams's score for the six Star Wars films was presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Also in June the British Institute of Physics paid tribute to physicist Albert Einstein with its Heavenly Music workshop event at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, in which the recorded sounds of stars, planets, and galaxies were mixed into a celestial musical work. (See Physical Sciences: Special Report.)

      On CD and DVD, classical music celebrated the new and old. The January 2000 world premiere of English composer John Tavener's choral work Fall and Resurrection was released on an Opus Arte DVD, while up-and-coming Danish virtuoso Nikolaj Znaider was highlighted in performances of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn violin concertos. The independent Bridge label began to release a series of historic recordings of performances at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, which marked its 80th anniversary in 2005. On a similar note, officials of Germany's Bayreuth Festival released a 13-CD set of the 1956 staging of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle, featuring Hans Hotter in the role of Wotan and Astrid Varnay as Brünnhilde. The digital clarity of DVDs came to the assistance of two French baroque operas, highlighting the visuals and dancing that were as important to that form as the music itself. Jean-Baptiste Lully's Persée (EuroArts) was captured in a production by Hervé Niquet and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, while Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Indes galantes (Opus Arte) was given a fanciful reading by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. Herbert Henck demonstrated the delicate, surprisingly melodic side of the young John Cage on piano pieces that included “The Seasons” and “Metamorphosis” on an ECM New Series CD. Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra provided a look at Kurt Weill—before he was seduced by the musical theatre—on performances of his first and second symphonies on the Naxos label. Arguably one of the most intriguing recordings of the year was The Five Browns (RCA), which showcased five siblings performing energetic and vivacious five-piano adaptations of such warhorses as Rimsky-Korsakov's The Flight of the Bumblebee and Paul Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

      Older works were given a rebirth during the year. A fragment from a previously unheard piano concerto by Beethoven was given its premiere in The Netherlands in February by pianist Ronald Brautigam and the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra. Two works by Antonio Vivaldi were given their modern premieres; a concert version of the Italian Baroque master's opera Motezuma was presented in Rotterdam in June, and a full production was staged in Düsseldorf, Ger., in September, its first performances since 1733. An aria, “De torrente in via bibet,” recently reattributed to Vivaldi, was performed in Melbourne in August. A manuscript of a “ritornello aria” by J.S. Bach was found in the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Ger., in May; it was the first discovery of a previously unknown vocal work by Bach since 1935. At year's end music scholars at Vienna's Musikverein were attempting to authenticate a manuscript that bore the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

 A host of new operas appeared during the year, two of which illustrated the ways in which the worlds of classical and pop music were merging. In October the Royal Danish Opera presented the world premiere of a 10-song cycle from pop songwriter Elvis Costello's opera-in-progress, The Secret Arias, based on the unrequited love of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. In September Roger Waters, formerly of the psychedelic rock group Pink Floyd, unveiled his first opera, Ça Ira, on CD and DVD. Electronics composer Charles Wuorinen delved deeply into his 12-tone abstractions in his opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which received its premiere at the New York City Opera late in 2004. James Fenton's libretto was based on the book by Salman Rushdie. Also in New York, composer Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy was given its debut by the Metropolitan Opera. Philip Glass's Waiting for the Barbarians debuted in Erfurt, Ger., in September. The two-and-a-half-hour work was based on South African writer J.M. Coetzee's book about the evils of state-sponsored repression. In October, two months after the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, John Adams's Doctor Atomic was presented by the San Francisco Opera. The work was based on the efforts of a team of scientists led by J. Robert Oppenheimer that led to the detonation of the atomic bomb in 1945. The Glass and Adams works were acclaimed by critics and the public, but other new operas—and new productions of older operas—did not fare as well. Conductor Lorin Maazel's operatic version of George Orwell's novel 1984 was lambasted by critics following its debut at London's Royal Opera, and in August the British premiere of Adams's 1991 opera The Death of Klinghoffer created a furor over its staging, in which members of the Scottish Opera stormed the stage from the audience as terrorists with mock machine guns.

      Some new stagings of Wagner operas created controversies as well. German film producer and director Bernd Eichinger came under critical fire in March for his depiction in a production at Berlin's Staatsoper of the knights in Parsifal as punk rockers. At Bayreuth, Swiss director Christoph Marthaler's new staging of Tristan und Isolde was booed during its unveiling in July, and the English National Opera raised the ire of critics and public with its version of Götterdämmerung, which called for Brünnhilde to strap on a bomb and blow up herself and the cast in a simulated suicide attack.

      All those controversies paled in comparison to the exit of longtime music director Riccardo Muti from Milan's fabled La Scala. Muti, who had led the company for 19 years, was accused by his staff and musicians of running La Scala like a fiefdom. The dispute ended acrimoniously in April, when Muti resigned, citing irreconcilable differences. One of opera's most generous and ostentatious benefactors, the Cuban-American investor Alberto Vilar, suffered a similarly operatic downfall. Vilar, who had donated millions of dollars to various major opera companies, was arrested in May and charged with having defrauded a business client of $5 million. Oboist Blair Tindall raised eyebrows with her book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music when it was published in June; the tell-all tome recounted alleged cases of orchestral in-fighting and substance abuse by classical musicians. Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel lowered brows when in January, after suddenly losing his voice, he mimed a portrayal of Wotan at London's Covent Garden while another singer sang the role.

      The classical world was amazed and mystified during much of the year by the appearance of the so-called Piano Man, who was found wandering on a beach in Kent, Eng., in April and reportedly stunned mental health workers by giving virtuoso performances of classical music on a piano. Months later he was finally identified as 20-year-old Andreas Grassl from the German village of Prosdorf. Neither a satisfactory explanation of the circumstances of his appearance nor the particulars of his care under British health authorities were forthcoming.

      Recipients of top musical awards in 2005 included French composer Henri Dutilleux (Dutilleux, Henri ) (see Biographies), who was honoured with the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. The Pulitzer Prize for Music went to Steven Stucky's Second Concerto for Orchestra, while the Grammy Award for best classical recording was given to John Adams for On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), his large-scale work commemorating the victims of the 9/11 terrorist bombings in New York City.

      In 2005 the classical music world lost several of its most revered artists, including composers David Diamond (Diamond, David Leo ) and George Rochberg (Rochberg, George ); conductors Carlo Maria Giulini (Giulini, Carlo Maria ), Sergiu Comissiona (Comissiona, Sergiu ), Alexander Brott (Brott, Alexander ), and Sixten Ehrling (Ehrling, Sixten ); opera luminaries Victoria de los Angeles (Angeles, Victoria de los ), Birgit Nilsson, June Bronhill (Bronhill, June ), Ghena Dimitrova (Dimitrova, Ghena ), Nell Rankin (Rankin, Nell ), Ara Berberian (Berberian, Ara ), and Theodore Uppman (Uppman, Theodor ); pianists Ruth Laredo (Laredo, Ruth ), Lazar Berman (Berman, Lazar Naumovich ), and Grant Johannesen (Johannesen, Grant ); violinists Norbert Brainin (Brainin, Norbert ) of the Amadeus String Quartet and Isidore Cohen (Cohen, Isidore ) of the Juilliard String Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio; and music critic Joseph McLellan (McLellan, Joseph ). (See Obituaries.)

Harry Sumrall

      In 2005 the jazz world reeled from the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans jazz community. Though most musicians scattered for safety, some outlasted the storm in the city, including noted trumpeter Marlon Jordan, who was discovered after having spent five days clinging to a rooftop. In the following weeks, radio station WWOZ, though it did not broadcast, maintained a list on its Web site of musicians who had survived the storm. Even if musicians were able to return home, the city's jazz venues remained closed. Two noted New Orleans bands, Astral Project and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, toured widely during the autumn. Hurricane relief efforts were established quickly, most notably by the New York-based Jazz Foundation of America, through its Jazz Musician Emergency Fund. The most famous of the many fund-raising concerts was held by New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center in New York City and included, along with his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, a parade of jazz, pop music, and movie stars. The New Orleans Jazz Museum, housed in the old U.S. Mint building, was reportedly battered by the storm. The Historic New Orleans Collection, where Jelly Roll Morton's papers and other valuable research material were safeguarded, was not damaged, however, and reopened in its French Quarter location six weeks after the storm. The important collection of the Hogan Jazz Archive, housed at Tulane University, was unscathed. The lack of electricity in the hot, humid weeks that followed the storm, however, could have damaged some archived documents that might have deteriorated as a result of the absence of climate-controlled conditions.

      In New York City, Lincoln Center began living up to its promise as a major jazz centre, with concerts on three stages that included during September a Women in Jazz Festival in its nightclub, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. On the Lower East Side, the Vision Festival's six evenings of music included a stunning performance by trumpeter Bill Dixon's quintet and a nightlong tribute to 76-year-old tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Though real-estate developers in Chicago announced plans to level Anderson's nightclub, the Velvet Lounge, successful fund-raising efforts would allow Anderson to move his popular jazz spot.

      Actor Rome Neal portrayed composer-pianist Thelonious Monk in the New York City one-man show Monk, written by Laurence Holder. Bassist Christian McBride was named co-director, along with arranger Loren Schoenberg, of the Jazz Museum in Harlem, a project that had yet to find a permanent home. Saxophonist John Zorn, whose Tzadik label issued CDs by exploratory composers and improvisers, opened a nightclub, the Stone, which featured jazz six nights a week.

      The 40th anniversary of the cooperative Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was celebrated in the AACM's Chicago and New York City concerts and at a conference during the Ai Confini tra Sardegna e Jazz Festival in Sant'Anna Arresi, on the Italian island of Sardinia. The festival's performers included AACM members Muhal Richard Abrams (piano), Anthony Braxton (saxophones), and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as Japan's Shibura Shirazu Orchestra. During a two-day Brazilian cultural symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the bossa nova was featured in the North American premiere of Jobim sinfônico, composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and performed by the Symphony of the Americas, with Claudio Cruz conducting. Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes's seldom-heard 1960 work Brasília, sinfonia da alvorada, honouring the building of Brazil's new capital, Brasília, was featured in a version of Jobim sinfônico recorded by the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Roberto Minczuk.

      Two discoveries of major performances by jazz greats highlighted the year's recordings. The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet with Charlie Parker played the electrifying Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945. A 1957 Voice of America broadcast, unearthed in the Library of Congress, was the source of Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall. One of the first appearances by a Miles Davis fusion group was the historically important six-CD set The Cellar Door Sessions 1970. The highlight of the 2005 reissues was The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by pioneer pianist-composer Morton, recorded in 1938 and finally available in an eight-CD set.

      Though only two major labels still focused on jazz, musician-owned labels proliferated during the year. Trumpeter Dave Douglas's Greenleaf label issued his Mountain Passages, and saxophonist Branford Marsalis's Marsalis Music offered Miguel Zenón's Jíbaro and Harry Connick, Jr.'s instrumental set Occasion, duets by the pianist and Marsalis. Saxophonist Evan Parker's Psi label reissued the free-improvisation landmark recording The London Concert with Parker and guitarist Derek Bailey (Bailey, Derek ) (see Obituaries).

      More than 70 Monk songs were offered, almost all he ever composed, in the three-CD Monk's Casino by pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's quintet. Not in Our Name by bassist Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra featured a composition by Carla Bley, and pianist Dave Brubeck's quartet offered London Flat, London Sharp.

      Outstanding biographies published during the year included those by Doug Ramsey (Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond), Nadine Cohodas (Queen: The Life and Music of Dinah Washington; 2004), and Michael Dregni (Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend; 2004), about guitarist Django Reinhardt. Deaths included those of bassist Percy Heath (Heath, Percy Leroy ), singer-songwriter Oscar Brown, Jr. (Brown, Oscar Cicero, Jr. ), trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff (Mangelsdorff, Albert ), saxophonist Lucky Thompson (Thompson, Lucky ), and pianist Shirley Horn (Horn, Shirley Valerie ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses during the year were those of bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and guitarist Billy Bauer.

John Litweiler


      Much of the world's finest and most varied music of 2005 originated in the landlocked African state of Mali. There were three notable albums by Malian artists during the year. The most commercially successful came from Amadou and Mariam, a middle-aged blind couple who had been singing and playing together since the 1970s. Their dramatic change of fortune came about when the Spanish star Manu Chao offered to produce, co-write, and perform on their latest album, Dimanche à Bamako. Sections of the recording echoed Chao's own work, but other tracks focused on the duo's easygoing songs, embellished by slick singing and impressive blues-influenced guitar work from Amadou. The album was a major success in Europe.

      The two other great Malian albums came from established veterans. Five years earlier guitarist Ali Farka Touré had announced that he had retired to his farm in the town of Niafunké, where he became mayor. In 2005, however, he made a welcome return, accompanied for the first time by Toumani Diabate, the greatest exponent of the kora, the African classical harp. Their album In the Heart of the Moon mixed Touré's hypnotic blueslike guitar work with virtuoso flurries of rapid-fire improvised kora playing. Diabate made a further appearance on the new album by Salif Keita, Mali's finest male singer. After years of working abroad, Keita had returned to Bamako to live and record, and his magnificent homecoming album, M'Bemba, was a gently rhythmic, largely acoustic set in which he was also backed by guitarist Kante Manfila and his own foster sisters.

      If Africa was much in the political limelight during 2005 with the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland focusing on African development issues, it was also a good year for African music. A series of Africa-related events across the U.K. were mounted to inspire and encourage the politicians. These included concerts, art exhibitions, and a lecture by Senegalese musician Baaba Maal at the British Museum. Rock musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof helped to organize the ambitious Live 8 concert in London and nine other cities to call attention to world poverty on the eve of the G-8 meeting. The London Live 8 event included such notables as U2, Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Pink Floyd. Senegal's Youssou N'Dour appeared there too before flying to another awareness-raising concert in Cornwall that featured African stars Tinariwen and Thomas Mapfumo, among others.

      New collaborations and fusions were another highlight of music in 2005. The veteran Indian singer Asha Bhosle, who had recorded thousands of songs for the Bollywood film industry, joined forces with the adventurous Kronos Quartet from the U.S. to record an album of classic movie songs written by her late husband, R.D. Burman. Adventurous musical fusion work came from Mexico as well. The acoustic-guitar-playing duo of Rodrigo y Gabriela followed up their album Live Manchester and Dublin with a series of virtuoso concerts in which they mixed anything from jazz to Spanish influences to heavy metal. Other Mexican musicians, Los de Abajo, provided an even greater contrast of styles with their album LDA v the Lunatics, which included a Latin treatment of the 1980s hit by the Fun Boy Three, “The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum),” along with songs that ranged from salsa to punk and Mexican styles.

      It was also a good year for Brazil's minister of culture, veteran singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil, who followed his live album Eletracústico with a series of rousing shows proving that politics had not harmed his impressively varied musical skills. Brazil's latest celebrity, Seu Jorge, came to worldwide attention through his appearances in the films City of God and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but his album Cru and live shows demonstrated his ability to switch from a quirky treatment of David Bowie songs in Portuguese to light dance songs and thoughtful ballads.

      Among the international musicians who died in 2005 were Ibrahim Ferrer (Ferrer, Ibrahim ), one of the greatest of all Cuban singers; Lalo Guerrero (Guerrero, Lalo ), called the father of Chicano music; and reggae star Justin Hinds (Hinds, Justin ). (See Obituaries.)

Robin Denselow

United States.
      The year 2005 in American pop music began with hoots and howls as pop singer and reality-television star Ashlee Simpson was booed lustily during her off-pitch performance at halftime of college football's national championship game at the Orange Bowl in Miami. It was the second nationally televised embarrassment for Simpson, who had been caught using a prerecorded vocal track on Saturday Night Live two months earlier. Simpson sang her way to some measure of redemption in October, however, when she reappeared on Saturday Night Live, offered a truly live performance, and was cheered.

      Also, January 2005 saw the start of a year of benefit concerts as Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Kenny Chesney, and numerous other artists participated in Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, a telethon broadcast from New York, Los Angeles, and London. The effort raised an estimated $18 million for relief of the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Later, performers banded together for charity shows that included July's massive Live 8 event and numerous concerts in September to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

 The late Ray Charles received the lion's share of accolades at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February. Charles was remembered with eight Grammys, including the album and record of the year prizes. Together, rhythm and blues superstars Alicia Keys (Keys, Alicia ) and Usher (see Biographies) won a total of seven Grammys, and Kanye West and rock band U2 each won three. Country music's Tim McGraw (McGraw, Tim ) (see Biographies) won the awards for best country male vocal and best song for “Live like You Were Dying.” The show's considerable star power did not save television ratings, however, which were the lowest for a Grammy presentation show since 1995.

      The year saw some significant stylistic developments. A subgenre of Latin music called reggaeton, which combined elements of hip-hop and reggae, galvanized young Spanish-speaking audiences and became a springboard to stardom for Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, Luny Tunes, and others. The hushed avant-folk sounds of acts such as Devendra Banhart and Iron and Wine garnered substantial popularity and critical praise. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous nature of technology such as Apple Computer's iPod—a digital audio player that could store music downloaded via computer—made nonmainstream music more readily available to consumers.

      Rock music made something of a comeback in 2005, with Coldplay (see Biographies), Nine Inch Nails, Audioslave, and other rock acts topping the Billboard all-genre album chart. Country artist Chesney had an eventful year as well. His Be as You Are: Songs from an Old Blue Chair album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 album chart in February; he won the Academy of Country Music Awards top entertainer prize; and his album The Road and the Radio, released in November, was a commercial standout.

      The year's most significant court decision for the music industry was a unanimous Supreme Court decision on June 27 that favoured copyright holders (record companies, songwriters, and artists) against peer-to-peer software providers StreamCast and Grokster. Officials at major record companies saw the ruling as a way to discourage the illegal copying of music. In July, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer reached a settlement with Sony BMG Music in which the company paid $10 million in fines related to allegedly improper means of influencing radio airplay.

      The sales story of the year was hard-core rapper 50 Cent, whose album The Massacre sold more than four million copies. Other commercial successes included Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi, which had sold 3.4 million by mid-October, and Kanye West's Late Registration, which sold nearly a million copies in its first week of release. West's “Gold Digger,” 50 Cent's “Candy Shop,” Carey's “We Belong Together,” and Gwen Stefani's “Hollaback Girl” were some of the biggest radio singles.

      The Pretenders, The O'Jays, Percy Sledge, U2, and Buddy Guy were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Losses included blues, gospel, and R&B greats George Lewis Scott (Scott, George Lewis ), Clarence (“Gatemouth”) Brown (Brown, Gatemouth ), Obie Benson (Benson, Obie ), Luther Vandross (Vandross, Luther Ronzoni ), and Tyrone Davis (Davis, Tyrone ); bluegrass and country stars Jimmy Martin (Martin, Jimmy ), Vassar Clements (Clements, Vassar ), and Merle Kilgore (Kilgore, Merle ); rock drummers Jim Capaldi (Capaldi, Jim ) of Traffic and Spencer Dryden (Dryden, Spencer ) of Jefferson Airplane; and synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog (Moog, Robert Arthur ). (See Obituaries.)

Peter Cooper


North America.
      One of the dance highlights of 2005 was the collaboration between Toronto's National Ballet of Canada and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, which brought former-ballerina-turned-ballet-mistress Farrell's staging of George Balanchine's Don Quixote (1965), a work not seen since 1978, to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Farrell's newly designed (by Zack Brown) and arranged production showed the ballet to be its strange and yet haunting self. Farrell, once primarily associated with New York City Ballet (NYCB), was working mostly out of the Kennedy Center, where her troupe presented (November 22–27) works by Balanchine. In December Farrell was the recipient of one of the Kennedy Center's annual honours.

      Performances at the Kennedy Center included two appearances by the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, including one that offered a three-act Cinderella, the first major American showing of the choreography of Aleksey Ratmansky, artistic director of Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet. Later in the year Ratmansky toured with the Bolshoi and offered his mostly well-received reworking of a 1935 Dmitry Shostakovich ballet called The Bright Stream. In October the Kennedy Center focused on the performing arts of China, with samplings of that country's fledgling modern dance traditions as well as its ballet offerings, most notably Raise the Red Lantern, based on the film of the same name.

       American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and NYCB, the U.S. flagship ballet troupes, had fairly standard years. ABT went into historical mode and, to the luscious score of Léo Delibes, put on a splendid staging of Sir Frederick Ashton's marvelous mythological classical ballet Sylvia. Standout interpreters included Gillian Murphy as Sylvia and the ever-radiant Angel Corella as Aminta, the narrative's lovesick shepherd. In addition, ABT put on a full evening of ballets by the once-ubiquitous Michel Fokine. Some of these were more reliable than others, with Le Spectre de la rose among the highlights and Petrouchka among the lesser lights. Ballerina Amanda McKerrow took her farewell bows with ABT in a summer performance of Giselle, while ballerina Julie Kent celebrated her 20th anniversary with the company during its fall season. One of the new roles added to her repertory was that of the ballerina in the company's first-ever staging of Jerome Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun. NYCB offered a number of new works, the most distinguished of which was resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain, a winter premiere. Otherwise, season highlights included the recognition of departing dancers; Jock Soto retired from the stage, and Peter Boal left to assume artistic directorship of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Robbins's impressive New York Export Opus Jazz was staged by NYCB for the first time in a strong production presented by former Joffrey Ballet dancer Edward Verso.

       Boston Ballet, which appointed Jorma Elo of Finland its new resident choreographer, already had a Finnish artistic director, Mikko Nissinen. The company's repertory included not only new works by Lucinda Childs and Peter Martins but also traditional works, such as The Sleeping Beauty and La Sylphide. Houston Ballet proceeded under the fairly new direction of Stanton Welch to offer a mix of contemporary works and narrative standards, such as Welch's own Divergence and John Cranko's Onegin. Oregon Ballet Theatre, under the direction of the recently appointed Christopher Stowell, included Robbins's In the Night in its mixed repertory and ended the year with an ambitious staging of Balanchine's blue-chip version of The Nutcracker. Edward Villella's Miami City Ballet managed to acquire Twyla Tharp's 1976 landmark crossover ballet Push Comes to Shove. The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago launched its 50th anniversary in October with a mixed bill featuring The Dream, Ashton's now-classic one-act rendering of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Pacific Northwest Ballet had a year of “farewell and hail” as longtime artistic directors Francia Russell and Kent Stowell left their positions, and Boal took over the reins with a gala program that featured works specially brought in by him, notably Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.

      The 2004 “Fall for Dance” series at the New York City Center returned in 2005, with local and visiting groups featured in ballet, modern dance, and in-between aesthetics—all for the flat rate of $10 a ticket. The series participants were wide-ranging, from the Lyon (France) Opéra Ballet to the Urban Bush Women, a New York City-based group that celebrated its 20th anniversary during the year. The Paul Taylor Dance Company spent the year wending its way on a 50th-anniversary celebratory tour to all 50 states.

      The Martha Graham Dance Company had ambitious seasons in New York City and the Kennedy Center, with notable revivals of its namesake's too-little-seen Deaths and Entrances. At midyear the legal battle with Ron Protas, Graham's legal heir, moved closer to an end when a New York federal judge ruled that the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance owned the rights to seven of Graham's unpublished works. Graham artistic directors Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin were removed in what was termed an administrative “streamlining” in favour of Janet Eilber.

       Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which toured abroad and at home, presented Cunningham and John Cage's large-scale Ocean in a run at the Lincoln Center Festival. The Mark Morris Dance Group moved into its 25th-anniversary season with a 26-city tour; Morris's masterly L'allegro, il penseroso, ed il moderato made a strong showing at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart series, his Sandpaper Ballet helped launch Houston Ballet's year, and his Gong was revived for ABT's fall New York City season.

      The American Dance Festival's season in Durham, N.C., included 17 companies, one of which traveled from Indonesia; the festival's annual Scripps award went to Bill T. Jones, whose new politically motivated Blind Date had its premiere there in September at Montclair State University before touring elsewhere. Legendary dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham celebrated her 96th birthday in New York City's Riverside Church with a Boule Blanche (“White Ball”) that included music, dance, and New Orleans cuisine. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater moved into handsome and practical quarters in midtown New York City, where the troupe climaxed a busy year of touring with its annual monthlong winter season, for which artistic director Judith Jamison produced a specially made new work called Reminiscin'—set to the music of female jazz greats.

      Karole Armitage offered a three-week season with her company Armitage Gone! Dance in New York City. Although she had spent a good part of her postpunk choreographic career abroad, she recently had reestablished herself in the U.S. The Japan Society produced a series called “Cool Japan: Otaku Strikes!,” which was highlighted by the amusing and affecting antics of the Condors all-male dance troupe in the freewheeling Mars: Conquest of the Galaxy II. The older and similarly geared modern dance companies Pilobolus and MOMIX had multiweek runs in New York City, with each showing programs of works under single umbrella titles, such as the Moses Pendleton-directed Lunar Sea for MOMIX. Matthew Bourne's choreography-based Play Without Words helped greatly distinguish the offerings at the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy of Music (BAM). Avant-garde and experimentalist aesthetics were highlighted by Jérôme Bel at New York City's Dance Theater Workshop, with his witty The Show Must Go On; by Dean Moss at the Kitchen in New York City, with his complex Figures on a Field; and by Sarah Michelson's intense Daylight series, which debuted at P.S. 122 (New York City) before traveling to the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minn.) and On the Boards in Seattle.

      The directorship at the National Ballet of Canada changed shortly after the company brought then current director James Kudelka's The Contract (The Pied Piper) to BAM. The new director of the Canadian company was former ballerina Karen Kain; Kudelka remained as resident choreographer. Veteran ballerina Martine Lamy gave a farewell performance for that company during the year, dancing the lead in Études. The Royal Winnipeg (Man.) Ballet toured its atypical versions of The Magic Flute, by Mark Godden, and A Cinderella Story, by Val Caniparoli. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal toured to the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass., and won high praise for its modernist mixed bill. The Montreal-based Marie Chouinard Company took part in the “Fall for Dance” festival and also performed at the Joyce Theater.

      Deaths during the year included those of choreographers Warren Spears, Onna White, and Alfredo Corvino, dancers Joe Nash, (Nash, Joe ) Fernando Bujones (Bujones, Fernando ) (see Obituaries), Sybil Shearer, and Victor Castelli, NYCB music adviser Gordon Boelzner, and dance writers Selma Jeanne Cohen and Charles France.

Robert Greskovic

      The European dance world's major events in 2005 ranged from triumph, with the emergence in Germany of a new company led by choreographer William Forsythe (Forsythe, William ) (see Biographies), to disaster, with the sudden closure of the Ballet Gulbenkian in Portugal. The year's big anniversary celebration took place in Denmark, where the Royal Danish Ballet commemorated the bicentenary of the birth of its great choreographer August Bournonville.

      In the United Kingdom the Royal Ballet joined in the Bournonville party with a new production of his most famous ballet, La Sylphide, by its Danish principal dancer Johan Kobborg. The Royal Ballet concluded its season of homage to its own founder choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton with some fine performances of his masterpiece Symphonic Variations. Contemporary choreographer Christopher Bruce made a new piece for the company, Three Songs—Two Voices, using music by Jimi Hendrix, which was a bold choice on paper but less successful in reality. The contract of Royal Ballet director Monica Mason was extended to 2010, giving her four more years in the post than was originally planned.

      The Birmingham Royal Ballet became the first British company to mount the reconstructed version of Vaslav Nijinsky's Rite of Spring; later in the year the company looked back on its own history for a triple bill, including early works by Kenneth MacMillan (Solitaire), Ninette de Valois (Checkmate), and John Cranko (The Lady and the Fool). MacMillan also featured in the programming of English National Ballet, which gave the first European performances of the production of The Sleeping Beauty that he had originally made for ABT. English National Ballet artistic director Matz Skoog resigned in the spring and was replaced by Wayne Eagling, previously artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet.

       Scottish Ballet continued on the upward curve it had been climbing since 2002, when Ashley Page launched his regeneration of the company; the highlight of the year was the company's appearance, after a long absence, at the Edinburgh International Festival, with a program of ballets by George Balanchine, including the rarely seen Episodes. The most unusual commission of the year saw Rambert Dance Company's artistic director, Mark Baldwin, creating a dance at the request of the Institute of Physics, London, to mark the centenary of the year in which Albert Einstein published his three most revolutionary ideas. Although the relationship between science and choreography was difficult to detect, the resulting work, Constant Speed, was colourful and energetic, and the Einstein connection generated a gratifyingly large amount of publicity.

      It was a busy year for choreographer Matthew Bourne, with revivals of his famous Swan Lake and the less-well-known Highland Fling (his updating of La Sylphide) and a new work, Edward Scissorhands, all being shown at Sadler's Wells. The original star of Bourne's Swan Lake, Adam Cooper, made a dance version of Les Liaisons dangereuses; though originally produced in Japan, it had a summer season in London and was much enjoyed by audiences despite strong reservations in most of the reviews. The Ballet Nacional of Cuba and the Paris Opéra Ballet made welcome appearances in London for the first time in many years.

      The third Bournonville Festival in Copenhagen combined performances, exhibitions, and lecture-demonstrations; nine of Bournonville's surviving ballets were shown, as well as several shorter pieces in the end-of-festival gala. New versions of The Kermesse in Bruges and The King's Volunteers on Amager were coolly received by some of the foreign visitors, but there was some memorable dancing throughout the week, especially from the men—Thomas Lund and Mads Blangstrup—who led the company in this repertoire; new principal dancer Kristoffer Sakurai also made a fine impression. The company's Bournonville training was based on six daily classes arranged by Bournonville's successor, Hans Beck, and the company recorded the classes in their entirety and published them on DVD to coincide with the festival. The recordings were important documentation of both the technical foundation of the company and a talented generation of performers.

      Earlier in the season the Royal Danish Ballet had premiered a new full-evening work by John Neumeier in honour of the great storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, who was born in the same year as Bournonville. Neumeier's The Little Mermaid used music by Lera Auerbach, and Marie-Pierre Greve danced the title role at the first performance. Another, very different children's tale inspired the Royal Swedish Ballet's new work; choreographer Pär Isberg translated Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking into a highly successful ballet for younger audiences, with Anna Valev and Marie Lindqvist alternating as the spirited young heroine.

      The Paris Opéra Ballet showed a creation by étoile Nicolas Le Riche, who put Vivaldi's Four Seasons to new and unexpected uses in his full-length version of Caligula, originally inspired by The Twelve Caesars of Suetonius. Wilfried Romoli was promoted to étoile at the unusually late age of 42, and Emmanuel Thibault, a very stylish virtuoso dancer long admired by the public, was made premier danseur after years of having been overlooked at the annual competitions. The most talked-about choreographer of the year was Jérôme Bel, whose work delighted some as much as it scandalized others.

      The long saga of the negotiations over the future of one of Europe's most important contemporary companies finally reached a happy conclusion when the Forsythe Company gave its first performances in April in Frankfurt am Main, Ger. The company, which was based jointly in Frankfurt and Dresden and funded by both cities, allowed Forsythe to resume his creative journey with a new sense of security. His first work for his ensemble, Three Atmospheric Studies, was a critical triumph, and his earlier works were becoming established in the repertoire of numerous European dance companies. Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy made his first ballet for a European company; in Munich the Bavarian State Ballet premiered The Silver Rose, telling the same story as Der Rosenkavalier but using music by Carl Vine instead of Richard Strauss.

      On March 24 the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg added Forsythe's Approximate Sonata to its growing collection of his works and at the same performance gave the premiere of Reverence by David Dawson, a British-born choreographer who was establishing a serious reputation from his base in the Dutch National Ballet. Kirill Simonov made a new version of Daphnis and Chloe, using only some of Ravel's music and abandoning the traditional story altogether. The company continued its punishing touring schedule, and there were complaints from knowledgeable viewers about young dancers' being featured in roles for which they were not properly prepared. In Moscow the Bolshoi Ballet showed director Aleksey Ratmansky's new version of the Shostakovich ballet The Bolt and also gave its first performances of three ballets by Léonide Massine—Le Tricorne, Les Présages, and Gaîté Parisienne. The Bolshoi Theatre closed for a period to be measured in years, for desperately needed renovations.

      The announcement of the closure of the Ballet Gulbenkian, based in Lisbon, came with no advance warning for its dancers, who reacted with shock and an appeal to the rest of the dance world to join in their protest against the decision. The 40-year-old company was one of Portugal's best-known artistic institutions.

      Deaths during the year included those of former Bolshoi dancer Raisa Struchkova (Struchkova, Raisa Stepanovna ) and Australian dancer and artistic director Ross Stretton (Stretton, Ross ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses included Pamela May, former ballerina of the Royal Ballet, and Nathalie Krassovska, once the leading ballerina of the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet).

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      Three days after Talking to Terrorists opened on July 4, 2005, at the Royal Court Theatre, bombs were detonated in the London transport system. Robin Soans's verbatim play for the Out of Joint touring company crisscrossed testimonies from former terrorists and their victims with the views of workers, politicians, and British ambassadors abroad. The play was a fascinating revelation of the sociology of terrorism.

      Meanwhile, an exciting revival of Julius Caesar, directed by Deborah Warner at the Barbican Theatre, cast a powerful light on what goes wrong when politicians act illegally in the name of democracy. Ralph Fiennes bounded on as a hyperactive Mark Antony in a white vest, while Simon Russell Beale as Cassius and Anton Lesser as Brutus locked horns in argument against the background of a huge, seething crowd in the first half and an abandoned aircraft hangar in the second.

      The British theatre was again politicized by world and local events. The National Theatre followed the 2004 response to the Iraq war in David Hare's Stuff Happens with The UN Inspector, David Farr's sparky, satiric rewrite of Nikolay Gogol's comedy about a nonentity mistaken for a government official. In addition, Hampstead Theatre had a big success with Denis Kelly's Osama the Hero, in which a schoolboy tries to understand what makes Osama bin Laden tick. Tom Brooke, a brilliant new young actor, played the boy and scored again later in the year at the Edinburgh Festival in another impressive Kelly play, After the End, set in an underground bunker after a catastrophe of some kind at ground level.

 As an antidote to all this edginess, the new musical Billy Elliot was greeted with relief and acclaim, one critic even suggesting that it was the best new British musical since Oliver! Billy Elliot was a huge popular success, even if one felt that the score by Elton John was way below his best and Stephen Daldry's direction was surprisingly flat-footed. The story of a boy escaping from a grim industrial background—meticulously evoked in the miners' strike of 1984—in dance classes and artistic endeavours seemed to pack more of a punch in the theatre than it did in the 2000 film.

      Ewan McGregor returned to the stage as Sky Masterson in the 1950 classic musical Guys and Dolls, directed by Michael Grandage against a bare black brick wall that evoked the Donmar Warehouse space (the Donmar Warehouse production company was co-producer with Howard Panter's Ambassador Theatre Group and Clear Channel Entertainment). McGregor's insinuating charm almost made up for his weak vocal chords. There were standout performances by Jenna Russell as Sarah Brown, Douglas Hodge as a flustered, emotionally chaotic Nathan Detroit, and, especially, Jane Krakowski as a downright sexy Miss Adelaide, leading the Hot Box girls in a vaudeville striptease (minxes with minks).

      A third big musical, The Big Life, transferred from the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, and fared equally well with the critics but not with the public. It closed after a few months. This was a free-and-easy update on Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, focusing on the first wave of black immigrants to Britain after World War II. The musical numbers—ska, tap, and blues—were performed with relish, but the show was loose at the seams and finally fell apart as a trite, good-natured revue.

      Admirable star turns in the West End came from Friends television favourite David Schwimmer, relaxed and rakish in Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s); Sir Tom Courtenay as a befuddled Anglo-Irish landowner in Brian Friel's glorious Chekhovian The Home Place at the Comedy Theatre (Adrian Noble's production was first seen at the Gate in Dublin); and two Hollywood B-listers, Val Kilmer and Rob Lowe, in plays better known as film titles, The Postman Always Rings Twice and A Few Good Men, respectively.

      More adventurous, perhaps, were a pair of postwar signature classics, John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's 1958 Epitaph for George Dillon and Simon Gray's 1975 Otherwise Engaged, which attracted, respectively, Joseph Fiennes and Richard E. Grant into meaty roles first undertaken by Robert Stephens and Alan Bates. There were also rewarding revivals of Harold Pinter's 1958 debut play, The Birthday Party, with Eileen Atkins and Henry Goodman offering definitive new readings of Meg and Goldberg; Terence Rattigan's 1963 Man and Boy, with David Suchet wrestling the ghost of Laurence Olivier to the ground as a wheeler-dealer con man; and Bill MacIlwraith's 1966 The Anniversary, with Sheila Hancock blazingly funny as a monstrous mother-in-law from hell.

      It was hard to deny Beale his accolades as “actor of the year,” especially after three more sensationally intelligent and captivating performances: his Cassius was flanked by a surprisingly imaginative and compelling Macbeth at the Almeida Theatre (Emma Fielding was his porcelain-featured troubled Lady) and a predictably brilliant and tentative academic in David Grindley's fine revival of Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Donmar.

      A new fringe venue, the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, had an impressive season of plays by Philip Ridley and David Greig and also gave a British premiere of Jonathan Larson's posthumous Tick, Tick…Boom!, written before Rent and poignant as both prelude and postscript.

      The Young Vic, peripatetic while its premises were being rebuilt, co-presented at the Wyndhams Theatre in the West End a David Lan production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, with Helen McCrory as a delightful Rosalind and Sienna Miller as a feisty Celia. Miller attracted unjust scorn for her performance, undoubtedly as a punishment for conducting a well-publicized on-off romantic relationship with Jude Law.

      Other West End incursions were made by the Donmar, with a scintillating production by Phyllida Lloyd of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, starring Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer, and the Almeida, with Richard Eyre's incandescent revival—in his own translation—of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, starring Eve Best, another brilliant actress entering her peak period.

       Kevin Spacey weathered the storm of critical disapproval at the Old Vic to give a blistering performance in Dennis McIntyre's National Anthems; Spacey had also performed in the play's 1988 American premiere. He then eased into the Cary Grant role in The Philadelphia Story (minus six weeks in Hollywood to shoot the film Superman Returns) before diving into rehearsals for Richard II in an Armani-suited production by Sir Trevor Nunn. Spacey remained bullish about his artistic directorship, saying his job at the Old Vic would take him 10 years, with a few breaks for filming. He was determined to win a new audience and face down his critics.

      There was no such problem for Nicholas Hytner, artistic director at the National Theatre, which had another hugely successful year of full houses and well-reviewed work. The History Boys, the hit play by Alan Bennett (Bennett, Alan ) (see Biographies), won several awards early in the year and continued to do sellout business until a new cast embarked on a national tour in the fall. The play, with some of the original cast restored, returned to the South Bank in December. An international tour was planned prior to the Broadway opening in April 2006. Michael Gambon's Falstaff in Hytner's panoramic revival of Shakespeare's great historical diptych, Henry IV, Parts One and Two, was inevitably admired; even when he blurred his lines, Gambon just was Falstaff, and there was an incisive and acidulous old Justice Shallow from John Wood for him to bounce off in the great recruitment scenes in the Gloucestershire orchard. The most eagerly anticipated new plays at the National were film director Mike Leigh's first stage work in more than a decade, Two Thousand Years, an elegiac inquiry into the meaning of Jewishness in a suburban north London family, and David Edgar's Playing with Fire, an ambitious, argumentative take on the recent racist riots in northern British towns.

      The Royal Shakespeare Company announced a collaboration with Sir Cameron Mackintosh in his West End theatres. The Strand was to be renovated and renamed the Novello (composer Ivor Novello formerly kept an apartment in the building) and would be a new winter home for the RSC's summer Shakespeare comedies in Stratford-upon-Avon. The RSC was settling down nicely under Michael Boyd, and a Gunpowder Plot season of rare Elizabethan and Jacobean plays at the Swan in Stratford (including Shakespeare's “banned play” Thomas More and Ben Jonson's superb political thriller Sejanus: His Fall) was also destined for the capital at year's end, in the reconfigured Trafalgar Studios, formerly the Whitehall Theatre.

      After months of speculation in the press, Andrew Lloyd Webber (Lord Lloyd-Webber) finally sold off four of his London theatres—the Apollo, the Garrick, the Duchess, and the Lyric—in an £11.5 million (about $20 million) deal with a newly formed alliance of Nica Burns (formerly Lloyd Webber's production director at the Really Useful Group) and Broadway producer and oil millionaire Max Weitzenhoffer.

      Dan Crawford, American fringe impresario and founder-director of the King's Head in Islington, died shortly before the opening of his last presentation, Who's the Daddy? His smash hit was a curiously bumptious, crude, and naive farce about sex scandals at a weekly magazine, The Spectator, that involved former home secretary David Blunkett; the magazine's proprietor, Kimberly Quinn; the magazine's editor, MP Boris Johnson; various columnists; and a Chilean chef. The characters were all named in the play and impersonated with varying degrees of accuracy and competence, but the script was dross. The authors, Toby Young and Lloyd Evans, doubled as joint theatre critics for The Spectator, which made the whole event even more bizarre.

      Though Ray Cooney usually excelled at farce, his latest, Tom, Dick & Harry—coauthored with his son Michael, a Hollywood screenwriter—was a gruesome misfire owing to the use of body parts in plastic bags as key properties in the escalating mayhem. In addition, Cooney's direction was far too frantic to be funny, and the only point of interest was that three acting McGann brothers—Joe, Stephen, and Mark—played the three brothers named in the title.

      In other news, actor Samuel West (son of Timothy West and Prunella Scales) succeeded Michael Grandage as director of the Sheffield Crucible and began by appearing as Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The Chichester Festival Theatre directorate of Martin Duncan, Ruth Mackenzie, and Steven Pimlott resigned after three eventful years. The summer's highlights included a fizzing primary-coloured revival by Duncan of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and David Warner as a tear-jerking King Lear.

 Farther along the south coast, the Brighton Festival's centrepiece was the visit of the Maly Theatre of St. Petersburg in Lev Dodin's incomparable production of Uncle Vanya (which also visited the Barbican). Sir Peter Hall's third annual season at Bath featured his 50th-anniversary production of Waiting for Godot.

      The Edinburgh Festival presented the complete cycle of six plays by J.M. Synge, including his masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World, and his last, the mythical tragedy Deirdre of the Sorrows. Garry Hynes's superb Druid Theatre Company, based in Galway, Ire., revealed Synge to be a harsher, more death-fixated playwright than was commonly supposed.

      At the Abbey in Dublin, artistic director Ben Barnes resigned amid revelations of financial chaos and accusations of mismanagement. Instead of basking in the afterglow of its 2004 centenary year, the Abbey was struggling for survival, solvency, and artistic credibility. The Abbey was due to move to a new home—yet to be built—in five years' time, and incoming artistic director Fiach MacConghail promised that his theatre would still be worth celebrating in another 100 years. Meanwhile, Druid had resoundingly stolen the Abbey's thunder with its Synge cycle and growing international reputation, and around the corner from the Abbey, the Gate Theatre under Michael Colgan continued to thrive on a diet of old and new classics.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      A whirlwind of leadership changes made an impact on major American regional theatres in 2005, altering established patterns of new-play development and raising fieldwide questions about strategies for cultural inclusion and audience diversification. Among the companies taken over by new artistic directors were New York City's high-profile Public Theater, famously founded and nurtured by Joseph Papp and overseen in recent seasons by the redoubtable George C. Wolfe; Los Angeles's powerful, hydra-headed Center Theater Group (CTG), which had been steered for nearly four decades by the liberal/activist vision of director Gordon Davidson; and the flagship arts institution of Colorado, the well-appointed Denver Center Theatre Company, which had been the fiefdom for 21 years of its company-minded artistic director, Donovan Marley.

      Younger artists with sterling producing credits assumed the helm at all three companies. Moving into what was perhaps the toughest act to follow—Wolfe's 12-year stint at the Public, which generated Pulitzer- and Tony-winning plays (Topdog/Underdog, Angels in America) and commercial hits (Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk) as well as a few misfires (The Wild Party)—was Oskar Eustis, 46, a sharp administrator and champion of new writers who had previously headed Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I., and San Francisco's Eureka Theatre. Surrounding himself with youthful talent, Eustis set a progressive tone at the Public and was expected to build upon Wolfe's legacy of artistic diversity.

      A bluster of controversy accompanied the appointment in January of Michael Ritchie, former artistic head of Massachusetts's actor-centred Williamstown Theatre Festival, to the top job at CTG. In marked contrast to Eustis's approach, Ritchie, 48, declared that “attention has to go to production,” not readings and workshops. He immediately jettisoned several new-play-development programs that had become a staple of CTG's Mark Taper Forum, including the African American, Asian American, and Latino play labs that had been in place since the early 1990s and another that had been supporting disabled writers since 1982. The loss of these resources for developing and minority writers prompted heated criticism from the expected quarters and was likely to lead to seismic shifts in writer-support programs nationwide.

      Becoming only the third artistic director in the Denver Center's 26-year history, Kent Thompson, 51, moved west from a highly successful tenure at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. A Shakespeare specialist as well as a fan of new plays, Thompson affirmed that he would retain Denver's resident acting company—one of only a handful in the U.S.—and would rev up rather than reduce the company's assets for new and underrepresented voices.

      If 2005 was any indication, fresh theatrical voices would continue to emerge across the country no matter how the argument over play development shook out. Among the provocative new works making their debuts during the year were Noah Haidle's Mr. Marmalade, which mounted an oblique but sharp-toothed critique of trashy American culture by entering the vivid imagination of an abused four-year-old girl (played, at New York's Roundabout Theatre Company, by the adult actress Mamie Gummer, a daughter of Meryl Streep); Adam Rapp's Red Light Winter, an edgy, nudity-heavy drama about college buddies who become involved with a prostitute in Amsterdam, which earned kudos at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company; and Thom Pain (based on nothing), Will Eno's existential monologue that became an unexpected Off-Broadway hit and prompted the New York Times to dub the young playwright a “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” Two new plays by the inimitably negative Neil LaBute appeared: Fat Pig, at Manhattan's MCC Theater, in which a man who sees beyond his overweight girlfriend's girth to discover the beautiful person underneath is unable to survive social pressures to dump her; and This Is How It Goes, a twisty, acidic love triangle that brought film stars Ben Stiller, Amanda Peet, and Jeffrey Wright together for a glitzy run at the Public. At California's Berkeley Repertory Theatre, a docudrama, The People's Temple, penned by director Leigh Fondakowski and several colleagues, movingly revisited the 1978 mass suicide of 913 American religious cult members in the Guyana jungle.

 The most significant theatrical event of the year was likely the masterful Lincoln Center Theater production of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas's unusual musical drama The Light in the Piazza, a show that had been seen to lesser advantage in 2004 in Seattle and Chicago. Based on Elizabeth Spencer's 1960 novella (which also became a sentimental Olivia de Havilland film) about a protective American mother and her mentally challenged daughter on a life-changing excursion in Italy, the musical marked the mainstream emergence of composer Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers, and also brought its first-rate director, Seattle-based Bartlett Sher, to national prominence. Piazza swept most of the musical categories in the 59th annual Tony Awards in June (except for the top trophy, best musical, which went to the jokey pastiche Monty Python's Spamalot, and the musical-directing prize, which went to that show's Mike Nichols), and captured similar accolades for Guettel, its lead actress Victoria Clark, and its impeccable design team from the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, and other quarters. The year's other big Tony winners were John Patrick Shanley's carefully crafted religious drama Doubt; former clown Bill Irwin, who defied expectation as a compellingly cerebral George in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; and Albee, who won a lifetime achievement award. His once-controversial plays such as Woolf and Seascape had proved to be big 2004 attractions for Broadway's middlebrow throngs.

      Also on Broadway, television mogul Oprah Winfrey made her theatrical producing debut by signing on as one of 16 individuals and organizations underwriting a $10-million-plus musicalization of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. The show's critical reception was less than enthusiastic, as was the response to a pair of miscast Tennessee Williams dramas—Edward Hall's staging of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which John C. Reilly failed to ignite Stanley Kowalski's fuse, and David Leveaux's rendition of The Glass Menagerie, in which Jessica Lange (Lange, Jessica ) (see Biographies) struggled in vain to be frumpish and overbearing as Amanda Wingfield.

      Headlines were made in Canadian theatre circles when The Lord of the Rings, a multimillion-dollar musical stage version of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, began rehearsals at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theater. Featuring a 65-member Canadian cast and sets described by Variety as “three interconnected turntables containing 16 elevators,” the production was scheduled to open officially in February 2006 and clearly had its hobbit-hat cocked for eventual engagements in London's West End and on Broadway. British director Matthew Warchus, who supervised the production, immodestly described the undertaking as “a hybrid of text, physical theatre, music and spectacle never previously seen on this scale.”

      A less-publicized but nevertheless significant landmark was the retirement of veteran Stratford Festival of Canada actor William Hutt, who had led Shakespearean casts at the classical theatre centre for nearly four decades. Hutt, 85, capped off his career by playing Prospero in The Tempest for the fourth and last time, to reverential notices, and Stratford's artistic director, Richard Monette, praised him as “arguably the greatest Shakespearean actor alive.”

      Theatre figures who passed away in 2005 included actor and activist Ossie Davis (Davis, Ossie ); legendary American playwright Arthur Miller (Miller, Arthur Asher ); Tom Patterson (Patterson, Tom ), founder of the Stratford Festival of Canada; and August Wilson (Wilson, August ), who completed Radio Golf, the final drama in his epic 10-play series chronicling African American life in the 20th century, before he succumbed to cancer in October. (See Obituaries.) Other losses included longtime New York Times theatre critic Mel Gussow and T. Edward Hambleton, a theatrical producer and a cofounder of the Phoenix Theater.

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
      The world box office was again dominated by Hollywood's magic-themed epics for the juvenile audience. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell, director) carried Harry and his budding wizard friends into their teen years. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson), an adaptation of the first in C.S. Lewis's series of children's books, was Disney's answer to The Lord of the Rings. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton), the second screen version of Roald Dahl's fantasy, centred on the androgynous performance of Johnny Depp (Depp, Johnny ) (see Biographies) as Willy Wonka, the factory owner. Burton was also co-director, with Mike Johnson, of the macabre animated musical Corpse Bride, set in the Victorian era and rather less suited to a very young audience. An uncompromisingly British work, Nick Park and Steve Box's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit—the first venture of the animated clay man and his dog into feature-length film—also enjoyed major box-office success. The year ended with the runaway triumph of Peter Jackson's high-budget but honourable remake of the 1933 classic King Kong, enriching the original characters and their backgrounds and using new digital techniques to create a monster as totally characterful as the original.

      The year was marked by a rise of politically themed fiction films. The Constant Gardener, directed by Fernando Meirelles, was an effective adaptation, if more hectically paced than the original, of John le Carré's political thriller about the efforts of a man to investigate the death of his wife and expose the international effects of corporate and political corruption. Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter—the first film to have scenes shot in the United Nations building—fictitiously linked U.S. policies with oppression in a far-off African state. Stephen Gaghan's Syriana explored the political, corporate, and intelligence-service machinations involved in the oil business of the Middle East. Richard Curtis's script for David Yates's made-for-TV romantic comedy The Girl in the Café interpolated protest against the Group of Eight's insufficient concern for Third World distress. Lord of War (Andrew Niccol) was a bold attempt to turn the evils of the arms trade into black comedy. Thank You for Smoking (Jason Reitman) used its portrait of a persuasive and conscienceless spokesman for the tobacco industry as sharp satire on the morality and rhetoric of George W. Bush's America. Historical events were recalled in Sam Mendes' Jarhead, which depicted a group of U.S. Marines chafing for action in the First Persian Gulf War, and in Steven Spielberg's Munich, a rather undeveloped reflection on the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and the subsequent attempts at retaliation. Spielberg also directed an update of H.G. Wells's 1898 novel War of the Worlds, depicting with startling realism the terror of an interplanetary invasion.

      This was a fruitful year for film biographies, one of the best being Bennett Miller's Capote, a perceptive portrait of Truman Capote (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) at the time of his coverage of the Kansas killings that inspired the nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. In George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, David Strathairn played commentator Edward R. Murrow courageously defying McCarthyist hysteria. Ron Howard's Cinderella Man was a profound and feeling account of the boxer James J. Braddock and his changing fortunes in the hard world of the Great Depression. Coach Carter (directed by Thomas Carter) was the true story of an inspirational school basketball coach who was no less concerned with the academic development of his students than with their athletic prowess. Tony Scott's Domino chronicled the troubled daughter of the actor Laurence Harvey.

      The erratic lives of pop musicians inspired Irish director Jim Sheridan's Get Rich or Die Tryin', based on the career of rap megastar and small-time gangster Curtis (“50 Cent”) Jackson; James Mangold's Walk the Line, with Joaquin Phoenix playing Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter; and Gus Van Sant's oddly disconnected presentation of the end of a self-destructive rock idol, transparently based on Kurt Cobain, in Last Days. A host of remakes indicated nostalgia for the 1960s and '70s, among them Yours, Mine and Ours (Raja Gosnell, director), from the 1968 comedy with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball; The Longest Yard (Peter Segal), from Robert Aldrich's 1974 story of a crucial football match in a prison; Bad News Bears (Richard Linklater), from the 1976 comedy; Assault on Precinct 13 (Jean-François Richet), from John Carpenter's 1976 thriller; Fun with Dick and Jane (Dean Parisot), an update of the 1977 comedy with Jane Fonda; and The Fog (Rupert Wainwright) from Carpenter's 1980 horror film. Mel Brooks's 1968 comedy The Producers returned to the screen via its Broadway musical reincarnation, this time directed by Susan Stroman.

      Costume films were few, the most notable being Martin Campbell's The Legend of Zorro, a sequel to 1998's The Mask of Zorro, with Antonio Banderas in the title role; Casanova, glamorously and wittily filmed in Venice by Swedish director Lasse Hallström with the Australian Heath Ledger in the leading role; and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, a spectacular epic that viewed the Crusades with greater respect for the Muslim world than earlier attempts had done.

      An outstanding critical success of the year and winner of the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain was the story of two Western sheepherders who develop a barely understood and troubling mutual love that is not ended with years of separation and heterosexual lives. Other films that made an impact at international festivals were Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha, adapted from Arthur Golden's best seller and starring the luminous Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (see Biographies), and Jim Jarmusch's lively and quirky Broken Flowers, with a poker-faced Bill Murray encountering a series of former flames in his search for the son he might or might not have fathered. David Cronenberg's A History of Violence was a thriller that gradually stripped the externals of an apparently normal citizen, husband, and father. Tommy Lee Jones's debut as a feature director, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, was the unrelenting story of an old ranch foreman who painstakingly avenges the killing of his friend, a Mexican “illegal,” by a stupid young border patrolman. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the directorial debut of writer Shane Black, was a quirky and well-sustained comedy thriller.

      A few directors found fresh themes. Susan Seidelman's The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club was about elderly Florida residents coping with death and solitude. Exist (Esther Bell; 2004) was a powerful improvisational drama about the relationships and fates of a group of Philadelphia activist squatters—an area of society rarely seen in American cinema. Caveh Zahedi's I Am a Sex Addict, deceptive in its careful structure, was a humorously self-deprecating autobiography of a man constantly undone by his excessive sexual needs.

      Noteworthy among independent films of the year were Craig Brewer's Hustle & Flow, about a black man from a bad area of Memphis fired with determination to fulfill his aspirations as a rapper; Mike Mills's Thumbsucker, a finely acted portrait of the people around a maladjusted teenager; and Jim McKay's Angel, an uncompromisingly truthful account of the relationship between a social welfare counselor and a deeply troubled youngster.

British Isles.
      The most prominent British films of 2005 were heterogeneous. Woody Allen chose to make a British variant of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy (unacknowledged) in Match Point. Michael Caton-Jones's Shooting Dogs was a deeply felt impression of the Rwandan genocide tragedy seen through the eyes of two Europeans. Stephen Frears's Mrs. Henderson Presents was slight but engaging, the true story of a rich widow who created the Windmill nudie shows as a lucrative hobby. Lexi Alexander's Hooligans took an unsparing look at the gang culture of English football hooliganism. Actor Richard E. Grant's directorial debut, Wah-Wah, was a partly autobiographical story of a boy growing up in the narrow and overheated white colonial society of the last days of British Africa. The White Countess—the final Merchant Ivory production (Ismail Merchant (Merchant, Ismail ) died before its release—see Obituaries)—was directed by Ivory from a script by Kazuo Ishiguro about the liaison of a blind American and a White Russian noblewoman who is reduced to poverty and prostitution after the 1917 Revolution.

      The British predilection for literary adaptation was vindicated by Joe Wright's bright, original, and thoughtful rendering of Pride & Prejudice. Michael Hardy's script for Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story ingeniously made Laurence Sterne's unmanageable digressive novel a film within a film, with the actors moving in and out of their contemporary and 18th-century roles.

      The best comedy productions were Brian W. Cook's Colour Me Kubrick, the true story of a con man who masqueraded as director Stanley Kubrick in the 1990s, and Julian Jarrold's Kinky Boots, a characteristic English realist–outrageous situation comedy about a shoe factory that is saved when it launches a line of kinky boots for transvestites. Nanny McPhee, directed by Kirk Jones, was scripted by Emma Thompson, who also played the main role of a magical nanny who tames a large rambunctious family.

      Some excellent work came from low-budget independent production, including Kolton Lee's Cherps, a black Alfie for 21st-century Britain, and Jason Ford's New Town Original, which took a fresh and lively view of the life of a young office worker.

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
      Canadian director Atom Egoyan followed a disappointing melodrama, Where the Truth Lies, with his production of Ruba Nadda's Sabah (also called Coldwater), a more rewarding story of a Syrian Canadian woman invigilated by her strict Muslim family but defiantly in love with a Canadian carpenter. One of the most ambitious recent Canadian productions, Jean Beaudin's Nouvelle-France (2004), was a historical melodrama set at the time that France lost Canada to Great Britain. Claude Gagnon's Kamataki was a subtle character drama about a troubled young man who finds calm and maturity working in a Japanese pottery. Jeremy Peter Allen's Manners of Dying (2004) imagined different variations of the reactions of a man suffering his final hours and minutes of awaiting execution. After long production difficulties Toronto-based Deepa Mehta completed the third film in her trilogy (after Fire [1996] and Earth [1998]); Water was a forceful and moving exposé of the plight of widows ostracized by strict Hindu observance.

      The most notable Australian production of the year was the former animator Sarah Watt's Look Both Ways, a well-observed and well-structured study of a group of characters all confronted by sudden catastrophe. In New Zealand, Roger Donaldson directed The World's Fastest Indian, based on the true story of Burt Munro (played by Anthony Hopkins), who at age 72 set out to break the world's motorcycle record—an undertaking that Donaldson chronicled in a 1972 documentary.

Western Europe.
      It cannot be said to have been a brilliant year for European cinema. Horizons seemed to have shrunk: filmmakers generally concentrated on personal issues—breakup of marriages and families, relations of parents and children, problems of love and friendship, the need to cope with the shocks of death, suicide, birth, infidelity, divorce, and bereavement. Not surprisingly, a recurrent theme was the shock when children bring home what are considered ethnically unsuitable boyfriends or girlfriends.

       French films with international appeal were led by Michael Haneke's Caché, (a co-production between France, Austria, Germany, and Italy) a finely paced open-ended thriller, with the implicit theme of the fear the “haves” feel toward the “have-nots.” La Moustache (Emmanuel Carrère, director) offered a disturbing fable about human relations, centred on the phenomenon that even those closest to him do not notice when the protagonist shaves off his moustache. Christian Carion's subtle and delicate Joyeux Noël (co-produced by France, Germany, the U.K., Belgium, and Romania) presented an ideal subject for such pan-European production, the legendary Christmas truce on the front line in 1914. In Gabrielle, Patrice Chéreau adapted a short novella by Joseph Conrad about the breakup of a marriage, set in the Belle Epoque and employing intriguing stylized staging.

      A few filmmakers looked at the urgent issues of mixed ethnic communities in poor-grade housing; examples were Pierre Jolivet's Zim and Co. and Malik Chibane's Voisins, voisines. Other exceptional productions of the year were Le Promeneur du champ de Mars, Robert Guédiguian's portrait of former president François Mitterrand reflected through a young journalist's collaborating on his memoirs; Richard Dembo's posthumous La Maison de Nina, a moving description—rooted in autobiographical reminiscence—of life in orphanages for Jewish children set up in France after the Holocaust; and Antoine Santana's La Ravisseuse, with its unprecedented subject—the relations of a young couple of 1877 and their peasant wet nurse. L'Enfant, a Belgian film directed by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes (Dardenne, Jean-Pierre and Luc ) (see Biographies), the story of a feckless young couple thrown into crisis by the arrival of a child, deservedly won the Cannes Festival Palme d'Or.

      Among the best Italian films were Alessandro d'Alatri's La febbre, an involved and passionate film study of a very ordinary young man whose dreams are progressively crushed by his killing civil-service job. Gianpaolo Tescari's Gli occhi dell'altro offered a subtly constructed study of prejudice through the irrational suspicions that fester in the mind of a politically correct man who with his girlfriend has aided a young Kurdish emigré. Roberto Faenza's Alla luce del sole told the story of Don Pino Puglisi, a priest who was killed for his fight against violence in Palermo. Alberto Negrin's Perlasca: un eroe italiano (2002, TV) dramatized the story of Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian version of Oskar Schindler. Marco Tullio Giordana's Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti was a brave essay on the issues of illegal immigration, motivated by an accidental encounter between the son of a rich family and intriguing young “illegals.”

      Marc Rothemund's Sophie Scholl—die letzten Tage was the third film about the fate of Germany's most celebrated anti-Nazi heroine, who was beheaded in 1943 for distributing literature advocating the ending of the war. This version earned a number of international prizes, notably for the leading actress, Julia Jentsch. Other outstanding German productions were Werner Herzog's ironic science-fiction fantasy ingeniously spun out of actuality and staged material, The Wild Blue Yonder, and Yilmaz Arslan's Brudermord, a tragic account of the struggle of young Kurdish émigrés in contemporary Germany.

      In Denmark, Lars von Trier, founder of the Dogme movement, completed Manderlay, a new lesson in American history to follow Dogville (2003). Still in the 1930s, Grace (played in the first film by Nicole Kidman but here by Bryce Dallas Howard) arrives at an old plantation where slavery still survives. Her efforts to bring democracy to the place meet with very dubious success. Another script by von Trier, Dear Wendy, about footloose youngsters fascinated by firearms, was directed by Thomas Vinterberg.

      Among Spain's flourishing production of genre films, idiosyncratic exceptions were Carlos Saura's musical composition Iberia, a follow-up to his earlier Flamenco, in this instance derived from Isaac Albéniz's Iberia suite; and Fernando León de Aranoa's Princesas, a socially committed and generous study of the life of prostitutes.

      In Portugal the 97-year-old Manoel de Oliveira, the oldest continuously active filmmaker in history, made O espelho mágico, a mysterious movie about time and memory, through the story (based on the novel The Soul of the Rich by Agustina Bessa Luís) of a religion-obsessed woman befriended by a dubious young man. In Alice, Marco Martins, a disciple of Oliveira, offered an involving study of the obsessive daily routines of a man searching for his lost young daughter.

      In The Netherlands, 06/05 (2004), the last film made by Theo van Gogh before he was assassinated, was a fierce political speculation that the murder of politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 was masterminded by American business interests.

Eastern Europe.
      The production of the former communist countries was largely dedicated to readily marketable genre pictures—thrillers and situation or character comedies, but original works continued to surface. In Russia, with Solntse (“The Sun”) Aleksandr Sokurov completed the third part of his tetralogy of portraits of dictators (the first were about V.I. Lenin and Adolf Hitler) with a keen and often sardonically humorous picture of the last days of the reign of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Other films worth note were Valery Akhadov's Parnikovy effekt (“The Greenhouse Effect”), a finely detailed portrayal of the friendship of a 12-year-old homeless Muscovite and a pregnant teenager, and Pavel Lungin's (Bedniye rodstvenniki) (“Poor Relations”), a fierce black comedy about a con man who specializes in providing supposed long unseen or unknown relatives for foreign tourists.

      In Poland veteran Krzysztof Zanussi returned in top form with Persona non grata, a study of the complex world of career diplomats—in this case aging men with aching memories of Cold War years, politics, and personal lives. Among the best of a cycle of Czech films about ordinary lives was Martin Šulík's Sluneční stát (“The City of the Sun”), relating the misadventures of four unemployed friends, and Petr Zelenka's Příběhy obyčejného šílenství (“Wrong Side Up”), from his own play about the sexual and social adventures of a deadpan airport worker. An outstanding work from Romania—and an international prizewinner—Cristi Puiu's Moartea domnului Lazarescu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) was a remarkably compelling account of an old alcoholic's efforts to find medical treatment in uncaring and inhuman public hospital facilities.

       Hungary's major production of the year was Sorstalanság (Fateless), directed by the distinguished cinematographer Lajos Koltai, a calm yet harrowing account of a young Jewish boy's Holocaust experiences based on the autobiographical novel of Imre Kertész. Roland Vranik's Fekete kefe (“Black Brush”) was an engaging offbeat comedy about four incompetent chimney sweeps in search of money. Péter Gárdos's A porcelánbaba (“The Porcelain Doll”) related three stories that interwove the naturalistic, magical, and political and were acted by authentic village people.

Latin America.
      Tristán Bauer's Iluminados por el fuego was the first Argentine film to deal with the 23-year trauma of the Falklands Islands War. Costa Rica's first feature production, Caribe (2004), directed by Esteban Ramírez, set a very personal story against the threat of globalization, destroying the natural amenities of the land. A noteworthy film from Brazil's prolific production, Cláudio Torres' dark comedy Redentor (2004), told of the conflict of two one-time childhood playmates, one rich and corrupt, the other poor and decent. Andrucha Waddington's Casa de areia related the lives of three generations of women living in remote sand dunes in Brazil's northern Maranhão state between 1910 and 1969.

Middle East.
      Veteran filmmaker Yavuz Turgul's Gönül yarası (“Lovelorn”) was the portrait of a retiree who returns to Istanbul from teaching in a poor village and finds disillusionment on all sides. Paradise Now, directed by Dutch Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad, though perhaps somewhat compromised by the number of its national partners ( Israel, The Netherlands, Germany, and France), remained an intelligent and sensitive study of two young men's preparation for a suicide bombing mission to Tel Aviv. From Palestine (co-produced with France), Rashid Masharawi's Attente was a road movie in which a theatre director travels from Gaza to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, visiting refugee camps and ostensibly auditioning actors for a Palestinian national theatre.

       Iran continued its production of polished, intelligent, and often surprisingly outspoken films dealing with contemporary life and people. Kianoush Ayari's Wake up, Arezu! was a drama centred on the 2003 earthquake that destroyed the ancient city of Bam. Hamid Ramanian's Dame sobh (“Daybreak”) was a harrowing study of a murderer awaiting the death penalty, which is by Islamic law the personal responsibility of the injured family. Directed by Rakhshan Bani Etemad and Mohsen Abtolvahab, Gilaneh related the human tragedies of the Iran-Iraq War and the subsequent Iraq catastrophe through the experiences of a simple countrywoman. Bizhan Mir Baqeri's Ma hameh khoubim (“We Are All Fine”) was a delicate and feeling study of a family left behind when a key member migrates to Western Europe and is absorbed by the life there.

       Bollywood continued to extend its range in search of international markets. The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (Ketan Mehta, director) was an effective costume spectacle, relating the story of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Paheli (Amol Palekar) was an equally lively historical picture from a classic tale by the writer Vijaydan Detha. Black (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) treated the theme of The Miracle Worker, with superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the role of a tired and bibulous teacher who transforms a blind and deaf girl's life. Less successful was the glossy Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story (Akbar Khan), reputedly India's most costly film ever and timed to coincide roughly with the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal.

East and Southeast Asia.
      With Haru no yuki (“Spring Snow”), Japan's Isao Yukisada made a handsome adaptation of Yukio Mishima's tale of a love affair in the Taisho era, 1912–26. In China, Zhang Yimou returned to an intimate, contemporary theme with Qian li zou dan ji (“Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles”), the strange odyssey of a Japanese man who sets out to fulfill his dying son's frustrated ambition to record a great Chinese singer performing the song of the title. The distinguished cinematographer Gu Changwei made his directorial debut with Kong que (“Peacock”), a probing and observant picture of an urban working-class family in the years of transition from 1977 to 1984. In Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times), Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien told three love stories with the same pair of actors in three different historical periods (1911, done as a silent film, 1966, and 2000).

       South Korea offered a number of exceptional productions. Im Sang Soo's Geuddae geusaramdeul (“The President's Last Bang”) offered the region's first true political satire by restaging the 1979 assassination of Pres. Park Chung Hee. Welcome to Dongmakgol, directed by Park Kwang Hyeon, was a curious comedy fable about groups of soldiers from the North and South, together with an American, stranded together in a remote village during the Korean War. In Yoon Jong Bin's Yongseobadji mothanja (The Unforgiven), two young soldiers meet after their period of service to find their roles of protector and protected reversed. Kim Ki Deok's Hwal (“The Bow”) offered a strange, graceful, and occasionally violent fable about an elderly man who has brought up a child on his boat, intending her as his eventual bride.

       Malaysian filmmakers were inclined to deal with pressing contemporary issues. Deepak Kumaran Menon's Chemman chaalai (“The Gravel Road”), Malaysia's first production shot in Tamil (and as such ineligible for official funding), provided a gentle and often humorous picture of life on a rubber plantation. Ming Jin Woo's Lampu merah mati (Monday Morning Glory) was a story of official manipulation of a terror incident for political expediency.

      Two contrasting films from Africa attracted international attention. From South Africa, Mark Dornford-May's U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha exuberantly transposed Bizet's Carmen into the Xhosa language and contemporary Africa. From Burkino Faso, S. Pierre Yaméogo's Delwende, partly filmed in Ouagadougou shelters for women accused of witchcraft, offered a fierce attack on the brutalities of superstition.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films.
      To some extent films about animals dominated nontheatrical releases in 2005. The most widely distributed was French director Luc Jacquet's beautifully photographed March of the Penguins, which documented the life cycle of penguins and their struggle for survival in the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Being Caribou sought to bring attention to the plight of animals should drilling be allowed in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The film followed a Canadian wildlife biologist and his filmmaker wife on a 1,500-km (930-mi) round-trip journey by foot from the Yukon Territory to the calving grounds of the caribou on the northern coast of Alaska. Directed by Leanne Allison and Diana Wilson, the film earned numerous festival awards and screenings. In Grizzly Man accomplished German director Werner Herzog told the harrowing story of one man's ill-fated obsession with grizzly bears. The film won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

      Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski's Born into Brothels won the Academy Award and the International Documentary Association Award for feature documentaries. Their film told the story of the children of prostitutes in Kolkata (Calcutta) and portrayed the challenges they faced. Marilyn Agrelo's Mad Hot Ballroom followed inner-city youth as they trained for a New York City-area competition in ballroom dancing. This exuberant, inspiring film illustrated how children could increase their pride and self-esteem through engaging in an unlikely pursuit.

Ben Levin

▪ 2005



Classical Music.
      One of the hallmarks of Western classical music is its sheer resilience, its ability to renew and refresh itself as an art form even as its core repertoire continues to speak—over years, decades, and centuries—to the soul and intellect of humankind. This resilience is manifest in many ways, many of which were illustrated in the year 2004 in classical music.

      In the spring, while scholars were preparing the art exhibit Botticelli and Filippino: Grace and Passion in 15th Century Florentine Painting in Florence, a music specialist from the University of Toronto noticed that the notes on a scroll in Filippino Lippi's painting Madonna and Child with Singing Angels corresponded to an actual Renaissance song. When that song was transcribed and performed at Florence's Palazzo Strozzi at the start of the exhibit, it marked the first time that “Fortuna desperata” had been heard in 500 years. In January, Ottorino Respighi's opera Marie Victoire, which was written before World War I, received its world premiere at the Rome Opera House. When it was presented in October in Essen, Ger., Felix Mendelssohn's comic opera The Uncle from Boston was heard for the first time since the composer created it in 1823, at age 14. A four-minute work for organ, Voluntary on Tallis's Lamentations, written by Benjamin Britten in 1940, debuted at the London Proms; and a 40-second piece by Edward Elgar, Smoking Cantata, received its world premiere in a broadcast by the BBC Radio 4 program Today. These pieces had been discovered in various European archives in recent years. Other works that had been seemingly lost to the world were similarly recovered, including a wedding cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, which had been missing for 80 years, and the manuscript of Sergey Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, which had disappeared shortly after the composer wrote it in 1908.

      Even as older pieces were being reborn, new works were being heard for the first time. Following the success of his first opera, Dead Man Walking, in 2000, composer Jake Heggie unveiled his next, The End of the Affair, at the Houston (Texas) Grand Opera in March. Other operas receiving premieres included Ishmael Wallace's The Stranger, Grigori Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank, and William Bolcom's A Wedding; the last made its debut as part of the commemorations of the 50th anniversary season of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Fittingly, given the subject, in Jon Gibson's opera Violet Fire, based on the life of magnetism-and-electricity mastermind Nikola Tesla, performers were wired with microphones, and the energy waves from their bodies were picked up and telecast onto an onstage video screen during the debut in February.

      New instrumental works were also presented for the first time, among them Elliott Carter's Dialogues (which the composer described as “a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra”), George Walker's Sinfonia No. 3, and Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Night's Black Bird. Even as these and other new works were appearing, announcements were being made about works that loomed tantalizingly on the horizon. British composer John Tavener, whose pieces traditionally drew heavily from his Russian Orthodox faith, told the media that in 2005 he would premiere a new choral work based on the 99 names for God in Islam. The first complete performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's 29-hour-long Licht operatic cycle was scheduled to be presented in 2008 in a €10 million (about $13.3 million) production.

      In a unique attempt to keep new pieces in the repertoire, conductor Sir Simon Rattle announced that he would be the patron of the Encore project, in which works that had recently received their premieres but had since gone unperformed would be revisited by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra over the next four years. Not content only to reinvigorate newer works, Rattle offered a singular slant on one of the warhorses of the classical repertoire, Igor Stravinsky's 1913 watershed work Le Sacre du printemps, by adding surrealistic visuals to his performance of the piece at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The English National Opera announced that it had commissioned the Asian Dub Foundation, a group of pop-electronica artists, to write an opera about Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, which would debut in 2006. Meanwhile, in Halberstadt, Ger., an intrepid group of musicians added two notes to their performance of John Cage's Organ2/ASLSP (ASLSP being an abbreviation of Cage's instruction that performance of the piece be “as slow as possible”), which was scheduled to continue on a semiannual basis for the next 639 years (in the performance's next installment, in March 2006, two notes were to be subtracted).

      Various musical milestones were also marked and celebrated in 2004. In March Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, arguably the most famous classical music artist of his generation, gave his final performance on the operatic stage in a production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca at New York City's Metropolitan Opera. At the end of that performance, Pavarotti's 379th with the company, the sold-out audience gave him an 11-minute standing ovation. In February the Met's general manager, Joseph Volpe, announced his retirement from the company that he had led for 40 years; his successor, record executive Peter Gelb, was named later in the year. Without relinquishing his post as the Met's music director, conductor James Levine raised his baton at a concert in October as the first U.S.-born music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. On December 7 Milan's newly renovated La Scala had a gala reopening with a production of Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta, which had not been performed since it was commissioned for the opera house's original opening in 1778.

      The London Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 100th season, while Chicago enjoyed two 100-year commemorations—of Orchestra Hall, the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and of the Ravinia Festival, for which the New York Philharmonic gave a special performance. The original members of the Guarneri String Quartet reunited for a tour that marked the ensemble's 40th anniversary. Conductor Gerard Schwarz was honoured for his 20th anniversary with the Seattle (Wash.) Symphony Orchestra, and Kent Nagano was offered accolades for his 25th year at the helm of the Berkeley (Calif.) Symphony Orchestra. Seiji Ozawa, for 29 years, until 2002, the director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, returned from his post at the Vienna State Opera to the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts to take part in a performance marking the 10th anniversary of the concert hall that was named for him. Composer Antonin Dvorak was honoured by orchestras around the world on the centenary of his death.

      One of Dvorak's contemporaries, Gustav Mahler, figured prominently in the classical music categories at the year's Grammy Awards. Recordings of his Symphony No. 3 won separate Grammys for best classical album (by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony) and best orchestral performance (by Pierre Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic). At the same ceremony, iconic American pianist Van Cliburn was honoured with an award for lifetime achievement. New Tonalist composer Paul Moravec's Tempest Fantasy—based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest—won the Pulitzer Prize for music, while film composer John Williams and diva Joan Sutherland were among the recipients of the year's Kennedy Center Honors presented by Pres. George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush at the White House in December. In October Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena was named artist of the year at the 27th annual Gramophone Awards in London. The young Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang (see Biographies (Lang Lang )) was named a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in May.

      Other milestones of a sadder sort occurred as well. The world of film and musicals lost Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith (Goldsmith, Jerry ) in July, Elmer Bernstein (Bernstein, Elmer ) and David Raksin (Raksin, David ) in August, and lyricist Fred Ebb (Ebb, Fred ) in September; among conductors, Iona Brown (Brown, Iona ) died in June, Carlos Kleiber (Kleiber, Carlos ) passed in July, and Hans Vonk (Vonk, Hans ) was taken by Lou Gehrig's disease in August; Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi (Tebaldi, Renata ) died in December; French baritone Gérard Souzay (Souzay, Gerard ) died in August, and American baritone Robert Merrill (Merrill, Robert ) succumbed in October (a loss for the world of baseball as well as opera, as Merrill sang the national anthem on opening day at Yankee Stadium every year); Indian sitar player and composer Vilayat Hussein Khan (Khan, Vilayat Hussain ) died in March; and the Israeli composer Naomi Sapir Shemer (Shemer, Naomi Sapir ), who wrote inspirational and art songs, died in June. (See Obituaries.)

      The year was not without other moments that ranged from the eccentric and frivolous to the downright comic. Bugs Bunny turned up on a video screen at a concert in August to “conduct” the Cleveland (Ohio) Orchestra in a program that included such classical favourites as What's Opera, Doc? and The Rabbit of Seville. The concert, dubbed Bugs Bunny on Broadway, drew the largest audience of the orchestra's summer season. String players of the Bonn ( Ger.) Beethoven Orchestra were not kidding, however, when they sued the orchestra in March. The musicians maintained that the string players had more notes to play than their counterparts on other instruments and that they therefore deserved a pay raise. There was, as usual, the yearly controversy at the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria. This time it involved a dispute between Christoph Schlingensief, who was directing a production of Richard Wagner's Parsifal, which was booed by the opening-night audience, and his leading tenor, Endrik Wottrich. The former charged that the latter was a racist because he allegedly objected to having black singers in the cast; Wottrich responded by calling Schlingensief a “Nazi.” Diva Elisabeth Schwarzkopf went both of them one better (or worse), however, by admitting that she had been a member of the Nazi Party during the Hitler era. In her memoirs, Les Autres Soirs, published in July, Schwarzkopf wrote that she joined the party in the 1930s as “a strictly administrative gesture.”

      A documentary that debuted in September speculated that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the legendarily foul-mouthed and uncouth musical genius, might have suffered from Tourette syndrome, an inherited neurological disorder that can cause involuntary grunting and other vocal tics as well as a compulsion to utter obscenities. Scientists in Salzburg, Austria, began the process of unearthing the bodies of Mozart's father, maternal grandmother, and niece to glean DNA samples that might prove that a skull at the city's International Mozarteum Foundation was that of the composer himself.

      Great Britain, however, was the stage for the year's most celebrated musical flap. In March world-renowned American soprano Deborah Voigt was dropped from an English National Opera production of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos because her girth was deemed too substantial to fit into one of the costumes. Wags weighed in with all manner of bad jokes, of course, but the incident also raised serious artistic questions, such as whether operatic heroines necessarily had to be fashion-model svelte.

      Their foibles notwithstanding, the music makers of 2004 outdid themselves with the music they made. The year included a wealth of recordings that brought new life to a wide range of works. Nagano led a force of 200 performers in an incisive recording of Leonard Bernstein's stylistically sprawling Mass (Harmonia Mundi), while Ozawa offered elegant readings of Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony and Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (RCA).

      Nikolaus Harnoncourt revealed new aspects of the young Mozart's budding genius in his set of the composer's Mozart: Early Symphonies (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi), and violinist Nigel Kennedy displayed his impassioned virtuosity on Vivaldi II (EMI). Two recordings released by RCA provided new insights into two of the greatest masters. A new addition to the label's reDiscovered series featured recordings that the 19-year-old Itzhak Perlman had made for his debut record in 1965. The recordings, which were shelved at the time, were finally released in 2004. They documented the intensity and abandon of the young violinist at the start of his illustrious career. The fabled voice of tenor Enrico Caruso finally received the orchestral accompaniment it was originally denied on gramophone recordings, owing to technological limitations in the early 20th century. On Caruso: amor ti vieta: Great Opera Arias, the original recordings with piano accompaniment were augmented by a modern orchestra, and 21st-century listeners were thereby allowed to hear Caruso as his contemporaries had in the concert halls of his day. These recordings, like so much else that came to life—or back to life—in 2004, captured the timelessness not only of the music itself but also of those who served it.

Harry Sumrall

      The deaths of Ray Charles (Charles, Ray ), Malachi Favors (Favors, Malachi Maghostut ), Elvin Jones (Jones, Elvin Ray ), and Steve Lacy (Lacy, Steve ) left the jazz world reeling in 2004. (See Obituaries.) The most popular of jazz artists, usually accompanied by large and small bands of top musicians, Charles soloed on piano and organ in instrumental albums; more famed as the most distinctive of singers, he crossed pop-music borders with rare swinging freedom and originality. The losses of the other three men were felt especially keenly because they were crucial figures in the evolution of the jazz avant-garde in the 1960s and '70s. The passionate drummer Jones, the lyric soprano saxophone explorer Lacy, and the uniquely sensitive yet potent bassist Favors offered shattering innovations that exerted major influences on the jazz idiom.

      Despite obviously failing health, Jones, whose polyrhythms had ignited a revolution in jazz percussion, insisted on leading groups in clubs and concerts almost to the end of his life. Lacy, who taught at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, while suffering from cancer, performed settings of poems by Beat Generation poets in 2004, when he also debuted his Monksieland band. Monksieland was an experimental quintet in which Lacy, trumpeter Dave Douglas, trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer John Betsch interpreted Thelonious Monk songs in a new Dixieland-influenced collective-improvisational manner.

      The loss of Favors, the senior musician among these three, might have been most painful. He was the heartbeat of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which had stayed together for more than three decades. The 1999 death of trumpeter Lester Bowie was devastating to the Art Ensemble; three original members—Favors, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, and drummer Famoudou Don Moye—persisted, and in 2003 saxophonist Joseph Jarman returned. It was Favors, however, who was essential to their singular, shared perceptions of musical form, line, and colour; after bassist Jaribu Shahid replaced him, the group added trumpeter Corey Wilkes and percussionist Baba Sissoko and struggled to forge a new Art Ensemble style.

      This new Art Ensemble of Chicago toured Europe and played at Iridium, the Broadway nightclub where Cecil Taylor presented his Orchestra Humaine in March. It was a rare appearance for this fiery big band, which improvised wildly on suites of Taylor themes; the occasion was the pianist-leader's 75th birthday. Henry Grimes, an important bassist of the 1960s who had emerged from decades of self-imposed obscurity in 2003, advanced his second jazz career with European tours and appearances at New York's Vision Festival. At the same festival, the Revolutionary Ensemble ended its 27-year retirement; this pioneering violin-bass-drums trio also debuted a CD, And Now … (Pi), and had its rarest album, The Psyche (Mutable Music), reissued in 2004.

      Among other highlights, nearly two million people flocked to the 25th Montreal Jazz Festival, which concluded with a performance by Cirque de Soliel. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis led the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the grand opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center, possibly the grandest jazz spa of all. Located on New York City's Columbus Circle, it included a main hall with more than 1,000 seats, a smaller theatre with 420–500 seats, and a nightclub named Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, where the Dizzy Gillespie Festival was held in the autumn. Two nights before the opening, PBS broadcast its Live from Lincoln Center television show from the new building. Meanwhile, trumpeter Jon Faddis, who had led the now-defunct Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, was named director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, based at that city's Columbia College. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a project with some 55 players, played compositions by yet another trumpeter-leader, Orbert Davis, in its premiere performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

      The Chicago festival also introduced American audiences to Ten Part Invention, drummer John Pochee's all-star 10-piece Australian band, which featured compositions by noted saxophonist Sandy Evans. A 10-piece all-star British jazz band led by another drummer, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, offered the album Watts at Scott's. Meanwhile, in reaction to the U.S.-led Iraq war and the administration of Pres. George W. Bush, Charlie Haden unveiled his new Liberation Music Orchestra, with scores by Carla Bley; “We play for peace,” stated Haden, who had led previous LMOs during the Vietnam War and the First Gulf War. Colourist composer Maria Schneider bypassed the ongoing crisis in the recording industry by selling her orchestra album Concert in the Garden only on the Internet; she was the most prominent of the jazz artists signed to

      Two important essay collections, Jazz in Search of Itself by Larry Kart and Living with Jazz by Dan Morgenstern, were published in 2004. Among other new recordings were pianist Marilyn Crispell's Storyteller and singer Diana Krall's The Girl in the Other Room, with songs composed by herself and husband Elvis Costello. Quite the most extraordinary of the year's recording projects was Holy Ghost, a heavy box of 10 CDs culled from private and broadcast recordings from 1962–70 by the tragic revolutionary tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler. The box included a book of commentary, reproductions of posters from the period, writings by Ayler, and a pressed flower.

      The Kabell Years: 1971–1979 collected valuable solo trumpet and ensemble works by Wadada Leo Smith. All Music by Warne Marsh, All-Star Swing Sessions by Bud Freeman, and a boxed set, The Complete Roy Eldridge Verve Studio Sessions, were some of the year's other outstanding reissues. The jazz world also mourned the loss of clarinetist Artie Shaw (Shaw, Artie ), tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet (Jacquet, Illinois ), and guitarist Barney Kessel (Kessel, Barney ). (See Obituaries.) Other deaths during the year were those of violinist-guitarist Claude Williams and drummer Walter Perkins.

John Litweiler


      The year 2004 was brimming with music from the arid wasteland of the Sahara in North Africa. The most intriguing release came from Tinariwen, a band from northern Mali that had learned to play while exiled in the refugee camps of Libya at a time when the Tuareg people were in armed revolt against the Malian government. Tinariwen claimed that at least one member of the band had gone into battle with a guitar on one shoulder and an AK-47 on the other. With the war over, the group returned home and became global stars. Their much-praised album Amassakoul was based on slinky, bluesy guitar riffs with an Arabic edge, along with a dash of reggae, chanting vocals, and even a demonstration of Malian toasting and rap. Onstage they wore long desert robes, and for one of their more memorable concerts during the year, they were joined onstage in London by Taj Mahal, the veteran American blues guitarist, for a rousing display of the links between African styles and the blues.

      It was also a good year for artists from Algeria. Rachid Taha argued that there were also links between North African styles and rock, and his album Tekitoi mixed North African influences with an attack worthy of the punk era. The standout track “Rock el Casbah” was a reworking of the Clash song “Rock the Casbah”; this time the wailing desert flutes were mixed with guitar riffs. Khaled, one of the best-selling artists across the Arabic-speaking world, took a very different approach with his album Ya-Rayi. In the past he had mixed rai, an Arabic pop music, with anything from hip-hop to funk and reggae, but in his new album he produced a lighter set, influenced by his early days in Algeria; Khaled incorporated the oud (a stringed instrument) and his own work on mandolin and accordion, along with an Egyptian string section.

      Egyptian musicians—famous across North Africa—were much in demand. Youssou N'Dour of Senegal produced a highly experimental album, Egypt, in which he moved away from the local mbalax dance styles and pop ballads to record music in praise of Islam and to explore the musical links between Senegal and Egypt. The result was an album of swirling Egyptian strings, drums, and flutes that was matched against his distinctive, powerful vocals.

      There was more such experimental fusion work from Latin America, where two of the best new albums came from female Mexican singers who incorporated influences from north of the border. Mexican American Lhasa de Sela (known simply as Lhasa) released The Living Road, an unusual, compelling set of songs that made use of anything from Mexican dance themes to European balladry. Lhasa made her home in Quebec and sang in Spanish, French, and English. Lila Downs, another singer and songwriter of both Mexican and American parentage, produced Una Sangre, which mixed Mexican influences with jazz and American folk-blues and included a remarkably fresh reworking of the well-worn favourite “La Bamba.”

      From Europe there was more interesting fusion work from Spanish singer Amparo Sánchez, leader of the band Amparanoia. Her album Rebeldia con alegria mixed Cuban rhythms with songs by her friend Manu Chao and cheerful political anthems. If the sassy Sánchez shook up Spanish music, then the veteran Enzo Avitabile did the same for Italy. His latest venture involved a percussion section bashing away at enormous wine barrels—a tradition that dated back to medieval times. The sound was extraordinary, and on his album Save the World he persuaded African musicians, including Khaled, to participate.

      In Great Britain the much-praised teenage soul star Joss Stone topped the album charts with Mind Body and Soul, but at the prestigious Mercury Music Prize awards, she was beaten by Glaswegian guitar band Franz Ferdinand. The Kinks' songwriter Ray Davies was shot by a mugger in New Orleans but recovered to give a series of rousing concerts celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Kinks' song “You Really Got Me”—which again became a best seller. Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue (see Biographies (Minogue, Kylie )), who was also a favourite in Britain, won her first Grammy, for best dance recording, with “Come into My World.”

      Among the deaths during the year were those of Colombian drummer Batata , Jamaican record producer and entrepreneur Coxsone Dodd (Dodd, Sir Coxsone ), and French singer Claude Nougaro (Nougaro, Claude ). (See Obituaries.)

Robin Denselow

United States.
      In the U.S., urban acts OutKast (see Biographies (OutKast )) and Alicia Keys began 2004 atop the pop charts, but Janet Jackson's “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl halftime show on February 1 soon overshadowed all things musical. During a nationally televised dual performance, Justin Timberlake popped off a portion of Jackson's corset, exposing most of her breast and igniting a controversy that generated a half million complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC fined CBS $550,000, and Viacom Inc., the owner of CBS, protested the fine.

      The Grammy Awards took place one week after the Super Bowl, and the show aired with a five-minute delay (to prevent another televised mishap). Jackson's planned appearance was scrapped owing to the controversy, but Timberlake was allowed to appear (he won two awards). The night's big winner was singer Beyoncé (see Biographies (Beyonce )), who notched five Grammys. OutKast's double CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below won album of the year in a further underscoring of hip-hop's place in the American mainstream. Beyoncé and OutKast also won multiple awards in August at the Billboard/AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, though R. Kelly's seven trophies topped their totals. At September's Latin Grammy Awards, Spain's Alejandro Sanz won four awards, including best album honours for No es lo mismo.

      Genre lines blurred in several instances in 2004. Smokie Norful, Vickie Winans, CeCe Winans, and other gospel artists found their way onto Billboard's mainstream R&B chart, and hip-hop artist Kanye West released an explicitly Christian single, “Jesus Walks,” that reached Billboard's all-genre Top 20. More blurring occurred when St. Louis, Mo.-based rapper Nelly recruited country superstar Tim McGraw for vocal assistance on “Over and Over,” a track from Nelly's Suit album. With his appearance on “Over and Over,” McGraw became the first country artist to appear on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.

      McGraw's Live like You Were Dying album sold 766,000 copies during its first week, and his “Live like You Were Dying” single topped Billboard's country chart for seven weeks. Other major country-music stories included the revival of country sales, with a double-digit increase over 2003; Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party, which recorded the largest first-week sales (227,000) for a debut album in country history; and Kenny Chesney's top entertainer and album prizes at the Country Music Association Awards in November.

      With a November presidential election that pitted incumbent Pres. George W. Bush against Democratic challenger John Kerry, numerous music figures involved themselves in politics. Hip-hop magnate Sean (“P. Diddy”) Combs's Citizen Change group sought to register urban youth to vote through its “Vote or Die!” campaign. Rock icon Bruce Springsteen made several campaign appearances with Kerry and was among the artists who embarked on a “Vote for Change” tour in October. Eminem used the Internet to release the anti-Bush single “Mosh.”

       Satellite radio continued to surge forward as competitors Sirius and XM reeled in subscribers to their multichannel services. At year's end XM had more than 2.5 million users. (See Media and Publishing: Radio: Sidebar (New Frontiers in Radio ).) Another trend favoured cellular phone “ ringtones”; people paid several dollars to download a song that would play when triggered by an incoming phone call. In November Billboard initiated a ringtone chart, topped first by Usher and Alicia Keys's “My Boo.”

      In February industry mogul Clive Davis took over as chairman and CEO of BMG North America. In July the Federal Trade Commission approved a merger between BMG Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment. With the merger 80% of recorded music was owned by four companies, and the newly created Sony BMG became the second largest music company in the world (behind Universal Music Group).

      The year ended with major acts—including Eminem, vocal group Destiny's Child, pop artist Gwen Stefani, Southern hip-hop force Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, rapper Snoop Dogg, and Irish band U2—releasing albums and competing for holiday sales. Among the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were the late George Harrison, Jackson Browne, and Prince (see Biographies (Prince )), who also had critical and commercial success with his album Musicology.

      Musicians who died during the year included soul icon Ray Charles (Charles, Ray ), country singer Skeeter Davis (Davis, Skeeter ), Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone (Ramone, Johnny ) (John Cummings), session guitar legend Hank Garland (Garland, Hank ), and Jan and Dean member Jan Berry (Berry, Jan ). (See Obituaries.)

Peter Cooper


North America.
      During 2004, especially in the early months, the rich legacy of Russian émigré George Balanchine was celebrated in North America to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. The later months of the year were devoted to marking the centenary of the birth of another great choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton.

      The most extensive Balanchine celebration occurred in New York City, where “Mr. B.” had made his home and established his New York City Ballet. NYCB's winter season, “Heritage,” stressed the roots of the choreographer's work, and its spring season, “Vision,” stressed his new ballets. One work, Shambards, by NYCB resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and set to the music of James MacMillan, was fairly substantive and remarkable. The others included two inconclusive works by NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins—Chichester Psalms, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, and Eros Piano, set to music by John Adams—and Musagète by Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, a sprawling and, some thought, “tasteless” creation ostensibly based on Balanchine's life and career. In addition, there were several Balanchine exhibitions, notably those at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Harvard Theater Collection, and the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. Screenings of the choreographer's work on film and video also became celebrative events, including one at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City. DVD releases included two discs featuring Balanchine's work with the “Dance in America” series, offered by Nonesuch, and a two-part biographical study from Kultur.

      By midyear the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City had begun its two-week celebration of Ashton, British ballet's guiding genius and founder of the Royal Ballet. The Royal Ballet and the Birmingham (Eng.) Royal Ballet performed an all-Ashton repertory alongside the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Japan's K-Ballet Company. Notable among the festival's offerings were a revival by the Birmingham company of Ashton's 1940 Dante Sonata, which addressed the cataclysm of World War II, and the Royal Ballet's new production of the choreographer's incomparable 1948 Cinderella. In April 2004 PBS broadcast American Ballet Theatre's (ABT's) successful 2002 revival of The Dream, Ashton's moving ballet based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn.

      In addition to a specially planned mixed bill of Balanchine ballets, one highlight of ABT's eight-week season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City was a new production of Raymonda. The three-act 1898 work, which was first performed in St. Petersburg and choreographed by Marius Petipa, was reduced to two acts and co-produced with the Finnish National Ballet. Among the several casts leading ABT's performances of this French- and Hungarian-styled ballet set to the music of Aleksandr Glazunov were some of the troupe's most gifted young dancers: David Hallberg and Michele Wiles as the main couple, and Herman Cornejo and Marcelo Gomes alternating as the ballet's “exotic” intruder. The troupe's now-annual fall season in New York City at the City Center included once-familiar stagings of works by Michel Fokine and a new work by Trey McIntyre.

      Beyond offering Balanchine and Ashton ballets, American companies amplified their repertoires with new creations from contemporary choreographers. Two of the more ambitious undertakings were a new and wholly original version of Léo Delibes's Sylvia for the San Francisco Ballet by modern-dance creator Mark Morris; the production was met with much critical acclaim. In a similar vein, as part of its own 40th anniversary celebrations, the Pennsylvania Ballet presented a new staging of Tchaikovsky's broadly popular Swan Lake. Wheeldon reworked and reduced most of the standard and traditional staging of the classic work into a scheme that moved the action into the milieu of a 19th-century French ballet studio; reactions were somewhat mixed. The Houston (Texas) Ballet, under the fairly new direction of Australian-born Stanton Welch, presented the director's multiact Tales of Texas and later featured “Women@Art,” a bill focusing on ballets by female choreographers.

      The Cincinnati (Ohio) Ballet opened its fall season with a continuation of its successful 2003 programming that celebrated the legacy of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The Cincinnati troupe presented Léonide Massine's staging of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, which had not been seen since the performances given decades earlier by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Pacific Northwest Ballet spent the better part of its year saying farewell to its longtime artistic directors team Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, as well as screening candidates to replace the couple as head of the ballet troupe and its affiliate school.

      Miami (Fla.) City Ballet added to its repertoire not only Balanchine's setting of Ravel's La Valse but also Paul Taylor's Piazzolla Caldera. The Paul Taylor Dance Company marked its 50th anniversary with an official kickoff season at the American Dance Festival (Durham, N.C.) and a 50-state tour as it worked toward climaxing the celebration of its founder's golden milestone. Earlier in the year the troupe had given the premiere of Taylor's newest creation, Dante Variations, set to music by Gyorgy Ligeti.

      Experimentalist choreographer John Jasperse gave American Dance Festival his California, a formalist work that was motivated by the political situation in California that led to Arnold Schwarzenegger's becoming governor. Merce Cunningham Dance Company presented the work of its founder-choreographer widely. The company also helped kick off the Fall for Dance Festival, an inaugural presentation of City Center, for which all seats were priced at $10. Thirty companies (five per night for six nights) participated in the event, which was meant to revive a onetime tradition of free dance concerts in the city's Central Park during the late summer. Participants included both established troupes (the Martha Graham Dance Company) and more recent newcomers (David Neumann).

      Mikhail Baryshnikov, a ballet superstar turned modern-dance and experimental-dance advocate, took time off from his solo tour to recover from injury. By summer, however, he was back touring, with a prominent appearance at the Lincoln Center Festival in Forbidden Christmas, or the Doctor and the Patient, Rezo Gabriadze's enchanting dance-theatre production, complete with spoken text. Touring stints included the Royal Danish Ballet at the Kennedy Center and the Hamburg (Ger.) Ballet performing Nijinsky by John Neumeier (on the West and East coasts). The Bolshoi Ballet, more or less displaced owing to the refurbishment of its august home in Moscow, toured the U.S. and Mexico with three standard-fare Soviet-ballet-styled classics—Raymonda, Giselle, and Don Quixote—as well as a more modern treatment of Romeo and Juliet.

      Institution building was strong in New York City. ABT announced the opening of a company-affiliated academy named the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which was in the process of building its own multistory headquarters and school, received a $1 million gift from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation to support a similarly named scholarship program for a select number of the school's most talented students.

      Choreographer Twyla Tharp kept her long-running Billy Joel-inspired Movin' Out in the news by presenting as part of its evolving cast of notable performers the stellar Desmond Richardson, a onetime dancer with the Alvin Ailey company. The late Broadway and ballet legend choreographer Jerome Robbins had his works presented by a number of companies, and dance critic Deborah Jowitt published Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance.

      The National Ballet of Canada (NBC) had as one of its major events a grand send-off for Rex Harrington, its much-beloved leading male dancer, who had celebrated his 20th anniversary with the company during the year. After dancing his final performance in the title role of John Cranko's Onegin (set to Tchaikovsky music) in Ottawa, Harrington gave his final NBC performance in Toronto, as “A Man” in director James Kudelka's version of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. Two different premiere stagings of Sergey Prokofiev's Cinderella took place during the year, one with NBC by Kudelka and another in Calgary by Jean Grand-Maitre for Alberta Ballet. Val Caniparoli's A Cinderella Story, set to the tunes of Richard Rodgers and evoking a 1950s atmosphere, entered the repertoire of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which also toured during the year with Mark Godden's Dracula (music by Gustav Mahler) and The Magic Flute (set to Mozart). Director John Alleyne gave his company, Ballet British Columbia, a new staging of the perennially popular Carmina Burana in April, set to the music of Carl Orff. The butoh-based Kokoro Dance company produced the Vancouver International Dance Festival in the spring. Montreal's 21st annual “Gala des Étoiles,” with its strong basis in virtuoso ballet dancing, showcased performers ranging from those with the Madrid-based Nuevo Ballet Espagnol to Canadian modern-dance-based soloist Margie Gillis.

      Deaths during the year included those of tap-dancing actress Ann Miller (Miller, Ann ); dancer-choreographers June Taylor (Taylor, June ), May O'Donnell (O'Donnell, May ), John Taras (Taras, John ), and Bella Lewitzky (Lewitzky, Bella ); tap artist Leonard Reed (Reed, Leonard ); and teacher Betty Oliphant (Oliphant, Betty ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses included those of dancers Homer Avila, Carlos Orta, and Larry White, dancer-ballet master Basil Thompson, dancer-choreographer Zachary Solov, choreographer Genia Melikova, and ballet company founder Josephine Schwarz.

Robert Greskovic

      The year 2004 saw not only the centenaries of the birth of two of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton, but also the 75th anniversary of the death of Sergey Diaghilev. The anniversaries were celebrated across Europe, with some important revivals of ballets not seen for many years.

      Ashton was remembered as the founding choreographer of the oldest ballet companies in Britain, the Royal Ballet and the Rambert Dance Company. The Rambert troupe made a new version (choreographed by Ian Spink) of Ashton's first work, A Tragedy of Fashion, which was shown in a program that also included Ashton's Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan. The Royal Ballet's major contribution was a revival of Sylvia, made for Margot Fonteyn in 1952 but not seen in its full three-act version for nearly 40 years; the company also revived A Wedding Bouquet after a long absence and published a commemorative book of photographs. The Birmingham Royal Ballet showed Ashton's Enigma Variations and The Two Pigeons both at home and during a short New York season. The Bolshoi Ballet danced La Fille mal gardée in Moscow, and the Dutch National Ballet featured The Dream and Cinderella.

      The Royal Ballet also programmed a bill of four works associated with Diaghilev, including Michel Fokine's Le Spectre de la rose, which the company had not performed since it moved to the Royal Opera House in 1946. The young Ivan Putrov had a particular success in the title role.

      Also in London, the English National Ballet revived Derek Deane's “in the round” production of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, with Polina Semionova, a 19-year-old Russian ballerina from the Staatsoper Ballet in Berlin, making a spectacular debut as Odette/Odile on opening night. Sylvie Guillem appeared with George Piper Dances (more familiarly known as the Ballet Boyz) in a program of choreography by Russell Maliphant, which included Broken Fall, the big hit he had made for these dancers in 2003. William Tuckett premiered his version of Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, starring Adam Cooper, Zenaida Yanowsky, and Matthew Hart. The Royal New Zealand Ballet appeared in London and on tour with Christopher Hampson's production of Romeo and Juliet, which successfully translated the action to the mid-20th century, and the Bolshoi Ballet had a summer season at the Royal Opera House—the first London appearance of the full company for several years. San Francisco Ballet, which in recent years had become a London favourite, also made a welcome return.

      The big success story from the rest of the country was the revitalization of Scottish Ballet under its new director, Ashley Page. Several well-constructed programs attracted much praise from both critics and audiences, though Page's new Nutcracker had a more mixed reception. Northern Ballet Theatre showed a triple bill for the first time in five years, including the world premiere of Dividing Silence by young choreographer Cathy Marston, previously known mainly for her studio pieces made for the Royal Ballet. Later in the year NBT gave its first performances of director David Nixon's Dangerous Liaisons, originally given by BalletMet in the U.S.

      The Paris Opéra Ballet (POB) began the year with an all-Balanchine program and moved on to a series of full-length classics. The Royal Ballet's Alina Cojocaru made an acclaimed company debut in Giselle, and POB appointed two new stars of its own; Marie-Agnès Gillot and Mathieu Ganio were both promoted to the rank of étoile. Ganio, the son of two former POB dancers, was elevated at the exceptionally early age of 20. In September the company joined with the Royal Ballet to produce a gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the historic Franco-British Entente Cordiale. The Paris troupe's announcement of its new season program was met with some dismay from a section of the audience, who saw it as moving away from the company's classical tradition to a more contemporary pattern.

      Other European companies celebrated still more anniversaries. For Maurice Béjart, director of Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Switz.), it was 50 years since he first established a company of his own; and the Hamburg Ballet marked John Neumeier's completion of 30 years as director by presenting 16 of his works, culminating in a Jubilee Gala. The annual gala of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, Ger., honoured Balanchine. In Düsseldorf, Ger., the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein premiered director Youri Vamos's new view of a classic, Coppélia am Montmartre, while the Stuttgart (Ger.) Ballet devoted a whole program to new work that included Lachrymae, a piece choreographed by Douglas Lee, the company's British principal dancer, and set to music by Benjamin Britten. A later bill, entitled Stravinsky Inspires, featured the world premiere of a work by Kevin O'Day. William Forsythe's Frankfurt (Ger.) Ballet gave its last performances. It was announced that Forsythe would lead a new company to be based in Dresden as well as in Frankfurt in early 2005.

      The Danish Royal Ballet began preparations for its 2005 festival, marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of its own great choreographer, August Bournonville. His works were introduced gradually into the repertory during the year, including the rarely seen Abdallah. Neumeier made a new pas de deux, A Wedding Gift, to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Denmark; it was danced by Kenneth and Marie-Pierre Greve, both principal dancers of the company. The major premiere of the year was Anna Karenina, choreographed by Aleksey Ratmansky, who had danced with the Danish company before he took up the directorship of the Bolshoi Ballet. Greve and Caroline Cavallo shared the title role.

      Ratmansky became director of the Bolshoi Ballet on January 1. The company visited Paris in that month and London in July, but only Paris saw Ratmansky's The Bright Stream, a reworking of a ballet from the Soviet era, with music by Dmitry Shostakovich. In London the company showed its “modern” Romeo and Juliet, directed by Declan Donnellan and with choreography by the young Moldovan Radu Poclitaru. Although popular with audiences, it was panned by most of the critics but had fine performances by both Mariya Aleksandrova and Anastasiya Meskova, who shared the role of Juliet. The Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg honoured Balanchine with performances of his Jewels, a triple bill of his ballets, and two exhibitions about his life and work. The company also gave its first performances of three works by Forsythe: The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Steptext, and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Darya Pavlenko, much admired in recent tours to the West, was promoted to principal dancer.

      A biennial competition for choreographers, offering valuable prizes, was held for the first time, at the Place in London. The nearly 200 entries, from all over the world, were reduced to a short list of 20 and then to five finalists, and the Place Prize of £25,000 (about $45,000) was won by Rafael Bonachela, associate choreographer of the Rambert Dance Company. Those passing from the dance scene during the year included Bolshoi prima ballerina and teacher Sulamith Messerer (Messerer, Sulamith Mikhaylovna ), Spanish dancer Antonio Gades (Gades, Antonio ), French dancer Ludmila Tcherina (Tcherina, Ludmila ), and Margaret Kelly (Kelly, Margaret ), founder of the famous Bluebell Girls chorus line. (See Obituaries.)

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      There was no escaping the war in Iraq, as the global political situation seeped into the British theatre to an almost unprecedented degree in 2004. Not since the protest plays of the 1960s and '70s had the stage been so tuned in to its own times.

      Dominating all was David Hare's Stuff Happens at the National Theatre. The lead-up to the U.S.-led offensive in Iraq was rivetingly shown as a series of power games and office bartering between all the major participants, with Colin Powell, played by visiting African American actor Joe Morton, holding centre stage as a man of conscience and propriety.

      After viewing the production, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix marveled at the way such a complicated process had been condensed into three hours of electrifying theatre. Hare said that nothing in the narrative was “knowingly untrue” and that the scenes of direct address quoted the actual people involved verbatim.

      The portraits of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were remarkably rounded, even restrained, and the actors veered only slightly toward cartoonish impersonation. Particularly brilliant were Alex Jennings as Bush and Dermot Crowley, who portrayed Rumsfeld. The production, by Nicholas Hytner (see Biographies (Hytner, Nicholas )), showed how the decisions followed each other with dire inevitability.

      Elsewhere, Tim Robbins brought his far more simplistic Embedded, a satire about the journalists embedded with the U.S. military during the Second Persian Gulf War, to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith; the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn staged an unashamedly partisan documentary about the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Guantánamo: “Honour Bound to Defend Freedom” (these two shows passed each other crossing the Atlantic); and Justin Butcher's crassly enjoyable The Madness of George Dubya transferred from a London fringe theatre to the West End.

      Greek tragedy was reanimated by the events, with two great plays about flawed war heroes—Sophocles' little-known Trachiniae in a stunning new version by Martin Crimp called Cruel and Tender at the Young Vic, directed by Luc Bondy; and Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis, directed in Don Taylor's translation by Katie Mitchell at the National—proving, perhaps, that time and distance were needed to focus the immediate human dramas more effectively.

      With the arrival at the Donmar Warehouse of an astounding and powerful new interpretation of Euripides' Hecuba by Frank McGuinness, Clare Higgins reinforced her claim to membership in the front rank of actors. London audiences felt the full force of the pain, suffering, and anguish of war, aspects that had been only touched on in Stuff Happens. Hecuba, with its tit-for-tat atrocities committed on children, evoked the other real-life nightmare scenario of the year—the terrorist storming of a school in Beslan, Russia, in September. When such things happen, they alter forever the way one looks at the world, and theatre is similarly transformed.

      One of the year's most striking productions, Wolf, visited Sadler's Wells from Belgium; directed by Alain Platel, the show used a graffiti-strewn shopping mall as a backdrop for a cast of characters on the fringes of society, including a contortionist, an aerialist, and two deaf performers. Featured were Mozart's arias, performed by three leading soloists and the Klangforum Orchestra from Vienna, along with 19 musicians, 10 dancers, 3 singers, and 14 dogs.

      Opening the big musical season in the autumn was Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White at the Palace. Though Lloyd Webber owned the Palace, it had been host for 18 years to Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Miserables, which moved around the corner to the Queen's on Shaftesbury Avenue.

      Lloyd Webber's collaborators were playwright Charlotte (Humble Boy) Jones, Broadway lyricist David (City of Angels) Zippel, director Trevor Nunn, and designer William Dudley. The show, based on Wilkie Collins's ghostly Victorian novel, was a thrilling return to the full-blown romanticism of Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. The original Phantom, Michael Crawford, returned to London as the villainous, enormously fat Count Fosco. The designs were state-of-the-art video projections, the content absorbing, and the performances superb. Maria Friedman portrayed spinsterish heroine Marian Halcombe, and Martin Crewes starred as Walter Hartwright, the pivotal art teacher who unravels the mystery in pursuit of his beloved Laura (Jill Paice). Meanwhile, Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams, by composer A.R. Rahman (see Biographies (Rahman, A.R. )), transferred to Broadway.

      The jury remained out for the prospects of long-term success for The Producers at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Removed from its natural Broadway environment, Mel Brooks's delirious mayhem and Susan Stroman's vibrant knockout production seemed destined to struggle to create the big-city buzz of the original show. In addition, Richard Dreyfuss and Lee Evans as the hapless con men did not have the same shyster authenticity as Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

      The third big musical was the spectacular collaboration between Disney and Mackintosh on Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward. Richard Eyre's production re-created the original stories by P. L. Travers and was scripted by Julian (Gosford Park) Fellowes; several jaunty new songs were added to the film score by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Laura Michelle Kelly was a high-flying Mary, and Gavin Lee her not-too-Dick Van Dyke-ish Bert. Meanwhile, Mamma Mia! celebrated its fifth anniversary by moving from the Prince Edward into the splendidly refurbished Prince of Wales Theatre.

      Elsewhere in the West End, Lee Evans warmed up for The Producers by playing opposite Michael Gambon in a short season of Samuel Beckett's Endgame at the Albery. This theatre was occupied at year's end by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) with its transfers from Stratford-upon-Avon of Macbeth (Greg Hicks and Sian Thomas as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth), Hamlet (featuring a crowd-pleasing, energetic Toby Stephens), and King Lear (starring a subdued Corin Redgrave). The Albery also hosted Diana Rigg in Tennessee Williams's Suddenly Last Summer and an imaginative all-Indian Twelfth Night, relocated to India; Illyria was indeed another country.

      Christian Slater led a powerful revival of Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest from the Edinburgh Festival fringe into the Gielgud. Nunn began the year by directing his wife, Imogen Stubbs, as Gertrude in an acclaimed Hamlet at the Old Vic (newcomer Ben Wishaw seemed like a young high schooler fretting over exam results). Nunn also directed Stubbs's first play, We Happy Few, which was presented at the Gielgud. The meandering tale of an all-women theatre company traveling around the country during World War II did not survive long.

      Other, more regrettable, flops included Calico, a fascinating play by Michael Hastings about James Joyce's daughter, stunningly played by newcomer Romola Garai, and the transfer from the Almeida Theatre of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, starring Jonathan Pryce as the troubled architect and his real-life partner, Kate Fahy, as the wife supplanted in his affections by a goat. The Almeida returned to Shaftesbury Avenue with its subversive, nerve-jangling version of the Danish film Festen; Jane Asher's ice-cool matriarch presided over a family feast during which skeletons of child abuse come tumbling out of the cupboard.

      After months, if not years, of press launches, press conferences, parties, and hoopla, American actor Kevin Spacey finally moved into the Old Vic as artistic director and opened with a new play, Cloaca, that unpromisingly translated as “sewer.” An older New York vintage, the writing team of George S. Kaufman and Howard Teichmann, bubbled up at the Garrick Theatre with their 1953 comedy The Solid Gold Cadillac, starring Roy Hudd and Patricia Routledge.

      The West End, though, had no real answer to the continued ascendancy of Hytner's National. Not just the Hare play but also Alan Bennett's The History Boys generated huge public interest and coverage in the media. The Bennett show (not really a play) was a loosely arranged satiric school pageant—a sequel, really, to his first big West End success, Forty Years On—which questioned the educational system's obsession with examination results and considered the vocational aspect of teaching allied to the slightly tricky area of sexual attraction of pupil for master.

      The third big National blockbuster was Nicholas Wright's adaptation of His Dark Materials, a trilogy by Philip Pullman (see Biographies (Pullman, Philip )), into two three-hour dramas that swept across the huge Olivier stage like a tidal wave, establishing the work as the next big global children's phenomenon after Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Hytner thus completed a “new work” hat-trick as a director—Pullman, Bennett, and Hare—that overshadowed even multitasking Nunn.

      The National also presented immensely successful productions of Measure for Measure, directed by Simon McBurney; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directed by Edward Hall (though Desmond Barrit's lascivious slave Pseudolus was less hard-hitting than his imposing Dick Cheney in Stuff Happens); and a gorgeous Marivaux, The False Servant, translated by Crimp and directed by Jonathan Kent, that featured Charlotte Rampling as a sexually besieged countess.

      The RSC at Stratford-upon-Avon claimed record attendances for its season of tragedies, and artistic director Michael Boyd announced that an overall deficit of £2.8 million (about $5.1 million) had been reduced, in his first year in charge, to just under £500,000 (about $900,000). Despite a successful season of Spanish Golden Age drama in the Swan, the company's passion seemed slightly manufactured.

      There were signs of revival in Liverpool, where the declining Everyman and Playhouse theatres were placed under one management. Highlights were Corin Redgrave as Archie Rice in John Osborne's The Entertainer and Sheila Hancock leading the Everyman's 40th birthday celebrations in Bill MacIllwraith's 1966 black comedy The Anniversary. The Salisbury Playhouse remained an essential venue, with a revelatory revival of N.C. Hunter's Waters of the Moon (1951).

      The resurgent Bristol Old Vic and the lively Theatre Royal at Northampton both offered new stage versions of John Milton's Paradise Lost, an extraordinary coincidence of programming that did full justice, in different ways, to the greatest dramatic poem in the language outside Shakespeare. Michael Grandage, artistic director of the Sheffield Theatres (Crucible and Lyceum), stepped down after five successful years but continued to be in charge of the Donmar Warehouse. In Sheffield he bowed out with Friedrich Schiller's Don Carlos, starring Sir Derek Jacobi. At the Donmar, Grandage directed a stunning new version by Sir Tom Stoppard of Pirandello's Henry IV, with Ian McDiarmid giving one of the great performances of the year as the fantasy-bound monarch.

      International cooperation was the name of the game at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, where a cast of Catalan and British actors (five of each) performed an imaginatively powerful version of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. The Catalan actors came from Calixto Bieito's Theatre Romea in Barcelona, Spain. The controversial but brilliant “bad boy” Bieito directed a disappointing version of Fernando de Rojas's Spanish classic Celestina for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre at the Edinburgh Festival. Edinburgh international highlights were Olivier Py's 12-hour production of Paul Claudel's Le Soulier de satin and Peter Zadek's roller-coaster Peer Gynt from the Berliner Ensemble.

      In Ireland the Abbey Theatre in Dublin celebrated its centenary with a yearlong program of old favourites and new plays, although the theatre itself was in turmoil over the resignation of its director, Ben Barnes. The Dublin Theatre Festival had an unusually rich program, bolstered by the Abbey's centenary but also boasting Conor McPherson's fine new play, Shining City, in a co-production by the Royal Court and the Gate Theatre, and a Twelfth Night directed by Declan Donnellan for a Russian cast drawn from Moscow's various ensembles.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      The real-world drama of a divisive U.S. presidential election made happenings on American stages seem rather tepid in 2004, despite the theatre's willingness to delve into many of the same hot-button topics that were being debated in the U.S. Perhaps the difference was that such subjects as the sex-abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, the human rights of incarcerated prisoners of war, and the acceptance of gay relationships, which had been frequently served up in the media as polarizing sound bites, were treated more often in the theatre as complex, multidimensional issues with individual human repercussions.

      Such was the case with the debut in November of Doubt by Moonstruck scribe John Patrick Shanley. Set in the 1960s at a Bronx (N.Y.) Catholic school, where a stern nun grows suspicious of a priest who seems to be taking too much interest in a young male student, Doubt broached its sensational subject on a human scale and in a spirit of poetic restraint. The sensitive production, directed by Doug Hughes and mounted by the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC), was illuminated by the flawless performances of Cherry Jones as the buttoned-up nun and Brían F. O'Byrne (winner of the season's best featured actor Tony Award for Bryony Lavery's Frozen) as the extroverted priest. The church's troubles got a more objective treatment in Michael Murphy's well-received courtroom docudrama Sin (A Cardinal Deposed), produced by New York's New Group, directed by Carl Forsman, and featuring veteran actor John Cullum as the beleaguered Bernard Cardinal Law of the archdiocese of Boston.

      Another docudrama, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, first seen at London's Tricycle Theatre and imported to New York by the Culture Project, was one of several 2004 stage works that aimed to expose the human cost of the “war on terrorism.” Other politically charged works included the LAByrinth Theater Company's production of Brett C. Leonard's Guinea Pig Solo, a drama starring John Ortiz as a disturbed veteran of the war in Iraq struggling to stay afloat in New York.

      Tim Robbins's Embedded, which transferred to New York's Public Theater from the film star's Los Angeles home company, the Actor's Gang, was an unabashedly leftist agitprop comedy attacking U.S. policy on the war in Iraq. The pseudonymous playwright Jane Martin's over-the-top satire Laura's Bush posited that the first lady was blinking a Morse Code cry for help in her public appearances—it turned out that her husband had been replaced by a captured body double of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

      A lighthearted note was also struck by perhaps the year's most successful play, Avenue Q, a quirky musical comedy that embraced such real-world issues as racism and sex with the earnest glee—and the human-and-puppet format—of television's Sesame Street. Created by book writer Jeff Whitty and songwriters Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, Avenue Q was a downtown sensation when it opened in March 2003 as a co-production of the New Group and the Vineyard Theatre. In short order it moved to Broadway, where it not only found an enthusiastic audience but also bested the odds-on favourite, the blockbuster musical Wicked, to win the Tony Award for best musical. Avenue Q's producers then startled the Broadway establishment by announcing that rather than going on national tour, the show would commit to an open-ended commercial run in Las Vegas, Nev.

      It was, in fact, a year of many firsts for Broadway theatre. Phylicia Rashad, who played the matriarch in a popular revival of Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking drama A Raisin in the Sun, became the first African American woman to win a Tony for best actress in a play; she appeared opposite Audra McDonald (see Biographies (McDonald, Audra )), whose portrayal of Ruth Younger earned the soprano her fourth Tony for best performance by a featured actress in a play. Doug Wright's idiosyncratic play I Am My Own Wife also earned a place in the record books after becoming the first one-person play to win a Tony for best play. The drama cataloged Wright's obsession with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an East German transvestite, and introduced a captivating young actor, Jefferson Mays.

      Several important new works by major playwrights appeared during the year. Donald Margulies's first play since his Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner with Friends—the father-son drama Brooklyn Boy—was co-produced by Manhattan Theatre Club and California's South Coast Repertory. The prolific Craig Lucas offered an ambitious time-leaping comedy-drama, Singing Forest, which contrasted refined 1930s Vienna with contemporary vapid, overcommercialized society; the Intiman Theatre of Seattle's production drew fascinated response, despite the play's three-and-a-half-hour length. Another Lucas play, Small Tragedy, a backstage affair about a troubled production of Oedipus Rex, quickly came and went at New York's Playwrights Horizons but earned an Obie Award for best American play. Edward Albee raised eyebrows and expectations by attaching a new first act to his famous 1959 play The Zoo Story and by giving the expanded version, which debuted at Connecticut's Hartford Stage, the title Peter and Jerry.

      There were some important flops as well. Stephen Sondheim's legendary early work The Frogs, a spoof of the ancient Greek play by Aristophanes, was freely adapted by comic actor Nathan Lane for a production at Lincoln Center Theater, but not even Lane's exuberance in the leading role could keep the new version afloat. A Broadway revival of After the Fall, a 1964 confessional drama by Arthur Miller (whose new play, Finishing the Picture, made a minimal impression at Chicago's Goodman Theatre), received a glum response, although newcomer Carla Gugino acquitted herself admirably in the role based on Marilyn Monroe. Drowning Crow, a rambling riff on The Seagull by up-and-coming playwright Regina Taylor, tried to bring a hip-hop sensibility to Anton Chekhov, but it proved an ill-conceived adventure for MTC.

      In Canada two of the American theatre's most exportable musical comedy hits proved anything but in Toronto. A seemingly sure-fire production of The Producers, Mel Brooks's film-derived extravaganza, closed prematurely in July, and Hairspray, based on John Waters's campy movie, met the same fate in November. Observers speculated that this might signal the end of Toronto as a long-run hub for American shows.

      The most-praised Canadian productions of the year were mounted by the venerable Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. An uncut six-hour staging of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman by director Neil Munro drew superlatives, as did an inventive environmental staging of the Adam Guettel musical Floyd Collins, in which director Eda Holmes surrounded the audience with action. One-person shows were prominent on Canadian stages, with especially strong performances in Toronto by Daniel MacIvor, whose confessional Cul-de-sac ran at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Rick Miller, who incorporated video in his irreverent Bigger than Jesus at the Factory Theatre. Big hits of the year in Toronto also included a CanStage production of the Alberta Hunter musical Cookin' at the Cookery, with Jackie Richardson impersonating the legendary jazz singer.

      The Canadian troupe Cirque du Soleil opened a fourth show in Las Vegas and took its acrobatics to the high seas in a deal with Celebrity Cruises. Cirque also planned to establish permanent shows in Tokyo, London, and New York.

      Theatre figures who passed away in 2004 included the Broadway composer Fred Ebb (Ebb, Fred ), actor and producer Tony Randall (Randall, Tony ), playwright Jerome Lawrence (Lawrence, Jerome ), actor and teacher Uta Hagen (Hagen, Uta Thyra ), and performance artist Spalding Gray (Gray, Spalding ). (See Obituaries.)

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
       International Film Awards 2004For international film awards in 2004, see Table (International Film Awards 2004).

      With Hollywood production reflecting the taste of the dominant teenage and preteen audience, it was no surprise that one of the runaway movie successes of 2004 was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with Alfonso Cuarón taking over the series as director. Another predictable success, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2, improved on the original with a rich, intelligent script by Alvin Sargent.

      American cinema evinced a rare overt political commitment in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was a commercial success as well as a source of infinite debate and denial. Other documentary filmmakers who took up the attack were Joseph Mealey and Michael Shoob (Bush's Brain), Nickolas Perry and Harry Thomason (The Hunting of the President), Robert Greenwald (Uncovered: The War on Iraq and the Orwellesque Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism), and Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse (Persons of Interest, about the rounding up of innocent U.S. citizens in the post-9/11 panic). Actor Tim Robbins made a digital adaptation of his stage play Embedded/Live, a ferocious attack on the handling of the Iraq war. In turn, Fahrenheit 9/11 stirred opposition, with attacks on Moore's investigative methods in Michael Wilson's Michael Moore Hates America, Kevin Knoblock's Celsius 41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain ... Begins to Die, and Alan Peterson's Fahrenhype 9/11. In the same genre, Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me was a documentary dealing with obese Americans and the fast-food industry that helps make them that way.

      Biopics proliferated. Martin Scorsese's The Aviator recounted the early career of Howard Hughes as film producer and aviator. Cole Porter was chronicled in Irwin Winkler's De-Lovely, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in Bill Condon's Kinsey, Ray Charles in Taylor Hackford's Ray, singer Bobby Darin in Kevin Spacey's U.K.-German co-production Beyond the Sea, and Bobby Jones in Rowdy Herrington's Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius. Among U.S.-U.K. co-productions, Stephen Hopkins's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which featured 2004 best actress Oscar winner Charlize Theron (see Biographies (Theron, Charlize )) as Britt Ekland, recalled the comedian's talents for giving public pleasure and private pain, while Marc Forster's Finding Neverland considered how the strange psychology of the British playwright James Barrie (played by Johnny Depp) led to the creation of Peter Pan. Oliver Stone's European-made Alexander, meticulous in its historical reconstruction, was notably less successful at the box office than Wolfgang Petersen's more conventional sword-and-sandals epic Troy. Mel Gibson's (see Biographies (Gibson, Mel )) The Passion of the Christ, dogged by controversy and charges of anti-Semitism, concentrated unsparingly on the reality of the cruelty and humiliation inflicted on Christ. Niels Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn (see Biographies (Penn, Sean )), used a real event as the background to a fictional narrative.

      Among established Hollywood directors, Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby fashioned a dark, contemplative film about an elderly trainer who dedicates his efforts to a woman boxer. Spike Lee's She Hate Me was a topical story of a man who is ruined after he blows the whistle on corporate corruption and finds a new career as a personal fertilization service for lesbian couples; the same director's made-for-TV Sucker Free City was a more familiar Lee study of the urban subculture as experienced by three youngsters from varied backgrounds. Michael Mann's Collateral recounted how a hit man ( Tom Cruise) forces a taxi driver ( Jamie Foxx) to ferry him on his lethal rounds. In The Terminal Steven Spielberg created a timely comic fable about an immigrant who is prevented by political events from either entering the U.S. or returning home and thus must make his home at a New York airport. Joel Schumacher's film captured the theatricality of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical The Phantom of the Opera.

      Among the best work of newer directors, Nicole Kassell's The Woodsman was a compassionate story of a man (sensitively played by Kevin Bacon) battling to resist his pedophilic inclinations. John Curran's We Don't Live Here Anymore was a mature, intelligent, nonjudgmental picture of two adulterous couples in a university environment, from stories by the late Andre Dubus. Sideways, a film by Alexander Payne, was a coming-of-middle-age drama about successes and failures.

      Although most of the year's remakes—for example, the Coen brothers' The Ladykillers, Frank Oz's The Stepford Wives, Charles Shyer's Alfie, and John Moore's Flight of the Phoenix—seemed at best superfluous, Jonathan Demme's The Manchurian Candidate updated and even improved upon its 1962 original. Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve was a highly entertaining lightweight crime caper, a sequel in no way inferior to its two predecessors, the 1960 Ocean's Eleven and its 2001 remake. The same could be said about the endearing animated film Shrek 2 as well as Meet the Fockers, a sequel to Meet the Parents (2000), both of which were 2004 box-office blockbusters.

      Sophisticated digital techniques continued to boost animation production and were used with increasing suppleness in works such as Brad Bird's witty The Incredibles and Stephen Hillenburg's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, developed from his TV cartoon series. Robert Zemeckis's The Polar Express employed computer graphic embodiments of live actors.

      Promising year-end additions to cinema marquees included Hotel Rwanda, featuring an outstanding lead performance by Don Cheadle, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the motion-picture premiere of this author's darkly humorous tales written ostensibly for children.

British Isles.
      Veteran filmmakers offered the year's outstanding works. Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, a 1950s story of a good woman whose samaritan assistance with abortions brings disaster on her family, won the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival. Ken Loach's Ae Fond Kiss, scripted by Paul Laverty, was a gritty portrayal of the Romeo and Juliet romance between a Glasgow-born Muslim and a Catholic schoolteacher.

      The British taste for social drama was in evidence in Kenneth Glenaan's Yasmin, a sometimes awkward but timely and sincere illustration of the backlash to 9/11 as suffered by innocent Muslims living and working in provincial Britain. From Wales, Amma Asante's A Way of Life was a bold and challenging portrait of a single mother totally beaten down by society yet provoking no easy sympathy.

      Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice was only distantly inspired by the social and amorous threads of Jane Austen's novel in its sprightly mix of Bollywood and Western sitcom for a character-based tale of cultural clash; it starred Bollywood cinema siren Aishwarya Rai (see Biographies (Rai, Aishwarya )) in her first major English-language film. A predictable commercial success was the episodic sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Beeban Kidron's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Michael Winterbottom challenged censors worldwide with his digitally shot 9 Songs, in which a young couple alternates visits to rock concerts with sexual encounters, filmed explicitly.

      The Irish-British King Arthur, directed by Antoine Fuqua from a script by David Franzoni, was a serious attempt to re-create the true history of mid-5th-century Britain, at the end of the Roman occupation. Also from Ireland, Pete Travis's Omagh, co-written for TV by Paul Greengrass, the maker of Bloody Sunday, was an unsparing re-creation of the events of the Omagh bombing outrage.

Canada and Australia.
      One of the best films from Canada in a lean year was writer-director G.B.Yates's Seven Times Lucky, an effective grifter thriller enriched with strong character development. French-Canadian director Denys Arcand (see Biographies (Arcand, Denys )) continued to receive kudos for his 2003 blockbuster Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions). In Australia the veteran Paul Cox's Human Touch feelingly told the story of the relationship that evolves between a 30-ish singer and the elderly photographer for whom she poses, while Cate Shortland's debut feature, Somersault, was a gripping road movie chronicling an adolescent girl's nascent sexual compulsions.

Western Europe.
      Among French films that attracted international attention were Patrice Leconte's Confidences trop intimes (Intimate Strangers), in which a distraught woman mistakes a gentle tax man for a psychiatrist; Agnès Jaoui's Comme une image (Look at Me), a perfectly observed portrayal of an egocentric writer and the overweight daughter who yearns vainly for his approval; and La Demoiselle d'honneur, Claude Chabrol's appreciative adaptation of Ruth Rendell's novel The Bridesmaid. Wide success was enjoyed by Christophe Barratier's Les Choristes, a remake of Jean Dreville's 1945 La Cage aux rossignols, about an inspirational teacher who creates a choir in a small-town boarding school for difficult children. Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed Audrey Tautou, the star of his 2001 success Amélie, in an adaptation of Sébastien Japrisot's World War I novel Un Long Dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement).

      Of Italy's senior directors, Pupi Avati, with La rivincita di Natale (Christmas Rematch), provided a sequel to his 1986 Regalo di Natale, with the same dubious group of gamblers meeting for an evening that turns into a game of revenge. Gianni Amelio's moving Le chiavi di casa (The House Keys) was based on Giuseppe Pontiggia's autobiographical account of coming to terms with his severely handicapped son. Young director Paolo Sorrentino's Le conseguenze dell'amore (The Consequences of Love) portrayed an obsessive with a mechanical regime of weekly drug dosing, watching a desirable woman in a hotel lobby, and, more perilously, carrying money for the Mafia. Saverio Costanzo's Private, though shot in Italy, convincingly evoked the nightmare of a Palestinian home taken over by Israeli soldiers.

      In six episodes and 111/3 hours, German director Edgar Reitz's Heimat 3—Chronik einer Zeitenwende continued the saga of the fictional Simon family begun in 1984 and continued in a further series in 1992. Winner of the Berlin Festival Golden Bear, Fatih Akin's Gegen die Wand (Head-On) related the adventures of two bedeviled immigrant Turks caught up in a marriage of convenience but ultimately falling in love. Achim von Borries's Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken (Love in Thoughts), based on a true-life event of the late 1920s when five upper-class students shared an amorous weekend that ended with a bungled suicide pact, caught the atmosphere of Germany on the eve of Nazism. Volker Schlöndorff's Der neunte Tag (The Ninth Day) offered a classically styled story of the confrontations between a young Gestapo officer and a Catholic priest in 1942. Oliver Hirschbiegel's Der Untergang (The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich) starred Bruno Ganz as the fallen dictator. Wim Wenders sought American-European reconciliation with Land of Plenty, recounting the reunion of a terrorist-hunting Vietnam veteran with his Christian niece who has lived in Palestine.

       Spanish veteran Carlos Saura's El séptimo día (The Seventh Day) chronicled a real-life rural massacre that resulted from a family feud in 1990. Pedro Almodóvar's La mala educación (Bad Education) was a complex melodrama of homosexuality, transvestism, and sexual peccadilloes in the Roman Catholic Church. Gracia Querejeta's Héctor described the vicissitudes of the life of a 16-year-old boy sent to live with his aunt's family after the death of his mother.

      In Portugal the 95-year-old Manoel de Oliveira filmed José Régio's play O Quinto Império—ontem como hoje, discovering parallels between the imperialistic and anti-Muslim adventures of the 16th-century King Sebastian and today's new forms of imperialism.

      In a generally unremarkable year in Scandinavia, Finnish-Swedish director Åke Lindman's Framom främsta linjen (Beyond Enemy Lines) mixed fiction and actuality in the story of one regiment in the Russo-Finnish War of Continuation of 1941–44. Richard Hobert's low-budget period film Tre solar (Three Suns) from Sweden was an engaging story of a woman's journeys through the troubled world of the era of the Crusades. From Denmark, Nikolaj Arcel's Kongekabale (King's Game) was a strong political drama about parliamentary corruption.

Eastern Europe.
       Russian filmmakers showed a new inclination to reexamine the Soviet and wartime eras. Dmitry Meskhiyev's Svoi (Us) was a drama of escape from invading German troops in 1941. Marina Razbezhkina's Vremya zhatvy (Harvest Time) recalled the privations—and also the simple pleasures—of life on a collective farm in 1950. Aleksandr Veledinsky's Russkoye was based on the autobiographical writings of Eduard Limonov, the maverick teenage hooligan poet of the 1950s, today an eccentric political activist. More modern themes were treated in Valery Todorovsky's Moy svodny brat Frankenshteyn (My Step Brother Frankenstein), an impressive melodrama on the effect on a family of the return of a young veteran from the Chechen campaign wounded in body and mind.

      From Serbia and Montenegro, Goran Paskaljević's San zimske noći (Midwinter Night's Dream), an intimate story of a veteran who befriends an autistic girl and her mother, served as a mirror for postconflict Serbia. Less satisfying was Emir Kusturica's self-imitating Život je čudo (Life Is a Miracle), a rambunctiously comic portrayal of the denizens of a small provincial town at the outbreak of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hungary enjoyed a major international success with Nimród Antal's Kontroll (2003), a wholly original, offbeat drama set in Budapest among the city's unpopular ticket inspectors. István Szabó's Being Julia was an elegant English-language adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel Theatre, about a stage star who falls in love with a man much younger than herself. Greek master Theo Angelopoulos seemed to repeat himself in the lifeless Trilogia I: to livadi pou dakryzei (Trilogy I: The Weeping Meadow), about immigrants returning home from Odessa after the Russian Revolution.

Middle East.
      The prolific cinema of Iran extended its range from its familiar reflective and poetic style, with unexpected works such as Dariush Mehrjui's boisterous family comedy Mehman-e maman (Mama's Guest), Ahmad Reza Darvish's action drama about the Iran-Iraq War and its aftermath, Duel, and Mohammad Shirvani's Nahf (Navel), a stylish modern story of four men and a woman rooming together in Tehran. Gifted Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi feelingly treated the plight of orphaned children in a refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq in Lakposhtha hām parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly).

       Afghanistan enjoyed international success with one of its rare film productions, Atiq Rahimi's Khakestar-o-khak (Earth and Ashes), scripted by Iranian Kambuzia Partovi and relating a minimal anecdote of an old man and his grandson, on a difficult journey to the boy's father to break the news of the death of his family.

       Egypt offered two highly politicized films. Veteran Youssef Chahine's Alexandrie ... New York was an autobiographical recollection of student days in a California drama school and an angry but sincere indictment of American cultural values and political dominance. Yousry Nasrallah's four-and-a-half-hour Bab el shams (The Gate of the Sun) was a passionate protest against the plight of Palestine.

       Israel's major international success of the year was Eran Riklis's ha-Kala ha-Surit (The Syrian Bride), a generous, civilized commentary on political folly and inhumanity through the story of a young woman from an Israeli-occupied territory whose marriage to a Syrian will prevent her from ever returning to Israel to be reunited with her family.

      While the Bollywood commercial cinema extended its range to include melodramas on contemporary subjects such as terrorism (Farah Khan's Main hoon na) and an Indian-Pakistani Romeo and Juliet story (Yash Chopra's Veer-Zaara), Shyam Benegal made Bose: The Forgotten Hero, the biography of a militant Bengali freedom fighter and contemporary of Gandhi. On another level, Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Swapner din (Chased by Dreams) took as its central character a young man who tours with a mobile film projector and a repertory of government propaganda films, interweaving an often uncomfortable reality and his dream life.

East and Southeast Asia.
      Among films that stood out from Japan's familiar genre productions, Hirokazu Koreda's Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows) was inspired by a real incident in 1988 when four children, abandoned by their mother, lived alone and unheeded for six months. Jun Ichikawa brought a dry, elegant, appropriate stylization to Tony Takitani, his adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story about a solitary and emotionless illustrator who briefly finds love and, after his wife's death, tries to recapture the emotion with her double. Mamoru Hoshi filmed Koki Mitani's adaptation of his own play Warai no daigaku (University of Laughs) about a young playwright whose confrontations with wartime censorship, in the shape of a mirthless bureaucrat, prove creative to his play. Among the burgeoning productions of animated features, Katsuhiro Ōtomo's Steamboy deserved mention for its surprising setting—Victorian England and the Great Exhibition of 1851, during which a Manchester lad called Ray battles to wrest powerful new technology from the wrong hands.

      The range and freedom of films from China continued to expand, particularly in co-productions with Hong Kong, such as Wong Kar Wai's 2046, dedicated to the premise that the clock cannot be turned back. Beginning in the year 2046 (the date for Hong Kong's final integration with China), the action moves back 80 years, to hotel room 2046, where a womanizing writer has a series of erotic encounters. Zhang Yimou's Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) was rated as one of the fastest and most deft martial arts films, with a high romantic denouement to its tragic period story. China's recent past was treated in Lu Yue's The Foliage, a delicate and frank story of the lives of young people sent to the country during the Cultural Revolution, and Liu Hao's Hao da yi dui yang (Two Great Sheep), a wryly satiric tale of a simple peasant's problems when he is honoured with the responsibility of caring for a pair of costly foreign sheep.

       Malaysia's most costly and ambitious production ever, Saw Teong Hin's romantic epic Puteri gunung ledang (A Legendary Love) related a story of conflict between love and duty.

      From Morocco, Mohamed Asli's À Casablanca les anges ne volent pas (In Casablanca Angels Don't Fly), a co-production with Italy, offered a comic but touching story of three men from rural Morocco exploited as workers in a busy Casablanca café. Ismaël Ferroukhi's Le Grand Voyage was an attractive road movie about an elderly man who obliges his unwilling Parisian-born son to drive him to Mecca. Algerian Nadir Moknèche's Viva Laldjérie was a vivacious story of a former cabaret dancer and her attractive daughter resisting the encroachment of fundamentalism.

      Film production resumed in Angola with Maria João Ganga's account of an orphan child on the loose in the war-devastated capital of Luanda in 1991, Na cidade vazia (Hollow City), and Zézé Gamboa's O herói (The Hero), about the rehabilitation of a mutilated veteran of the 30-year war and his rediscovery of his son in Luanda. The 81-year-old Senegalese master Ousmane Sembene made one of his finest films in Moolaadé, the story of a group of women who rise up in protest against age-old rituals of female genital mutilation. In South Africa the memory of apartheid occupied Ian Gabriel's drama Forgiveness and Zola Maseko's Drum, about a sports journalist who begins to cover politics in the 1950s.

Latin America.
      From Argentina, in co-production with Chile and Peru, Walter Salles's Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) was a richly atmospheric account of the 23-year-old Che Guevara's discovery of his political conscience in the course of a 1952 motorcycle tour of Latin America. Ana Poliak's Parapalos (Pin Boy) examined the lives of society's least privileged through the life of a lad working at setting up the pins in a bowling alley. An Uruguayan-Argentine-German co-production, Whisky, directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, was a gentle deadpan comedy of character that recalled the best of the Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki. From Chile, Andrés Wood's Machuca (Revenge) used the story of an educational experiment in integrating boys from different social classes as a metaphor for the failure of Chile's brief socialist democracy under Salvador Allende. Jonathan Jakubowicz's Venezuelan production Secuestro express (Kidnap Express) depicted the kind of kidnapping now epidemic in Latin America. From Peru, Josué Méndez's Días de Santiago (Days of Santiago) was an intense study of the problems of a young war veteran readjusting to civil life in the Lima slums, while Fabrizio Aguilar's Paloma de papel (Paper Dove) was a classically constructed story of an 11-year-old peasant caught up in the civil war. Sergio Cabrera's Perder es cuestión de método (The Art of Losing) was a drama that exposed Colombia's wide-ranging institutional corruption.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films.
      My Architect: A Son's Journey, a 2003 release, traced the search of Nathaniel Kahn to know his father, renowned architect Louis I. Kahn. Nathaniel, the director, neatly combined interview sequences with narration and used music deftly to underscore mood swings in the famed architect's life. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, was chosen as best-directed documentary by the Directors Guild, and took top honours at the Chicago International Film Festival, the High Falls Film Festival (Rochester, N.Y.), and other events. In Coral Reef Adventure (2003), Greg MacGillivray documented the endangerment of the world's coral reefs. The 45-minute film warned that a rise in ocean temperature of 2 °C (3.6 °F), coupled with continued commercial fishing, could deplete the ecologically sensitive reefs. It won a 2004 CINE Masters Series Award and the Grand Prix at the 2004 U.S. International Film and Video Festival.

      From Inspiration to Innovation, a fast-paced film from the Finnish production company Avset Oy, documented how the use of innovative technology keeps Finland's industry competitive worldwide. Its effort won the grand prize at the 2004 WorldMediaFestival in Hamburg, Ger., as well as high honours at the Houston (Texas) WorldFest in April and Finland's Media & Message Festival in August. Mellem os (2003; Between Us) won a Student Academy Award and other international prizes for Danish student Laurits Munch-Petersen, whose film showed all the polish of a professional production.

Thomas W. Hope

▪ 2004



Classical Music.
      On Friday, June 27, 2003, the musicians of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra gathered at Baghdad's Ribat Recital Hall to write a new chapter in their country's musical history. Their concert—the orchestra's first of the post-Saddam Hussein era—was more than a mere performance, however. It represented a triumph over years of political censorship, financial adversity, and official neglect. As the musicians played, many in the audience sang along to the song “My Nation,” which had been banned by the former dictator: “My nation, my nation, am I going to see you safe, blessed, victorious, and esteemed?” Given the tribulations of 2003, they could just as easily have been singing about classical music in general.

      While the Iraqi orchestra's performance was not, arguably, one of the musical high points of 2003, it was emblematic of a year in which classical music was confronted by a range of forces—war, plunging economies, labour strife, a mysterious epidemic—that for the most part overshadowed artistic events and achievements and at times threatened to overwhelm the music and those who made it. In the persons of those Iraqi musicians, whose salaries had been cut to $20 per month, the concert symbolized the way classical music itself somehow managed to persevere and play on.

      In North America many classical musicians considered themselves fortunate simply to keep their jobs as orchestras and other musical institutions—their budgets and endowments eviscerated by the ailing economy and flagging sponsorship—plunged into debt. Several orchestras, including the San Antonio (Texas) Symphony, the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Symphony, and the Florida Philharmonic, were forced into bankruptcy, while those in St. Paul (Minn.), Seattle (Wash.), St. Louis (Mo.), and Pittsburgh (Pa.), among others, posted substantial deficits. Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announced a deficit of $3.8 million in its first full year of operations.

      Elsewhere the economic crunch was felt as well. In Australia, Sydney-based World Orchestras, Ltd., which had brought international ensembles to concert halls Down Under, announced that it was canceling its 2004 season owing to an $A 800,000 (about U.S.$580,000) shortfall. Edinburgh's Scottish Opera contemplated staff cuts and a reduced schedule because of its financial problems, while London's English National Opera threatened at one point to become a part-time company because of its monetary woes.

      Musically, France was hardest hit of all. When the government announced that it would cut the benefits offered to the country's entertainment workers, strikes erupted that rocked France's popular and lucrative summer festival season. Prestigious festivals such as those in Aix-en-Provence and Avignon were forced to close, and scores of other events were disrupted or curtailed.

      Compounding the economic woes, the outbreak of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in Asia adversely affected musical activities on the Pacific Rim. Taiwan's 2003 Contemporary Festival was canceled because of the outbreak; the Hong Kong Philharmonic postponed several concerts; the third Beijing International Piano Competition was delayed; and the Arts in May series at Singapore's Esplanade performing arts complex was called off.

      Amid all of these calamities, of course, there was war. When Australians awoke on a sunny day in March, they were confronted by the sight of their beloved Sydney Opera House defaced by 3-m (10-ft)-high letters spelling out the phrase “No War” on one of its curved white fins. The vandalism was the work of a British scientist and an Australian man who were protesting the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In April a concert by Riccardo Muti and La Scala's Philharmonic Orchestra at Rome's La Sapienza University was disrupted by antiwar protesters. A month earlier officials of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra had threatened to dismiss conductor Gerd Albrecht for antiwar remarks he made from the podium during a concert. When controversial director Peter Sellars announced in May that he would stage an antiwar production of Mozart's Idomeneo at the U.K.'s Glyndebourne Festival, several corporate sponsors of the event threatened to withdraw their support. Public opinion was divided again in the fall when British composer Keith Burstein announced that his opera Manifest Destiny—a musical study of the mind and motivations of a terrorist—would premier at London's Cockpit Theatre.

      Other voices—less clamorous, more conciliatory—were heard as well. In August the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra—organized by Israeli conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian American critic Edward Said (see Obituaries (Said, Edward Wadie )) and comprising Israeli and Arab musicians—gave its first concert in an Arab country, in Rabat, Mor. Two days later the “peace orchestra,” whose purpose was to foster an environment of reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, made its French debut in Menton.

      Even the daunting spectre of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was musically addressed in more contemplative ways. At New York's “88 Keys: A Celebration of the Piano” festival in September, composer Daniele Lombardi presented the debut of his tribute to the 9/11 victims with his Threnodia for 21 pianos. In April composer John Adams's 9/11 commemoration, On the Transmigration of Souls (which debuted in 2002), was honoured with the Pulitzer Prize.

      Given the tumultuous nature of the musical year, various controversies that came along paled in comparison, like brush fires next to a California wildfire. The most contentious of these flared in June when the New York Philharmonic announced that it would leave its home at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and merge with its former musical home, Carnegie Hall. Seemingly left in the lurch, officials at Lincoln Center invoked its lease with the orchestra (which ran through 2011), threatening legal action that later in the year forced a cancellation of the proposed merger. Meanwhile, in France a cellist with the Strasbourg Philharmonic refused to play works by Richard Wagner—sometimes referred to as “Hitler's favourite composer”—because he felt “the presence of the devil” in the music. French pianist François-René Duchable announced that he would perform three final concerts in which he would, respectively, dump a piano into a lake, set fire to his recital suit, and blow up another piano to make the point that “the concert is dead.” In Rio de Janeiro opera director Gerald Thomas reacted to boos following his staging of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, which featured explicit sexual scenes and references to Nazis, by dropping his pants and “mooning” the audience.

      All of the hoopla was overshadowed at various points during the year by the deaths of several of classical music's esteemed figures. In February the grand old man of the U.S.'s West Coast school, composer Lou Harrison (Harrison, Lou Silver ), died at age 85. In Italy provocative avant-garde composer Luciano Berio (Berio, Luciano ) died in May at age 77, and pianist Eugene Istomin (Istomin, Eugene George ) died in October at the same age. (See Obituaries.) Lithuanian composer Antanas Rekasius, whose works were infused with an irrepressible sense of humour and the absurd, died at age 75.

      The musical year, however, was not without its high points as well. Ironically, at a time when many orchestras and institutions were struggling to get by, 2003 was marked by the opening of dazzling new concert halls in various cities. The jewel, by many accounts, was the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. With its curving, organic design, the hall—the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic—was a sonic and visual tour de force. In August the opera-crazed populace of Seattle celebrated the opening of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall to general acclaim; a month later New Yorkers were treated to an intimate new performance space, the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, in the lower level of Carnegie Hall. Members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra were so pleased with their new Max M. Fisher Music Center that they played what was dubbed a “Hard Hat Concert” in October for the construction workers who had built it.

      To attract new audiences to their halls, the administrators and marketing departments of various orchestras and opera houses devised imaginative ploys. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra unveiled a series of lively television ads to promote itself, while the London Symphony Orchestra began marketing its recordings—literally—in a chain of U.K. grocery stores. In September, Berlin's Komische Oper staged what it claimed was the world's first “singles party” at an opera performance, in which audience members were encouraged to write flirtatious notes to each other during intermission. London's Royal Opera House devised a promotional campaign in conjunction with the city's top dance club, the Ministry of Sound, in which a set of promotional DayGlo postcards bearing the words dance music, soul music, or house music advertised performances of the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera. Most ingenious of all, perhaps, the Minnesota Orchestra gave away “bobble-head” dolls of its new music director, Osmo Vänskä (one of many new faces on the podiums of major orchestras during the year—see Sidebar (Conductors Play Musical Chairs )), featuring a swinging bobble arm that conducted a recorded sample of Sibelius's Finlandia.

      Performances themselves often lived up to these promotional stratagems. The Washington (D.C.) Opera's September production of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s Die Fledermaus featured cameo nonsinging appearances by U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer. Another legal motif was offered by Reno's Nevada Opera in July when it staged a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera Trial by Jury in a real courtroom, with District Judge Peter Breen presiding. In October the Apartment House theatre in Dresden, Ger., presented the world premiere of Irish composer Jennifer Walshe's XXX Live Nude Girls, which featured two naked Barbie dolls (manipulated by a puppeteer and videocast to an onstage screen) backed by offstage musicians and singers. In South Korea a lavish $5.3 million production of Verdi's Aida was presented at Seoul's Olympic Stadium with a vast stage set that included a herd of camels.

      Along with the onstage antics were sublime moments as well. In December world famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in the shadow of the 800-year-old Cambodian temple at Angkor Wat in a benefit for a charity that was bringing water to that country's underdeveloped villages. In August legendary pianist Alicia de Larrocha, known as “the first lady of the Mostly Mozart Festival,” made her farewell appearance at that Lincoln Center event, capping a tenure that encompassed 80 performances over a 32-year period.

      Where it counted most, in the creation and introduction of new works that would ensure the continuation of the classical music tradition itself, 2003 did not disappoint. The year saw the premieres of English composer John Tavener's seven-hour choral work The Veil of the Temple, Danish composer Poul Ruders's opera The Handmaid's Tale, Chinese American composer Bright Sheng's opera, Madame Mao, American composer Deborah Drattell's opera Nicholas and Alexandra, and English composer Anthony Payne's new song cycle based on poems by Edward Thomas, among numerous others. Jonathan Mills's opera The Eternity Man paid tribute to Arthur Stace, who walked the streets of Sydney for 37 years chalking the word eternity on sidewalks.

      The year was also endowed with a wide range of new recordings that illuminated the genius of the past while underscoring the vast musical palette that was now a part of the classical music world. Early music was the focus of The Essential Tallis Scholars (Gimell), which celebrated 30 years of recordings by the group that was essential in fostering the rebirth of Renaissance music. On Extempore II (Harmonia Mundi), an equally important early music ensemble, the Orlando Consort, took a different tack, combining medieval musical motifs with the inspired improvisations of the jazz group Perfect Houseplants. Hilary Hahn delivered a warmly human reading on Bach Concertos for Deutsche Grammophon, while violinist Nigel Kennedy teamed with Poland's Kroke Band to explore the myriad forms of Eastern European music. In a touching moment Lang Lang, one of the most promising pianists of his generation, revisited the work that had catapulted him to international acclaim in 1999, recording Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

      Finally, as the tumultuous year drew to a close, a fitting denouement unfolded on December 9 when the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra—having rehearsed for the grand moment amid bursting bombs and 40.5 °C (105 °F) heat—appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. As they played, perhaps the musicians' thoughts turned to that performance in Baghdad earlier in the year when their conductor, Abdel Razak al-Azawi, had said, “Music is great at taking people away from their pain and suffering.”

Harry Sumrall

      In 2003 the collapse of the pop-album market gave the blues to the jazz-record business. The five major record companies—Universal, Sony, BMG, EMI, and Warners—concentrated on issuing popular product and severely scaled down their jazz output; the majority of new jazz CDs were produced by many small independent labels. Hard-pressed retail chain stores that were required to turn over their stock every few months carried few independent-label jazz CDs; they paid their major suppliers' bills first and left small distributors unpaid. CD buyers were forced to frequent jazz specialty stores and search Internet outlets for jazz albums.

      The number of jazz albums proliferated, but pressings were typically in small quantities; even important independent labels such as Delmark and Hatology often made first pressings of only 2,000 or fewer copies for new releases. As for reissues, the flow of older jazz packages ground to a near halt, owing to competition from Europe, which had copyright laws that typically protected recordings for only 50 years, compared with 95 years in the U.S. In the 1990s small European labels had begun issuing music that had been recorded by both major and independent labels from the early jazz and swing eras, and in recent years they began issuing those from the bop era as well. These included complete collections of major artists but also those of valuable lesser-known figures. Worst of all, the production of reissues in the U.S. was expensive and time-consuming. Shortly after many reissue sets appeared in the U.S., European “pirates” copied the packages and sold them over the Internet for a fraction of the American price.

      Live jazz continued to thrive in clubs, concerts, and festivals. The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, continued despite the death in 2002 of its namesake; Los Angeles hosted the 25th Playboy Jazz Festival; and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, a midautumn event, offered 29 concerts, curated by tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, who also had directed the San Francisco Spring Season. The 50th anniversary of Delmark Records, which boasted 400 albums in its catalog, was celebrated at both the Chicago jazz and blues festivals. Ornette Coleman made rare appearances with his swinging trio and quartet at the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. After a decade's absence saxophonist Joseph Jarman rejoined the Art Ensemble of Chicago and performed on the group's album The Meeting. The Big Three Palladium Orchestra, led by Tito Puente, Jr., Tito Rodriguez, Jr. and Mario Grillo, son of Machito—sons of Latin jazz greats—and including musicians from their fathers' historic bands, played a brief concert tour.

      The Marsalis Family—a sextet led by pianist Ellis, with his sons Wynton (trumpet), Branford (saxophones), Delfeayo (trombone), and Jason (drums) and bassist Reginald Veal—played an eight-city tour. After he had spent more than 20 years with Columbia Records, Wynton was dropped by that label, and he signed with Blue Note; his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra was joined by Spanish pianist Chano Domínguez's combo for a flamenco-jazz fusion concert in February. Branford's Marsalis Music label issued his Romare Bearden Revealed CD to coincide with a retrospective of Bearden's paintings that was being held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Marsalis Music also released the CD Other Hours, featuring Harry Connick, Jr., who did not sing but played piano. Innovative composer-pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi offered the album Hiroshima—Rising from the Abyss. Then, after a farewell concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City, she dissolved her 30-year-old big band. The year's newest jazz vocal star was singer-pianist Peter Cincotti, a 19-year-old college sophomore who offered an eponymous album and toured the U.S. Singer-pianist Norah Jones, the promising new talent of 2002, and her works “Don't Know Why” and Come Away With Me picked up eight Grammy Awards in 2003. (See Biographies (Jones, Norah ).)

      Following two years and $1.6 million in renovations, the home in Queens, New York City, of trumpeter Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, was restored to its condition at the time the couple had lived there. Its opening to the public as a museum was celebrated in October by big and small jazz bands and was accompanied by the publication of the book Louis Armstrong: The Offstage Story of Satchmo, written by museum director Michael Cogswell. Executive Producer Martin Scorsese joined six other noted film directors—including, significantly, only one African American—and created The Blues, a seven-film PBS series that offered random perspectives on the African American idiom and its effects on rock and jazz.

      The growing ensemble mastery of Trio 3 (Oliver Lake, alto saxophone; Reggie Workman, bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums) was heard in its CD Open Ideas. Other important albums included Cloth by Oliver Lake Big Band, the reissue of Collective Calls by Evan Parker (saxophone) and Paul Lytton (drums), Cecil Taylor's solo The Willisau Concert, and Nailed by a quartet that included Taylor and Parker. Hyena Records began issuing recordings from Thelonious Monk's personal collection, beginning with Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia from 1965.

      Among the notable deaths during the year were those of alto saxophonist-composer Benny Carter (Carter, Bennett Lester ), singer Nina Simone (Simone, Nina ), conguero Mongo Santamaria (Santamaria, Ramon ), flutist Herbie Mann (Mann, Herbie ), and salsa star Celia Cruz (Cruz, Celia ). (See Obituaries.) Other losses to jazz included the deaths of saxophonists Allen Eager, Teddy Edwards, Frank Lowe, and Bill Perkins, cornetist Ruby Braff, bassist Chubby Jackson, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, Australian traditional jazz composer David Dallwitz, Dutch bandleader Marcel Thielemans, and Down Beat magazine owner Jack Maher.

John Litweiler

      The year 2003 was a classic one for exceptionally varied new music from Mali, which had produced a number of remarkable musicians over the years. In January many of the country's finest singers, along with a handful of supporters from the West, assembled near the city of Timbuktu for a festival in the Sahara. The resulting CD, Festival in the Desert, was hailed as one of the best live World Music recordings of all time and featured rousing appearances from Ali Farka Toure and his disciple Afel Bocoum, along with local Tuareg tribesmen, all demonstrating the links that exist between the “desert blues” styles of Mali and the black music of the U.S. The album included an impressive track from Oumou Sangaré, the country's finest female diva and a champion of women's rights; during the year she also released Oumou, a powerful, largely retrospective album. Other stirring performances from the desert concert came from the French band Lo'Jo and from the only visiting Western superstar, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame. Accomplished Malian artist Rokia Traoré, who was based in France, had a good year. She used traditional African instruments such as the n'goni and balafon on her delicate, gently rousing new album Bowmboi, in which she set out to “use classical Malian instruments in a new way” and demonstrate a songwriting style that mixed influences from Africa, Europe, and India. She was joined on two tracks by the Kronos Quartet, a highly inventive American string ensemble.

      Mali's finest guitarist, Djelimady Tounkara, toured with his legendary group the Super Rail Band, alongside their rivals from the 1960s and '70s, the Guinean band Bembeya Jazz. Meanwhile, Salif Keita, Mali's leading singer, collaborated with the New York-based Cameroonian singer and bass player Richard Bona on his highly eclectic album Munia, which mixed African, jazz, and pop influences.

      There was another strong Africa-U.S. collaboration on the Abyssinia Infinite project, an album in which Ethiopian singer Ejigayehu Shibabaw, better known simply as Gigi, joined the producer and musician Bill Laswell to rework Ethiopian songs, using instrumentation from across Africa, Asia, and the West.

      Among the other African female singers producing notable albums were Mauritanian artist Malouma, who mixed Arabic influences with blues as well as rousing rhythm and blues, and French-based Algerian singer Souad Massi, whose album Deb (“Heartbroken”) showed her moving from North African influences to stirring pop anthems with a Spanish flamenco edge.

      Portuguese fado singer Mariza, whose extraordinary looks and even more extraordinary intense and dramatic singing established her position as a global star, produced a fine new album, Fado Curvo. (See Biographies (Mariza ).) Kristi Stassinopoulou's The Secret of the Rocks, a best-selling album in Greece, mixed local folk influences with everything from rock to African styles. In Uzbekistan the young folk singer and pop star Sevara Nazarkhan again mixed traditional styles with Western instrumentation on her charming, gently mournful album Yol Bolsin. The success of all of these artists outside their own territories showed the growing interest among European and American audiences for unexpected, different styles of music. Other unlikely outsiders who made an impact included Bic Runga, a part-Chinese, part-Maori singer from New Zealand, and Iraqi singer Ilham al-Madfi. Once known as the “Beatle of Baghdad,” he spent much of the Saddam Hussein era living in exile and became a major star in the Arab world. His concert in London in 2003 proved that he was on his way to becoming Iraq's first crossover World Music celebrity.

      In the U.K. the music scene was also enlivened by the growth in global-fusion styles. The band Oi Va Voi mixed modern dance beats with Jewish klezmer songs from Eastern Europe. Terry Hall (former lead singer with the Specials) mixed hip-hop, Roma (Gypsy), and Asian influences in his collaboration with Mushtaq on the album The Hour of Two Lights. The Mercury Music Prize for 2003, extolling the best in British music, was won by Dizzee Rascal, a 19-year-old garage-style rapper who was praised for his witty, honest lyrics about the everyday lives of young people residing in the east end of London.

Robin Denselow
      In early October 2003, for the first time in the 45-year history of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, all entries in the top 10 were by black artists. Mainstream top 40 radio stations that had featured teen pop groups *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys on their playlists three years earlier, turned increasingly to rhythm-and-blues and hip-hop tracks. Some observers called the trend a blurring of colour lines and proof that black music had been accepted fully as part of mainstream culture.

      Hip-hop artist 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) sold 1.6 million copies of his CD Get Rich or Die Tryin' during the two weeks after its February release. Mentored by the late rapper Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C., 50 Cent signed to Eminem's Shady Records and to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records in a joint venture. The placement of two tracks on Eminem's 2002 movie sound track 8 Mile helped build anticipation for 50 Cent's 2003 CD release. Hits such as “P.I.M.P.,” “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” and, with Lil' Kim, “Magic Stick” made the rapper one of the most successful artists of the year. Atlanta, Ga.-based black duo Outkast—Big Boi (Antwan Patton) and Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin)—drew critical plaudits for a double CD, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Big Boi created the Speakerboxxx disc, closer to Outkast's previous hip-hop style, while Andre 3000 crafted The Love Below, on which he sang in a funky style often reminiscent of Prince. By November the set was certified four-times platinum, for shipments of four million units.

      The Love Below included a guest appearance by singer-songwriter Norah Jones (see Biographies (Jones, Norah )), who with her works won eight Grammy Awards in February. Bruce Springsteen, who won three Grammys in rock categories, ended his Rising tour in October at Shea Stadium in New York City. Begun in 2002 and traveling to North American and Australian arenas in the spring and European and U.S. stadiums in the summer, the tour grossed $172.7 million during 2003. The Dixie Chicks also won three Grammys, including country album of the year. During their world tour, the trio played to capacity crowds, but they found themselves embroiled in controversy after singer Natalie Maines made a much-publicized negative comment in London about U.S. Pres. George W. Bush. The Chicks also posed nude for the cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine and engaged in a public feud with fellow country star Toby Keith. Singer Alan Jackson (see Biographies (Jackson, Alan )) won three awards at the Country Music Association Awards, including male vocalist of the year and entertainer of the year, and he picked up two Academy of Country Music trophies for album of the year and video of the year for “Drive.” Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes had five wins at the fourth annual Latin Grammy Awards in Miami, Fla. His Un día normal was named album of the year.

      Fox Television's American Idol talent-search show brought two pop singers to national prominence, North Carolinian Clay Aiken and Alabaman Ruben Studdard. Aiken's debut CD, Measure of a Man, sold 613,000 copies in its first week of release and was placed at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. Studdard's debut, Soulful, was released on December 9. Singer Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's Child released her first solo album, Dangerously in Love, which included the radio hits “Baby Boy” and “Crazy in Love.” On the former Knowles teamed with dance-hall reggae star Sean Paul, and on the latter she worked with rapper Jay-Z.

      In late December, album sales for 2003 were down 4.7% compared with 2002. Apple Computer Corp. debuted its iTunes Music Store for the Macintosh in April and sold a million songs within seven days. When Apple made the iTunes Music Store available to Microsoft Windows-based computer users in October, the company sold a million songs in three and a half days. Napster reemerged as an online music store, selling songs and subscriptions for owner Roxio. Bertelsmann AG and Sony Corp. announced in November that they had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to merge their music divisions in a joint venture, to be called Sony BMG. The merger hinged on regulatory approval in the U.S. and the European Union.

      Among the deaths during the year were those of icon Johnny Cash (Cash, John R. ); his wife, June Carter Cash (Cash, June Carter ); Sun Records founder Sam Phillips (Phillips, Samuel Cornelius ); Maurice Gibb (Gibb, Maurice Ernest ) of the BeeGees; Bobby Hatfield (Hatfield, Robert Lee ) of the Righteous Brothers; Don Gibson (Gibson, Donald Eugene ); Barry White (White, Barry ); Hank Ballard (Ballard, Hank ); and Warren Zevon (Zevon, Warren ). (See Obituaries.)

Jay Orr


North America.
      The winter, spring, and summer of 2003 had their share of Broadway-inspired ballet offerings, perhaps influenced by the success of Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out, which gave Broadway its first thoroughly dance-driven show in quite some time and helped to close out 2002 with a bang. Two of the 2003 offerings were more or less duds. Early in the year New York City Ballet (NYCB) offered Peter Martins's Thou Swell, a strung-out suite of nightclub dances-cum-ballet meant to help celebrate the centenary of Richard Rodgers's birth. In the early summer Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) presented the world premiere of a rather sprawling and jumbled St. Louis Woman: A Blues Ballet, with choreography by Michael Smuin, who also reworked the scenario of the 1946 Broadway show to fit his almost-all-dancing scheme (singers appeared onstage). As with Martins's effort, which had set designs by Broadway veteran Robin Wagner and costumes by fashion designer Julius Lumsden, Smuin's collaborators included Broadway veterans Tony Walton (sets), Willa Kim (costumes), and Natasha Katz (lighting).

      For Broadway-inclined ballet audiences looking for diverting entertainment, in the spring NYCB offered Christopher Wheeldon's enchanting Carnival of the Animals (set to the score by Camille Saint-Saëns). Inspired by John Lithgow's charming and poetic libretto concerning a young boy's night alone in a museum of natural history, where his dreams find the displays taking on the personalities of the people in his life, Wheeldon's work presented the visions of a schoolboy's lively imagination. With Lithgow as the ballet's beguiling narrator and precocious School of American Ballet student P.J. Verhoest playing the central figure, Carnival unfolded as a smooth sampler of music and moods, wittily designed by Jon Morrell.

      Postmodernist composer John Adams, who was celebrated throughout New York City during the year, lent another pervasive theme to dance: NYCB offered Adams's Guide to Strange Places in an unmemorable and rather bland ballet by Martins; American Ballet Theatre (ABT) offered a doubleheader of an evening called HereAfter. The first act, Heaven, used Adams's large-scale choral composition Harmonium as a starting point for Natalie Weir's uninspired casual ritualistic romp, in which dancers looked as though they were dressed for a Gap ad. The second act, Earth, fared little better; it featured Stanton Welch's often foolishly finicky choreography set to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, which had become wildly popular as music for theatrical accompaniment. ABT's shorter fall season offered a revival of Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire and a restaging of Frederick Ashton's classic Symphonic Variations, in preparation for the 2004 centenary of the British ballet master's birth.

      Soon after his unimpressive ABT premiere, Welch marked the beginning of his artistic directorship at Houston (Texas) Ballet in the fall season. He took over from Ben Stevenson, who, after being feted for his effective years of service in Houston, moved on to act as artistic adviser to the Texas Ballet Theater (formerly the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet). Welch's opening program for Houston Ballet included his own A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, as well as the world premiere of Trey McIntyre's The Shadow, inspired by tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Similar changing of the guard marked the activities of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Christopher Stowell took over the position vacated by James Canfield, starting with a New Beginnings program that featured works by George Balanchine, Kent Stowell (the director's father), Helgi Tomasson, and Paul Taylor.

      After having performed for the earlier part of the year in temporary surroundings, Pacific Northwest Ballet, run by Christopher Stowell's parents (Kent Stowell and Francia Russell), inaugurated its fall season by christening a newly outfitted home theatre, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, with a new production of Swan Lake. The production, choreographed by Kent Stowell, included scenic design by the legendary Ming Cho Lee. San Francisco Ballet offered a new production of the Russian warhorse Don Quixote as well as mixed bills featuring ballets by Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. During the late summer the troupe played in Edinburgh with an all-Wheeldon program that proved critically positive for the reputations of both the company and the young choreographer.

      At Boston Ballet, where Mikko Nissinen was making his way after having taken over the reins in 2002, the company offered new stagings of Ashton's ever-enchanting La Fille mal gardée, Welch's Madame Butterfly, and Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote. Before the fall season got into gear, the company roster changed significantly. Several veteran dancers left, and two of Nissinen's new hires hailed from Ballet Nacional de Cuba—Lorna Feijóo and Havana sensation Rolando Sarabia. The Cuban company made a fall tour of the U.S., including a week at New York City's City Center, with a repertory featuring Don Quixote and Swan Lake (both productions were supervised by the troupe's legendary director, Alicia Alonso). Pennsylvania Ballet's year included presentation of the East Coast premiere of The Firebird by James Kudelka, and by year's end the troupe was kicking off its 40th-anniversary season with a first-time staging of Fancy Free. The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago put its art form not only onstage as usual but also on film with the Christmas release of The Company, Robert Altman's latest work.

      During the renovation of its opera house, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., offered a number of dance events in less-usual parts of its complex. Among other events, it held an International Ballet Festival, featuring appearances by ABT, Miami (Fla.) City Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Ballet (appearing under its former name, the Kirov Ballet), the Royal Danish Ballet, and Adam Cooper and Company. At year's end, after a U.S. tour that included Las Vegas, Nev., the Mariinsky returned to help reopen the Kennedy Center's opera house with its fantastic version of The Nutcracker and its standard staging of Swan Lake. The Kennedy Center also presented the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a bill celebrating the legacy of Paul Taylor that featured both the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Houston Ballet; the latter presented Taylor's now-classic Company B and the premiere of his newest creation, In the Beginning.

      Suzanne Farrell Ballet, anticipating more eagerly than most companies the upcoming centenary of the birth of Balanchine, toured with all-Balanchine programming in the fall, climaxing at the Kennedy Center with a two-program season. The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg toured extensively in the U.S., featuring a take on the American movie classic Some Like It Hot as a cartoonish dance suite called Who's Who.

      On other fronts of modern dance, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company helped christen Frank Gehry's shiny and new Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Later in the year, after wide-ranging touring, the company's continuing celebration of its 50th anniversary wrapped up at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM's) annual Next Wave Festival with a premiere work specially devised by Cunningham as a collaboration with both Radiohead (see Biographies (Radiohead )) and Sigur Rós. Mark Morris performed during his annual stint at BAM, near his own headquarters, and gave the West Coast a world premiere, All Fours (set to the music of Bela Bartok), in September.

      Experimental dance had some intriguing entries in New York City, including John Jasperse's just two dancers at Dance Theater Workshop and Sarah Michelson's Shadowmann, shown as a two-part miniepic at the Kitchen and PS 122. Susan Marshall's Sleeping Beauty and Other Stories helped to fill out the Next Wave Festival. The Martha Graham Dance Company was back in business early in the year following litigation over ownership of rights to its namesake's works, but it was back in court by the fall owing to an appeal.

      Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet made news as a result of its involvement in Guy Maddin's film Dracula—Pages from a Virgin's Diary, which was based on Mark Godden's ballet Dracula, performed by the Royal Winnipeg. The troupe's fall season kicked off with Godden's latest premiere, The Magic Flute. In addition to showcasing a world premiere of Tristan and Isolde by John Alleyne, artistic director of Ballet British Columbia, James Kudelka's National Ballet of Canada also offered fall programming featuring innovative work that included the director's own there, below, Dominique Dumais's one hundred words for snow, and Matjash Mrozewski's Monument. Montreal's nearly 20-year-old Gala des Étoiles went forward even as it seemed it might not, thanks to what grateful president Victor Melnikoff called a “rescue operation” headed by Boston Ballet's Nissinen, in which the dancers worked without fees. After a slump in attendance in 2002, Vancouver's third International Dance Festival showcased a wide variety of offerings that included local and well as foreign troupes.

      A number of deaths occurred during the year, including those of Vera Zorina (Zorina, Vera ), Cholly Atkins (Atkins, Cholly ), Bertram Ross (Ross, Bertram ), Janet Collins (Collins, Janet ), Howard (“Sandman”) Sims (Sims, Howard ), and Gregory Hines (Hines, Gregory Oliver ). (See Obituaries.) Other deaths included those of director Anne Belle, choreographers Mel Wong and Amy Sue Rosen, longtime dance educator Thalia Mara, and Muriel Topaz, a prominent figure in the field of dance notation.

Robert Greskovic

      The year 2003 was one of a series of commemorative years for European ballet. The 10th anniversary of the death of Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev fell in January, and the dance world looked forward to the centenary of the birth in 1904 of British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton and the bicentenary of the birth in 1805 of Danish dancer and choreographer August Bournonville.

      Many of the companies particularly associated with Nureyev gave special performances in tribute. The Paris Opéra Ballet mounted a program featuring several of his protégés and included the company's first performance of Ashton's Marguerite and Armand, originally made for Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. In Vienna the State Opera Ballet performed extracts from Nureyev's productions of the classics, and the Ballet of the Opéra Nationale de Bordeaux offered two programs of ballets in which Nureyev had danced. In London the National Film Theatre mounted a season of Nureyev's films and television programs, some quite familiar but others rarely seen before. The Royal Ballet also presented an evening of works associated with Nureyev, including a controversial section, arranged by Sylvie Guillem, in which dancers with the company performed some of his greatest roles in front of a large screen while filmed extracts from completely different works were shown simultaneously.

      The remainder of the London season included two very successful mixed programs by English National Ballet, which introduced new works by Christopher Hampson, whose ballet Trapèze was set to newly discovered music by Sergey Prokofiev, and Michael Corder, who made Melody on the Move, a piece evoking the “wireless” age. The Royal Ballet (with Monica Mason confirmed as its director) gave a new production of The Sleeping Beauty by Nataliya Makarova—a Russianized version that split both audiences and critics between fervent admiration and passionate disapproval. The Royal Ballet season ended with a new production of Ashton's Cinderella, with Sir Anthony Dowell and Wayne Sleep appearing as the Ugly Sisters. Two dancers with the Royal Ballet—Johan Kobborg, a principal dancer, and Carlos Acosta, a guest artist—each launched a program of his own. Company colleagues joined Kobborg in Out of Denmark, which showcased classic and contemporary Danish choreography. Acosta's show, Tocororo—a Cuban Tale, premiered in Cuba before having its British premiere at Sadler's Wells; it was set in his native Cuba, and he choreographed the piece entirely by himself. The Dance Umbrella festival celebrated its 25th year of presenting contemporary dance with performances by many British companies as well as by such guest companies as those of Merce Cunningham and Stephen Petronio.

      Elsewhere in the U.K., the Birmingham Royal Ballet gave the first performance of Krishna, a ballet designed to fuse Eastern and Western traditions, with choreography by kathak dancer Nahid Siddiqui; the troupe also premiered Beauty and the Beast, the latest full-length work by company director David Bintley. Northern Ballet Theatre had a popular success with David Nixon's new work, an evening-long version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. A brilliant set by Duncan Hayler featured some spectacular transformation scenes. Scottish Ballet spent the first half of the year working in the studio with new director Ashley Page and then opened the new season with a program that included the revival of Cheating, Lying and Stealing, a work originally made by Page for the Royal Ballet. Visitors to England included the National Ballet of China, the Mariinsky Ballet—which gave a week of performances at the Lowry Theatre in Salford in addition to its customary summer season in London—and the company of Boris Eifman.

      Brigitte Lefèvre, director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, had a long-established tradition of producing a new full-evening ballet every season, and 2003's work was by Patrice Bart, a former étoile. Bart's La Petite Danseuse de Degas, set to specially written music by Denis Levaillant, was based on the real-life story of Degas's model, with Laetitia Pujol in the title role. Other new works during the season included Air by Saburo Teshigawara, set to a score by John Cage, and Phrases de Quatuor by Maurice Béjart, made for Manuel Legris. Angelin Preljocaj used a score by French rock group Air for a new work, Near Life Experience, for the Preljocaj Ballet. Several of the traditional summer festivals in France were curtailed or even canceled altogether as a result of the threat of strikes over changes to welfare payments for workers in the arts who were temporarily unemployed.

      In Russia the Mariinsky Ballet revived two works from the Sergey Diaghilev repertoire. Vaslav Nijinsky's The Rite of Spring, painstakingly re-created from contemporary source material by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, had been staged by various other companies in previous years, but this was the first time that it had ever been seen in Russia. Howard Sayette restaged Bronislava Nijinska's most famous work, Les Noces, in a reading based on that produced by Nijinska's daughter for the Oakland Ballet, which differed in several respects from the version staged by the choreographer herself for the Royal Ballet. Both ballets looked underrehearsed when they were seen in London; the Mariinsky's very heavy touring program left little time for the preparation of new work. Harald Lander's Études, made originally for the Royal Danish Ballet but later adapted for the Paris Opéra Ballet, was also added to the Mariinsky repertory. One of the company's leading ballerinas, Svetlana Zakharova, left at the end of the 2002–03 season to join the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. A long series of visiting companies appeared in a festival to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.

      The ballet of La Scala, Milan, became the first European company to add Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream to its repertory, in a new decor by Luisa Spinatelli. Director Frédéric Olivieri was attempting to revitalize the repertory of the company, which had had an unsettled recent history. William Forsythe, with only one more season left as director of the Frankfurt (Ger.) Ballet, made a new work, Decreation, a multimedia piece that, owing to its complexity and obscurity, left many of its audiences at a loss. In Switzerland, Davide Bombana staged a ballet based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita for the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, and in Germany director Kevin O'Day showed two new works for the Mannheim Ballet.

      The Peter Schaufuss Ballet gave the postponed premiere of Diana—the Princess at Holstebro in Denmark; as a prologue, Schaufuss used a short piece by Ashton, Nursery Suite, which showed imagined scenes from the childhood of Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret. The Royal Danish Ballet gave the first company performances of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, in a new decor by Mia Stensgaard, and also showed a new production of Bournonville's La Sylphide, staged by former Royal Danish dancer Nicolaj Hübbe, currently with NYCB. The Finnish National Ballet mounted a new version of the Marius Petipa classic Raymonda, which was jointly produced by Anna-Marie Holmes and ABT director Kevin McKenzie. The work was to be staged by ABT in 2004.

      One of the most interesting offstage events was organized by DanceEast in Suffolk, Eng. The company's director, Assis Carreiro, gathered 25 directors of dance companies worldwide to discuss their common problems and plan for the future.

      Losses to the dance world in 2003 included British conductor and composer John Lanchbery and Niels Bjørn Larsen, for many years a leading dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet.

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      The National Theatre, formerly the Royal National Theatre, changed its name and changed its style as Nicholas Hytner succeeded Sir Trevor Nunn as artistic director in 2003. By cutting production budgets and attracting more sponsorship, Hytner was able to initiate a season of plays in the largest of the three National auditoriums, the Olivier, for which most seats cost £10 (about $15) each and the rest no more than £25 (about $38).

      Whereas the West End theatres around Shaftesbury Avenue suffered one of their worst years in memory, the National was full, buoyant, and offering the best shows in town. The Olivier season began with Hytner's own thrilling production of William Shakespeare's Henry V, with a black monarch (Adrian Lester) fighting a war on foreign soil with instant media feedback on a battery of screens and microphones. The play reflected anxieties about the initiative in Iraq while reinventing the king as a modern leader whose justifications for going to war were as important as his military resolve.

      Next at the Olivier came His Girl Friday, a new stage version by American dramatist John Guare of the Howard Hawks movie, conflated with the play on which it was based, the classic newspaper comedy The Front Page. Alex Jennings and Zoë Wanamaker were a scintillating double act. Then Kenneth Branagh returned to the London stage, after an absence of 11 years, as the self-destructive antihero of David Mamet's Edmond, a blistering fable of urban dismay and disintegration that Branagh seized upon with an irresistible gusto.

      If any one production defined the new era under Hytner, however, it was Jerry Springer—The Opera, in the National's second auditorium, the Lyttelton. A scabrous musical setting of the American talk show with sexual deviants and fetishists, it was backed by a full choir (the television studio audience) screaming their obscenities and complaints in the musical language of high, Handelian baroque. Most critics rated this the most sensational new musical theatre event in London in years. It was a sellout success and transferred to the West End in October.

      Also in the Lyttelton, there were excellent revivals of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers (his first National commission in 1972) starring Simon Russell Beale and Essie Davis, and Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, newly translated by Nicholas Wright and directed by Katie Mitchell. The sisters were played by Lorraine Ashbourne, Eve Best, and Anna Maxwell Martin, a rising new star who finished the year as the young heroine of His Dark Materials, a two-play adaptation by the prolific Wright of Philip Pullman's three cult novels.

      All the year's best new plays were at the National, in the smallest auditorium, the Cottesloe. Michael Frayn followed up Copenhagen, his huge recent hit of friendship and atomic science, with an even more enjoyable and potentially commercial play, Democracy, with the unlikely setting of the German chancellor's office during Willy Brandt's tenure in the early 1970s. Roger Allam was a superb, charismatic, and slightly troubled Brandt, partnered by Conleth Hill as the East German spy who infiltrated his office and became both friend and nemesis. Once again, Frayn's regular director Michael Blakemore did a magnificent job.

      Other Cottesloe successes were Nick Dear's Power—almost a companion piece to Democracy—with Robert Lindsay in dazzling form as the unscrupulous financier, Fouquet, at the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV; Kwame Kwei-Armah's Elmina's Kitchen, a lively report from the East London front line of small-time crime; and Owen McCafferty's Scenes from the Big Picture, a stunning, poetic picture of a day's damage, drinking, and pain on the streets of Belfast, N.Ire., brilliantly directed by Peter Gill.

      Not even the Royal Court, once the engine room of new British playwriting, could compete with that roster, although Roy Williams's Fallout was a compelling study of violent black teenagers and a policeman from their own environment trying to solve a local murder case. Terry Johnson's Hitchcock Blonde was an intriguing but seriously flawed attempt to exploit the great film director's penchant for fair ladies in the overlapping stories of the blonde body double in Psycho (a gorgeous Rosamund Pike) and an academic on a Greek island trying to decipher a lost Hitchcock movie while seducing his own assistant.

      Hitchcock Blonde transferred to the West End to bolster a weak-looking drama program in the commercial sector. Sir Tom Courtenay gave a lovely performance as the poet Philip Larkin in his solo show, Pretending to Be Me. Meanwhile, three leading lights enjoyed varying degrees of success in plays by August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen: Sir Ian McKellen, partnered by Frances de la Tour, gave a magnificent performance in Strindberg's The Dance of Death; Ralph Fiennes was not at his best as Ibsen's gloomy old pastor in Brand; and Patrick Stewart was merely stolid as Ibsen's obsessive architect in The Master Builder. Dame Joan Plowright led a colourful Luigi Pirandello revival called Absolutely! (perhaps), directed by Franco Zeffirelli, and Warren Mitchell scored a triumph as Gregory Solomon, the humorous used-furniture salesman in Arthur Miller's The Price.

      The musical theatre was in a state of unapologetic nostalgia. Ragtime and Thoroughly Modern Millie arrived from Broadway. Denise Van Outen shone gracefully in Tell Me on a Sunday, a rewrite of Don Black and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1982 song cycle. Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat returned too, with former Boyzone singer Stephen Gately in the lead. Toyah Willcox led a spirited revival of Calamity Jane, and the Open Air, Regent's Park, added a jolly version of Cole Porter's High Society to its staple diet of summer Shakespeare. To prove that anything goes as long as it went years ago, the 2002 Christmas treat at the National, Nunn's sumptuous revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, replaced Nunn's other recent National hit, My Fair Lady, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in time for Christmas 2003.

      One of the best Shakespeare productions of recent years was also by Nunn, in his farewell season at the National. Love's Labour's Lost, with Joseph Fiennes as Berowne, was an amazing show, redefining the romantic comedy as a remembered idyll in the Great War. Nothing at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) came close, though there was a better-than-average The Taming of the Shrew at Stratford-upon-Avon, which director Gregory Doran imaginatively paired with John Fletcher's sequel (in which Petruchio's second wife leads a sexual rebellion) The Tamer Tamed.

      The RSC was eclipsed again by Mark Rylance's Globe on the South Bank. His all-male version of Richard II was a huge hit, but nothing compared to the storming brilliance of an all-female reading of The Taming of the Shrew, with Janet McTeer's piratical Petruchio exacting all sorts of revenge on the play without the need of the Fletcher sequel. The audiences flocked all summer while the RSC slumped to miserable failure in its Old Vic season; the company remained homeless in London after quitting the Barbican.

      Although the RSC rallied at Stratford with a well-received Titus Andronicus, directed by former associate director Bill Alexander, the bloody early play of Shakespeare did not beg favourable comparison with previous RSC revivals and seemed old-fashioned next to Julie Taymor's weird and wonderful movie of the play starring Anthony Hopkins and Alan Cumming. David Bradley, for many years one of the most admired supporting actors in Britain, took the leading role and pursued the quiet route. He hardly raised his voice all evening.

      Offstage, the RSC confusion continued, with the sudden departure, in quick succession, of the company's managing director, Chris Foy, after just three years in the job, and two other key management figures in the now widely discredited redevelopment scheme. New artistic director Michael Boyd kept a low profile all year but was keen to emphasize a return to the ideal of a permanent company. He also welcomed back Dame Judi Dench at year's end to play the Countess in All's Well That Ends Well and Sir Antony Sher to play Iago in Othello.

      The Donmar Warehouse maintained standards with fine revivals of Albert Camus's Caligula (starring Michael Sheen), Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, and one of the year's pleasant surprises, John Osborne's The Hotel in Amsterdam, which featured three of Britain's outstanding new young actors. Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, and Susannah Harker revealed the juicy bile of Osborne's 1968 conversation piece in a luxury hotel, where six media types bitch and moan about an absentee film director. The play opened in the same week as a revival at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, starring three more shooting stars—Rupert Graves, Rachael Stirling (Dame Diana Rigg's daughter), and Julian Ovenden. London theatregoers could clear out their ears for the bracing linguistic vigour of both Osborne and Wilde.

      The Almeida Theatre reopened after a £7 million (about $10 million) refurbishment with Natasha Richardson unforgettably claiming a role from her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, in Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea, directed by—that man again—Nunn! The new Almeida retained most of the qualities of the old, with its possibility of creating epic intimacy against a bare brick wall, but the building had much-improved front-of-house and backstage facilities. The Ibsen was followed by I.D., a new and first play by Sher, who himself appeared as Demetrios Tsafendas, the parliamentary messenger in Cape Town who in 1966 assassinated South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd.

      In the regions the places to visit were the Sheffield Crucible, the Bristol Old Vic, the Salisbury Playhouse, and the Theatre Royal, Bath, where Sir Peter Hall staged a season of Giuseppe Manfridi, D.H. Lawrence, Noël Coward, Harold Pinter, and Shakespeare to great applause. Hall's own daughter, Rebecca Hall, was a lissome, lovely Rosalind in As You Like It. After more than 30 years, Giles Havergal, Philip Prowse, and Robert David MacDonald retired as directors of the Glasgow Citizens. Prowse bowed out with a characteristically brilliant production of Thomas Otway's late 17th-century masterpiece Venice Preserv'd.

      The new regime at the Chichester Festival Theatre had a marvelous summer, mounting a Venetian season ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers and Gotthold Lessing's Nathan the Wise, with Michael Feast in scintillating form in the title role, to Desmond Barrit as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and a jaunty cabaret entitled I Caught My Death in Venice. The Edinburgh International Festival broke all box-office records, Fiona Shaw leading Peter Stein's revival of Chekhov's The Seagull. On the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, there was a superb revival of the courtroom classic Twelve Angry Men and a breakthrough performance (which later went to London) by the sensational 27-year-old Ross Noble, widely hailed as the best new British stand-up comedian since Eddie Izzard.

      The Dublin Theatre Festival hosted two important premieres about artists: Brian Friel's Performances at the Gate Theatre boiled over with the obsessive love of Leos Janacek and was performed to the accompaniment of an impassioned Janacek string quartet; and Thomas Kilroy's The Shape of Metal at the Abbey explored the life and work of a sculptor and her complex relationship with her two daughters.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      Playwright Tony Kushner reemerged in 2003 as a force to be reckoned with in the American theatre. During the decade since his precedent-shattering two-part epic Angels in America made its unlikely way to a berth on Broadway (where its accolades included a Pulitzer Prize, a raft of Tony Awards, and numerous other theatrical honours), Kushner's new work for the stage had been mostly minor. Although his writing output had continued unabated, and his influence was keenly felt in the often fractious debate about the role of theatre art in politics and society, it was only with the arrival in November 2003 of his first musical, Caroline, or Change—a masterful, deeply personal meditation on the civil rights era set in 1963 in his own home town of Lake Charles, La.—and the miniseries-style TV debut a few weeks later of HBO's lavish, star-studded six-hour film of Angels, directed by Mike Nichols, that Kushner found himself once again in the full glare of national attention.

      Caroline, or Change, which had its premiere at the Public Theatre in New York City in a fluid staging by director George C. Wolfe, was a departure for Kushner in both its chamber-musical form and its near-autobiographical content. Through the lens of the relationship between an eight-year-old Jewish boy and his family's unhappy black maid (the Caroline of the title), Kushner and his collaborator, composer Jeanine Tesori, illuminated a cluster of interlocking themes: the dynamics of dysfunctional families, the corrupting influence of money, the nation's grief over the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy, and the promise of social transformation that suffused the early 1960s. At year's end it seemed likely that Caroline, buoyed by mostly positive reviews, would follow in the footsteps of Angels by transferring to a Broadway house—and that, both in theatre circles and among a wider public exposed to Angels in America on television, Kushner's preeminence among American theatre writers would stand confirmed.

      In addition to Caroline's Tesori, another member of the post-Stephen Sondheim generation of composers launched a new work destined to have wide impact. Composer-lyricist Adam Guettel, the grandson of Richard Rodgers and author of the critically lauded Floyd Collins, joined forces with playwright Craig Lucas to adapt Elizabeth Spencer's short novel The Light in the Piazza into a full-scale musical drama. The tale of an innocent young American woman and her wealthy, protective mother on holiday in Florence in 1953 involves psychological intricacies—unbeknownst to her dashing Italian suitor, the 26-year-old daughter's mental development was halted by a childhood accident—as well as large-scale, almost cinematic scenes of Florentine life. Following productions in Seattle (Wash.) and Chicago, Piazza was certain to have life in New York City and beyond, thanks particularly to Guettel's radiant, lushly harmonic score.

      On the nonmusical front, important premieres included Gem of the Ocean, the penultimate entry in August Wilson's decade-by-decade cycle chronicling the African American experience in the 20th-century U.S. The drama, set in 1904 Pittsburgh, Pa., played in Chicago and Los Angeles, where Phylicia Rashad gave a soaring performance as the psychic Aunt Ester. Other Wilson plays—including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which ran briefly on Broadway with Whoopi Goldberg in the lead—continued to be widely produced across the nation.

      The year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama went to a self-consciously poetic and idiosyncratic play by Cuban-born Nilo Cruz called Anna in the Tropics, which was first produced at the tiny New Theatre of Coral Gables, Fla., and then widely mounted across the country. By year's end the play, which probed the lives and loves of a family of Depression-era cigar-factory workers, had advanced to Broadway in a somewhat stolid production featuring television actor Jimmy Smits. The other most widely produced works of the year were Canadian writer Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy, a three-character play about the theatre's effect on a pair of Ontario farmers; David Auburn's mathematics-flavoured family drama Proof; Suzan-Lori Parks's brutal two-hander Topdog/Underdog; and Edward Albee's 2002 Tony Award-winning seriocomic foray into bestiality, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? The biggest winners at the Tony Awards ceremony in June were the campy musical Hairspray, which won eight awards, including one for star Harvey Fierstein (see Biographies (Fierstein, Harvey )), and Richard Greenberg's gay baseball drama Take Me Out, which collected three Tonys.

      In some cases what did not happen on American stages seemed as notable as what did. Among the high-visibility cancellations in 2003 were a production at New York's Public Theater of the long-in-development John Kander and Fred Ebb musical The Visit, based on the durable Friedrich Dürrenmatt drama, and a New York City engagement of the long-awaited (and frequently renamed) Sondheim musical Bounce. The latter work, a vaudeville based on minor historical figures and the first new Sondheim work in nine years, was criticized in its Goodman Theatre of Chicago production for Hal Prince's cartoonish direction and failed to inspire the necessary confidence for a move to New York City.

      Not unexpectedly, given the stagnant U.S. economy, funding for the arts in general and nonprofit theatre in particular continued to erode in 2003. Local and city funding (which had dropped by 44% in 2002) declined even further, the number of corporate donors fell, and foundation funding slipped as well. Individual contributions to theatre, by contrast, rallied to cover an increasing percentage of expenses. The overall downturn forced the closure of several organizations, including the highly visible A.S.K. Theater Projects of Los Angeles, which shut its doors in September after 14 years of theatrical-support activities.

      Still, under the radar—in storefronts, basements, and makeshift spaces—small-scale alternative and experimental theatre seemed to be thriving. On both coasts, in New York City and Los Angeles, enormous fringe theatre festivals provided outlets for young artists and adventurous projects. Variety reported that New York's seventh annual Fringe Festival sold 50,000 tickets to its 200 shows.

      In Canada fear of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) took a toll on the country's two major theatre festivals in Ontario. Both the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the half-century-old Stratford Festival (which relied on American audiences for some 40–50% of their attendance) faced sharp declines in sales at their late-May openings. Montreal's Festival de Théâtre des Amériques fared considerably better the following month, earning international attention for its remounting, 16 years after its premiere, of Robert Lepage's brilliant six-hour epic of Canadian history, La Trilogie des dragons. Staged in a disused railway repair shop on the city's outskirts, the production reaffirmed director-actor Lepage's mastery of stage imagery and created a thrilling sense of theatrical event.

      Among notable Canadian productions of the year was the commercial restaging, for an extended run, of Djanet Sears's The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Sears, the highest-profile black theatre artist in Toronto and perhaps in all of Canada, staged her own history-hopping play with a vibrant singing and dancing chorus, who were said to represent the heroine's ancestors.

      Those passing from the scene included actor, director, and Open Theatre founder Joseph Chaikin and playwright John Henry Redwood. Others deaths included those of theatre and film director Elia Kazan (Kazan, Elia ); dancer-actor Gregory Hines (Hines, Gregory Oliver ); cartoonist Al Hirschfeld (Hirschfeld, Albert ); British stage designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch (Moiseiwitsch, Tanya ); actor Hume Cronyn (Cronyn, Hume Blake ); and playwrights Herb Gardner (Gardner, Herbert George ) and Paul Zindel (Zindel, Paul ). (See Obituaries.)

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures

United States.
      In terms of box office, the year 2003 was dominated by two concluding trilogies. The 200-minute The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King completed the cycle based on J.R.R. Tolkien's visionary epic. Directed by Peter Jackson (see Biographies (Jackson, Peter )) and filmed mostly in his native New Zealand, the movie triumphed as a result not only of the careful attention paid to its literary origins but also of the strategy of shooting all the parts together. By contrast, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, which concluded the trilogy devised by the brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski, showed a formula overextended—though still a cunning amalgam of special effects, box-office stars, martial arts, stylish costumes, eroticism, and windy utterances that might be mistaken for mystical philosophy.

      Nautical spectacles also won favour at the box office. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring superstars Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, was a lusty, if overlong, pirate yarn based on a ride at Disney World. A shade more serious was Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, based on the novels of Patrick O'Brian. One of the year's more costly films at upwards of $150 million, it was a painstaking and dramatic evocation of life aboard a British naval vessel during the Napoleonic wars.

      Other veteran filmmakers were prominently at work in 2003. In Anything Else, Woody Allen returned to his very distinctive version of life in New York City. Intolerable Cruelty, by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, centred on a venomously comic confrontation between an invincible lawyer and a scheming beauty. Both Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood chose to make films in the classic manner, Costner with the western Open Range, and Eastwood with an adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel Mystic River. Robert Altman, always fascinated by the processes of artistic creation, examined the structure of a ballet troupe in The Company. Oliver Stone's Comandante was a very human and unexpected documentary portrait of Fidel Castro. Stone had less luck in his effort to make a film portrait of Yasir Arafat; the documentary's title Persona Non Grata reflected his own failure to get an interview with the Palestinian leader.

      The career of the Taiwanese-born Ang Lee took another surprising turn when his Hulk transformed a comic-book story into an intelligent and literate investigation of character and identity. Few of the year's other remakes and spin-offs risked any such pretensions. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines followed its old formulas with its original star Arnold Schwarzenegger (see Biographies (Schwarzenegger, Arnold )), though with a new director, Jonathan Mostow. Marcus Nispel directed an unnecessary and ineffective remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Occasionally a remake—such as F. Gary Gray's update of the 1969 The Italian Job or the sleek and sexy Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle from the director known only as McG—outclassed its origins.

      The Cannes Palme d'Or garnered by Gus Van Sant's Elephant might seem excessive for a film that barely skirted exploitation in its dramatization of the Columbine student shootings. Other films drawn from real events included Roger Spottiswoode's political comedy-drama Spinning Boris, based on the true story of the American advisers hired to help with Boris Yeltsin's 1996 reelection campaign.

      A number of films revealed Hollywood's growing fascination with East Asia and its flourishing cinema cultures. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was an anthology of memories of old martial arts movies. In Edward Zwick's The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise played an American soldier who goes to Japan in 1874 to train the Imperial army in the use of modern weapons. There were amusing cross-cultural references too in Shanghai Knights, David Dobkin's sequel to Shanghai Noon (2000), in which Jackie Chan, an Imperial guard in the Forbidden City, becomes sheriff of Carson City.

      Notable critical successes of the year included Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, a deft, modish romantic comedy about an encounter between two Americans in Tokyo; and Michael Polish's Northfork, scripted by his twin brother, Mark, a richly textured, visionary film about an old frontier town evacuated to make way for a hydroelectric dam. In The Singing Detective, directed by Keith Gordon, Robert Downey, Jr., was outstanding as Stephen Potter's tormented, hallucinating hero.

      Among the films designed for a younger audience were P.J. Hogan's live-action Peter Pan and Bo Welch's Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. As computer techniques made the production process much faster and less dependent on individual artists, animation films proliferated. (See Sidebar (Reality of Virtual Characters ).) The Disney Studios made The Jungle Book 2, Piglet's Big Movie, and Brother Bear. Disney's Pixar Studios subsidiary enjoyed success with the computer-made animation feature Finding Nemo, and DreamWorks produced Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.

       International Film Awards 2003Academy Awards were granted to (among others) director-writer Michael Moore (Moore, Michael ), director Roman Polanski (Polanski, Roman ), and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (Zeta-Jones, Catherine ). (See Biographies.) For a listing of the winners of major awards, see the table (International Film Awards 2003) International Film Awards 2003. Among the notable individuals who died in 2003 were Stan Brakhage (Brakhage, James Stanley ), Jeanne Crain (Crain, Jeanne ), Katharine Hepburn (Hepburn, Katharine Houghton ), Dame Wendy Hiller (Hiller, Dame Wendy ), Bob Hope (Hope, Bob ), Donald O'Connor (O'Connor, Donald David Dixon Ronald ), Gregory Peck (Peck, Gregory ), Leni Riefenstahl (Riefenstahl, Berta Helene Amalie ), and John Schlesinger (Schlesinger, John Richard ). (See Obituaries.)

United Kingdom.
      The most spectacular production of 2003 by an English director was Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain. Based on the best-selling 1997 novel by Charles Frazier, it related the odyssey of a wounded Confederate soldier making his way home to Cold Mountain, N.C., and the woman he loves. A more modest spectacle was Kevin Macdonald's documentary Touching the Void, an intelligent and superbly photographed reconstruction of a real-life mountain-climbing incident.

      The English taste in regional comedy flourished with Nigel Cole's box-office success Calendar Girls, featuring a group of senior British actresses (Julie Waters, Helen Mirren) in the real-life account of a women's group that produces a fund-raising calendar featuring them nude. Historical subjects included Mike Barker's study of Oliver Cromwell and the English Commonwealth, To Kill A King; Peter Webber's study of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring; and Christine Jeffs's careful but uninvolving portrait of the poet Sylvia Plath in Sylvia.

      The British predilection for literary adaptation was demonstrated in Tim Fywell's rendering of Dodie Smith's I Capture The Castle, Richard Loncraine's elegant adaptation of William Trevor's My House in Umbria, and Stephen Fry's directorial debut with Bright Young Things from Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. David Mackenzie's Young Adam, the story of the casual sexual depredations of a 1950s drifter, was adapted from the novel by Alexander Trocchi.

      More personal projects were Richard Jobson's Sixteen Years of Alcohol (2002), an inventive and cinematic rendering of the director's semiautobiographical novel about a young man's battle with his own violent anger, and Sarah Gavron's This Little Life, based on Rosemary Kay's script about parenting a premature baby with little chance of survival. The veteran eccentric of British cinema Peter Greenaway produced two episodes of The Tulse Luper Suitcases, a multimedia extravaganza in which he took up themes present in his earlier avant-garde films.

      Few films from Australia made a mark at international festivals in 2003. Alexandra's Project, by Rolf de Heer, tells the story of a sadistic punishment devised for an inconsiderate husband. Gregor Jordan's Ned Kelly was the sixth screen embodiment of Australia's legendary 19th-century outlaw. From New Zealand the first film entirely shot in Maori was Don Selwyn's The Maori Merchant of Venice (2002), a free and imaginative rerendering of Shakespeare. Also noteworthy was Niki Caro's Whale Rider (2002), in which a young girl battles ancient patriarchal tradition.

      French-speaking Canada offered Les Invasions barbares, in which Denys Arcand continued his tragicomic investigation of family and society begun 17 years earlier with Le Déclin de l'empire américain. Many members of the original cast returned in their old roles for a story centred on the fatal illness of one of their number. The ever-inventive Robert Lepage adapted his one-man show into the visually inventive drama La Face cachée de la lune (The Far Side of the Moon).

Western and Northern Europe.
      France continued to maintain the highest production levels of any European country and produced more than twice the number of features made in the United Kingdom or Germany. Most were routine genre films, with a predominance of crime dramas and domestic comedies, but the activity and versatility of the most prominent directors remained impressive. The inventive François Ozon's Swimming Pool looked at the creative imagination through the confrontation of a disciplined English writer and an out-of-control teenager. The thriller master Claude Chabrol's La Fleur du mal (The Flower of Evil) depicted a bourgeois French family confronted by a 60-year-old mystery. Patrice Chéreau's Son frère (His Brother) feelingly recounted the reunion of a man and his terminally ill brother. Alain Corneau's Stupeur et tremblements (Fear and Trembling) treated with a sharp observant wit the problems of a Belgian interpreter in a Japanese firm. Jean-Pierre Rappeneau's Bon voyage followed the fortunes of a group of well-connected but dubious characters evacuated to Bordeaux during the occupation of Paris in 1940. Jacques Rivette's L'Histoire de Marie et Julien was a characteristic, exquisitely crafted, quiet anecdote about a couple who meet again after a year apart.

      Germany enjoyed a runaway international success with Wolfgang Becker's modest Good Bye, Lenin!, an endearing comedy-drama about a devoted son's efforts to hide the reunification of Germany from his ailing mother, a loyal Cold War communist. Margarethe von Trotta's Rosenstrasse soberly reconstructed a Holocaust incident and its legacy. In Austria Michael Haneke offered a characteristic apocalyptic vision of contemporary violence in Le Temps du loup (The Time of the Wolf).

      Italy's output was mainly genre pictures, but it also continued a tradition of films dealing with contemporary social and political life. Veteran directors in vigorous form included Ermanno Olmi with his exquisite Chinese myth of a lady pirate, Cantando dietro i paraventi; Marco Bellocchio with Buongiorno, notte (Good Morning, Night), a re-creation of the kidnapping and murder of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro by Red Brigade terrorists; and Pupi Avati with Il cuore altrove (The Heart Is Elsewhere), an attractive, whimsical story of a virginal classics teacher's encounter with a femme fatale.

      From younger directors Gabriele Salvatores's Io non ho paura (I'm Not Scared) showed visual flair in adapting Niccolò Ammaniti's novel about a Sicilian child who stumbles on his parents' involvement in the abduction of a rich child. Ferzan Ozpetek's La finestra di fronte (The Window Opposite) ingeniously interwove the mystery of an amnesiac old man and the romantic adventure of a beaten-down working-class wife; Constanza Quatriglio's L'isola (The Island) skillfully combined fiction with documentary in portraying the life of a small fishing village.

      From Spain, with the third largest production in Europe, Miguel Hermoso's La luz prodigiosa (The End of a Mystery) was an intriguing speculation about the possibility that poet Federico García Lorca survived execution during the Spanish Civil War to become an amnesiac vagrant. David Trueba's Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamina) also offered a new approach to the recurrent Civil War genre—a young journalist's search for living witnesses. Eloy de la Iglesia's Los novios búlgaros (Bulgarian Lovers) was a comedy-drama, with social overtones, about a Spaniard's amorous obsession with a Bulgarian immigrant.

      The doyen of Scandinavian cinema, Ingmar Bergman, at age 85 declared that Saraband (made for television and initially denied theatrical exhibition by its director) was the last film of his long career. This minor but worthy swan song, revisiting the 1973 Scenes from a Marriage, chronicled the reunion of wife (Liv Ullmann) and venomously embittered husband (Erland Josephson). Otherwise, films from the Nordic countries were largely crime stories, such as Colin Nutley's Paradiset, and light character and genre pieces, such as Icelander Dagur Kári's Nói albinói (Noi the Albino). The most notable exception was Lars von Trier's multinational co-production Dogville. Ingeniously minimalist, the film was a parable of small-town intolerance. Some American critics, offended that it was set in the U.S., deemed it anti-American.

      Notable contributions from countries with smaller film industries included the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Uzak (2002; Distant), an exquisite minimalist study of an everyday relationship between an urban man and his unemployed country cousin; and, from The Netherlands, Ben Sombogaart's De Tweeling (2002; The Twin Sisters), the historical story of twin sisters, separated in childhood, who grow up in Nazi Germany and Occupied Holland under very different circumstances.

Eastern and Central Europe.
      Three of the most interesting films from Russia were variations on the theme of fathers and sons. In Andrey Zvyagintsev's Vozvrashcheniye (The Return), which won the Golden Lion award at the Venice festival, an absent father's return to take his two sons on a trip has a startling outcome. Aleksandr Sokurov's Otets i syn (Father and Son) explored the mysterious and disturbingly homoerotic depths of a filial relationship. Boris Khlebnikov and Aleksey Popogrebsky's gifted debut film, Koktebel, related the odyssey of a widowed father and his 11-year-old son en route to the Crimean city of that name.

      The most significant new Hungarian films—notably Benedek Fliegauf's shoestring video piece Rengeteg (Forest), Péter Gothár's Magyar szépzég (Hungarian Beauty), and József Pacskovszky's A Boldogság színe (The Colour of Happiness)—struggled to analyze the contemporary consumerist society and the place of individuals within it. The veteran Károly Makk's Egy hét Pesten és Budán (A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda) was an echo of his 1971 classic Szerelem (Love); it concerned an old couple reunited after having been separated by the Revolution of 1956.

      The best films from the Czech Republic contemplated remembered history. Jan Hrebejk's Pupendo was a wry look at life in the socialist 1980s and the punishments that the authorities reserved for artists perceived as dissidents. Complementing this, Martin Sulík's Klíc k urcování trpaslíku aneb poslední cesta Lemuela Gullivera (2002; The Key for Determining Dwarfs or the Last Travel of Lemuel Gulliver) dramatized the diaries of the gifted filmmaker Pavel Juracek (1935–89).

      The countries of former Yugoslavia dealt fiercely and fearlessly with recent history and present disorders. From Serbia and Montenegro, Dušan Kovačević's Profesionalac (The Professional) confronted a former dissident with the policeman who in former years had been his nemesis. From Croatia, Vinko Brešan's well-crafted Svjedoci (Witnesses) re-created a small segment of the cycle of war crimes through the eyes of a variety of witnesses.

      In Romania, Lucian Pintilie's Niki et Flo portrayed the breakdown under the pressures of contemporary living of an old army veteran. Nicolae Margineanu's Binecuvântata fii, închisoare (2002; Bless You, Prison) recorded the prison experiences of intellectual Nicole Valéry in the early socialist era.

Middle East.
      Despite all cultural obstacles, Iran remained a world centre of creative filmmaking. Foremost among productions in 2003 were Jafar Panahi's Talaye sorgh (Crimson Gold), scripted by Iran's inspirational master Abbas Kiarostami, the story of a pizza delivery man who finally and fatally rebels against the humiliations heaped upon the have-nots of modern society; and 23-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf's Panj é asr (At Five in the Afternoon), which related the battle for emancipation of a young Afghan woman, fired with the ambition to become the country's president. A documentary on the making of this film was directed by the director's 15-year-old sister Hana. Modern Iranian youths striving to direct their own destiny was the theme of Parviz Shahbazi's Nafas-e amigh (Deep Breath), about sophisticated middle-class dropouts; and Mamad Haghighat's Deux fereshté (Two Angels) was about a boy's persisting in his desire to become a music student despite parental opposition. Abolfazl Jalili's autobiographical Abjad (The First Letter)—the story of a sincerely religious young man who is punished for his humanist interpretation of the Qurʾan and love of a Jewish young woman—was condemned by the authorities.

      Production was revived in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003. Siddiq Barmak's Osama, the first feature film from Afghanistan since the routing of the Taliban, looked at the oppression of women under that misogynist regime through the story of a young girl who secures a job by disguising herself as a boy. The first Iraqi film to be made internationally available in 15 years, Amer Alwan's made-for-television Zaman, l'homme des roseaux (Zaman, the Man from the Reeds) illuminated Iraq's civilization through the protagonist's journey from an ancient rural world to the terrible modernity of Baghdad, in quest of medicine for his sick wife.

      An Israeli film, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's Massaʾot James beʾeretz hakodesh (James' Journey to Jerusalem) offered a healthily ironic picture of contemporary Israeli society through the travels of a religious young African making a private pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

East Asia.
      The cinema of China continued to surprise with its interest in private destinies in a fast-changing world. Good examples were Jiang Cheng Ding's Chaplinesque comedy Xiao ti qing (Violin), about a humble newspaper vendor who discovers his desire to make music; and Guan Hu's Xi shi yan (2002; Eyes of a Beauty), which intertwined the predicaments of three women. Alongside this a lively subversive cinema brought works such as Hu Ze's Beijing Suburb (2002), about an unofficial and repressed artists' colony; and Andrew Cheng's revelation of a defiant sexual subculture in Mu di di Shanghai (2002; Welcome to Destination Shanghai). In contrast, China's major international film artist Zhang Yimou made his first foray into martial arts films with the epic-scaled Ying xiong (Hero), mythical in approach but based on the true story of an effort to murder Shihuangdi, the first emperor of unified China, in the 3rd century BC.

      The other film industries in the region flourished with an output of formula films—crime, thriller, teen romance, and horror—of varying merit. The rare maverick films of 2003 included, from South Korea, a spectacular adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses set in 18th-century Korea, Seukaendeul: Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa (Untold Scandal), by E. J-yong (Yi Jae Yong); and most notably Kim Ki Duk's Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring), a film of exceptional if sometimes enigmatic aesthetic pleasures: the life—through a cycle of innocence, fall, regeneration, and rebirth—of a young monk at a strange deserted island monastery.

      Japanese cinema, outside predictable mainstream production, in 2003 suffered one of the thinnest years in its history. Cult actor-director Takeshi Kitano (see Biographies (Kitano, Takeshi )) attracted little attention with his film Zatōichi, in which he resurrected the long-popular screen myth of the eponymous blind yakuza.

      Mumbai (Bombay) producers extended the conventions of Indian commercial cinema to embrace new elements of thriller, science fiction (Rakesh Roshan's Koi … mil gaya [I Found Someone]), and gangster movies (Ram Gopal Varma's Company, 2002). Outside this mainstream Rituparno Ghosh adapted Rabindranath Tagore's 1902 novel of feminism and colonial resistance, Chokher bali. Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Nizhalkkuthu (2002; Shadow Kill) explored the private agonies of a hangman. Vishal Bharadwaj's Maqbool transposed Shakespeare's Macbeth to the criminal areas of modern Mumbai. Mahesh Dattani's Mango Soufflé (2002), adapted from the director's own play On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, was a social breakthrough for India, a sympathetic portrayal of homosexuality in a well-heeled professional society.

Latin America.
      Few films from the cumulatively prolific Latin American production made an international impact in 2003, though works to note were Argentine Albertina Carri's Los rubios (The Blonds), a complex, experimental combination of fiction, documentary, and avant-garde filmmaking that explored the disappearance and murder of the writer-director's parents under the military dictatorship; and, from Cuba, Fernando Pérez's Suite Habana, a practically wordless mosaic of contemporary Havana characters whose dreams, mostly dashed, provide a subtly subversive critique of Fidel Castro's Cuba.

      While many films, such as Burkina Faso director Idrissa Ouedraogo's La Colére des dieux (Anger of the Gods), drew on tribal and traditional life, filmmakers in all parts of Africa were consciously using films in the cause of social betterment. One of the most fiercely critical was Le Silence de la forêt, a co-production of Cameroon, Gabon, and Central African Republic directed by Didier Ouenangare and Bassek ba Kohbio, about the frustrations of a French-educated idealist who returns to discover the corruption and incorrigibility of society in his (unspecified) native country. From South Africa, David Hickson's Beat the Drum was a morality drama on the prevention of AIDS, presented through the journey of a small village boy who becomes briefly an urban street kid. The Tunisian Nouri Bouzid's Arais al tein (2002; Clay Dolls) looked at the abuse of women and children by those who live by supplying young girls from the poor countryside as maids to rich employers in the city.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films.
      Steven Silver's film The Last Just Man (2001) received much favourable attention in 2003. It featured Gen. Roméo Dallaire, who headed the UN troops stationed in Rwanda during the genocidal civil war of 1994. In 2002 the film had won Best of Fest at the Columbus (Ohio) Film Festival and Gold trophies at the Chicago International Television Competition and U.S. International Film and Video Festival, Los Angeles, and in 2003 it continued to garner awards internationally.

      A French film made in 2001 won widespread acclaim when it was released in 2003 as Winged Migration. Regine Cardin's Action! exuded French humour while selling Paris as a good place to do business. Made for the Paris Industrial Chamber of Commerce, the film was Best of Festival at WorldMediaFestival in Hamburg, Ger., and won the Grand Prix at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival.

      The merging of tradition and the future, symbolized in the use of Clariant pigments for the creation of a Japanese kite, was the subject of Hagenfilm's Innovations for Clariant GmbH. It won top awards at WorldFest in Houston, Texas; INTERCOM, Chicago; and U.S. International Film and Video Festival.

      Judy's Time (2000) recounted the life of 57-year-old Judy Flannery, a mother of five, who was also a world champion triathlete in her prime when she was struck and killed by a car. The filmmaker, her daughter Erin, who made the film as a graduate student, received several awards, including CINE's Eagle Award (2000) and Master Series Award (2001) and the International Documentary Association award for Distinguished Short Documentary (2002).

Thomas W. Hope

▪ 2003



Classical Music.
      Classical music, by its very definition, concerns itself with universal verities that transcend the moment. In 2002, however, the music and the artists who created it were often drawn in by world events that made it suddenly relevant as an expression and a reflection of the turmoil of its time.

      At 8:46 AM local time on Sept. 11, 2002, 51 snowbound scientists at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica played a recording of Mozart's Requiem and sang along to commemorate the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on that day a year earlier. Their performance was the opening round of an international event, dubbed the Rolling Requiem, that saw choral ensembles from around the world performing the work at exactly the same moment in 20 time zones (the time was chosen to coincide with the minute when the first airliner hit the World Trade Center in New York City). While the idea for the event originated with a choral group in Seattle, Wash., it soon took on a life of its own, eventually encompassing more than 15,000 singers on every continent.

      That event was mirrored by countless others around the world in which classical music became a universal means of expressing a sense of sorrow and remembrance. In the United States, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings became an unofficial national anthem of mourning, performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles across the country. The spirit of that work was updated and tied specifically to the tragedy by composer John Adams, who was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate September 11 with a new work that was premiered at Lincoln Center on September 19. The piece, On the Transmigration of Souls, featured taped recitations of the victims' names and other sounds from that day set against an evocative orchestral background. At the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, a concert devoted to a remembrance of September 11 was given by the Russian Chamber Choir. One of the most unusual tribute events featured cellist-conductor Mstislav Rostropovich leading the Hanover Radio Philharmonie from Germany and various Russian and British musicians in a peace concert at the former Nazi rocket base of Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea.

      The impact of current events on classical music was felt not only in the artistic sphere, however. Israeli conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim—who had created a firestorm of controversy in 2001 when he defied an unofficial ban and performed music by Richard Wagner at the Israel Festival—generated international headlines in March when he attempted to perform a concert for Middle East understanding and reconciliation in the West Bank city of Ram Allah at the height of the Palestinian suicide bombings. Israeli authorities refused him permission to travel to the Palestinian city, but in September he tried again, that time successfully. At the city's Friends School, Barenboim played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for about 100 Palestinian music students and conducted a master class. A few days later right-wing Israelis attacked him and his wife in a Jerusalem café and called him a traitor. Undeterred, he and U.S.-based Palestinian scholar Edward Said coauthored the book Parallels and Paradoxes, the stated purpose of which was to dispel cultural myths and misconceptions about Israel and Palestine.

      World economic events also intruded on classical music during the year. With attendance and ticket revenues slumping in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001—and with their endowments falling along with the stock market—many orchestras and other performing arts companies were increasingly beset by budget deficits that threatened their existence. The San Jose (Calif.) Symphony was forced to shut down owing to a financial shortfall, and other major North American orchestras, including those in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; and Calgary, Alta., announced that their annual budgets were in the red. The San Francisco Opera reported a deficit of $7.7 million, while Chicago's Lyric Opera was forced to end its nationally syndicated radio broadcasts because of lack of funds.

      Global financial difficulties notwithstanding, classical music continued to flourish. In London the annual BBC Promenade Concerts (the Proms) marked their biggest season ever, selling a record £33.6 million (about $53 million) in tickets. Similarly, the Salzburg (Austria) Festival set a new attendance record with 212,000 visitors. The China Philharmonic announced that its debut season had been a smashing success and offered an expanded second season that included the first performances in that country of the complete Beethoven symphonies and concertos. After a two-year hiatus, the production of Verdi's Aida returned to the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. In addition, a production of Bizet's Carmen on the Boston Common, which was offered free to the public, drew audiences of 135,000 over a two-day period.

      Where it counted most—in the creation of new pieces of music—classical music also continued to prosper. In addition to Adams, composer and violinist Mark O'Connor completed work on his Folk Mass (based on books of the Old Testament), which also paid tribute to the victims of September 11. In the prevailing atmosphere of national fervour following the tragedy, composer George Crumb went back home—literally and figuratively—with …Unto the Hills (Appalachian Songs of Sadness, Yearning and Innocence) for folk singer, percussion quartet, and amplified piano, which quoted Appalachian folk songs he had first heard in his youth.

      Works unrelated to September 11 were also unveiled. In October the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet premiered Terry Riley's Sun Rings, which incorporated interstellar sounds recorded on NASA space missions. Based on the life of contemporary German politician Angela Merkel and premiering in Berlin on August 18, the opera Angela, by composer Frank Schwemmer and librettist Michael Frowin, created a stir. Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng announced that he had begun work on an opera based on the life of the wife of Mao Zedong, and in the U.S., Garrison Keillor (host of the popular radio program A Prairie Home Companion) unveiled his opera, Mr. and Mrs. Olson, about two people who fall in love on the Internet. In each of these works and myriad others, classical music demonstrated its continuing vitality as a creative and expressive form.

      If sheer activity connotes vitality, the year in classical music was filled with just that, from the sublime to the ridiculous, with all points covered in between. The sublime unfolded in September when Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was performed on the 40th anniversary of its creation in Coventry England's St. Michael's Cathedral, which had been destroyed during a Nazi air attack in 1940 and was later rebuilt. Not far away, the ridiculous took the form of an English National Opera production of Verdi's A Masked Ball, which raised the ire of critics and turned away the public in droves with its graphic depictions of a homosexual rape, transvestism, and, at one point, a chorus that gave the Nazi salute. The furor caused by the production (and a similarly scandalous interpretation of Mozart's Don Giovanni in 2001) led to the ouster of the company's director, Nicholas Payne. The points in between included a billboard ad campaign for the El Paso (Texas) Opera production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in which the bloody images frightened the local populace; an unscheduled cameo appearance by a bull snake on the stage of the Santa Fe (N.M.) Opera, which caused a power outage that interrupted a performance; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's decision to institute “Casual Friday” concerts in which audiences and musicians turned out in, among other things, jeans and sneakers. Pranksters wreaked havoc in Paris when the opening night at the Paris Opéra's Palais Garnier was sabotaged by a recording of the dress rehearsal for Handel's Giulio Cesare that was played through concealed speakers as the actual production was unfolding on stage. Down Under, a computer hacker somehow infiltrated a promotional compact disc (CD) by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and inserted pornographic texts in place of the disc's track title listings. All these hijinks paled, however, in comparison with a surreal court case that was brought against British composer Mike Batt by the estate of composer John Cage. It seems that on a CD Batt recorded with his group, the Planets, he included a minute of silence in tribute to the composer of the famous conceptual work 4′ 33″, which featured a pianist sitting at a keyboard in silence for that allotted time period. Cage's estate sued Batt for infringement of copyright—on silence.

      A number of world-famous conductors played musical chairs, in some cases ending long-standing musical relationships. Seiji Ozawa said farewell to the Boston Symphony Orchestra after 29 years as its music director; in September he took over his new post at the Vienna Staatsoper. Britain's Sir Simon Rattle made his long-awaited debut as director of the Berlin Philharmonic, the start of a 10-year collaboration. Franz Welser-Möst made his debut as the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, while Kurt Masur departed from the New York Philharmonic. Finally, in one of the more controversial episodes of the year, Charles Dutoit—months before what would have been the start of his 25th anniversary season with the orchestra—abruptly resigned from his post as music director with the Montreal Symphony following an acrimonious dispute with the head of the local musicians' union. Major soloists, including Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, and Vladimir Ashkenazy promptly canceled scheduled performances with the orchestra in protest.

      World-famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti was the focus of speculation throughout much of 2002, with many sources suggesting that he was on the verge of retirement. Rumours ran rampant that his scheduled appearance in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Tosca in May would be his last on an operatic stage. When he canceled his two performances at the last moment owing to illness—the latter performance generating nonrefundable ticket prices of up to $1,875—fans were outraged, but Pavarotti was unrepentant. Later in the year he announced that he would indeed retire from opera productions—but not solo performances—when he turned 70 in 2005. Equally famous soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa made headlines as well when she announced in mid-September that her appearance with the Washington (D.C.) Opera in October could be her last on an operatic stage.

      In January the classical music world lost its most acclaimed harpsichordist when Igor Kipnis (Kipnis, Igor ) died at age 71 after a brief battle with cancer. During his long career Kipnis championed the works of contemporary composers and was also a noted music critic. In March the Juilliard School's illustrious violin teacher Dorothy DeLay (DeLay, Dorothy ), whose students had included Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Gil Shaham, and Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, died at age 84. (See Obituaries.)

      The death of another musical titan was also the basis of one of the year's most remarkable recordings. To mark the 20th anniversary of the death of pianist Glenn Gould, the Sony label released the CD A State of Wonder, which featured his legendary 1955 debut recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations accompanied by his final 1981 recording of the same work made shortly before his death at age 50. In the former version his youthful impetuosity and interpretative innovations were on full display, while on the latter his brilliantly layered and deeply introspective playing revealed the rich textures of a musical mind still in ferment even as it yielded to deeper thoughts and emotions sculpted by the passage of time. In its way the CD encapsulated all that classical music is and has ever been about: genius giving voice to genius, for one time, for all time.

Harry Sumrall

      Though no new trends or fads appeared and only one new star emerged, jazz and related musics at last crossed a final frontier in 2002. The jazz idiom, originally created by African Americans, had been played on six continents, but in 2001–02 guitarist Henry Kaiser spent two months in Antarctica, the last continent. Kaiser, with extensive experience playing free improvisations and jazz-rock fusion music, was a guest of the National Science Foundation's Artists and Writers Program. He recorded himself playing slide guitar at the South Pole while the temperature dipped to -40 °C (-40 °F).

      The new star was singer Norah Jones, and like other recent jazz stars she was noted for her youth and beauty as well as for her talent. The daughter of sitarist Ravi Shankar, the 22-year-old Jones accompanied herself on piano and recorded Come Away with Me for a major label, Blue Note. The content of her first full album was unusual for a jazz singer; it featured mostly original songs. Four other singers also rejected the conventional repertoire in favour of music that had more personal meaning. Mississippi-born Cassandra Wilson recorded Belly of the Sun in the Clarksdale, Miss., train station, Nnenna Freelon sang Stevie Wonder songs in Tales of Wonder, and Patricia Barber composed all the songs in Verse. Susanne Abbuehl wrote lyrics for Carla Bley songs and set E.E. Cummings poems to music; she sang them all in April.

      This dissatisfaction with standard songs, which were mostly composed before these singers were born, was a tendency that stood out in the present, postmodern phase of jazz, a long-standing, developmentally static period. A similar frustration led jazz artists such as pianists Jason Moran, Uri Caine, and Mal Waldron to turn to Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler, and Johannes Brahms for material more meaningful than the traditional song forms and narrow range of harmonic structures. Stefon Harris (marimba and vibes), Kenny Barron (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Lewis Nash (drums), and Bob Belden (arranger) offered The Classical Jazz Quartet Plays Bach in 2002.

      Robert Harth, the new executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, denied that the declining economy was the reason for discontinuing the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the 10-year-old repertory band conducted by trumpeter Jon Faddis. Verve Records cut its roster of jazz artists to 30–35, and the chief executive officer, Ron Goldstein, announced that the company would hereafter focus on crossover acts. Independent record companies remained the leading sources of jazz, and saxophonist Branford Marsalis founded Marsalis Music, which released his CD Footsteps of Our Fathers. After soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, a major artist, had spent 32 years in Paris, the decline of jazz opportunities there led him to return to the U.S. and accept a teaching position at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston. In 2000 jazz flutist James Newton had sued the Beastie Boys for sampling six seconds of his 1980 recording “Choir” without his permission; Newton lost his suit in a federal district court in 2002 but appealed. On the brighter side, Queen Elizabeth II made jazz guitarist Martin Taylor MBE. A hit in concerts and festivals, if less successful musically, was saxophonist Wayne Shorter's jazz quartet, which recorded Footprints Live!

      The free-jazz underground remained the music's healthiest aspect in 2002. George Lewis—a trombonist, composer, and electronic music explorer who invented the improvising-keyboards computer program Voyager—became the latest jazz artist to receive a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. As the Chicago Jazz Festival's first artist in residence, Lewis conducted the NOW Orchestra in his own works; the Vancouver, B.C.-based NOW was one of the few repertory ensembles to specialize in free jazz. By contrast, composition was banished at Freedom of the City 2002, the second annual festival in London to celebrate the city's lively free improvisation scene. A wildly diverse lot of jazz, classical, and pop musicians found common ground in improvising together, and the London Improvisers Orchestra was again the festival's centrepiece.

      It was a good year for recordings. Pianist-composer Simon Nabatov and his quintet offered remarkable jazz impressions of Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita. Two of Lewis's saxophonist colleagues offered important new albums. Roscoe Mitchell led his Note Factory in Song for My Sister. Another veteran free-jazz saxophonist, Jemeel Moondoc, was joined by bassist and double-reed player William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake in New World Pygmies Volume 2. Andrew Hill led a big band at New York's Birdland and in the compact disc A Beautiful Day, while Hill's former tenor saxophonist Von Freeman offered The Improviser and, on his 80th birthday, had part of 75th Street in Chicago officially renamed Von Freeman Way. Two major British free improvisers offered retrospectives: soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill (Spectral Soprano) and solo trombonist Paul Rutherford (Trombolenium).

      A new discovery, Norman Granz' J.A.T.P. Carnegie Hall, 1949, brought Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and the inspired Coleman Hawkins together. Among the year's reissues, Albert Ayler's Lörrach, Paris 1966 and two volumes of Ornette Coleman Trio Live at the Golden Circle stood out, as did several boxed sets from Mosaic, especially Classic Columbia and OKeh Recordings of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang and The Complete OKeh and Brunswick Recordings of Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, and Jack Teagarden 1924–1936. Among the deaths during the year were those of swing giant Lionel Hampton (Hampton, Lionel Leo ), legendary bassist Ray Brown (Brown, Raymond Matthews ), singers Peggy Lee (Lee, Peggy ) and Rosemary Clooney (Clooney, Rosemary ), pianist Michael (“Dodo”) Marmarosa (Marmarosa, Michael ), and Dixieland bandleader Ward Kimball (Kimball, Ward ). (See Obituaries.) Other notable deaths included those of pianist Russ Freeman, baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, German bassist Peter Kowald, and organists Shirley Scott and John Patton.

John Litweiler

Popular - International.
      The year 2002 was a classic one for African music, and arguably the finest of a batch of great new albums came from the celebrated Malian singer Salif Keita. His recent work had included excursions into jazz-rock and funk, but the album Moffou was very different—an acoustic set that marked a return to his African roots. The relaxed, gently rhythmic backing was provided by guitar, percussion, and traditional West African instruments, and against this Keita demonstrated his intimate, delicate, and soulful vocals on an album that reestablished his reputation as one of the greatest vocalists in the world.

      Across the border in Senegal, there was also a return to more gentle and reflective styles from another internationally acclaimed singer, Youssou N'Dour. In his earlier work N'Dour had matched African rhythms and styles with Western pop, but on his new album, Nothing's in Vain (Coono du reer), he was backed by traditional Senegalese instruments such as the kora and balafon on a set of gently passionate or thoughtful ballads that were matched with echoes of French chanson. N'Dour also acted as co-producer on the much-praised comeback album by Orchestra Baobab, a band that had dominated the music of Senegal in the 1970s with its lively blend of Cuban dance songs and West African influences. Specialists in All Styles, its first new recording in 15 years, included appearances from N'Dour and the Cuban star Ibrahim Ferrer, of Buena Vista Social Club fame, and proved that the band was still as energetic and versatile as ever.

      From along the coast in Guinea, there was another rousing and stylish comeback from a second legendary West African big band, Bembeya Jazz. The group's album Bembeya was its first new release in 14 years. Beninese pop singer Angélique Kidjo solidified her reputation as an international star with the release of Black Ivory Soul. (See Biographies (Kidjo, Angelique ).) There were also impressive albums from African newcomers. Pape and Cheikh's Mariama was an exhilarating blend of Western pop and Senegalese influences from a duo who strummed acoustic guitars like Western folk singers and initially modeled themselves on Simon and Garfunkel. Mali's Issa Bagayogo also created an unusual fusion by matching instruments such as his kamele ngoni (the hunter's lute) against Western dance beats and dub effects on his album Timbuktu. From across the Sahara there was more impressive fusion work from the Algerian-born Souad Massi, with her thoughtful blend of Arabic songs and ballads influenced by the popular music of France, where she resided. African and Arabic influences continued to transform French popular music, with the new French multiethnic community represented by the neorealist movement of bands such as Lo'Jo. A compilation of its songs was released on the album Cuisine Non-Stop: Introduction to the French Nouvelle Generation.

      As European music began to win a wider audience (owing partly to the continued success of Manu Chao), artists such as Mariza, the young and striking new fado star from Portugal, benefited from greater exposure to their works. In the U.K., enthusiasts of the new African music scene included Damon Albarn, the singer-songwriter best known for his work with Blur and his highly successful anonymous band Gorillaz (who performed hidden behind a giant screen showing cartoons and graphics). Albarn released an album, Mali Music, that consisted of recordings he had made in West Africa along with collaborations with Malian musicians. He was joined for a concert in London by members of Gorillaz and Malian singer Afel Bocoum. Elsewhere in Britain it was a good year for Coldplay, with its best-selling album A Rush of Blood to the Head, and for the 21-year-old London rap artist Ms Dynamite, winner of the Mercury Music Prize. Among those also nominated was veteran star David Bowie, whose new album Heathen was widely praised as his finest work in many years. It was also a good year for British veteran Peter Gabriel, who delighted his record company by at last releasing a new album, Up, after a nine-year wait.

      In Latin America there were further experiments in mixing musical styles. Susana Baca, the leading exponent of Afro-Peruvian music, was joined by jazz keyboard player John Medeski and guitarist Marc Ribot on her new album Espiritu vivo, which included everything from French chanson to a song by Icelandic star Björk. From Mexico there was a lively new set from Los de Abajo, mixing local jarocho styles with ska and dub effects.

Robin Denselow

Popular. - United States
      Hip-hop artist Eminem—Detroit native Marshall Mathers III—in 2002 further advanced his standing as a pop-culture favourite with the release of his third album, The Eminem Show, and a starring role in the movie 8 Mile, about a white rap artist trying to establish himself in the black-dominated idiom. The Eminem Show debuted at number one on Billboard's Top 200 album chart in June after having been rushed to stores a week early to thwart piracy. Six months after its release, the compact disc (CD) had sold more than six and a half million copies. In November the 8 Mile sound track, with contributions from Eminem, Nas, and Jay-Z, also debuted at number one on Billboard's album chart. The movie grossed $54.5 million in its opening weekend.

      Rapper Nelly (Cornell Haynes, Jr.) released a funk-rooted CD, Nellyville, including the hits “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma.” With first-week sales of 714,000, he held the top slot on several Billboard album, single, and radio airplay charts at once. Ashanti, a 21-year-old rhythm-and-blues artist, sold 502,000 copies of her self-titled debut CD in its first week of release, a record for a female artist's debut. The album later received double-platinum certification, for shipments of two million copies. Ashanti's first three entries on the Billboard pop singles chart—collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe and her own “Foolish”—were in the top 10 at the same time in March. Only the Beatles had accomplished the feat before.

      Overall, album sales were down 9.8% at midyear compared with the first half of 2001. Sales stood at 311.1 million units, compared with 344.8 million units in the first half of 2001, as counted by Nielsen SoundScan. The bleak picture was attributed to CD burning, computer file sharing, bootlegging, and a lack of hit albums.

      Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band released The Rising, a CD interlaced with songs about the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftereffects. Critics hailed The Rising as a return to form for Springsteen. The Rolling Stones' albums from 1964–1970 were reissued on CD, and a selection of their work, including four new songs, was gathered on the anthology Forty Licks, also the name of their international tour. Also making successful U.S. tours were Paul McCartney; Billy Joel and Elton John; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; *NSYNC; the Dave Matthews Band; Britney Spears (Spears, Britney ) (see Biographies); the Eagles, Cher, Creed, Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, and Brooks & Dunn.

      Alicia Keys won five Grammys, including best new artist and song of the year for “Fallin'.” O Brother, Where Art Thou? was album of the year. The sound track sold more than six million albums and gave rise to the Down from the Mountain tour, which featured Alison Krauss + Union Station, Emmylou Harris, and Ralph Stanley (Stanley, Ralph ) (see Biographies), among others. Isaac Hayes, Brenda Lee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Gene Pitney, the Ramones, and Talking Heads joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Porter Wagoner and Bill Carlisle were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. At the Latin Grammys, Spanish pop singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz (Sanz, Alejandro ) (see Biographies) dominated the awards.

      Country singer Alan Jackson released Drive with live and studio versions of “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” a song inspired by the events of September 11. Drive was named album of the year by the Country Music Association; Jackson won five awards in all. The Dixie Chicks released Home, an acoustic CD with songs by Patty Griffin and Stevie Nicks. Faith Hill issued the pop-leaning Cry, and Shania Twain released UP!, her first album in five years; it included two discs, one with pop versions of her songs and the other with country treatments.

      Neo-garage bands such as the Strokes, White Stripes, the Hives, and the Vines featured a rock sound and stance that recalled the anticorporate mid-1960s. Avril Lavigne, an 18-year-old singer-songwriter from Canada, played guitar and wrote every song on her successful debut album, Let Go. Critics cast Lavigne, Michelle Branch, and Vanessa Carlton as alternatives to the teen-oriented pop of Spears and Christina Aguilera.

      Among the music figures who died during the year were Lisa (“Left Eye”) Lopes (Lopes, Lisa Nicole ) of the rhythm-and-blues trio TLC, pop singer Peggy Lee (Lee, Peggy ), Country Music Hall of Fame members Waylon Jennings (Jennings, Waylon ) and Harlan Howard (Howard, Harlan Perry ), punk pioneer Dee Dee Ramone (Ramone, Dee Dee ) (Douglas Colvin), Layne Staley (Staley, Layne Thomas ) of the rock group Alice in Chains, songwriter Otis Blackwell (Blackwell, Otis ), John Entwistle (Entwistle, John Alec ) of the Who, Rosemary Clooney (Clooney, Rosemary ), and rapper Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell). (See Obituaries.)

Jay Orr


North America.
      Despite the vicissitudes of living in an awakened world following the 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., most plans in place for dance went forward in 2002. Though American Ballet Theatre (ABT) was forced for budgetary reasons to cancel plans for an all-Stravinsky program—featuring Firebird, a work created by James Kudelka for his National Ballet of Canada (NBC)—ABT managed to present two new stagings of classic works by British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton: The Dream and La Fille mal gardée. Both The Dream, a one-act work that was set to Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and La Fille mal gardée, a two-act production based on Jean Dauberval's 1789 ballet about love in a rustic setting, won eager approval from audiences and the press. Each provided stellar showcases for the company's dancers, especially its strong male contingent. The radiant Cuban-born dancer Carlos Acosta, who made his ABT debut during the season, the mercurial Ethan Stiefel, and the brilliant Angel Corella reached new plateaus of their already splendid artistry. Elsewhere in the same season, two young comers, Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes—both recently promoted to principal dancer—stood out; Murphy made a grand debut as Lise in La Fille mal gardée, and Gomes gave a memorable accounting of the title role in Onegin, the Aleksandr Pushkin-inspired John Cranko ballet that the company acquired in 2001. ABT ballerina Susan Jaffe retired from the stage after 22 years with the company; later in the year she joined the troupe's administrative staff and planned to pursue an acting career.

      New York City Ballet (NYCB) completed its winter season with little of major note except Telemann Overture Suite in E-Minor, a charming new work by novice choreographer Melissa Barak; the work served as an antidote to the less-than-impressive new works offered by ballet master in chief Peter Martins. In the spring NYCB celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Diamond Project, the new-ballet showcase named for the Irene Diamond Fund, its principal donor. Little in NYCB's spring program—which included selections from past Diamond Project ballets—gave much cause for celebration, with the exception of two works that had their premiere in June: Barak's If by Chance (set to Dmitry Shostakovich's Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor) and Christopher Wheeldon's Morphoses (set to the music of Gyorgy Ligeti). Wheeldon is the company's resident choreographer and one of the world's leading classical dancemakers. NYCB ballerina Heléne Alexopoulos took her final bow in May, ending her career with George Balanchine's challenging The Prodigal Son. A mostly lacklustre selection of some eight works associated with the new-ballet project was nationally televised. The rare dance offering by the Public Broadcasting System, Live from Lincoln Center, achieved a dubious impact and low ratings.

      In the realm of modern dance, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) launched its 50th-anniversary year. Helping cap the Lincoln Center Festival (LCF), MCDC offered an array of Cunningham works that spanned the company's history—one work each from the 1950s and '60s and two from the '80s, as well as a brand new work by Cunningham, Loose Time, which involved design elements by contemporary artist Terry Winters. In striking contrast, the Martha Graham Dance Company (MGDC) barely existed. Though the troupe's operations remained suspended owing to both financial difficulties and ligation problems with Ronald Protas, Graham's legal heir, over the ownership of copyright to Graham's dances and to the use of her name, MGDC gave one newsworthy performance in New York City in midyear, for which the participants donated their services. In late summer the troupe learned that a court ruling had been made in its favour. The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, which was taken to court by Protas, was granted the copyrights to most of Graham's dances, and MGDC was thereby allowed to resume presenting its founder's work without constraint.

      Highlighting the Paul Taylor Dance Company's New York City season was the amusingly jittery Antique Valentine (set to music-box recordings) and the world premiere of the grandly scaled Promethean Fire (set to Bach) at the American Dance Festival. Mark Morris's partly elegiac and partly ecstatic V (set to Robert Schumann) helped cap his first Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) season since he moved into his specially built headquarters across the street. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater featured an array of dances by women choreographers for its annual monthlong New York City winter season.

      Highlighting the season were visits by various Russian ballet troupes. St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Ballet played the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (KC) in Washington, D.C., in the winter with its historic 1999 revival of The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and its equally historic staging of George Balanchine's Jewels, the world's first multiact “abstract” ballet. For the first time under its new artistic director, Boris Akimov, the Bolshoi Ballet appeared at the KC in Swan Lake and La Bayadère, productions of its ousted artistic director Yury Grigorovich. Both productions then returned to the U.S. for a national tour in the fall; KC finished off its year with Grigorovich's The Nutcracker. By year's end, KC's opera house had closed for renovations. The Mariinsky also opened the LCF with its new “old” staging of La Bayadère, in a production based on historical research conducted both in Russia and at the Harvard Theatre Collection. The same New York City season also offered Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and the first local performances by a Russian company of Jewels. St. Petersburg's Eifman Ballet celebrated its 25th anniversary while appearing in New York City.

      BAM's annual Next Wave Festival featured France's Angelin Preljocaj, including his recent rendering of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which featured nudity. In the same festival, making a local debut was Sasha Waltz, who presented Körper (“Bodies”), which offered more bare skin. Japan's Sankai Juku and the Mark Morris Dance Group helped cap the BAM festival, the latter with Morris's comic-book take on The Nutcracker, called The Hard Nut. Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project (WODP) helped open the festivities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Jacob's Pillow dance seasons. The WODP also toured a good deal nationally and internationally. In December, however, Baryshnikov announced that WODP would disband and that the Baryshnikov Center for Dance, a dance studio and space for creating new works, would open in 2004. On a grander scale, Dance Theater Workshop held the grand opening in New York City of its newly refurbished state-of-the-art quarters.

      In Florida, Miami City Ballet's Edward Villella finished The Neighborhood Ballroom, his multiact work based on ballroom dancing. The San Francisco Ballet presented its first staging of Jewels and played an ambitious three-program, one-week season at New York City's City Center. Pacific Northwest Ballet presented the world premier of Donald Byrd's Seven Deadly Sins, after which Byrd announced the closure of his own ensemble, Donald Byrd/The Group. Houston (Texas) Ballet (HB) offered Peter Pan, a charming and original ballet by Trey McIntyre. HB's longtime artistic director Ben Stevenson announced his impending retirement from the Houston troupe before accepting a post as artistic adviser to the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. Oregon Ballet Theater's James Canfield announced his decision to leave his position. Mikko Nissinen launched his first season as director of Boston Ballet with a repertory that would include Ashton's La Fille mal gardée.

      The 28-year-old Southern Ballet Theatre announced its name change to Orlando Ballet. Cincinnati (Ohio) Ballet and the Cincinnati Art Museum teamed up to help salute Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (BRDMC) octogenarian Frederic Franklin with a ballet gala and a longer-running show of BRDMC visual designs. In June an offshoot of Dance/USA, a national service organization, was formed; Dance/NYC was established with the prominent Web site . NBC's Kudelka convened a symposium for fellow artistic directors to address and discuss aspects of running a ballet company in the 21st century. His newest work, The Contract, inspired in part by The Pied Piper, represented his first multiact original creation and earned welcoming reviews but weak ticket sales. The Royal Winnipeg (Man.) Ballet closed its spring season with Mauricio Wainrot's Carmina Burana and opened its fall season with Andre Prokovsky's Anna Karenina. John Alleyne, the artistic director of Ballet British Columbia, presented the world premiere of Orpheus.A new ballet company, the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, directed by Igor Dobrovolskiy, was launched in May in New Brunswick. In late summer the Toronto area hosted another sprawling version of the fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists.

      Deaths during the year included those of dance preservationist Barbara Barker, historical dance teacher Wendy Hilton, dance critic Laurie Horn, dance promoter Stephanie Reinhart, dancers Mia Slavenska (Slavenska, Mia ) (see Obituaries), Jackie Raven, Florence Lessing, and William Marrié, and dancer-teacher-choreographers Benjamin Harkarvy (Harkarvy, Benjamin ) (see Obituaries), Rod Rodgers, David Wood, Pauline Tish, James Richard (“Buster”) Brown (Brown, James Richard ) (see Obituaries), Beverly Brown, Meredith Baylis, Duncan Noble, and Pepsi Bethel.

Robert Greskovic

      Though some distinguished new work was seen in Europe in 2002, as in previous years the main news was made by changes in the artistic direction of companies all over the continent. The most publicized resignations were those of Ross Stretton at the Royal Ballet and American choreographer William Forsythe in Frankfurt, Ger.

      In the London ballet world, the Royal Ballet's first season under director Ross Stretton had aroused both interest and controversy. He introduced several short works by choreographers new to the company, including Stephen Baynes, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, and Mark Morris. Some of these works were panned by the critics, and questions were asked about the direction in which Stretton was taking the company. Fortunately, the only world premiere provided the hit of the season; Tryst,a complex pure-dance piece by British-born choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, was acclaimed as one of the best new ballets seen from this company in years. Just before the start of the 2002–03 season, however, Stretton resigned, saying that he was not happy with the rate at which he was being allowed to introduce new work. Assistant director Monica Mason took over the management of the company until a new appointment could be made. English National Ballet also had a success with Christopher Hampson's Double Concerto, and Hampson also made a new version of the company's signature piece, Nutcracker, with designs by cartoonist Gerald Scarfe. Birmingham Royal Ballet moved back into its refurbished home theatre, where it presented a program to mark the centenary of the birth of composer William Walton.

      Scottish Ballet announced the appointment of Royal Ballet dancer and choreographer Ashley Page to replace Robert North as artistic director. Page was charged with helping to “redefine the company as a modern ballet company,” and his appointment ended speculation that the troupe would abandon ballet for contemporary dance. The company produced Sir Frederick Ashton's Two Pigeons for its spring tour, with former Royal Ballet star Sarah Wildor as guest artist. Northern Ballet Theatre had a successful year under its new director, David Nixon, who introduced I Got Rhythm (set to the music of George and Ira Gershwin) and his own version of Madame Butterfly and made his first piece especially for the company; it was based on Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights.

      Christopher Bruce retired after eight years as artistic director of the Rambert Dance Company, and he was succeeded by choreographer Mark Baldwin. Another former Royal Ballet star, Bruce Sansom, became the company's head of development after two years spent in management training first with the San Francisco Ballet and then as one of the first fellows of the Vilar Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Siobhan Davies Dance Company resumed operations after a yearlong absence with Plants and Ghosts, a new work designed to be shown in nondance venues, including a disused aircraft hanger and a former cotton mill. In October the Royal Academy of Dance hosted a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

      Visits by American troupes to London included the long-awaited return of both the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Dance Theatre of Harlem and a first appearance by the Hubbard Street Dance Company of Chicago. The Lithuanian National Ballet mounted an unusual Romeo and Juliet in a semistaged performance choreographed by Vladimir Vasiliev. The orchestra was conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, who left the podium in the closing scene to join the action.

      The Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg followed its re-creation of the original Sleeping Beauty by attempting a similar reconstruction of Marius Petipa's La Bayadère. The new production was based on the version used in 1900 but also included some later additions that had become widely accepted as part of the ballet. La Bayadère was generally perceived as less satisfying than the Sleeping Beauty experiment, partly because the ballet contained so much more mime than modern audiences expected. Also in repertory were a triple bill of ballets by John Neumeier and a new Cinderella by Aleksey Ratmansky. The Bolshoi Ballet scored a great success with the first Russian production of Ashton's La Fille mal gardée, some 40 years after plans for this acquisition were first discussed.

      The dance scene in Germany was dominated by the decision of William Forsythe to leave the Ballett Frankfurt, which under his leadership had become one of the world's best-known companies. Threats of cuts in the funding provided by the city of Frankfurt and a reported desire by the city council to see a company providing more accessible work were believed to be behind Forsythe's departure. A worldwide outcry had greeted the original announcement of the city's plans, but the clamour failed to influence the outcome. Another unhappy situation unfolded in Berlin, where Bianca Li resigned as director of the ballet of the Komische Oper after only nine months on the job, citing difficult working conditions as her reason for quitting. Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet had a more successful year, including the premiere of Neumeier's latest work, The Seagull, a two-act ballet based on Anton Chekov's play.

      In France the most important new work for the Paris Opéra Ballet was another Wuthering Heights piece. Hurlevent, with choreography by company étoile Kader Belarbi and music by Philippe Hersant, was a nonliteral treatment of the novel; it was designed as a modern commentary on the traditional romantic ballet as well as a retelling of the famous story. Other programs during the year included an all-Stravinsky evening and a revival of Maurice Béjart's full-evening ballet Le Concours, which was based on a ballet competition. Leading soloist Laetitia Pujol was promoted to étoile during the year. The Ballet de Lorraine, based in Nancy, France, presented an evening of three new works inspired by American dancer Loie Fuller. Almost 30 different companies from Latin America were featured in Terra Latina, the 2002 Lyon Biennale de la Danse.

      A change of management at the Dutch National Ballet saw Wayne Eagling replaced as artistic director by his former assistant, Ted Brandsen. In Belgium choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker celebrated 20 years as director of her company, Rosas, and the Royal Ballet of Flanders mounted a controversial new production of Swan Lake, with choreography by Jan Fabre. The latter was also shown later in the season at the Edinburgh International Festival, and it aroused strong reactions both for and against its reworking of the Petipa/Lev Ivanov original. Ireland held its first International Dance Festival in May and imported a number of distinguished overseas companies, including Merce Cunningham's, as well as providing a new showcase for Irish artists.

      After a long period of discussion, the Royal Swedish Ballet replaced Petter Jacobsen as artistic director with former company dancer Madeleine Onne. The Swedish dance company in Göteborg—formerly ballet-based but now a modern dance troupe—also lost its director when Anders Hellstrom resigned. Johan Inger, a dancer in Forsythe's Frankfurt company, took over as director of the Cullberg Ballet, Sweden's premier dance company. The Peter Schaufuss company, based in Århus, Den., premiered Diana—the Princess. Choreographed by Schaufuss himself, it was based on the life of Diana, princess of Wales. The Royal Danish Ballet showed the first performance of another Neumeier ballet, this one entitled The Odyssey.

      Two different companies in Italy based programs on ballets from, or inspired by, Sergey Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. The company of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily, revived two pieces by Léonide Massine: Parade and Le Chant du rossignol, and the Aterballetto company premiered versions by director Mauro Bigonzetti of Petrushka and Les Noces. The Rome Opera Ballet saw August Bournonville's La Sylphide restaged by Carla Fracci and Niels Kehlet, and the ballet of La Scala, Milan, took its revival of Luigi Manzotti's Excelsior on tour to Paris.

      A number of dance luminaries died during the year, including South African choreographer and dancer Alfred Rodrigues, British teacher and author Joan Lawson, Russian-born French ballet critic and writer Irène Lidova, and Dutch dancer and choreographer Dirk Sanders.

Jane Simpson

World Dance
      Popular folk dance troupes from the former Soviet Union toured the United States and Europe in 2002 and showed that they had lost none of their verve or attraction. Remarkably, the companies were headed by legendary figures active into their 90s. The Moiseyev Dance Company was created in 1937 by choreographer Igor Moiseyev, and in 2002, aged 95, he was still involved with the company. The Moiseyev dancers thrilled a new generation of Americans in East Coast and West Coast venues in their portrayals of athletes, Argentine horsemen, American countryfolk, and Russian peasants. Moiseyev's brilliant and colourful choreography in Gopak and his signature Partisans, where dancers donned long cloaks that hid their foot movements to skim smoothly over the stage as if rolling on wheels, continued as staples of the repertoire. After its tour in the U.S., the company traveled to the U.K.

      The Georgian State Dance Company—founded in 1945 by Iliko Sukhishvili and his wife, Nino Ramishvili, who led the company until her death in 2000 at age 90—performed their strenuous Transcaucasian dances with virtuosity, mainly in American college theatres. Another touring group that was seen in many college towns was the Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble; its 60 singers and dancers, directed by Col. Boris Gastev, presented The Sky of Russia, a dazzling spectacle.

      Perhaps as an echo of the current Western fascination with Indian film and music, the colourful dances of the Asian subcontinent were featured prominently. A festival in New Delhi attracted artists from all parts of India and some from London, while Toronto-based dancer Rina Singha introduced Am I My Sister's Keeper? At the Edinburgh Festival, the six major Indian dance styles were performed—kathak, odissi, manipuri, kuchipudi, bharatnatyam, and mohini attam. Among the prominent dancers were Birju Maharaj and Madhavi Mudgal. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City presented Indian dancer Swati Bhise in Emotions in Indian Dance. Indian classical dance companies were active in Chicago and other cities as well.

      From Burkina Faso came the Compagnie Salia nï Seydou, which performed ritual dances in Canada and five American cities. The principal presentation was a piece titled Figninto, a tale about being open to love, friendship, and the real values of life. A more traditional African company that had toured North America every season since 1998 was the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique; in 2002 its American tour director, Julio Armando Matlombe, arranged a program of war dances.

      Spanish troupes remained popular. Noche Flamenca appeared in New York, and the Gitanos de Granada—featuring Juan Andros Maya of the Maya clan, which lives in the caves of Granada—was seen in London. Flamenco Vivo was on tour; an American flamenco festival was staged in New York City; and the New World Flamenco Festival was held in Irvine, Calif. Joaquín Cortés, meanwhile, took Europe by storm and titillated the haut monde with his stylish flamenco interpretations.

      The Thunderbird Dancers, who performed at American Indian powwows and gave workshops for non-Indians, aimed to educate the public. Their programs included the Robin Dance of the Iroquois, the Rabbit Dance of the Sioux, a War Dance by men, and a Shawl Dance by women. Hawaiians, unhappy that their traditional dance was constantly shown in false imitations, held a World Conference on Hula in Hilo on July 29–Aug. 4, 2001, that drew 1,000 enthusiasts.

      Currently in its 12th season, Chicago's Human Rhythm Project, directed by Lane Alexander, presented some 20 performances with tap-dancing greats Gregory Hines and Savion Glover as well as picturesque veterans such as Reggie the Hoofer. Tap virtuoso Alexander danced his own choreography to Morton Gould's Tap Dance Concerto with a full orchestra. Jazz dance achieved renewed recognition through the efforts of the Jazz Dance World Congress, held in Chicago in August and organized by jazz authority Gus Giordano.

      Preservation of folklore was the concern of the 47th International Festival of Folklore, held in August in Licata, Sicily. The Bayanihan Philippine National Dance company was awarded the highest prize, and secondary awards were given to groups from Taiwan and Macedonia. In France the Lyon Dance Biennial hosted 27 companies from South America that harkened back to their native Indian roots. In addition, French choreographer Maguy Marin's Applause Is Not Edible, an abstract work about power, made its debut.

Ann Barzel


Great Britain and Ireland.
      The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) was plunged into turmoil again when its artistic director, Adrian Noble, resigned on April 24, 2002. Noble's announcement came the week after his West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a new musical based on the 1968 movie, opened to good reviews and a healthy advance at the box office at the London Palladium. Cynics saw Chitty's flying car and future success bearing Noble conveniently away from a mess not necessarily all of his own making.

      No one knew what would happen to Noble's plan for the proposed demolition of the main Stratford theatre, the so-called “Shakespeare village” by the River Avon, or indeed where future London seasons would be presented—now that the company had torn up its contract with the Barbican Theatre, where it had enjoyed special rates and terms of employment for staff. In addition, Noble's intention to operate as a player in the West End seemed fraught with danger, especially since most theatregoing taxpayers saw the government-funded RSC as an idealist alternative to the commercial imperatives of Shaftesbury Avenue, the heart of London's theatre district.

      How the RSC would recover from this debacle was not clear. Debts mounted with an economically disastrous season of late romances—The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, and Pericles—at the Roundhouse in North London. In July, Michael Boyd, an RSC associate director, was named to succeed Noble when his contract expired in March 2003. Boyd promptly gave an unfortunate press interview in which he said that theatre was no longer all that important, that Shakespeare was “horny,” and that he hoped to employ Hollywood actors, such as Nicole Kidman.

      Productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Antony and Cleopatra moved from Stratford to the Haymarket in the West End. Harriet Walter and Nicholas Le Prevost were delightful as a middle-aged Beatrice and Benedick drenched in vituperation and Sicilian sunshine, and Sinead Cusack was a skittish and sensual Cleopatra opposite Stuart Wilson's grizzled Antony. Back in Stratford, the Swan had a critically approved season of Elizabethan and Jacobean rarities supervised brilliantly by Gregory Doran, another RSC associate director. The company was led by Sir Antony Sher, who tore a passion to tatters in both Philip Massinger's The Roman Actor and John Marston's The Malcontent.

      Change was in the air all over the British theatre. Sam Mendes announced that he would leave his post as artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse after 10 years and presented a highly successful season of new American plays: Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, David Auburn's Proof (starring a luminous Gwyneth Paltrow), and the world premiere of Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg's stunning drama of sexual confusions and rivalries at the baseball diamond. Mendes himself bowed out after directing (and bagging best director in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for) Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with a handpicked company led by Simon Russell Beale, Emily Watson, Helen McCrory, and Mark Strong.

      Michael Grandage was named Mendes's successor and had as his first production a revival at year's end of Noël Coward's The Vortex, starring Francesca Annis and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Grandage would continue to be responsible for programming at the Sheffield Crucible in Yorkshire, where he enjoyed another outstanding year; he had enticed Kenneth Branagh back to the stage in an electrifying Richard III.

      New directors were also named at the Almeida Theatre in London (Michael Attenborough), the Hampstead Theatre (Anthony Clark), the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (Ian Brown), and the Chichester Festival Theatre, where a panel of three—directors Steven Pimlott and Martin Duncan, with administrator Ruth Mackenzie—were charged with halting the theatre's financial slide. Whether they could win back the aging Chichester audience was another matter. Outgoing director Andrew Welch had done sterling work with new directors, and his summer season boasted a fine revival of the Broadway classic The Front Page, with Michael Pennington as the irascible editor Walter Burns.

      Pimlott directed one of the West End's biggest hits, the new musical Bombay Dreams, a colourful satire of Bollywood movies with a vibrant score by A.R. Rahman (“the Asian Mozart”). Andrew Lloyd Webber was the producer, which was some consolation for him; the composer's Starlight Express closed after 17 years, and his trailblazing blockbuster Cats drew in its claws on its 21st anniversary, May 11.

      The other big musical hit was We Will Rock You, a show scripted by Ben Elton around the songs of the rock group Queen. As with Mamma Mia!, which featured the music of Abba, the audience for the music found its way to the theatre, although unlike Mamma Mia!, the show was harshly received by the critics. The mania for making musicals out of pop music's back catalogs continued with Our House, which used the songs of the 1980s ska group Madness.

      Boy George, a flamboyant pop star of 20 years earlier, re-created a vanished pop era in his likable new musical Taboo, which featured some excellent new songs that bolstered a couple of his more familiar hits. Taboo opened a new West End venue just off Leicester Square and featured an ever-changing roster of guest stars, rather like the long-running Art, which closed with popular television comedy trio League of Gentlemen occupying roles first taken by Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, and Ken Stott.

      The hit Broadway musical version of the British movie The Full Monty was warmly welcomed but struggled to attract full houses. Madonna had no such problem when she appeared in Up for Grabs, by Australian playwright David Williamson, though her performance as an unscrupulous art dealer was notable only for the attention she generated offstage. The play was dire, too, and added more fuel to the debate about Hollywood stars performing on the London stage and the question of “can they really act?” The answer this year was—they certainly can—except for Madonna.

      Three young Hollywood stars—Hayden Christensen, Anna Paquin, and Jake Gyllenhaal—were outstanding in Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, and Matt Damon, Summer Phoenix, and Casey Affleck served as their able and charismatic replacements (though Damon was too old for the role of a spoiled brat and minor drug runner). Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan were positively mesmerizing in Canadian playwright John Kolvenbach's On an Average Day, which was only an average play, with too many obvious echoes of Sam Shepard and David Mamet; two brothers meet up after a long period apart and unravel family problems.

      Still, in comparison with these transatlantic imports, much of the West End seemed dull, even a revival of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, which starred Vanessa Redgrave paired with her own daughter, Joely Richardson, as an onstage mother and daughter. West End long-running hits of yesteryear, Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth (1970s) and Denise Deegan's Daisy Pulls It Off (1980s), were dusted down to contrasting, but not devastating, effect. Sleuth, with Peter Bowles adding to his gallery of smooth rogues, was given a chic, antiseptic setting and a patina of homoeroticism that would have surprised original audiences; Daisy, on the other hand, was just the same old jolly hockey sticks schoolgirl fun, with nothing much new to say to anyone.

      Sir Alan Ayckbourn and Sir Tom Stoppard came through with ambitious trilogies—three new plays each in a year when most of the other brand-name dramatists were also represented. Ayckbourn's Damsels in Distress—which originated in his Scarborough, Yorkshire, home theatre—arrived in the West End with the original cast of seven actors in three unrelated plays in an identical London Docklands apartment. This event marked a return to Ayckbourn's top form, though none of the plays was as good as his Bedroom Farce, which was gorgeously revived with Richard Briers and June Whitfield giving a master class in understated comedy and timing. Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia trilogy followed the fortunes of a group of mid-19th-century Russian radicals and was sumptuously staged at the Royal National Theatre (RNT) by Sir Trevor Nunn. Most felt that the three three-hour long plays (Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage) could have been trimmed or compressed, but Nunn had assembled a crack acting ensemble led by Stephen Dillane as the heroic, pragmatic Aleksandr Herzen, Douglas Henshall as the tempestuous Mikhail Bakunin, and rising star Eve Best as a woman worth changing the world for. Karl Marx was a walk-on funny turn.

      At the National, Nunn instigated a “Transformations” season in an attempt to attract younger audiences, but the artistic results were mixed. A series of mundane “pub theatre” plays were not all that impressive, but Matthew Bourne, choreographer of Nunn's still-running My Fair Lady revival, came up with a gem, Play Without Words, in the reconfigured Lyttelton Theatre. The work was a virtually wordless dance drama based on British movies of the 1960s such as The Servant and Darling. Each character was played-danced in triplicate to the intricate, seductive jazz score—played live—by Terry Davies. It was the most unusual and original piece of the year.

      A strong contender for the best play of the year also emerged at the National. Vincent in Brixton by Nicholas Wright used some recently established information about Vincent van Gogh's residency in South London to create a compelling drama about awakening love and creative impulses. Jochum Ten Haaf was the wonderful young Dutch actor playing van Gogh, and Clare Higgins gave one of the performances of the year as his widowed landlady, a woman whose recharged sexuality corresponded with van Gogh's realization of his destiny. The play was directed with dedicated intensity by Sir Richard Eyre.

      Other notable events at the RNT were Bryony Lavery's Frozen, in which Anita Dobson gave a performance to rival Higgins's as the mother of a murdered 10-year-old girl; Glenn Close as Blanche Du Bois in Nunn's production of A Streetcar Named Desire; and Sir Ian Holm and Ralph Fiennes appearing, respectively, in new plays by Shelagh Stephenson (Mappa Mundi) and Christopher Hampton (The Talking Cure).

      In Sir David Hare's A Breath of Life, old friends Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench appeared together onstage for the first time since they shared a dressing room in 1960 at the Old Vic. At the Young Vic, David Lan directed two superb productions: Jude Law in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Ann-Marie Duff, Marjorie Yates, and Paul Hilton in D.H. Lawrence's 1912 masterpiece The Daughter-in-Law. The best new plays at the Royal Court were The York Realist by Peter Gill and A Number by Caryl Churchill, with Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig playing out a dense duet about cloning.

      In Dublin, Brian Friel created an afterlife in Afterplay for two Chekhov characters— Sonya from Uncle Vanya and Andrey from Three Sisters. The two meet in a Moscow cafe in the 1920s, and their catch-up, cross play, and burgeoning companionship—there is never any real companionship in Chekhov—was a joy to behold in the perfect performances of Penelope Wilton and John Hurt at the Gate Theatre. Also at the Gate was Frank McGuinness's Gates of Gold, a speculative and beautiful coda for the real-life founders of the Gate, Michael McLiammoir and Hilton Edwards. Again, this was an occasion for a brace of unforgettable performances, this time by Alan Howard and Richard Johnson.

      The 45th Dublin Theatre Festival offered a notable program of new plays, including Ronald Harwood's adaptation of a French farce, Le Dîner de cons (also a successful film), and Marina Carr's Ariel. The latter was an exploration of power and corruption in contemporary Irish society and a poetic companion piece to Sebastian Barry's Hinterland, one of the most underrated plays of the year, in which Patrick Malahide gave a momentous performance as a character not totally dissimilar to Charles Haughey, the disgraced Irish politician.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      It was a year of economic and creative recuperation for the American theatre in 2002, and both the commercial and the not-for-profit sectors of the field seemed willing to accept a little help from their friends across the Atlantic in order to get by. The British influence was palpable on Broadway and beyond during this unsettled post-September 11 period. London-originated shows such as Trevor Nunn's “realistic” version of Oklahoma! (about which one critic quipped, “There's a dark fetid smog on the medder”) and a nonmusical adaptation of Mike Nichols's film The Graduate, with a briefly nude Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson, helped boost the bottom line on Broadway—which turned out to be surprisingly healthy for the year, considering the entertainment industry's vulnerability in times of national stress and early misgivings about the loss of New York City tourism. On the artistic front, British directors seemed to be spotting and introducing new American writing talent far more aggressively than were their counterparts in the U.S.

      This was especially true at London's innovative Donmar Warehouse, where artistic director Sam Mendes scheduled a full slate of American works (including the U.K. premiere of David Auburn's Proof, with Gwyneth Paltrow) for his company's 10th anniversary and his final season. Several of the new plays on the Donmar roster—Stephen Adly Guirgis's tough-talking urban drama Jesus Hopped the A Train; Keith Reddin's Frame 312, about the John F. Kennedy assassination investigation; and Richard Greenberg's witty, tack-sharp morality play about media and major league baseball, Take Me Out—found their way back to American theatres, in one incarnation or another, before the year ended.

      The same London-first pattern marked the debut of 27-year-old playwright Christopher Shinn, whose raw dramas Four and Where Do We Live (which touches on the impact of September 11) were successes at the Royal Court before American. theatres realized that attention must be paid. Manhattan Theatre Club mounted a well-acted production of Four in early 2002, and Playwrights Horizons followed with What Didn't Happen, a play about the imaginative lives of three writers, Shinn's first premiere on his home turf.

      There was even a British connection to the American season's most talked-about Shakespeare, Seattle, Wash.-based director Bartlett Sher's eclectic Cymbeline—which gleefully mixed a Wild West ambiance with kabuki-style orientalia—for New York's Theatre for a New Audience. Prior to its sold-out run Off Broadway, the crowd-pleasing production had been the first American staging ever to visit the Royal Shakespeare Company.

      Other accomplishments of the season were as all-American as could be—most markedly in their treatment of such themes as racial attitudes, celebrity, and the power of the media. Suzan-Lori Parks's seriocomic two-hander about racial anger and sublimation, Topdog/Underdog, made an unlikely transfer from the Public Theater to Broadway, but neither George C. Wolfe's taut production nor a Pulitzer Prize for Parks's play could sustain audience interest for a long run. Just as unlikely but far more popular was Second Stage's transfer of Metamorphoses, a sexy and lyrical adaptation of Ovid, performed mostly in an onstage pool. The show's creator, Chicago-based visual-theatre specialist Mary Zimmerman (see Biographies (Zimmerman, Mary )), followed up later in the year with an intriguing experimental opera, Galileo Galilei, a collaboration with composer Philip Glass that presented events from the Renaissance scientist's life in reverse order. It debuted at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and later played at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy of Music and the Barbican in London.

      Two disturbing true American stories—the famous abduction of the Lindbergh baby in 1932 and the more recent tragedy of Susan Smith, who drove a car into a South Carolina lake with her two young boys in the back seat and then claimed that a black man had made off with them—served as templates for adventurous new musical-theatre works. Michael Ogborn's Baby Case, developed by the Arden Theatre Company of Philadelphia and directed by Terrence J. Nolen, posited that Bruno Hauptmann, who was executed for the Lindbergh kidnapping, was framed and perhaps even noble; its disturbing libretto featured newshound Walter Winchell gleefully reporting one gruesome development after another. In the jazz-inflected Brutal Imagination, poet Cornelius Eady's imaginative take on the Smith killings and their media aftermath, staged at New York's Vineyard Theatre, the black man invented by Smith materialized to offer his own perspective.

      At the other end of the musical-theatre spectrum, the relentlessly mainstream Hairspray, adapted for the stage from John Waters's campy 1988 movie, took Broadway by storm, owing in no small part to the inspired casting of onetime drag queen (and successful playwright) Harvey Fierstein in the role originated by the late Divine. With its themes of the triumphant underdog and racial harmony, Hairspray took its place beside The Producers as a sure bet—one likely to outlast such tepid competition as the revamped Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song (imported from Los Angeles's Mark Taper Forum with a new book by David Henry Hwang) and even the Tony-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie, an expertly turned-out $10 million compilation of musical comedy tropes and clichés.

      Joining Millie as the most-honoured shows of the year were The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Edward Albee's dark comedy of human aberration, which won the best play Tony virtually by default; and the smart tongue-in-cheek musical Urinetown, which began as a penniless production in the downtown New York Fringe Festival. Once past these venturesome choices, commercial theatre audiences had to settle for stars: Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in Arthur Miller's warhorse The Crucible; Alan Bates and Frank Langella in a rare Ivan Turgenev, Fortune's Fool; and Billy Crudup as The Elephant Man, among others.

      In Canada two major forces from the Quebec performing arts scene paired up for the first time; the proliferating Cirque du Soleil hired auteur Robert Lepage to create a new show that was scheduled to premiere at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., in 2004. Lepage's performance spectacle Zulu Time, a collaboration with composer Peter Gabriel that includes scenes of airport terrorism, premiered in Montreal in June after a planned September 2001 opening in New York was canceled in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

      Among the significant productions of the Canadian season was the Factory Theater of Toronto's strong revival of Belle, Florence Gibson's poetic study of black-white relations in the years after the American Civil War. Critics remarked that the Reconstruction-era drama should be well received by American audiences, but thus far no south-of-the-border theatres had taken the cue. The venerable Stratford Festival, located two hours outside Toronto, celebrated its 50th anniversary season with a burst of stardust as Christopher Plummer, 73, returned to the scene of his early Shakespearean triumphs to play Lear, under Jonathan Miller's direction. In October fraud charges were filed against Livent Inc. founders Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, who were charged with having defrauded investors of $325 million; Livent was one of North America's largest theatre companies.

      Those passing from the scene in 2002 included Adolph Green (Green, Adolph ) (see Obituaries), the musical comedy legend whose name is inseparable from that of his surviving collaborator, Betty Comden; Vinnette Carroll (Carroll, Vinnette ) (see Obituaries), a pioneering director of gospel-inflected musicals; Jan Kott, Polish-born critic and author of Shakespeare Our Contemporary; actress and director Rosetta LeNoire, who appeared in Orson Welles's landmark Voodoo Macbeth in the 1930s and went on to found Amas Repertory Company; Nobu McCarthy, the former Hollywood starlet and Miss Tokyo who became the longtime artistic director of East West Players, the U.S.'s first Asian-American theatre company; Robert Whitehead (Whitehead, Robert ) (see Obituaries), one of Broadway's most prolific producers of serious drama; and the great Nebraska-born, London-trained actress Irene Worth (Worth, Irene ) (see Obituaries).

Jim O'Quinn.

Motion Pictures

United States.
      For Selected International Film Awards in 2002, see Table (International Film Awards 2002).

      As the year 2002 ended, Peter Jackson's virtuoso adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Chris Columbus's interpretation of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets promised to surpass their predecessors, the worldwide box-office winners of Christmas 2001, to take their place among the highest-earning films in history. Though their magical-mythical atmospheres had evidently special appeal, other film series were also profitably revived, with George Lucas's Star Wars Episode II—Attack of the Clones and Brett Ratner's Red Dragon (based on Thomas Harris's novel that was earlier [1986] filmed as Manhunter), which chronicled the earliest exploits of the cannibalistic killer Hannibal Lecter. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, adapted from the Marvel Comics adventures, promised to initiate an entire new series.

      Of the individualists of the American cinema, Martin Scorsese made a historical epic of the New York underworld in the years before the Civil War, Gangs of New York. Steven Spielberg's Minority Report forecast a future United States with new technology but old-fashioned crime, while his Catch Me if You Can was a biopic on the life of 1960s confidence trickster Frank Abagnale, Jr. With 25th Hour, Spike Lee exceptionally directed a drama about white characters—tracing a convicted drug dealer's final day and night before imprisonment. Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending portrayed a burnt-out Hollywood director who develops psychosomatic blindness when given a new chance to work. Clint Eastwood directed Blood Work and played a veteran cop who investigates the murder of the woman whose heart he received in a transplant.

      Of newer talents the writer-director team of Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze followed Being John Malkovich (1999) with Adaptation, another inventive fantasy on the creative process. Todd Haynes's Far from Heaven used a stylish pastiche of 1950s melodramas to look at two kinds of prejudice—racial and sexual. Alexander Payne directed veteran actor Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt. Several star actors made effective debuts as directors: Nicolas Cage (Sonny); John Malkovich (The Dancer Upstairs, made in Spain with a Spanish cast); Matt Dillon (City of Ghosts); Denzel Washington (Antwone Fisher, based on the true story of the psychiatric reclamation of a young serviceman), and George Clooney (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a subtly skeptical adaptation of the “reminiscences” of Chuck Barris's double life as television producer and CIA agent).

      Lavish adaptations of period novels were in vogue: Kevin Reynolds directed The Count of Monte Cristo; Douglas McGrath, Nicholas Nickleby; Pakistan-born Shekhar Kapur, The Four Feathers; and Simon Wells, great-grandson of the author H.G. Wells, The Time Machine. The scarcity of good scripts encouraged remakes; Jonathan Demme successfully refurbished Stanley Donen's 1963 Charade as The Truth About Charlie, while Philip Noyce's remake of The Quiet American was more faithful to Graham Greene's novel than Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1958 version. Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful was a polished and precise adaptation of Claude Chabrol's 1969 Une Femme infidèle, though Steven Soderbergh's version of Stanislaw Lem's science-fiction novel Solaris missed the mystical fascination of Andrey Tarkovsky's 1972 original.

      In Real Women Have Curves, Colombian-born Patricia Cardoso dealt with the coming-of-age problems of a Mexican-American teenager striving to break out of the narrow expectations of her blue-collar background. Julie Taymor directed Frida, a star vehicle for Mexican actress Salma Hayek that was based on the complicated relationships of painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and their friends. Rebecca Miller won the dramatic competition at the Sundance Festival with Personal Velocity, from her own script about three women in crisis. Meanwhile, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, directed by Joel Zwick and written by and starring Nia Vardalos, opened quietly in the spring and gained such momentum during the year that by December it had become the biggest-ever indie hit and top-grossing romantic comedy in history. Stephen Daldry and a trio of leading women—Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman—won critical acclaim for The Hours, which looked at the lives of Virginia Woolf and two women united with Woolf across time and space by the effects of her works on them.

      Movie musicals were ably represented by Rob Marshall's adaptation, Chicago, with a star-studded cast in a tale of music and murder. Animation continued its renaissance. The Disney studios' Lilo and Stitch, directed and written by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, related the story of an obstreperous little alien exiled from his native planet to Hawaii. Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath's The Wild Thornberrys Movie offered an ecological message for younger people. The October U.S. release of the latest film from Japan's Hayao Miyazaki (see Biographies (Miyazaki, Hayao )), Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi), further fueled the American passion for animé.

      The biggest-earning British film of the year was inevitably the 20th James Bond film, Die Another Day, with Pierce Brosnan as Bond and 2002 Oscar-laureate Halle Berry (see Biographies (Berry, Halle )) as Jinx. Roman Polanski's The Pianist, about the Polish musician Wladislaw Szpilman's flight from Nazi persecution, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

      Some of the best films of the year exemplified the national taste for social realism: Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, about a Glasgow boy sucked into the drug trade; Mike Leigh's All or Nothing, about London housing-estate dwellers; and Gillies MacKinnon's Pure, a study of deprived and drug-wrecked London lives. Britain's ethnic communities featured in Gurinder Chadha's exuberant comedy Bend It like Beckham and in Metin Hüseyin's Anita and Me, about a young Punjabi girl growing up in a depressed provincial township in the 1970s. Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things was the first British film to treat sympathetically the problems of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers existing in a London half-world. The Northern Ireland conflict was recalled in Paul Greengrass's powerful dramatization of a catastrophic incident, Bloody Sunday. Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, exposed the brutal laundry-reformatories to which the Irish Catholic Church condemned unmarried mothers from the mid-19th century right up to the late 1990s.

      Unusually, one of the most highly profiled North American films of the year was a documentary, Michael Moore's devastating study of American gun culture, Bowling for Columbine. With Ararat, Atom Egoyan investigated the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915 through the eyes of a filmmaker (played by Charles Aznavour) researching a film. In Spider, David Cronenberg abandoned his familiar special-effects horrors to portray a deeply disturbed man and his warped perceptions of a working-class world.

      Several directors looked critically at the recent history of Aboriginal Australians. Philip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence recalled the true story of three young girls who fled from incarceration under the official policy of the first three-quarters of the 20th century of seizing quarter- and half-caste children from their Aboriginal families so they could be “civilized” in white institutions. Craig Lahiff's Black and White dramatized a real case of 1959 in which an Aboriginal was charged with the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl. In One Night the Moon, Aboriginal director Rachel Perkins told a story, set in the 1930s, about the alliance of a farmer's wife and an Aboriginal tracker to find a lost child.

European Union.
      With the funding facilities of the European Union's MEDIA program, possibilities for co-production, and the formation of a European Film Promotion organization, a clear grouping of national film industries developed, linking the member countries of the European Union along with “candidate countries” and Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland—countries that, though outside the EU, had cooperation contracts with the MEDIA program.

      World War II was recalled in several films. In Laissez-passer, his film à clef, Bertrand Tavernier re-created the atmosphere of filmmaking in occupied France. Gérard Jugnot directed and starred in the accomplished Monsieur Batignole, about a Gentile butcher who saves a Jewish boy from the Gestapo. The American documentarist Frederick Wiseman filmed Catherine Samie's stage monologue in the character of a woman in a condemned Ukrainian ghetto and released it as La Dernière Lettre. Costa-Gavras's Amen re-created the story of Kurt Gerstein, an SS officer who vainly pleaded with the Vatican to oppose the Nazi extermination of the Jews. Michel Deville's exquisite Un Monde presque paisible (Almost Peaceful) chronicled a Parisian Jewish community trying to settle back to normality in the aftermath of the war and all its depredations. Notable commercial success was enjoyed by Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre, a live-action version of the comic-book characters, reportedly the most costly French film ever. François Ozon's comedy-thriller 8 femmes attracted worldwide distribution mainly by its cast, which united several generations of French movie divas.

      Other distinctive talents active during the year included the Georgian-born Otar Iosseliani, with a characteristically idiosyncratic work, Lundi matin, the saga of a factory worker who impetuously abandons everything to see the world.

      The prolific Patrice Leconte made two films, Rue des plaisirs, a kindly tale of the selfless adoration of a prostitute by the brothel's diminutive man-of-all-work and L'Homme du train, chronicling the unlikely encounter of a retired schoolteacher and a veteran bank robber.

      The most costly Italian production to date, Roberto Benigni's adaptation of the children's classic Pinocchio failed disastrously to win the international popularity of his Oscar-winning 1997 Life Is Beautiful. Among the most notable productions of the year were Marco Bellocchio's L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) (The Religion Hour [My Mother's Smile]), a fierce satire about an agnostic painter's reaction to a campaign to make his mother a saint. Giuseppe Farrara's I banchieri di Dio (God's Bankers) presented an unsparing exposé of the sinister links between the Vatican, the secret service, freemasonry, and Opus Dei and the financial machinations that led to the murder of Roberto Calvi in London in 1982. Literary adaptations included Emidio Greco's lively and intelligent interpretation of Leonardo Sciascia's historical novel Il consiglio d'Egitto. In the genre of biography, Franco Zeffirelli offered an impressionistic portrait of his late friend and collaborator Maria Callas in Callas Forever, with Fanny Ardant in the title role.

      Two notable films in a generally undistinguished year were Winfried Bonengel's Führer Ex, a dramatic investigation of contemporary neo-Nazism, seen as a legacy of communist oppression in the former East Germany, and Eoin Moore's Pigs Will Fly, a battered-wife story that observed the unhappy relationship through the psychology of the husband, himself a painfully troubled character. Director Leni Riefenstahl celebrated her 100th birthday in August and brought out a documentary, Impressionen unter Wasser (Underwater Impressions).

      Spain's major international success was Pedro Almodóvar's Hable con ella (Talk to Her), an idiosyncratic reflection on solitude and communication. Spanish directors showed a new concern for social subjects, exemplified in Chus Gutiérrez's Poniente, about the exploitation of immigrant agricultural workers, and Fernando León de Aranoa's Los lunes al sol (Mondays in the Sun), a Ken Loach-inspired group portrait of unemployed men. The 93-year-old Portuguese Manoel de Oliveira created a witty and complex adaptation of Agustina Bessa-Luis's tangled tale of marital life and cruelties, O princípio da incerteza (The Uncertainty Principle).

Nordic Countries.
      Finland's Aki Kaurismaki looked, with characteristic wry humour, at the deprived of modern society through the eyes of a man suffering amnesia after a ferocious mugging in Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past). From Sweden, Lukas Moodysson's Lilja 4-ever was a harrowing portrayal of a young girl, as much abused by the “benefactor” who takes her away to Sweden as she is in her native Russia. Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist's Den osynlige (The Invisible) related an original story of a young boy who, following a brutal beating, finds himself in a state of invisibility, between life and death. The newest product of the stern aesthetic of Denmark's “Dogme” school was Susanne Bier's Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts), about the complex relationships that result when a young husband is paralyzed following a motor accident. Nils Malmros's At kende sandheden (Facing the Truth) re-created a medical controversy in which a surgeon who saved a child's life is charged, more than 40 years later, with having used a chemical preparation that subsequently produced harmful side-effects.

Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
      One of the most original and most perfectly achieved films of the year, Aleksandr Sokurov's Russky kovcheg (Russian Ark) used digital resources to make a 96-minute film in a single shot as the camera explored the endless galleries of St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. Pavel Lungin's Oligarkh (Tycoon) was a ferocious portrayal of corruption that instilled and linked big business, organized crime, and the Kremlin. Andrey Konchalovsky's Dom durakov (House of Fools) set its action in a mental hospital on the Chechen border. The gifted Valery Todorovsky's Lyubovnik (The Lover) related the working out of the jealous passions of a man who discovers upon the death of his beloved wife that for 15 years she has had a lover. Aleksey Muradov's debut feature Zmey (The Kite) was an intimate, often painful study of the external and internal problems of a prison officer, his wife, and their disabled child, whose joy is the kite of the title.

      In Poland, Krzysztof Zanussi's Suplement, a characteristically acute observation of modern relationships, was complementary to his 2001 film, Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, involving the same characters. From the Czech Republic came Zdenek Tyc's Smradi (Brats), which told the disturbing story of a family that suffers the hostility of neighbours to their adopted Roma (Gypsy) children. Alice Nellis's Výlet (Some Secrets) unfolded a socially revealing family comedy-drama in the course of a journey to carry the ashes of the beloved paterfamilias to Slovakia. The year's most original Hungarian films were György Pálfi's Hukkle, a wordless entomological view of the life of a small village, and Kornél Mundruczó's inappropriately titled Szép napok (Pleasant Days).

      An outstanding first film by Penny Panayotopoulou, Diskoli apocheretismi: o babas mou (Hard Goodbyes: My Father), won the Locarno Festival Best Actor award for 10-year-old Yorgos Karayannis. Following successful commercial release and nomination as Turkey's Oscar contender, Handan Ipekçi's 2001 production Hejar (also released as Büyük adam küçük ask), the story of an old judge who shelters a Kurdish orphan, was banned at the request of the police. Sinan Cetin achieved an effective mix of absurdism and pathos in Komser Sekspir (Sergeant Shakespeare).

      Iran's major filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami made headlines worldwide in September when he was denied a U.S. visa, ostensibly on security grounds, to attend the screening at the New York Film Festival of his boldly experimental Ten, which explored the special characteristics of digital video cameras to create an absorbing social drama through the minimalist means of close-ups of car drivers and passengers. Rasul Sadrameli's Man, taraneh, panzdah sal daram (I Am Taraneh, 15 Years Old) described the problems and prejudices facing a teenage single mother who has extricated herself from an unhappy marriage. The veteran Dariush Mehrjui looked at the harsh fates of a number of despairing young women in Bemani (Staying Alive). Manijeh Hekmat's Zendan-e zanan (Women's Prison), suppressed for more than a year, was finally seen at international festivals, though not at home. Ravaryete makdush (Black Tape: A Tehran Diary—the Videotape Fariborz Kambari Found in the Garbage) was ingeniously presented as if it were a home video record made by the 18-year-old “trophy wife” of an Iranian. A lighter approach to women's life was Nasser Refaie's Emtehan (The Exam).

      With the rise of an international taste for “Bollywood”—Indian commercial cinema—two spectacular all-star films vied for the claim to be the most costly films in Indian history; Devdas was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali from a much-filmed early 20th-century novel with a Romeo and Juliet theme, and Karan Johar's Kabhi khushi kabhie gham ... (2001; Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow), a family saga, shrewdly cast several generations of favourite Indian stars. Other notable films were the veteran Keralan director Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Nizhalkkuthu (Shadow Kill), about the anxieties of an old hangman during British occupation, and Buddhadev Dasgupta's Manda meyer upakhyan (A Tale of a Naughty Girl), which portrayed Bengali village life in the 1960s.

Far East.
      A few Japanese films stood out from the commercial run. In Dolls, Takeshi Kitano linked three contemporary love stories inspired by the traditional bunraku doll theatre. Kitano's own early career in vaudeville was imaginatively chronicled by Makoto Shinozaki in Asakusa Kid. Akira Kurosawa's former assistant Takashi Koizumi adapted a novel by Keishi Nagi and fashioned it into Amida-do dayori (Letter from the Mountain).

      Chinese cinema moved markedly toward greater concern with personal stories, as was exemplified in Zhang Yuan's Wo ai nin (I Love You), the sad chronicle of a doomed love affair; Chen Kaige's Han ni zai yiki (Together), the story of a talented teenage musician struggling in contemporary Beijing for education and integrity; and a promising first feature by Lu Chuan, The Missing Gun, which related the escalating anxieties of a small-town cop when his gun goes missing after a drunken revelry. Tian Zhuangzhuang, after a decade of officially enforced inactivity, returned with an admirable remake of a 1948 film, Xiao cheng zhi chun (Springtime in a Small Town), a love story set in the immediate post-World War II years in a war-devastated place.

      The biggest South Korean box-office success of the year, Jeong Heung Sun's comedy Gamunui yeonggwang (Married to the Mafia), about a young businessman forced into a shotgun marriage with the daughter of a gang boss, was instantly bought by Warner Brothers for a Hollywood remake. Im Kwon-taek (see Biographies (Im Kwon-taek )) won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Chihwaseon (Strokes of Fire), the story of Jang Seung-up (1843–97), also known as Ohwon, an inspired but uncouth and rebellious natural painter. Lee Chang Dong's remarkable Oasis fearlessly portrayed a love affair between two handicapped people—a boy with slight mental disturbance and a criminal past and a girl with cerebral palsy.

Latin America.
      Brazilian Fernando Meirelles's Cidade de Deus (City of God) was an unsparing study of the drug trade and gang wars in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro over two decades, based on the firsthand evidence of Paulo Lins's novel. In Madame Satã, Karim Ainouz chronicled the life of a real-life figure of the 1930s, a legendary flamboyant gay gangster, killer, and street fighter.

      Generally thanks to Spanish co-production, Argentine cinema survived the country's economic disasters to produce a lively variety of works ranging from Carlos Sorin's minimalist Historias mínimas (Minimal Stories), the stories of three people in different quests across the steppes of Patagonia, to Diego Lerman's literate and witty first film Tan de repente (Suddenly), a road movie about the diverse emotional adventures of a young woman hijacked by two punk lesbians. Pablo Trapero's El bonaerense told the story of a provincial boy who is forced into crime and then recruited into a corrupt Buenos Aires police service. Actor-director Federico León's Todo juntos (Everything Together) was a delicately observed portrait of the prolonged process of a couple's breakup. Marcelo Piñeyro's Kamchatka was a strong drama of the military dictatorship, seen through the experience of one tight-knit family. Mexico's major box-office hit—immeasurably helped by the condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church—was El crimen del padre Amaro, directed by Carlos Carrera and updating a scandalous 1975 novel of corruption and illicit sexuality in a provincial parish. In La virgen de la lujuria (The Virgin of Lust), star director Arturo Ripstein concocted a fable of amour fou, the domination of an introverted waiter by a sadistic hooker.

      In Senegal, Joseph Gaï Ramaka's Karmen Geï translated Prosper Merimée's Carmen to modern Africa and a sexually more complex society, while Moussa Sene Absa's Madame Brouette was a lively music-driven story of independent women in revolt against feckless and self-serving men. From Chad, Mahamet Saleh Haroun's Abouna (Our Father) related the optimistic saga of two young boys in search of the father who deserted his family. Mauritania produced Abderrahmane Sissako's Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness), an exquisite impression of life, with all its frustrations and pleasures, in a small isolated coastal village. From Algeria, Yamina Bachir's Rachida was a harrowing story of a young woman victim of Algeria's worst era of terrorism and of women's role in combating the violence.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films.
      Creators of nontheatrical films continued to explore historical and contemporary landscapes in 2002. Dead End (2001), an imaginative science-fiction film aimed at young Belgian soldiers, won five Grand Prix awards. Made for the Belgian Defense Ministry by Mark Damen, the film tackled the subject of AIDS in a realistic, modern, and fast-paced fashion.

      The Academy Award-winning documentary Un coupable idéal (2001; Murder on a Sunday Morning), directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, told the story of Brenton Butler, a 15-year-old falsely accused of murder who confessed to the crime after being beaten by police.

      Wit compassionately portrayed an independent intellectual coming to terms with her life while battling ovarian cancer. The film, an HBO/Avenue Pictures production directed by Mike Nichols, won CINE Golden Eagle, CINE Masters Series, and Peabody awards, among others.

      Florida State University's Greg Marcks reaped eight awards for his film Lector, including top prize at the Angelus Awards. Set in a factory in the 1920s, it explored progress and the dehumanization of industry. The story centred around a man employed to read to cigar rollers and the threat to his job posed by the advent of radio.

      The Tower of Babble, written and directed by University of Southern California student Jeff Wadlow, with opening narration by Kevin Spacey, featured three vastly different tales woven together in a commentary on language and expression. It put Wadlow in competition with 500 other students in the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival, which he won, earning him a $1 million film production deal.

Thomas W. Hope

▪ 2002



Classical Music.
      More than a century after his death in 1883, Richard Wagner continued to generate controversy. In Bayreuth, Ger., at the opera festival Wagner established to preserve and promote his music, the composer's descendants were engaged in a bitter struggle for power. In Israel a Wagner performance revealed deep divisions among the nation's music lovers.

      Wagner was notoriously anti-Semitic, the author of a diatribe against “Jewishness” in music that was largely an attack on his operatic rival, Giacomo Meyerbeer. This attitude, as well as his German chauvinism and his ideas on “racial purity,” endeared him to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. In Israel, on the other hand, an unofficial ban on live performances of Wagner's music had been loosely in effect for more than half a century, though recordings were readily available. Feelings on the subject ran deep, as Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, had been shown in 1981 when, as he was about to lead the orchestra in a Wagner selection, a concentration camp survivor rushed on stage and stopped the concert, displaying Nazi-inflicted wounds he had suffered. No Wagner was played on that occasion.

      Israel's traditional ban on Wagner performance was shattered in July by pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, a citizen of Israel who led orchestras in Berlin and Chicago. During a concert given on tour in Jerusalem by the Berlin Staatskapelle (orchestra), Barenboim conducted the Prelude to Wagner's Tristan und Isolde as an encore, creating a furor. Barenboim, a vigorous advocate of Wagner's music, said he hoped “this opens the door a little bit.” Mehta, a close friend of Barenboim, expressed “100 percent” support.

      Meanwhile, the Bayreuth Festival, which had been inaugurated in 1876, observed its 125th anniversary very quietly. Wolfgang Wagner, a grandson of the composer, ran the festival for half a century, originally in partnership with his brother Wieland, who died in 1966. Though 81 years old and obviously near the end of his tenure, Wolfgang Wagner steadfastly refused to name any successor except for his second wife, Gudrun, and their daughter, Katharina. Pressure was building in the family, the German government, and the news media to open up the possibility of new leadership for the festival. A particularly vigorous campaign was launched by Nike Wagner, daughter of Wieland and author of a book that criticized many family traditions, The Wagners: The Dramas of a Musical Dynasty. Among the changes Nike Wagner proposed for the festival was an enlarged repertoire, which was traditionally limited to the 10 operas of Wagner's maturity. Under the direction of Nike Wagner, the festival might expand to include not only such early operas as Rienzi but even the work of other composers, such as Meyerbeer. In any case, significant changes in the Bayreuth Festival were postponed by Wolfgang Wagner, who announced his plans for the next five years at a press conference. Danish film director Lars von Trier was contracted to direct a new production of the Ring cycle, to be conducted by Christian Thielemann, beginning in 2006.

      Meanwhile, other major festivals were going through transitions; at Salzburg, Austria, Gerard Mortier concluded a stormy decade as festival director with a bitter prediction that after his departure the festival would revert to “Strauss waltzes and yodeling contests.” In London, for the first time in history, an American—Leonard Slatkin—conducted the popular Last Night at the Proms. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Slatkin omitted the traditional sing-along of “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule, Britannia” that customarily concluded Proms programs and substituted Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and a selection of spirituals. In Australia another American, Peter Sellars, was forced to resign as artistic director of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts. He was replaced by former Melbourne Festival director Sue Nattrass. The board had asked Sellars to broaden his program for the upcoming year, but he refused. “I have made my share of mistakes since coming to Adelaide two and a half years ago, but I deeply believe in the principles for which this festival stands,” he said in a statement issued in Paris. Marin Alsop, yet another American, was the first woman to become principal conductor of a British symphony when she was named to that post at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in June.

      The September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. climaxed a series of financial crises in the performing arts. Travel plans were disrupted, concerts were canceled, ticket sales plummeted, and various bankruptcies and reorganizations were announced. The San Jose (Calif.) Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were the latest additions to the list of financially troubled North American orchestras. In the past 20 years a dozen orchestras—including those in Denver, Colo., Birmingham, Ala., and the California cities of Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego—had confronted serious money problems. The Toronto Symphony players, faced with the need to cut expenses, agreed to a 15% salary reduction.

      Alberto Vilar, a Cuban emigré who had become enormously wealthy investing in technology stocks, gave $25 million to the Berlin Philharmonic's musician-training program. The German orchestra was only one of many musical organizations that benefited from Vilar's largesse at a rate of more than $1 million; others included the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg, and the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., opera companies. Besides the Vilar contribution, the Berlin Philharmonic was reluctantly given $11.7 million, half of its annual operating budget, by the Berlin city government. The contribution, which would help to increase the players' salaries, was demanded by Sir Simon Rattle before he signed a 10-year contract as the orchestra's music director to begin in 2002.

      In New York City the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts launched a billion-dollar renovation program that promptly disintegrated into bickering between the constituent organizations. The Metropolitan Opera, geographically but not administratively part of the complex, was conducting its own redevelopment program. James Levine, artistic administrator of the Met, planned to keep that position while he succeeded Seiji Ozawa as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Ozawa was to become director of the Vienna State Opera. Tony Hall, a BBC executive, was named to replace Michael Kaiser as director of the Royal Opera House in London; Kaiser was slated to head the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Other major personnel changes included Raymond Leppard's retirement as music director of the Indianapolis (Ind.) Symphony Orchestra, Jesús López-Cobos's departure as music director of the Cincinnati (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood's retirement as music director of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, and Lotfi Mansouri's leaving the general directorship of the San Francisco Opera. In January the New York Philharmonic announced that Lorin Maazel would replace Kurt Masur (who was ill and awaiting an organ transplant at year's end) as music director beginning with the 2002–03 season, and in May the Minnesota Orchestra announced that the Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska would replace Eiji Oue as its music director in 2003.

      Popular Korean soprano Sumi Jo (see Biographies (Jo, Sumi )) broadened her audience, singing half Broadway songs and half works for the operatic repertory in her Carnegie Hall concert in February.

      World premieres included three cello concertos. Elliott Carter's second concerto (the first had been written some 30 years earlier), written for and played by Yo-Yo Ma, was premiered by Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in September as part of the conductor's Wagner and Modernism series. The second, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, was written by Philip Glass for Julian Lloyd Webber and had its premiere in Beijing in October. The third was Concerto for Cello and Orchestra: In Memoriam F.D.R. by Peter Schickele, commissioned by New Heritage Music and performed in February by Paul Tobias and the Chamber Symphony of the Manhattan School of Music. Hans Werner Henze's L'Heure bleue, a serenade for 16 players, received its first performance in Frankfurt, Ger., in September. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's Antarctic Symphony (Symphony No. 8) was premiered by the Philharmonia Orchestra at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 6. The Philharmonia Orchestra had also commissioned and performed Ralph Vaughn Williams's Sinfonia Antarctica for the sound track to the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic. (See Antarctica. (Antarctica )) On a less-serious note, British comedian and composer Richard Thomas and his Kombat Opera Company altered the musical landscape with Jerry Springer: The Opera, a musical setting of material from a popular television show often punctuated with outbreaks of violence. The most unusual musical event of the year, and perhaps of the century, however, took place in Halberstadt, Ger.—the preparations for a performance of John Cage's Organ 2/ASLSP. It was to be played, in accordance with the instruction “as slow as possible,” at the ultraslow rate of two notes per year, and estimates were that the piece, which would have its first notes played in January 2003, would be finished in 639 years.

      John Corigliano (see Biographies (Corigliano, John )) won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra; the work had first been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in November 2000. The gold medalists in the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (May 25–June 10, 2001) were Stanislav Ioudenitch from Uzbekistan and Olga Kern of Russia. In New York City the Avery Fisher Career Grants were awarded in March to violinist Timothy Fain, cellists Daniel Lee and Hai-Ye Ni, and flutist Tara Helen O'Connor.

      Violinist Isaac Stern (Stern, Isaac ), who was generally credited with saving Carnegie Hall from demolition, died in September of heart failure. Giuseppe Sinopoli (Sinopoli, Giuseppe ) died on the podium in April while conducting Aïda at the Berlin Opera House. Among other musicians who died in 2001 were composers Iannis Xenakis (Xenakis, Iannis ) and Douglas Gordon Lilburn (Lilburn, Douglas Gordon ), pianist Yaltah Menuhin (Menuhin, Yaltah ), harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler (Adler, Lawrence Cecil ), and Canadian operatic baritone Victor Braun (Braun, Victor ). Japanese conductor Takashi Asahina (Asahina, Takashi ) died on December 29. (See Obituaries.)

Joseph McLellan

      The precarious condition of jazz in 2001 was best dramatized by the extended uproar surrounding Ken Burns's documentary Jazz, which aired on the PBS television network in January. Ten episodes long—each episode lasted nearly two hours—and costing a reported $13 million to produce, Jazz attempted to portray the art form's development from its beginnings early in the 20th century. Burns used a wealth of historic film clips and photos, many of them rare, and the sources of most of the series music were recordings, many of them classic. Over half of Jazz was devoted to the quarter century between World Wars I and II, when jazz was one of the U.S.'s most popular styles of music among black and white audiences. An important nonmusical theme was the changing relations between black and white Americans. The lives of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, two of the greatest jazz musicians, provided recurring story lines throughout the series; commentators, especially musician Wynton Marsalis and critics Stanley Crouch and Gary Giddins, offered frequent perspectives.

      Praise for Burns's Jazz centred on the quality of the music and illustrations, including the historic dance styles exhibited; on the fact that many singers, musicians, and bands were profiled in each episode; and especially on the very fact that the documentary was broadcast at all—jazz had all but disappeared from American television networks, apart from cable's Black Entertainment Television. As with any history of jazz, criticism centred on the important figures and events that were omitted. Many of the omissions followed a pattern; the influence of Europe and European music on jazz was downgraded, as were white performers, especially after World War II. In addition, cool and West Coast jazz played very minor roles in Burns's history. A storm of criticism swirled around the only episode devoted to jazz of the past 40 years. In that episode later idiomatic developments, including free jazz and fusion music, played only a secondary role. Instead, Burns profiled older musicians and the revival of older styles by Marsalis and other younger musicians. After viewing Burns's grand documentary, viewers were left with a sense that jazz was something historic—such as French Impressionist painting or epic poetry—an art form that at best now only lingered on long after its natural life span.

      Was it true? Was jazz a vanishing art? At one point early in 2001, according to Billboard magazine, of the 25 best-selling jazz albums, only 7 were current releases. In the course of the year, Down Beat's usually effusive reviewers awarded five stars to only two jazz albums, Black Dahlia by arranger Bob Belden and Not for Nothin' by the Dave Holland Quintet. Although jazz still accounted for only about 3% of all U.S. compact-disc (CD) sales, the flood of new recordings continued, the vast majority of them from independent labels. The public appetite for live jazz, at least, remained high. Younger generations of listeners predominated in nightclub audiences in cities with busy jazz scenes. Jazz festivals thrived in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia—JazzTimes listed 422 festivals that featured jazz and blues in 2001.

      In a generally uneventful year, 23-year-old singer Jane Monheit, an Ella Fitzgerald devotee, sparked attention with her CD Come Dream with Me. Chicago's cult favourite Patricia Barber (see Biographies (Barber, Patricia )) sang standards on her hit sixth album, Nightclub (2000). While revivalism and eclecticism prevailed among younger musicians, urgent personal statements could be heard in albums by tenor saxophonist Mark Turner (Dharma Days) and trumpeter Dave Douglas, whose Witness was devoted to songs of freedom and nonviolent protest. Turner, torn between cool and hard bop styles, also played on veteran altoist Lee Konitz's Parallels. Other outstanding albums were the Italian Instabile Orchestra's Litania Sibilante, the freely improvising Boston trio of Maneri-Morris-Maneri in Out Right Now, and the Yet Can Spring duets by pianist-composer Myra Melford and clarinetist-saxophonist Marty Ehrlich. A growing phenomenon was the release of albums of long-ago concerts by important artists, including woodwind improviser Anthony Braxton's Quintet (Basel) 1977, tenorist Fred Anderson's Dark Day: Live in Verona 1979, and Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath big band, comprising English and South African exile musicians, in Travelling Somewhere from 1973. Albums began appearing from Sunday jam sessions produced by the Left Bank Jazz Society (Baltimore, Md.) during 1965–80; the first four were by Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, Cedar Walton, and Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.

      While outstanding new albums were few, there were some extraordinary reissues. A singular project was the discovery of a major composer's rarest recordings, Charles (“Baron”) Mingus's West Coast 1945–49 (2000). The Complete in a Silent Way Sessions, from Miles Davis's first fusion music project, was the latest of Columbia's many Davis collections. a historic African American big ragtime band at the very border of early jazz. Art Pepper's The Hollywood All-Star Sessions, released as Japanese albums in the early 1980s, at last appeared in the U.S. as a boxed set. Two of the finest swing-era singers had their finest recordings collected. Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933–1944) was a 10-CD boxed set gathering 230 of her joy-infused early recordings. The Complete Columbia Recordings of Mildred Bailey was offered by Mosaic, the busy mail-order outfit that also released boxed sets of 1950s Max Roach and 1960s Gerald Wilson big band in 2001.

      The year's death toll included pianist-composer John Lewis (Lewis, John Aaron ), who during the year had released the concert album Evolution II, trombonist J.J. Johnson (Johnson, J.J. ), swing bandleader Les Brown (Brown, Lester Raymond ), pianist Tommy Flanagan (Flanagan, Tommy Lee ), singers Al Hibbler (Hibbler, Albert ) and Susannah McCorkle (McCorkle, Susannah ), drummer Billy Higgins (Higgins, Billy ), saxophonists Joe Henderson (Henderson, Joseph A. ) and Buddy Tate (Tate, Buddy ) and impresario Norman Granz (Granz, Norman ). (See Obituaries.) Other notable deaths included those of trumpeter Conte Candoli, saxophonists Harold Land, Billy Mitchell, Ken McIntyre, and Flip Phillips, popular Canadian flutist Moe Koffman, Latin jazz arranger Chico O'Farrill, arranger Manny Albam, record producer Milt Gabler, and author Helen Oakley Dance.

John Litweiler

      The fortunes of American popular music in 2001 were in a decline even before the terrorist attacks of September 11. In the first half of the year, overall music sales were reportedly down 5.4%, and concert ticket sales dropped 15.5%, compared with the same period in 2000.

      Pop artists responded to the tragedy with performances dedicated to remembering victims and helping survivors. America: A Tribute to Heroes aired without commercial interruption on radio and television in more than 210 countries. The tribute was filmed on soundstages in Los Angeles, New York, and London and featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Céline Dion, and Faith Hill (see Biographies (Hill, Faith )), among others; it generated $150 million in pledges and a two-CD set. Paul McCartney helped organize the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden. The Who, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, James Taylor, Macy Gray, and many other artists performed before an audience that included 5,000 rescue workers. George Strait, Hank Williams Jr., Tim McGraw, and Alan Jackson were part of the Country Freedom Concert in Nashville, Tenn.

      The Grammy nomination of rapper Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP for Album of the Year sparked a huge controversy owing to its violent content. Though the award went to rock veterans Steely Dan for Two Against Nature, Eminem performed a duet with Elton John on the awards show and won three Grammys in rap categories.

      The most popular band in the U.S., *NSYNC, sold 1,880,000 copies of its fourth album, Celebrity, during its first week of release. Many believed that the quintet had adopted a more mature attitude with its latest release. Since the automated tracking of sales was established in 1991, only the band's previous album, No Strings Attached, had sold more during its first week—2.4 million copies in March 2000. The Backstreet Boys postponed a national tour when a member of the group sought help for alcohol abuse and depression. On her third album, Britney, 19-year-old Britney Spears sent mixed messages as she lingered between teen innocence and womanhood.

      Alicia Keys, a 20-year-old native of New York City, sold three million copies of her debut album, Songs in A Minor, spurred by the hit single “Fallin'.” Keys's music mixed hip-hop, soul, and classical styles. The precocious singer and actress Aaliyah, 22, released her third album, Aaliyah, just weeks before her death in an airplane crash in The Bahamas. (See Obituaries (Aaliyah ).) Destiny's Child—Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams—cemented their status as major pop stars with Survivor, which sold more than three million copies by year's end. Rock band Staind connected with disaffected youth on its dark album Break the Cycle; System of a Down explored political stances on Toxicity; and Christian rap-metal band P.O.D. found an audience with Satellite.

      Michael Jackson returned to the top of the pop-album chart with Invincible, his first release in six years. Though his first single, “You Rock My World,” performed poorly, peaking at number 10, the album sold 366,000 copies during its first week of release. Jackson staged two New York City concerts, titled “The Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration,” at Madison Square Garden and combined them in a network TV special. Pop icon Bob Dylan turned 60 and issued Love and Theft, his 43rd album, to critical acclaim.

      A sound-track album, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, with a large musical cast that included Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, Gillian Welch, and Chris Thomas King, dominated the country album chart and shipped three million copies. The Country Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association both named O Brother, Where Art Thou? Album of the Year.

      After having announced his retirement at a 2000 press conference, Garth Brooks, country's biggest all-time seller, released Scarecrow, his first album of new material in four years. To boost sales of the new release, Brooks appeared for three consecutive weeks in hour-long network TV specials.

      A new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Nashville and inducted a large class of members, including Bill Anderson, the Delmore Brothers, the Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, the Jordanaires, Don Law, the Louvin Brothers, Ken Nelson, Webb Pierce, and Sam Phillips.

      The Latin Grammys were moved and then postponed. The awards ceremony was moved in August from Miami, Fla., to Los Angeles when security problems arose, stemming from anti-Fidel Castro demonstrators protesting the appearance of Cuban artists, but planned to keep its scheduled date of September 11. The terrorist attacks on that day forced a postponement, however, and the awards were finally presented in late October. The big winners were Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz, who picked up four awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and Colombian singer Juanes, a newcomer who won three awards, including best new artist. “Queen of Salsa” singer Celia Cruz captured the award for best traditional tropical album for Siempre Viviré.

      The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomed Aerosmith, Solomon Burke, the Flamingos, Michael Jackson, Queen, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Ritchie Valens.

      The popular music of North Africa continued to attract a wider global audience, thanks partly to the work of the fiery, controversial, and highly political Algerian exile Rachid Taha. He was influenced by North African songs, British punk, French chanson, and even Jamaican reggae, and his album Made in Medina, which was recorded in both Paris and New Orleans, was a rousing blend of Arabic and Western styles that had much of the wild fervour of punk or early rock and roll. This sense of danger and the unexpected was repeated in Taha's exuberant live shows.

      Thanks to the North African immigrant community, Paris had developed into a world music centre and home for both Taha and Khaled, who was the best-known exponent of Algerian rai. Another such exile, Cheb Mami (see Biographies (Mami, Cheb )), developed a considerable audience across Europe, North Africa, and elsewhere with his more easygoing commercial blend of rai and Western pop. His album Dellali and his collaboration with British star Sting, with whom he toured and recorded “Desert Rose,” increased his audience. Senegalese singer Baaba Maal released a classic new album, Missing You (Mi Yeewnii). After having mixed West African styles with experimental Western pop in his recent work, Maal returned to the acoustic music he had popularized earlier in his career with his Djam Leelii album, but with more subtle and sophisticated treatment. Recorded in a village in Senegal by the British producer John Leckie (best known for his work with Radiohead), the album made use of the kora (the West African lute) and acoustic guitar work from Maal's longtime friend and musical associate Mansour Seck, the blind griot, or hereditary singer.

      The move back to delicate easygoing songs was also reflected in Senegal with the return of Orchestra Baobab, a band that had pioneered the fusion of African and Cuban styles two decades earlier and had enormous influence on the subsequent development of West African music. The group also rereleased its celebrated album Pirate's Choice—recorded in 1982 but not released until 1989—which still sounded as mellow and as fresh as ever. In the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was a similar development with the emergence of Kekele, a fine semiacoustic band that included such veteran guitarists as Papa Noel and Syran Mbenza, famous for their work in the classic era of Congolese rumba back in the 1960s and '70s. Mbenza also toured with Sam Mangwana, a celebrated singer from that era. From Zimbabwe, another crisis-torn African state, there were fine performances from the soulful vocalist Oliver Mtukudzi, the star of the year's WOMAD festival in the U.K., and from the veteran guitar band the Bhundu Boys, who released The Shed Sessions, an anthology of early recordings.

      In the Caribbean and Latin America, the fashion for Cuban music sparked by the success of the Buena Vista Social Club had eased a little, though there was one outstanding spin-off album; Cachaito, a solo set from the bass player Orlando (“Cachaito”) López, was a brave and experimental mixture of Latin, jazz, and even Jamaican dub influences. Though Brazil—traditionally a powerhouse of Latin music—had been somewhat overshadowed by the fashion for Cuba in recent years, it made a comeback, thanks partly to a new work from the long-established singer Gilberto Gil, who provided the sound track for the much-praised Brazilian feature film Me, You, Them, which featured songs of Luiz Gonzaga, his boyhood hero. The more experimental side of the new Brazilian scene was shown by Andrea Marquee, who mixed Latin and contemporary Western pop styles in her rousing and adventurous album Zumbi.

      The Beatles' newest album, 1 (2000), a compilation of its greatest hits, broke an unofficial record when it topped the charts in 34 countries early in 2001. The death in November of George Harrison, known to many as the quiet Beatle, saddened the music world after he succumbed to a long battle with cancer. (See Obituaries (Harrison, George ).)

      The Irish band U2 posted yet another classic year; the group embarked on a world tour in support of its album All That You Can't Leave Behind, which marked a return to the grand soulful ballads of its early years. One of the most promising newcomers in the U.K. was Susheela Raman, whose album Salt Rain was a cool, soulful blend of jazz and North African and Indian styles. Raman was nominated for the U.K.'s Mercury Music Prize, but the award was won by the more emotional female singer P.J. Harvey with her compelling album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

      Iranian pop diva Googoosh, banned from her homeland following the 1979 Islamic revolution, embarked in March on what she called a “homecoming tour”; she performed in March in Dubayy, U.A.E., before a crowd of some 30,000 people, most of whom flew there from Iran. In 2000, after a 20-year absence from the stage, she had performed to appreciative audiences in Canada and the U.S.

      Those fleeing the war in Afghanistan reported that the Taliban government's extremist policies included a ban on the country's once-celebrated popular songs. Anyone found listening to a cassette was fined in proportion to the length of the offending tape and was forced to confess in public. In a climate such as this, it was little surprise that the country's best-known performers, Nashenas and Naghma, had fled abroad.

      Among the other major music figures who died during the year were Joey Ramone (Ramone, Joey ), John Phillips (Phillips, John Edmund Andrew ) (of the Mamas and the Papas), Chet Atkins (Atkins, Chet ), John Hartford (Hartford, John ), and John Lee Hooker (Hooker, John Lee ). (See Obituaries.)

Robin Denselow; Jay Orr


North America.
      In June the innocently titled Free to Dance—a selective, three-hour documentary chronicling African American influences in modern dance—was telecast nationally in the U.S. on the Public Broadcasting System. Once the terror events of September came and went, the chronicle's simply stated focus on freedom and dancing began to resonate throughout dance in general and suggest more complicated dimensions.

      The big ballet troupes lived through both status-quo activity and stressful times. Early in 2001 New York City Ballet (NYCB) unveiled a new work by Eliot Feld. Called Organon, the 63-dancer work proved overly grandiose and, many thought, a large-scale waste of the company's time and personnel. Ballet master in chief Peter Martins's new ballet, Burleske, was as inconsequential as Feld's was awful. Happily, Christopher Wheeldon, who recently had retired as an NYCB dancer and turned full time to choreography, gave the repertory a plummy new work called Polyphonia, and by the summer, shortly before the premiere of another engaging new work of his called Variations Sérieuses, he had been named the troupe's first-ever “resident choreographer.” American Ballet Theatre (ABT) began the year by unveiling at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Paul Taylor's savvy Depression-era suite, Black Tuesday.

      In its lengthier New York City season, the company offered another modern dance-based work, the somewhat dry Gong by Mark Morris. (See Biographies (Morris, Mark ).) Though David Parsons's The Pied Piper arrived with great hoopla, because of its technologically advanced digitally worked decor and modernist trappings, it turned out to be a dud. More successfully, the company also unveiled its first staging of John Cranko's Onegin, which showcased a good number of ABT's stellar dancers. By the summer, however, trouble was unsettling the administration, and executive director Louis Spisto resigned under pressure, partly in the wake of the Pied Piper fiasco. The smaller fall season featured a revival of Antony Tudor's Dim Lustre and the premiere of Stanton Welch's Clear.

      Similar shifts and uncertainty befell Boston Ballet (BB) when early in the year Maina Gielgud, though due to take over from departing artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes in July, quit her post even before she started. Later, Jeffrey Babcock left his general director's post with BB for a position at Boston University. By September Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of Canada's Alberta Ballet, had been hired as BB artistic director and was due to commence full duties in July 2002. Prior to his appointment Nissinen actively participated in a Balanchine celebration at the Banff (Alta.) Arts Festival, possibly a preview of the vision he would bring to Boston. Houston (Texas) Ballet (HB) also suffered some natural and artistic disasters. After presenting James Kudelka's lavish Firebird (from the National Ballet of Canada), the HB sustained damage to a good deal of its scenery and costumes as a result of heavy flooding in Houston. In addition, long-standing director Ben Stevenson resigned but then returned to artistic direction in a more limited capacity. The company's English tour to Stevenson's homeland, however, was not much of an artistic success.

      Dance Theatre of Harlem performed in June at New York City's famous Apollo Theatre and in the fall for two weeks at New York's City Center, followed by a later stint at the Kennedy Center. Miami (Fla.) City Ballet added a ballet by Sir Frederick Ashton to its repertory but had to cancel planned additions of Balanchine and Jerome Robbins ballets owing to financial cutbacks. Nonetheless, artistic director Edward Villella was able to make progress toward a full-evening creation with the first two parts of a four-act work in progress celebrating The Neighborhood Ballroom. Kansas City (Mo.) Ballet (KCB) held a Stravinsky Festival that showcased a reconstruction of Balanchine's Renard, put together by octogenarian Todd Bolender, former KCB director. The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago led off its fall season with an all-Nijinsky ballet bill, including the American premiere of the recently reconstituted Jeux, which the company billed as Games. Carolina Ballet presented the world premiere of Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Carmina Burana. Pacific Northwest Ballet, which relocated to the Mercer Arts Arena during renovations at the Seattle (Wash.) Opera House, marked the 20th anniversary of favourite company ballerina Patricia Barker. San Francisco Ballet got A Garden, the newest freelance ballet from Morris.

      Morris, who moved into a specially renovated headquarters (replete with classrooms, rehearsal studios, and other amenities) near the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy of Music (BAM), celebrated his 20th anniversary at BAM with an ambitious three-week season, capped by glorious performances of his present-day classic, L'Allegro, il penseroso, ed il moderato. Twyla Tharp, who had previously announced that she too would relocate and set up a company and school in Brooklyn not far from Morris's building, later pulled out of the project. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company gave New York City a world premiere of the master iconoclast's Way Station in a run that also featured Cunningham's most recent collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg, Interscape. During the year Paul Taylor presented two new works, Dandelion Wine and Fiends Angelical.

      A contingent of 10 French modern dance groups presented a festival called “France Moves” throughout New York City. The American Dance Festival commissioned modern works from John Jasperse, Ronald K. Brown, Shen Wei, Meredith Monk, and Garth Fagan, who also received the festival's Scripps Award. Brown also worked again for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre; its winter season also featured a premiere by company director Judith Jamison. Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project (WODP) took its PASTForward program of works by postmodern dance innovators from the 1960s and '70s on tour nationally and internationally. BAM's annual Next Wave Festival included a concentration of performance groups from Australia, as well as offerings that included the work of such leading lights of European dance as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Pina Bausch, and William Forsythe. Though the Martha Graham Dance Company was still in “suspended operations” owing to legal battles between the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and Ron Protas, head of the trust overseeing the staging of Graham's work, the school reopened in January even as legal wrangling over the use of Graham's copyrighted name continued. In August a court ruling favoured the Graham Center and ruled against the trust's claim to exclusive rights to Graham's name.

      England's Royal Ballet (RB) played both the Kennedy Center and Boston, marking the engagements as a kind of “farewell tour” for its retiring director Anthony Dowell. (ABT's gifted Ethan Stiefel performed with the RB as a guest artist.) With ambitious new ideas for the Kennedy Center, newly arrived head Michael Kaiser planned a high-profile season for his first year at the helm, notably buoyed by financial support from arts patron Alberto Vilar. In addition to presenting both the National Ballet of Cuba, which also toured elsewhere, Kaiser backed plans to expand the number of dancers and performances for the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, which began an East Coast tour with two weeks of offerings at the Kennedy Center.

      In other touring ventures, the Paris Opéra Ballet played San Francisco and Orange county, Calif., and La Scala Ballet performed as part of Lincoln Center Festival 2001, with Sylvie Guillem's staging of Giselle proving a big draw in New York City after having gained similar attention in its Orange county season. Starting in St. Paul, Minn., Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures presented a run of The Car Man, the British choreographer's take on Georges Bizet's Carmen.

      National Ballet of Canada launched its 50th anniversary with a repertory headed by director James Kudelka's The Contract, a work partly based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal added to its store of Balanchine works by mounting Episodes and reviving Concerto Barocco. The 10th outing of the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse offered a total of 32 productions and works by Boris Charmatz, Cunningham, Trisha Brown, and WODP. A number of events scheduled for presentation in New York City during September and October had to be canceled, notably many offerings of the Québec New York 2001 festival.

      Changeovers included the departure from Fort Worth (Texas) Ballet (FWB) of Benjamin Houk and the assumption by Paul Mejia, formerly with FWB, of the executive directorship of Ballet Arlington (Texas). After years of relocation in temporary quarters, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts moved back to its fully renovated site at Lincoln Center, with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division one of its brightest jewels, holding a king's ransom of written and visual records, including countless moving-picture items.

      Deaths during the year included those of dancers Pauline Koner (see Obituaries (Koner, Pauline )), Willam Christensen (see Obituaries (Christensen, Willam )), Sonia Arova, Maria Karnilova, Mario Delamo, Jamake Highwater, Barton Mumaw, Laura Foreman, Nicholas Orloff, Robert Pagent, and Jane Dudley; choreographer and director Herbert Ross (see Obituaries (Ross, Herbert David )); writer Robert Garis; lighting designer Nananne Porcher; and costumer Barbara Matera.

Robert Greskovic

      The most noticeable feature of the year 2001 in Europe was the number of directorship changes among the leading companies. Some were carefully planned, but several others resulted from artistic differences between the current director and company boards or funding bodies.

      In London the Royal Ballet's final season under the direction of Sir Anthony Dowell showed many ballets closely associated with his distinguished career as a dancer. The final program had four pieces created by Sir Frederick Ashton for Dowell, including perhaps his most famous role, Oberon in The Dream. In the absence of Darcy Bussell and Sylvie Guillem (due to pregnancy and injury, respectively), attention focused on less-well-known dancers, one of whom, 19-year-old Romanian Alina Cojocaru, was promoted to principal dancer after her debut performances in Giselle. The new artistic director, Ross Stretton, made his first mark on the company by replacing the existing production of Don Quixote, by Mikhail Baryshnikov, with the Rudolf Nureyev version; his second innovation was the company premiere of John Cranko's Onegin.

      The Birmingham Royal Ballet, touring more than planned while awaiting the reopening of its home theatre, presented the second part of director David Bintley's Arthur, which completed the story of the legendary king. English National Ballet's retiring director, Derek Deane, made a new version of Swan Lake for his last production; described originally as a staged adaptation of his in-the-round choreography, it was in fact largely new, closely resembling the Royal Ballet's former readings except in the last act, which was Deane's own. It was very well received. Incoming director Matz Skoog was faced with the company's ongoing financial problems.

      The Rambert Dance Company, the oldest company in Great Britain, celebrated its 75th anniversary with a number of specially devised programs. Northern Ballet Theatre was another company that saw a change of director; David Nixon moved from BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Its first new production of the year, Massimo Moricone's Jekyll and Hyde, was a failure with both critics and the public, and it was withdrawn during the company's spring tour. A new company, George Piper Dances, was formed by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt—two of the dancers who had left the Royal Ballet to join Tetsuya Kumakawa's K-Ballet Company—and they made a successful debut with programs featuring contemporary ballets. Michael Clark, once the “bad boy” of British dance, reformed his company after a three-year absence and introduced a program that contrasted his older style with new work.

      Scottish Ballet announced that the contract of director Robert North would not be renewed and that the company would make a major change of direction in the upcoming season, moving away from classical works toward a more contemporary style. The change would make audiences for traditional ballet dependent on visits from companies from south of the border, and there were many protests.

      London had visits from both major Russian companies. The Bolshoi Ballet, represented by a group of 50 dancers, presented programs that each contained one ballet and a selection of pas de deux and solos; the performances were greeted by very sparse houses. The Mariinsky Ballet, at Covent Garden for a four-week season, also initially played to smaller audiences than expected, but enthusiasm built up during the season. The San Francisco Ballet, a London favourite, made a welcome return visit; New York City Ballet appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival, bringing three programs containing only recent works, with nothing by George Balanchine.

      Elsewhere in Europe, both the Dutch National Ballet and the Stuttgart (Ger.) Ballet celebrated 40th anniversaries. The Dutch company marked the occasion with a program that included works new to the company by William Forsythe and Toer van Schayk, as well as one of the company's own signature works, Rudi van Dantzig's Four Last Songs. Earlier in the year the company premiered Kurt Weill by choreographer Krzysztof Pastor, and revivals included Léonide Massine's 1933 masterwork Choreartium and Ashton's Cinderella. The Stuttgart company focused mainly on new work, but its season also included a fresh production of Don Quixote by dancer Maximiliano Guerra; it was the first new full-length ballet it had staged in five years.

      In Russia the Bolshoi Ballet, rebuilding after its leadership problems in 2000, invited Roland Petit to make a new ballet based on Aleksandr Pushkin's Queen of Spades. Entitled Three Cards, it played in repertoire alongside Tchaikovsky's opera on the same subject. The Bolshoi Theatre celebrated its 225th anniversary, but there was grave concern about the physical state of the building, and much effort was concentrated on raising money for a reconstruction fund. In St. Petersburg in February, the Mariinsky Ballet hosted the first International Ballet Festival, which included a program of excerpts of ballets from the Soviet era and a controversial new version of The Nutcracker, with choreography by company soloist Kyrill Simonov; the work was masterminded by conductor Valery Gergiev and designer Mihail Chemyakin. Much of the year was taken up by extensive foreign tours.

      Another change of management saw the Finnish National Ballet replacing director Jorma Uotinen, after 10 years, with the Dane Dinna Bjørn; the company mounted a ballet based on British novelist J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. In Sweden ballerina Natalia Makarova staged a new version of Giselle for the Royal Swedish Opera Ballet; later in the year that company also mounted Swan Lake in the Peter Wright–Galina Samsova production originally made for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Aage Thordal-Christensen resigned his position as director of the Royal Danish Ballet after only two years; he was replaced by Frank Andersen, who had directed the company from 1985 to 1994. At the same time, American Lloyd Riggins, a former company dancer, was appointed first guest instructor. Thordal-Christensen mounted his own new version of The Nutcracker in December. The company of Peter Schaufuss devoted an entire evening to the Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.

      The Paris Opéra Ballet started the year with a major new production by Pierre Lacotte of the 19th-century classic Paquita, using the fragments that remained of Marius Petipa's original but with much additional choreography by Lacotte. The ballet provided many striking roles for the company's dancers and was greeted with much acclaim. Later in the season the company added a new work by Jiri Kylian to its repertory and also gave the world premiere of Jean-Claude Gallotta's Nosferatu, a ballet inspired by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's classic film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Gravens. Under the Opéra's rules, a number of étoiles reached compulsory retirement at the age of 40; Isabelle Guerin, Fanny Gaida, and Carole Arbo gave their last performances. In the new season the company took part in a mixed opera and ballet bill, including Balanchine's Prodigal Son, paying homage to librettist Boris Kochno, and showed a program that contained both Vaslav Nijinsky's L'Après- midi d'un faune and Jerome Robbins's version of the same ballet, Afternoon of a Faun.

      New technology began to play a part in the dance world; the annual competition for young dancers, the Prix de Lausanne, was transmitted live on the Internet for the first time.

      British ballet mourned the death of Dame Ninette de Valois (see Obituaries (de Valois, Dame Ninette )), founder of the Royal Ballet. Other deaths included Kirov ballerina, teacher, and coach Inna Zubkovskaya (see Obituaries (Zubkovskaya, Inna )), longtime Royal Ballet dancer Leslie Edwards, dancer and choreographer Terry Gilbert, and critic and writer Richard Buckle.

Jane Simpson

World Dance.
      African war dances and the hoarse pleading and staccato heel rhythms of Spanish gypsies in the flamenco passion were emblematic themes of the world dance scene in 2001, primarily in New York City, Chicago, London, and Paris. There was also renewed interest in Irish dance, made popular by the Riverdance extravaganza, an engagement of which played in New York City in the summer.

      The small Trinity Irish Dance Company (trained and directed by Mark Howard) outshone all competitors at the National Irish Dance Competition in Toronto; it won five gold, two silver, and four bronze medals. At competitions and in the traditional dances of the repertoire, the Trinity dancers performed in the classic Irish dance style—arms motionless and held straight at the sides—but in noncompetitive performances they freely used their arms. For the troupe's touring repertoire, Howard choreographed dances on modern subjects, notably the plight of Irish miners in Pennsylvania in the 19th century.

      The intricate movements and flashy speed of the Argentine tango found renewed interest in the U.S., where TangoDanza drew crowds in the Midwest. The company consisted of three couples and one additional woman; the latter was needed when an additional character appeared in narrative works. The leading couple, Leandro Palou and Andrea Missé, performed double duty; Palou was the company's choreographer, and Missé designed the many elegant costumes. In addition to the traditional tango, they introduced the playful milonga and the valsa criolla, the latter danced in the light romantic mood of the waltz.

      In London, Manuel Santiago Maya, known as Manolete, directed a Spanish dance company that presented innovative Spanish dance, classical dance, and the expected flamenco. Choreographer-dancer Joaquín Cortés presented his troupe in a piece titled Pura Pasión, which London critics called “a cacophony of wailing.” In New York, Pilar Rioja headed her flamenco group in several appearances. Spanish dance was highly visible at the Noche Flamenca at Jacob's Pillow, the annual summer dance festival in Becket, Mass., and at the New World Flamenco Festival in Irvine, Calif.

      The Ballet Folklórico de México, founded and directed for many years by Amalia Hernández, was prominent on world stages throughout the season despite the death of Hernández in 2000. The Ballet Fiesta Mexicana de Yloy Ybarra was a colourful folkloric show that performed primarily in American locales populated with Mexican immigrants.

      Choreographer-educator Chuck Davis, who delved into the African American search for roots, established DanceAfrica festivals in Chicago and New York (at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [BAM]). Sabar Ak Ru Afriq (“Dream and Spirit of Africa”), a New York-based troupe directed by African American Obara Wali Rahman Ndiaye and his wife, presented Senegalese dances at BAM. Forces of Nature, another New York-based group, and Ndere Troupe, from Uganda, also performed at BAM. Lincoln Center in New York City hosted Africa Out Loud, which presented groups from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Senegal, and South Africa.

      The Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago toured the U.S. and made an especially successful appearance at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Directed by choreographer Aboulaye Camara, Muntu presented Ancestral Memories, dances of Mali, Guinea, and Senegal. Compagnie Käfig, a French-based hip-hop group of seven dancers of North African descent, appeared at Jacob's Pillow. Their combined break dance and poetry with scenic elements was presented to North African melodies.

      Tibetan monks living in exile in Paris explained their threatened culture in sacred ritual dances that were forbidden in China.In addition to the ethnic rites and tribal folklore of its modern polygot population, the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company presented the preserved Spanish-influenced dances of a past era.

      The dances of India were a staple in Chicago. The Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts regularly presented visiting and immigrant dancers, and the Dance Center of Columbia College presented Bharatanatyan in the Diaspora, a series of programs that illustrated several Indian dance forms.

      The 10th annual Chicago Human Rhythm Project, conceived and directed by tap artist Lane Alexander, showcased leading American tap dancers, notably Broadway star Savion Glover. At that gala opening the Israeli Sheketak troupe—consisting of three highly trained dancers and two musicians—produced percussive sounds on their bodies, on the floor, and on a hanging line of pots and pans. They won standing ovations and ecstatic newspaper reviews.

      In an effort to resurrect the dances of the Khmer, the New England Foundation for the Arts, in partnership with the Asia Society, sponsored a Cambodian group, which toured 12 cities.

Ann Barzel


Great Britain and Ireland.
      Upheaval was the byword behind the scenes at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), where artistic director Adrian Noble announced far-reaching changes that affected the structure and ambitions of the company in 2001. The RSC withdrew from its residency at the Barbican Centre and initiated short seasons in other London venues. Confusion reigned among the public, which was uncertain when the Stratford-upon-Avon seasons would begin or end, and resentments grew among the company over layoffs in the technical “plant” in Stratford.

      The RSC had a fine new Hamlet in Samuel West, who led a lively full-text production by Steven Pimlott. The company also debuted a remarkable new play, Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, in which IRA terrorist activity was the stuff of black and very bloody comedy. The RSC, however, once again played second fiddle to the Royal National Theatre (RNT).

      The big RNT talking point was an impeccable revival of My Fair Lady, directed by Trevor Nunn, starring the pop singer Martine McCutcheon as Eliza. McCutcheon was afflicted with a severe throat infection and missed so many performances that her understudy, 18-year-old Alexandra Jay, became a new star in her own right. When Jay herself became indisposed, the show's Professor Higgins, Jonathan Pryce, while announcing another actress in the role, asked that night's audience if anyone out there fancied giving it a go. Still, the show was a resounding success and transferred to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, under the auspices of the producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

      The RNT announced that Nicholas Hytner, the director of Miss Saigon, Carousel, and the award-winning movie The Madness of King George, would succeed Trevor Nunn in April 2003. Hytner clinched his appointment with two outstanding productions, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and Mark Ravenhill's Mother Clap's Molly House.

      Though both plays were highly polished, there was evidence that Hytner took some risks, one of his trademarks. The Winter's Tale featured a modern dysfunctional royal marriage at the court of Leontes (Alex Jennings) and a sheep-shearing festival in Bohemia presented as a hippie-style rock concert. Ravenhill's play was an outrageous attempt to mix a bawdy, Restoration comedy of sexual party time in an 18th-century male brothel with a contemporary gay scenario. Nunn himself directed Alex Jennings as Lord Foppington in a generous, colourful revival of The Relapse by Sir John Vanbrugh. John Caird directed one of the best plays of the year, Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones; it was a modern shadow play inspired by the RNT's 2000 production of Hamlet, with Simon Russell Beale and Cathryn Bradshaw playing contemporary equivalents of their own Hamlet and Ophelia. Russell Beale portrayed Felix Humble, a university research fellow, and Bradshaw was cast as a former girlfriend who arrives to arouse him in the long grass of a gorgeous garden deep in the English countryside. Bees and flowers figured large, as did the superstrand theory of universal matter. Dame Diana Rigg and Denis Quilley played, respectively, Felix's mother and her long-standing lover. The play had fine acting from leading players, lots of good jokes, a gloriously seductive design (by Tim Hatley), and an abundance of strong, poetic writing.

      Another RNT new play, Howard Katz—from Patrick Marber, author of Closer (1999)—was a disappointing tale of a nasty show business agent's rise and fall, meticulously charted in Ron Cook's mesmerizing performance. The experience was like watching Death of a Salesman rewritten as King Lear, but the final effect was strangely unsatisfying.

      The Royal Court Theatre, viewed by many as the home of new British playwriting, had another poor year. Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth sustained an impression of poetic virtue. On transferring to the West End, however, the tragicomedy of lost love and misdirected passion—in a tangled domestic drama played backward to the point of crisis, then forward again (like a theatrical palindrome)—seemed paper thin, despite the acting talents of Lindsay Duncan and Michael Maloney.

      The Royal Court presented a retrospective season of the work of Sarah Kane, who had committed suicide in 1999, but her notorious Blasted was drained of impact in a cool, dispassionate production. Though playwright Leo Butler premiered Redundant, his work about dead-end life in a northern town had none of the vitality of similar, more groundbreaking Royal Court plays of the 1960s. This was enclosed, self-indulgent drama, unexcitingly staged until, almost gratuitously, at the end the ceiling rose slowly into the flying area. Why?

      No such doubts surrounded American playwright Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things at the Almeida Theatre, temporarily rehoused in an abandoned bus depot in the King's Cross district while the home base underwent an overhaul. This world premiere was for many the play of the year, a brilliant dissection of the exploitation of trust in the cause of art and a Frankenstein morality for our media-savvy age. LaBute himself directed a quartet of hot young actors—Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, and Frederick Weller—in a dozen pungent scenes punctuated by the blaring rock music of Smashing Pumpkins.

      The Almeida also presented an ambitious but finally disappointing revival of Frank Wedekind's Lulu, with Anna Friel as a sexy but spiritually underpowered heroine, and a stunning new version by Sir David Hare of Anton Chekhov's unwieldy apprentice piece Platonov. Jonathan Kent's production of a play best known in recent years as Wild Honey in Michael Frayn's rewrite was extravagant and filmic. The vast stage area contained a revolving dacha, a forest of silver birches, another of head-high sunflowers, and a long canal that concealed the railway line. Aidan Gillen played Chekhov's feckless hero, a 27-year-old wastrel teacher who attracted women like a magnet does iron filings. It was a magnificent, panoramic evening, with superb performances from Gillen, Helen McCrory, Jhodi May, and Adrian Scarborough, among many others.

      It was a mightily subdued first-night audience—the play opened on September 11, the day of the terrorist attacks in the United States. In addition, the Almeida's co-directors, Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid, had previously announced that they would leave their posts in 2002, after 12 years.

      The other London powerhouse, the Donmar Warehouse, had a quiet year in comparison. David Mamet's Boston Marriage proved a slight, though beautifully written, letdown, even if Zoë Wanamaker and Anna Chancellor acted their socks off. Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, a demanding and convulsively depressing play, was given the works by a fine cast led by Sinéad Cusack and Catherine McCormack. It failed to attract the usual Donmar crowds. Christopher Hampton's Tales from Hollywood was another revival from the 1980s. The writing shimmered with sharp dialogue and wit as the European intellectual émigrés in the lotusland of Los Angeles formed a metaphor of artistic homelessness. The play seemed cramped, however, in the small theatre.

      Feelgood by Alistair Beaton was a stinging satire on British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, with Henry Goodman in electrifying form as a devious spin doctor trying to keep the troops “on message” as the prime minister prepares a conference speech. His job is complicated by the revelation that one of the prime minister's inner circle, a hapless life peer—played with glorious deadpan by Nigel Planer—was responsible for the inadvertent introduction of genetically modified hops grown on his family estate that produced beer with a strange side effect on male drinkers all over Europe—they began to grow large breasts.

      Feelgood originated at the Hampstead Theatre but quickly moved to the West End. Other commercial highlights were Caught in the Net by Ray Cooney, a hilarious, if old-fashioned, farce starring Russ Abbot and Eric Sykes; Japes by Simon Gray, a strong comedy of sibling rivalry across the decades, with powerful performances by Toby Stephens and Jasper Britton; and a sensationally costumed revival by Philip Prowse of Sir Noël Coward's Semi-Monde (1926), a forgotten play about the sexual misdemeanours and wholesale bitchiness that takes place in the foyer of a hotel; it was the second time that Prowse had rescued the play from oblivion—the first time having been 25 years earlier in Glasgow.

      The classics made surprisingly big inroads on Shaftesbury Avenue. Fiona Shaw was ferocious, pitiless, and extraordinary in the title role in Medea, a stunning modern-dress version of the Euripides tragedy directed by Deborah Warner. Dawn French, the very large and popular television comedienne, played Bottom in a mildly daring gender-bending A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hollywood stars Brendan Fraser and Frances O'Connor headlined in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Ned Beatty as a ferocious Big Daddy. Ian Holm was an electrifying Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan teamed languidly in Coward's Private Lives.

      There were no new musicals to speak of apart from Peggy Sue Got Married, a lively-enough stage version of the Francis Ford Coppola movie, with new music by Bob Gaudio and a vibrant Ruthie Henshall in the title role; she was sensational while traveling in time from 1980s torch songs to '50s jive and jitterbug. Playwright Jonathan Harvey's Closer to Heaven, at the newly refurbished Arts Theatre, was a nonevent aimed at a gay niche market, and it was inefficiently molded around a few trite numbers by the Pet Shop Boys.

      The ever-popular open-air Globe at Southwark gave a solid showing of Macbeth in tuxedos and King Lear. The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park scored with a truly magical Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, and an irresistible revival of Where's Charley?, the 1948 Broadway version of the 1892 farce Charley's Aunt. The other summer musical treat was My One and Only, with Janie Dee and Tim Flavin tapping and sloshing (there was water on the stage) their way to happiness in the 1983 romantic hybrid of Ira Gershwin songs.

      Other notable productions beyond London included Christopher Marlowe's Edward II at the Sheffield Crucible, starring Joseph Fiennes; a long summer season of Dame Agatha Christie plays—all of them—were at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff; King Lear, directed by Terry Hands and featuring Nicol Williamson as an erratic but gloriously compelling Lear at the Theatre Clwyd, Mold, Flintshire, north Wales; a brilliant cut-up job of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy—set in an abattoir—directed by Edward Hall (Sir Peter's son) at the Watermill, Newbury; and Uncle Vanya, featuring Tom Courtenay in manic mode in the title role in the 25th-anniversary season of the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

      A strong candidate for best production of the year was Aleksandr Pushkin's great epic play Boris Godunov, performed in Russian by an ad-hoc company of Russian actors, directed by Declan Donnellan, at the Brighton Festival and the Riverside Studios in London.

      Notable new plays premiered at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh International Festival included Gregory Burke's Gagarin Way, a tense thriller set in a factory storeroom where a kidnapping went wrong, and Iain Heggie's Wiping My Mother's Arse, a bright and funny comedy about the problems of old age in a nursing home, with more than a touch of Joe Orton.

      The Dublin Theatre Festival also concentrated on new work, with a trilogy of short plays by Brian Friel, Conor McPherson, and filmmaker Neil Jordan and a first stage play by novelist Roddy Doyle loosely inspired by the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? The Abbey Theatre presented a season of works by Tom Murphy ranging from his first success, A Whistle in the Dark, to his denser, more knotted and poetic plays The Gigli Concert and The Sanctuary Lamp.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      The most startling and talked-about event of the American theatre year was the premiere in mid-December 2001 of Tony Kushner's new play Homebody/Kabul, which debuted at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The ballyhoo was not so much related to Kushner's return to the New York stage with a major work nearly 10 years after his Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America AIDS epic had catapulted him into the ranks of the nation's literary elite—making him as close to a household name as American dramatists ever get to be—but to the play's setting and its subject—Afghanistan.

      In fact, it was more coincidence than calculation that Kushner's three-and-a-half-hour drama about the West's contemporary and historic relationship to Afghanistan arrived onstage a scant two months after the U.S. had all but declared war on that country. A writer with an ongoing interest in international affairs (wartime Germany in A Bright Room Called Day and corruption in the Soviet Union in Slavs!), Kushner had long indulged a fascination with Afghanistan and its geopolitical plight, and he had finished the initial version of Homebody/Kabul the previous winter. Nevertheless, the play's events—it follows the journey of a British woman who disappears into the chaos of Afghan life—seemed eerily prescient, and director Declan Donnellan's Off-Broadway production generated avid international attention.

      As in other sectors of American life, the September 11 terrorist attacks reverberated throughout the nation's theatre community. Performances were postponed, canceled, modified, and reexamined as theatres in New York and Washington, D.C., struggled with logistic problems, and those in other parts of the country deferred to the mood of a shocked and mourning public. Some plays no longer seemed appropriate—a Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's dark musical Assassins was delayed, for example—and others took on surprising new resonances. In the wake of widespread uncertainty, one thing seemed certain: the economic consequences for theatre would be severe. The New York City commercial theatre, which suffered disastrously during the first weeks after the attack, continued to post below-average ticket sales through the end of the year, and the not-for-profit theatre prepared to bear the brunt of a vastly diminished pool of resources available for the arts.

      In some locales existing prosperity compensated for worries about future want. California's Berkeley Repertory Theatre opened a new $20 million, 600-seat second theatre with a grand-scale two-part production of The Oresteia, co-directed by artistic director Tony Taccone and opera specialist Stephen Wadsworth (who said he viewed the Aeschylus tragedy as a “totemic dysfunctional family saga”). Outsized productions of the Greeks were also de rigueur in Washington, D.C., where Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith put her lightly feminist brand on a new compilation of classic texts called Agamemnon and His Daughters, and Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Michael Kahn staged The Oedipus Plays in an African mode, with the gifted Avery Brooks in the title role.

      A number of established playwrights debuted important works. Edward Albee had a success d'estime with his esoteric and literate theatrical fable The Play About the Baby, directed by David Esbjornson in an Off-Broadway production that made glorious use of the turn-on-a-dime talents of veteran actors Marian Seldes and Brian Murray. Suzan-Lori Parks, best known for poetic abstraction in works such as The America Play, favourably surprised critics with an ostensibly realistic comedy-drama Topdog/Underdog, in which a pair of down-and-out brothers fret and feud. (George C. Wolfe's taut Public Theater production was expected to return for a Broadway run during the next season.) Historian-turned-playwright Charles L. Mee made “love” the operative word in a trilogy of dissimilar plays—Big Love, First Love, and True Love—that alternately engaged and puzzled audiences across the country with their collagelike texts and juggled time frames.

      Playwright Richard Nelson would mark 2001 as a prime year. He debuted a new play, Madame Melville, in London and New York, featuring Macaulay Culkin, the former child movie star, in the role of a 15-year-old American lad seduced by his Parisian teacher, and wooed audiences with his book and lyrics for the unusual musical play James Joyce's The Dead, which was widely produced across the country and on national tour.

      Much attention was also paid to a national tour of The Tragedy of Hamlet, auteur British director Peter Brook's elegant condensation of Shakespeare's expansive tragedy, pared down to two and a half intermissionless hours and rendered with passionate restraint by a mere eight actors. Audiences in Seattle, Wash., New York City, and Chicago debated the merits of Brook's agenda, but there was general agreement that the agile black actor Adrian Lester was a thrilling prince of Denmark.

      The sensation of the commercial theatre season—and the only show to take the September 11 slump in box-office stride—was comedian Mel Brooks's deliriously tasteless musicalization of his own 1967 cult film The Producers. The sure-fire casting of Nathan Lane (see Biographies (Lane, Nathan )) as the hard-luck showman Max Bialystock and Matthew Broderick as his nebbishy accountant Leo Bloom (roles played in the film by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder), abetted by a dazzling supporting cast and Brooks's own silly-sophisticated songs and lyrics, proved irresistible to ticket buyers, who lined up around the block from the St. James Theatre and jammed Ticketmaster phone lines. Among the records broken were the biggest advance sale ever ($33 million), the most Tony nominations (15), and the most Tonys won (12). Of the 12 awards won, 2 went to Susan Stroman, its director and choreographer. (See Biographies (Stroman, Susan ).)

      David Auburn's Pulitzer-confirmed drama Proof, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, was the second most honoured Broadway show of the season, with Tonys for best play, best director (Daniel Sullivan), and best actress (Mary-Louise Parker). The actors that played the old and young British poet A.E. Housman in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, Richard Easton and Robert Sean Leonard, respectively, also won acting awards, as did Viola Davis of August Wilson's wordy but well-received drama King Hedley II.

      The post-Tony arrival of an unlikely but high-spirited musical, Mark Hollmann's and Greg Kotis's savvy Bertolt Brecht–Kurt Weill parody Urinetown, enlivened the theatre year, as did a crowd-pleasing, all-star New York City staging in Central Park's Delacorte Theatre of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols and reuniting long-ago stage confederates Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. On the West Coast a revival of the tuneful 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song, politically revamped via David Henry Hwang's rewritten book, earned high marks at the Mark Taper Forum.

      In Canada, southern Ontario's Stratford Festival continued its economic and artistic upswing under the artistic direction of former actor Richard Monette. Although on the financial ropes 10 years earlier (Monette said he almost closed one of Stratford's three theatres), now—thanks in part thanks to an endowment campaign that had topped $10 million—the festival was opening a fourth theatre and planning an ambitious 50th anniversary season in 2002, with Christopher Plummer signed to star in King Lear. Just 90 minutes away in Toronto, the four-year-old Soulpepper Theatre Company, founded by a cluster of Canada's best-known actors, tapped ever more successfully into the depth of the city's audience for serious theatre. A September run of two Eugène Ionesco plays, The Bald Soprano and The Lesson, for example, was a sellout.

      Among the losses to the theatre community in 2001 were stage and film actress Kim Stanley (Stanley, Kim ), famous for her roles in Bus Stop and Picnic, and rubber-faced comedienne Imogene Coca (Coca, Imogene Fernandez de ). (See Obituaries.) Other notable deaths included actress Gloria Foster, known for her expertise in classic and contemporary roles, and producer Arthur Cantor, who in the course of a long career presented more than 50 productions in New York, London, and Paris.

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures
       International Film Awards 2001For Selected International Film Awards in 2001, see Table (International Film Awards 2001).

United States.
      It seemed the sign of troubled times that in 2001 the world film-going public seized hungrily upon two adaptations of children's books of mythical tales about the conflict of Good and Evil. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (“Philosopher's Stone” in the international release), directed by Chris Columbus with an all-British cast, faithfully translated into images the story and the visions of J.K. Rowling's 1997 best-seller. The film of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings—first published in 1954–55 and adapted in 1978 as an animated film—was directed by the once-maverick New Zealand director Peter Jackson. Only the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released in 2001; the other two episodes, already filmed, were scheduled for Christmas release in 2002 and 2003. The spirit of childhood legend also imbued the future-world science fiction of Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence: AI, a quasi-collaboration based on a longtime idea of the late British filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

      Another outstanding success of mixed national progeny was Bridget Jones's Diary, directed by Sharon Maguire from Helen Fielding's original newspaper column. The 30ish heroine found a response on both sides of the Atlantic, and the film offered a change-of-pace role for Hugh Grant. (See Biographies (Grant, Hugh ).) The sequel to 1991's The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, directed by Ridley Scott, was a predictable box-office winner. The Australian director Baz Luhrmann excelled his own previous tours de force with his Parisian musical fantasy Moulin Rouge. Of the nonconformist veterans, Woody Allen directed a modest tribute to cinema of the 1940s, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, while Robert Altman's Gosford Park resembled an old-style Agatha Christie whodunit, with a murder at a 1930 country house whose divided society, above and below stairs, Altman observed with pleasure but not much depth. Lasse Hallström brought E. Annie Proulx's novel The Shipping News to the screen.

      Of middle-generation directors, the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, attempted, with only mixed success, a pastiche of 1940s film noir with The Man Who Wasn't There. David Lynch's Mulholland Dr., developed out of a rejected TV series pilot, was a characteristic assembly of offbeat characters and enigmatic incidents, set in Los Angeles. Satire was healthily in evidence in Peter Howitt's AntiTrust, in which Tim Robbins patently based his performance as a computer supermogul on Bill Gates. Ivan Reitman's Evolution provided witty parody of the science-fiction genre. After two Oscar-nominated dramas in 2000 (and an Oscar for one, Traffic), director Steven Soderbergh returned with the lively crime caper Ocean's Eleven. (See Biographies (Soderbergh, Steven ).)

      Two sober and distinguished biopics were Michael Mann's Ali, with Will Smith in the role of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, and Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe (see Biographies (Crowe, Russell )) as John Nash, the mathematical genius who succumbed to schizophrenia but conquered sickness to become a Nobel Prize winner in 1994. The most spectacular critical failure of the year was the costly three-hour spectacle Pearl Harbor, sacrificed to a banal script and conventional characterization.

      A few interesting works appeared from the independent sector of production. Actor Todd Field made a distinguished directing debut with In the Bedroom, a sensitive and expansive study of the effect of a family tragedy. The off-Broadway success Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the musical saga of a transsexual entertainer, was brought to the screen by its writer-star creator John Cameron Mitchell.

      The outstanding animation hit of the year, Shrek, the story of a reluctantly kindly ogre and a donkey who trek to rescue a beautiful princess, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, was aimed at adult as well as infant audiences and, with the year's other animated hit, Monsters, Inc., confirmed the current thirst for myth and fairy tale.

      In 2001 Hollywood said farewell to legendary director Stanley Kramer (Kramer, Stanley Earl ), as well as two double Oscar-winning actors, Jack Lemmon (Lemmon, Jack ) and Anthony Quinn (Quinn, Anthony Rudolph Oaxaca ), actress Dorothy McGuire (McGuire, Dorothy Hackett ), and director-choreographer Herbert Ross (Ross, Herbert David ). (See Obituaries.)

British Isles.
      The first apparent effect of the “New Labour” administration's initiative to centralize film activities under a Film Council was overproduction; of a total of more than 100 feature films, a substantial proportion were undeniably lamentable. British directors favoured character comedy, with Mel Smith's crime farce High Heels and Low Lifes, Jez Butterworth's Birthday Girl, about a prim bank teller who acquires a mail-order bride from Russia, and Steve Barron's Mike Bassett: England Manager, a self-deprecatory comedy about a disastrous English international football (soccer) team and its incompetent manager. Alan Taylor's The Emperor's New Clothes was a witty and likable speculation about an imagined incident in the life of Napoleon—his incognito return from St. Helena after a double takes his place there; the film offered a rewarding dual role to Ian Holm. Ken Loach made one of his most brilliant works of social criticism, The Navigators, describing with rich comedy the effect on the lives of a little group of workers of the disastrous degeneration of Britain's railway system after privatization.

      John Boorman's The Tailor of Panama was a stylish adaptation of John le Carré's 1996 novel. Other successful literary adaptations were Fred Schepisi's Last Orders, from Brian Swift's prizewinning novel, probing the pasts of four elderly Londoners on a journey to scatter the ashes of their recently deceased friend; and Michael Apted's thriller Enigma, adapted by the dramatist Tom Stoppard from a novel by Robert Harris, set in the wartime code-breaking headquarters at Bletchley Park. The British taste for biopics brought Richard Eyre's study of the novelist Iris Murdoch, Iris.

      In Ireland the gifted Yugoslav director Goran Paskaljevic made How Harry Became a Tree, a tale of neighbour hate in 1920s Ireland that was an open metaphor for the Bosnian conflict.

      One of the year's greatest surprises was Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner, the first film to be made in the Inuktitut language, directed by Zacharias Kunuk. Drawing upon legend and the ancient Inuit storytelling tradition, the film vividly presented an integral culture, beautifully filmed (on digital video) against the Arctic landscapes of an island in the north Baffin region.

      In a lean year Ray Lawrence's Lantana brought to the screen Andrew Bovell's play Speaking in Tongues, which shrewdly probed the frustrations of 10 middle-class people. Robert Connolly's The Bank mined a currently popular theme—ordinary people's battle with corporate villainy. David Caesar's Mullet looked at a small-town community in an increasingly unfriendly world, seen through the eyes of a young man returning home after life in Sydney. Australia's hit hero of the 1980s, Crocodile Dundee, made a somewhat weary comeback in Simon Wincer's Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

      Among world filmmakers France remained a leader in terms of variety, invention, and craftsmanship. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amélie), an exquisitely visualized story of a young woman driven to adjust the reality of her Montmartre neighbours, enjoyed international success. One of the more controversial productions, Patrice Chéreau's English-language Intimacy (2000; called Intimité in the 2001 French release) was an uneasy combination of frank sex and overly artificial dialogue. Claude Miller triumphantly translated Ruth Rendell's 1984 novel The Tree of Hands to a French setting, as Betty Fisher et autres histoires (Betty Fisher and Other Stories). Another of the year's most talented films was Anne Fontaine's Comment j'ai tué mon père, about the disruption of a bourgeois family by the return of their prodigal paterfamilias. Of the veterans of the 1960s nouvelle vague, Jean-Luc Godard made a characteristic essay on history, politics, and, unusually, love, in Éloge de l'amour (In Praise of Love). The 81-year-old Eric Rohmer made a charming and elegant costume picture, L'Anglaise et le duc (The Lady and the Duke). The veteran Jacques Rivette returned to direction with Va savoir (Go Figure, or Who Knows?), an ensemble piece set in the context of a theatrical production.

      Among the few outstanding films of the year was Hungarian director István Szabó's Franco-German (but English-language) production Taking Sides, adapting Ronald Harwood's 1995 play about the postwar investigations of conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler's relations with the Nazi elite. Roland Suso Richter's Der Tunnel, reconstructing one of the biggest escape attempts from East to West Berlin in Cold War days, successfully made the transition from television miniseries to theatrical release. Franziska Buch's new adaptation revealed the perennial attractions of Erich Kastner's often-filmed children's book Emil und die Detektive.

      Nanni Moretti's La stanza del figlio (The Son's Room), a very human story about the private grief of a couple at the death of their teenage son, won for Italy the Cannes Festival Palme d'Or. Other, senior filmmakers turned to remote history. Pupi Avati's I cavalieri che fecero l'impresa (The Knights of the Quest) followed the adventures of five young 13th-century Crusaders in search of the Holy Shroud. Ermanno Olmi's Il mestiere delle armi (2000; Profession of Arms) recounted the final days and death, in 1521, of Giovanni de' Medici.

      Comedy flourished. A major commercial success in the home market was Chiedimi se sono felice (2000; Ask Me if I'm Happy), directed, written, and performed by the popular comedy trio Aldo, Giovanni, and Giacomo; while the idiosyncratic Maurizio Nichetti made intelligent use of digital facilities and multilingual dialogue (with most of the comedy being visual) for his comedy about the tribulations of a Milanese office worker, Honolulu Baby (2000).

      Spanish films had rarely tackled contemporary social issues, so Javier Balaguer's Sólo mía (Only Mine, or Mine Alone), a forthright drama about domestic violence, was exceptional. The talented Joaquín Oristrell's Sin vergüenza (No Shame) explored the ambitions and relationships of an acting school.

      Two Catalan directors made notable films; Ventura Pons's Anita no perd el tren (Anita Takes a Chance) related a romantic middle-aged woman's discovery of love, while Marc Recha, using a minimalist style, directed a sensitive and positive study of the effect of a death upon a family, Pau i el seu germà (Pau and His Brother).

      The nonagenarian Manoel de Oliveira produced another surprise and change of direction with a French co-production, Je rentre à la maison, featuring a majestic performance by Michel Piccoli as an aged actor.

Nordic Countries.
      A major box-office hit for Sweden was Josef Fares's Jalla! Jalla! (2000), relating the stories of two friends, an immigrant from Lebanon striving to evade a family-arranged marriage and his Swedish friend suffering a bad attack of impotence. The expatriate Briton Colin Nutley made an elaborate comedy about the human maneuverings in the entertainment business, Gossip (2000).

      Denmark had an international success with Lone Scherfig's Italiensk for begyndere (2000; Italian for Beginners, 2001), showing six lonely working-class people in a Copenhagen suburb learning an emotional language along with the verbal one in their evening Italian courses.

      Two notable Danish-Swedish co-productions were Bille August's delicate adaptation of Ulla Isaksson's novel En sång för Martin (A Song for Martin), about a late love affair that endures through the perils and problems of later life, and Jan Troell's Så vit som en snö (As White as in Snow), which re-creates the story of Sweden's first aviatrix, Elsa Andersson.

      The lawlessness of contemporary Russian urban life was featured in Andrey Nekrasov's Lyubov i drugiye koshmary (2000; Lubov and Other Nightmares), which centred on a transvestite professional assassin, and Sergey Bodrov's effective drama Syostry (Sisters), about two women on the run from the mob enemies of their gangster father. In a lighter vein, Karen Shakhnazarov's comedy Yady, ili vsemirnaya istoriya otravleniy (Poisons, or the World History of Poisoning) described a modest would-be wife killer who seeks the aid of some of the great poisoners of history.

Eastern Europe.
      In a generally weak year for Hungarian production, one outstanding film was Árpád Sopsits's Torzók (Abandoned), a largely autobiographical account of a small boy's sufferings in a Cold War-era orphanage.

      In the Czech production Tmavomodrý svet (Dark Blue World), the gifted Jan Sverák looked back, with a very human mixture of humour and sadness, at the experience of Czech pilots in Britain in World War II and their subsequent sufferings under communism.

      The Romanian director Lucian Pintilie revisited the dark days of the Ceaușescu regime with L'Après-midi d'un tortionnaire (The Afternoon of a Torturer), based on the true confessions of a man formerly implicated in torturing political prisoners. The debutant Cristi Puiu's Marfa și banii (Stuff and Dough) provided an object lesson for filmmakers in all economically depressed national cinema industries—a film made on a minimal budget but triumphing by imagination, invention, verve, and craftsmanship. This road movie was the story of a young would-be entrepreneur undertaking a delivery to Bucharest and discovering too late that he is in thrall to petty mafiosi.

      Albanian films were few in number and rarely seen abroad. Gjergj Xhuvani's Slogans, a tragicomedy ridiculing official postures in the late days of communist rule, and Fatmir Koçi's apocalyptic portrayal of Albanian society in the late 1990s, Tirana, année zéro (Tirana Year Zero), were welcome exceptions.

      Among debutant feature writer-directors, Christos Demas's I akrovates tou kipou (The Cistern) offered an inventive rite-of-passage story of five 11-year-old boys in the fateful summer of 1974, while Christos Georgiou's Kato apo ta asteria (Under the Stars) was a road movie set in the aftermath of the division of Cyprus following the Turkish invasion of 1974. Of films by established directors, the most notable were Constantine Giannaris's Dekapentaugoustos (2000; One Day in August) and Andrea Pantzis's To tama (2000; Word of Honor). Giannaris's film was a virtuoso and occasionally visionary interweaving of the four stories of a disturbed young burglar and the absent occupants of the three apartments he devastates. Pantzis's epic was a Cypriot Pilgrim's Progress, set in the 1940s—the story of a devout man who travels across the island to give thanks at the shrine of Saint Andreas for the birth of his son and on the journey encounters every kind of temptation.

Turkey and Iran.
      The Turkish writer-director Kasım Öz created an epitome of the Kurdish tragedy in Fotograf (The Photograph), the story of the encounter and brief friendship on a bus journey of two young men, unaware that they will soon find themselves on opposing sides of a war. Yılmaz Erdoğan and Ömer Faruk Sorak made an auspicious debut with Vizontele, a comedy about the arrival of television in a back-of-beyond township, where it becomes a tool in the conflict of the upright mayor and the sleazy movie-house proprietor.

      A marked new phase in Iranian cinema was the appearance of films of open social criticism. Maziar Miri's Qateh-ye natamam (The Unfinished Song) ironically portrayed an ethnomusicologist's efforts to record the songs of peasant women when Islamic law makes it a crime for women to sing or dance in public. Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's Zir-e poost-e shahr (2000; Under the Skin of the City) was a ranging examination of social conditions in contemporary Tehran, seen through the daily problems of neighbouring families and concluding with a remarkable interrogation of the role of cinema in Iran as the tormented woman protagonist turns on the cameraman and asks him why he is making this film. Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi's Zir-e noor-e maah (Under the Moonlight) told the story of a young student mullah who accidentally finds himself with a group of homeless people and discovers greater fulfilment in this human contact than in the religious life. Film director and reform parliamentarian Behrooz Afkhami directed an intelligent dramatic examination of the custom of “temporary marriage” in Islamic society, Shokaran (Hemlock). Comedy is not a common commodity in Iranian cinema, but Babak Payami's Raye makhfi (Void Votes, or Secret Ballot) found fun in the first unaccustomed exercise of democracy. The Afghan troubles figured in several films. Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Safar e Ghandehar (Kandahar) exposed, with a remarkable poetic atmosphere, the sufferings of the Afghan people under Taliban oppression. Majid Majidi's gentle bittersweet fable Baran related the love story of an Iranian boy and a young Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy to find meanly paid work on a building site. Abolfazl Jalili applied his meticulous film craft to the story of an Afghan child refugee in Delbaran.

      An exceptionally accomplished debut film, Joseph Cedar's Ha-Hesder (2000; Time of Favor) used a personal drama about a good rabbi and his child and followers to explore troubling philosophical divisions. Dover Kosashvili's Hatuna meuheret (Late Marriage) offered a wry comedy of manners about a conventional Jewish family's desperation to marry off their 32-year-old son, who has other ideas than the “suitable” virgins they propose.

East and Southeast Asia.
      In Japan the major theatrical sensation of the year was 70-year-old Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale (2000), based on a best-selling novel by Koshun Takami. Its violent story of a high-school project in which pupils are compelled to kill one another led to political calls for restraints on violent films. Less controversially, another veteran, Shohei Imamura, adapted a novel by Henmi Yo, Akai hashi no shita no nurui mizu (Warm Water Under a Red Bridge), about a beautiful young woman whose body is stimulated by sex to release a magical spring gushing forth streaks of water. In a comparable vein, Gō Rijū's Chloe effectively and touchingly orientalized Boris Vian's novel L'Écume des jours, about a young women who discovers a flower bud growing in her lung.

      Few films of international interest emerged from China, where the production of propaganda-loaded feature films had moved into a new and more sophisticated stage. The country's finest director, Zhang Yimou, produced an endearing character comedy, Xingfu shiguang (2000; Happy Times), which told of a dyed-in-the wool con man whose heart is moved by the young blind daughter of the woman whose hand and cash he is striving to win.

      Artists in the new Hong Kong could still make films on political themes. Herman Yau's From the Queen to the Chief Executive (2000) argued the case of a real-life young offender who had spent 12 years detained “at Her Majesty's pleasure” and who now faced further imprisonment at the pleasure of the chief executive. Stanley Kwan's Lan Yu was also controversial for the new Hong Kong, depicting a homosexual love affair between the son of a communist official and a lad from the country. The biggest box-office successes of the year, however, were a Jackie Chan action thriller, Te wu mi cheng (The Accidental Spy), directed by Teddy Chan, and Johnnie To's costume comedy Wu Yen.

      Elsewhere in the Chinese-speaking world, the regular output of crime pictures and romantic comedies proliferated, though a few original works emerged. From Taiwan, Hsiao Ya-chuan's Ming dai ahui zhu (2000; Mirror Image) was essentially no more than a sketch, loosely constructed but full of wit and promise in its observation of the comings and goings of the clients of a pawnbroker's shop, left in charge of the sick proprietor's odd son.

      In South Korea, Kwak Kyung-Taek drew on often painful personal memories for Chin goo (Friend), tracing the histories of four young men from boyhood in the 1970s to the present. The film proved the country's all-time box-office winner.

      Thailand's runaway box-office successes were period stories dealing with Thai-Burmese conflicts of the 18th century, Thanit Jitnukul's Bangrajan (2000) and Chatrichalerm Yukoi's Suriyothai.

      The Indian commercial cinema styled “Bollywood” broke significantly into the international market thanks to Ashutosh Gowariker's remarkable Lagaan (Land Tax). Using indigenous conventions, this skillfully related story of a group of Indian peasants challenged to compete at cricket with the arrogant British military establishment provided gripping and intelligent entertainment at any level. More limited international acceptance was earned by Santosh Sivan's Bollywood epic Asoka (Ashoka the Great), the story of a historical hero of the 3rd century BC. Contemporary subjects were treated in Digvijay Singh's Maya, a shocking tale of child abuse sanctified as religious ceremony; in Rituparno Ghosh's Utsab (2000; “The Festival”), which chronicled the family crises brought to a pitch in the course of an annual festive reunion; and in the Bengali Nabyendu Chatterjee's Mansur mian aur ghora (The Last Ride), the touching story of an old man forced to give up his horse-drawn cab under pressure from his limo chauffeur son. Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding was a perceptive, witty, fast-moving ensemble work about the romantic problems of a large Punjab family assembled for a wedding.

      Two of India's most enduring film stars died during the year: Ashok Kumar (Kumar, Ashok ), one of Bollywood's best-loved actors for more than 60 years, and Sivaji Ganesan (Ganesan, Sivaji ), a legendary star in southern India's Tamil movie industry. (See Obituaries.)

Latin America.
      Gerardo Tort's unsparing picture of street children in Mexico City, De la calle (Streeters), was based on a play by Jesús González Dávila. Marysa Sistach's Perfuma de violetas, nadie te oye (Violet Perfume: Nobody Hears You) dealt intelligently with rape in working-class Mexico City. Guillermo del Toro's Spanish co-production El espinazo del diablo (The Devil's Backbone), set in an orphanage in the 1930s, ingeniously combined a story of the perils of the Civil War and a ghost story.

      Argentine cinema was seeing a marked revival with the appearance of a generation of new and distinctive filmmakers. Ana Poliak's Le fé del volcán (The Faith of the Volcano) looked at the effects of the country's recent history through the friendship of two social outcasts, a 12-year-old cleaning girl and a middle-aged knife grinder. Sergio Bizzio's Animalada was the startling tale of a bourgeois gentleman who abandons his wife for a pretty young sheep. The biggest box-office hit in more than a decade, writer-director Fabián Bielinsky's Nueve reinas (Nine Queens), combined a brilliantly structured script and fine characterization in its depiction of small-time con men.

      Brazil enjoyed its biggest-ever box-office success with Gurel Arraes's O auto da compadecida (2000; A Dog's Will), a comedy adapted from a stage success and veering between surreality and traditions of picaresque in its tale of an amiable rogue drifting through society. In Abril despedaçado (Behind the Sun), Walter Salles, director of Central Station, brought the weight of classical tragedy to a story of deathly feuding, based on a novel by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films
      Clive Alive, directed by Anders Envall and produced by the Swedish company Dockhouse Film & Television AB, creatively depicted the thorough safety testing of Volvo cars. The film, which starred a test dummy named Clive, beat out nine other nominees to earn the 2001 Best of Festival award at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival in Chicago. This was the third time since 1995 that Dockhouse had garnered the Best of Fest. Clive Alive also took the Grand Prize at three other festivals, one in Sweden and two in Germany. Swedish documentary filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff died in May at age 84. (See Obituaries (Sucksdorff, Arne ).)

      A young Jewish baseball player who challenged Babe Ruth's home-run record and became an American hero was chronicled in The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, a documentary produced by Aviva Kempner. The film was named best overall at the Columbus (Ohio) International Film & Video Festival. Film critics in Chicago, Las Vegas, Nev., New York City, and Florida voted it best documentary of the year.

      Bean Cake, a 12-minute student film by David Greenspan of the University of Southern California, won high praise during the year. The film, which featured Japanese narration with English subtitles, earned the Palme d'Or for short film at the Cannes (France) International Film Festival in addition to a College Emmy and numerous other awards.

      The Pigeon Murders, produced by Sean Fine for National Geographic, departed from the style and subject matter of traditional environmental films. The documentary depicted a detective's hunt to find out who was poisoning pigeons by the thousands in New York City. The Pigeon Murders won the CINE Golden Eagle, two Emmys, and numerous wildlife awards in England and the U.S.

Thomas W. Hope

▪ 2001



Classical Music.
      A tidal wave of anniversary observances characterized classical music in 2000. The centennials of the births of composers Aaron Copland and Kurt Weill were celebrated with festivals, and the anniversaries of the deaths of two giants were commemorated: composer Johann Sebastian Bach's 250th anniversary and conductor Leonard Bernstein's 10th. The 50th observation of the birth of another composer, Gioacchino Rossini, born on Feb. 29, 1792, was made during the leap year. Though the centennial of the death of Giuseppe Verdi was not until 2001, many opera companies designed their 2000–01 season as a Verdi year.

      Two of the world's leading orchestras, the Vienna Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra, celebrated their centennials at home and on tour. Boston's Symphony Hall marked its 100th anniversary with a festival. In Vermont the Marlboro Music Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Sony Classical records issued a set of two compact discs (CDs) of archival recordings featuring pianist and festival founder Rudolf Serkin.

      Two of the most important events in the history of Western music were recognized with anniversaries—the 300th anniversary of the invention of the piano and the 400th anniversary of the invention of opera. Though both of these were developed over a period of years, the year 2000 was chosen to mark these milestones.

      The most spectacular CD celebration of the piano anniversary was the 200-disc collection Great Pianists of the 20th Century. A particularly notable festival was held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with an exhibit titled “Piano 300: Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos.” Highlighting the festivities were classical and jazz performances by recent winners of top piano competitions in the U.S., including Christopher Basso, winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs; Ning An, triumphant in both the Sixth American National Chopin Piano Competition and the 1999 Queen Elizabeth Music Competition; and Eric Lewis, winner of the 1999 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. In addition, a daylong piano film seminar featured films and discussions on Glenn Gould, Sviatoslav Richter, Serkin, and Arthur Rubinstein.

      Two notable productions were staged of Aida, the grandest of Verdi's grand operas. In Detroit, as a prelude to a yearlong Verdi festival, the Michigan Opera Theatre offered a minimalist production that omitted the usual expensive pageantry, including scenery and costumes. Aida in Concert starred Luciano Pavarotti in the leading role of Radames. In Shanghai, however, Aida received what was described as the most extravagant production ever given to it or any other opera. A cast of 2,116 in the triumphal scene featured not only 1,650 Egyptian legionnaires portrayed by People's Liberation Army soldiers but also elephants, camels, lions, tigers, a panther, and a boa constrictor. The famous Grand March was repeated three times to accompany the long marching line, and the libretto was modified to give the opera a happy ending. Large video screens were provided for the audience of some 50,000 in a sports stadium, and the performance was produced for television.

      In the summer of 2000, an opera staged essentially for TV reached American screens. La Traviata from Paris was filmed in such locations as the Hotel Boisgelin, the Petit-Palais, and Le Hameau de la Reine, a rustic retreat at Versailles, France, once used by Marie-Antoinette.

      Opera entered its fifth century with remarkable vigour. At least 27 world premieres were scheduled for the 2000–01 season. In Finland 16 new operas by Finnish composers had premieres in 2000. Premieres by American companies included Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, performed by the San Francisco Opera; Diedre Murray's Fangs and Randy Weiner's Swimming with Watermelons, both played by New York's Music-Theatre Group; and Minoru Miki's The Tale of Genji, performed by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (Mo.). Elsewhere, the most unusual debut was that of The Age of Dreams, a trilogy produced by Finland's Savonlinna Opera Festival. The three librettos, “Now and Forever,” “Maria's Love,” and “The Book of Secrets,” were all written by Paavo Rintala, but the music was provided by three different composers—Herman Rechberger, Olli Kortekangas, and Kalevi Aho.

      Other notable new operas included José Luis Turina's Don Quijote in Barcelona at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, and Aulis Sallinen's King Lear at the Finnish National Opera. Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin, based on Émile Zola's novel of the same title, was scheduled for production in the 2001–02 season. Muhammad Ali—based on the life of the former world heavyweight boxing champion—was completed by John Duffy with a libretto by sportswriter Robert Lipsyte, but it was still awaiting a production company. Il Giocatore, composed by Joyce Whitelaw with a libretto by Eddie Orton, premiered in Berkeley, Calif., and featured an Italian golfer playing in Scotland; the action was a metaphor for the relationship of the British Isles to Europe's “new economy.”

      Probably the year's most unusual operatic subject was that of Parthenogenesis—a 40-minute music-theatre piece based on a persistent but presumably mythic bit of urban folklore—about a young woman who asexually gives birth to a daughter in Germany during World War II. Rowan Williams, the Anglican archbishop of Wales, collaborated with composer James MacMillan and poet-librettist Michael Symmons Roberts on this opera.

      The Glyndebourne Touring Opera company, based in the U.K., enraged some of its older patrons and intrigued some of its younger ones with a modernized production of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème; principal male characters Marcello and Rodolfo were shown using cocaine.

      The English National Opera implemented a new cost-cutting idea—use of the same basic set for all 10 of its Italian opera productions in the 2000–01 season—operas as varied as Puccini's Manon Lescaut, Verdi's Nabucco, Claudio Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, and Gioacchino Rossini's The Turk in Italy.

      The Houston (Texas) Grand Opera embarked on a program to produce digital audio and video recordings of new operas it had premiered. Houston had commissioned more new works than any other major American company and had been discouraged by the fact that record labels showed little interest in the material. After paying production costs, the company would offer the finished products to recording companies and possibly distribute them via the Internet.

      Though opera was dubbed the “hottest ticket” in an otherwise diminishing classical-music market, one perennial opera-related attraction seemed to be waning. The “Three Tenors” extravaganzas starring José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti began to run into buyer resistance after having played to enormous audiences in arenas and football stadiums for a decade and having charged up to $600 for a ticket. One concert was canceled owing to insufficient ticket sales, and the future of such concerts seemed uncertain.

      For Domingo, however, the future looked bright. He became the first male opera singer to receive the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement since its inception 23 years earlier. Six women singers had received the award: Marian Anderson, Marilyn Horne, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, Beverly Sills, and Risë Stevens. Domingo took on new administrative responsibilities as the artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera—a position that he already had and continued to hold at the Washington (D.C.) Opera. His conducting career also continued, notably with Il trovatore in Washington, and he sang critically acclaimed performances in some demanding Wagnerian roles—Parsifal in Washington and Siegmund in Bayreuth, Ger. In addition, he made his American debut as a song recitalist in Chicago, with Daniel Barenboim as his pianist.

      Gramophone Award winners included Antonio Pappanos, music director designate of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; sopranos Barbara Bonney and Angela Gheorghiu; tenor Carlo Bergonzi; composer Elliott Carter; and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. Rattle was honoured three times; his recording of Karol Szymanowski's King Roger took the Opera award, and his recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 10 won both the orchestral award and the Record of the Year citation.

      The persona of Leonard Bernstein seemed vigorously present, despite his demise a decade earlier. More than 50 Internet pages were devoted to him, including an official page,, with links to many other pages, notably , the Library of Congress page. The Sony record label released The Bernstein Century, a massive reissue of his records; Deutsche Grammophon reissued recordings of his freelance conducting performances, most notably his extraordinary work with the Vienna Philharmonic, as well as its most recent memorial production— Lenny: The Legend Lives On,a wide-ranging and low-priced six-CD collection; and the New York Philharmonic issued Bernstein Live!, a limited-edition set of 10 CDs that contained the first commercial release of 33 performances taped between 1956 and 1981.

      Bach's work had a similar vitality. Several record companies issued complete or near-complete recordings of his surviving works, and an Internet site, the Bach Digital Project, was set up to provide a database with his manuscripts and other documents in a format easily accessible worldwide: .

      Michael Kaiser, who had successfully brought the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, through a series of financial and artistic crises, accepted the presidency of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Kent Nagano, a native of California who had been working largely in Europe, was appointed principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Opera, beginning in July 2001. Nagano, former artistic director of the Opéra National de Lyon, would remain the music director of the Deutsche Symphonie in Berlin. In other notable appointments, Vladimir Jurowski was chosen to succeed Andrew Davis as music director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, East Sussex, Eng. After the post of royal harpist to the prince of Wales had gone unfilled for more than a century, Great Britain's Prince Charles appointed Catrin Finch, a 20-year-old native of Wales. Grant Llewellyn, another native of Wales, was appointed artistic director of the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and was to begin July 1, 2001. He would succeed Christopher Hogwood, who had led the organization for 15 years and would continue his association as conductor laureate. Kurt Masur, music director of the New York Philharmonic since 1991, was to succeed Charles Dutoit as music director of the Orchestre National de France in the 2001–02 season. Masur had also served as the principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2000–01 season. Itzhak Perlman was appointed principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for three seasons. He would conduct (and occasionally play violin solos) in Detroit for three weeks each season. Yury Temirkanov began his tenure as music director of the Baltimore (Md.) Symphony Orchestra. Zarin Mehta, brother of conductor Zubin Mehta, was appointed executive director of the New York Philharmonic, which was finding it difficult to fill Masur's vacated post of music director. Riccardo Muti considered an offer but declined. The shortage of suitable candidates was exacerbated by the fact that both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra were also looking for new music directors. In addition, all three orchestras traditionally seemed to rule out women applicants or those native to the U.S.

      Among the most prominent deaths were those of French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal (Rampal, Jean-Pierre ); American composer Alan Hovhaness (Hovhaness, Alan ); Canadian composers Violet Archer (Archer, Violet Balestreri ), Jean Papineau-Couture (Papineau-Couture, Jean ), and Barbara Pentland (Pentland, Barbara Lally ); Austrian bass-baritone Walter Berry (Berry, Walter ); Canadian baritone Louis Quilico (Quilico, Louis ); Austrian pianist and composer Friedrich Gulda (Gulda, Friedrich ); American musicologist and educator William Stein Newman (Newman, William Stein ); and American violinist Oscar Shumsky (Shumsky, Oscar ). (See Obituaries.) Other notable losses included American critic and musicologist Henry Pleasants, American recorder virtuoso Bernard Krainis, Belgian soprano Suzanne Danco, Scottish composer Iain Hamilton, American conductor Richard Dufallo, Irish tenor Frank Patterson, Boston radio station WGBH-FM host and producer Robert J. Lurtsema, Italian tenor Cesare Valletti, Finnish bass-baritone Kim Borg, British baritone Roy Henderson, British trumpeter Philip Jones, and American conductor Margaret Harris, who had been the first black woman to conduct the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles, among other cities.

Joseph McLellan

      In January 2000, 84-year-old composer Oleg Lundstrem assumed the podium at a concert in Moscow to direct what was believed to be the world's longest-surviving jazz band. Lundstrem's group, formed in 1934 in Harbin, Manchuria, survived a decade in Shanghai during the Japanese occupation of World War II and another in Kazan, U.S.S.R., at a time when Soviet policy condemned jazz as “decadent music.”

      Jazz was adapted to local music and took root in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Musicians such as Hugh Masekela, Bheki Mseleku, and Zim Ngqwana continued to fuse jazz and the popular kwela music of South Africa. They were among the top musicians in a parade of Africans who on March 31 and April 1 joined American and European headliners, including Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Courtney Pine, and Johnny Griffin, at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town. Ngqwana, who led a sextet from South Africa and Madagascar on its first American tour, proved an especially potent free-jazz alto saxophonist. The North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague celebrated its 25th anniversary in July by again offering the world's largest weekend jazz blast—220 concerts featuring a worldwide contingent of jazz musicians performing on 16 stages.

      Though most of the best international varieties of jazz were heard at European festivals, two theatrical Dutch bands—the Willem Breuker Kollektief and the ICP Orchestra—made U.S. tours. Composer Breuker's antic crew mingled jazz, pop, classical music, Kurt Weill songs, and vaudeville in frantic, often satiric shows. The humour of the ICP Orchestra, though sometimes ripe, was subordinate to improvisation and thoughtful interpretation of the compositions of Misha Mengelberg. American saxophonist Ken Vandermark financed a coast-to-coast tour led by explosive tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, who, together with his 12-member high-energy band of American, German, and Danish improvisers, personified German free-jazz expressionism. The Italian Instabile Orchestra also made its U.S. debut, alternating grand orchestrations and free improvisation at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

      Jazz and Latin music remained the most popular of international fusions. One American favourite was pianist Danilo Perez, who was named a cultural ambassador by his native Panama. The senior Latin jazz veteran was 79-year-old Chico O'Farrill, who composed for top bands and experienced a renewal; with his big band, which played every Monday at New York City's Birdland nightclub, he revived his noted early works “Aztec Suite” and “Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite” in the album Carambola. Newer to American audiences was the band ¡Cubanismo!, led by Jesús Alemañy, and jazz singer Claudia Acuña, whose Wind from the South included standards and songs from her native Chile.

      These international jazz fusions underscored the paucity of organic developments in American jazz. The parade of young lions, youthful virtuosos who became famous by reviving bop and swing styles, slowed to a standstill. In their place appeared a few new youths, such as pianist Jason Moran. Moran stood out for his original sense of melodic line, as evidenced in his album Facing Left. Moran's frequent associates included young, ornate vibraphonist Stefon Harris and alto saxophonist Greg Osby, who invented a style with hip-hop flavouring but proved more effective as a straightforward lyric artist. New York composer Maria Schneider—who led her big band in an album of moody colours, Allegresse—conducted at Carnegie Hall the Gil Evans–Miles Davis orchestra scores of Sketches of Spain and Porgy and Bess at New York's JVC Festival. Trumpeter Dave Douglas, named Jazz Artist of the Year in Down Beat magazine's critics poll, toured steadily with his own groups, composed Rapture to Leon James for the Trisha Brown Dance Company, and offered his first recording on a major label, Soul on Soul, a tribute to Mary Lou Williams.

      Tito Puente's final album was a collaboration with fellow bandleader Eddie Palmieri, Masterpiece/Obra Maestra. Among other important recordings was the New York Art Quartet's fiery 35th Reunion, with vivid readings by poet Amiri Baraka. The quartet's trombonist Roswell Rudd went on to reunite with another old partner, soprano saxman Steve Lacy, in Monk's Dream. Composer Edward Wilkerson led his Eight Bold Souls in Last Option, and lyric tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson offered The Milwaukee Tapes. Milestone issued an eight-CD box set of pianist Bill Evans's last nightclub engagement, The Last Waltz. From the era when live recording was still new came three historic Carnegie Hall concerts: the Benny Goodman band At Carnegie Hall 1938, Complete; the Woody Herman band At Carnegie Hall, 1946; and From Spirituals to Swing, 1938–39 concerts with Count Basie's band, the Goodman sextet, James P. Johnson, and leading blues and gospel music performers. All three sets included performances previously unavailable on record. Other reissues included Ornette Coleman's Complete Science Fiction Sessions and boxed sets of The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis with John Coltrane, on both CD and LP.

      New books of 2000 included a profusely illustrated history, Jazz: The First Century, edited by John Edward Hasse; Nick Catalano's biography Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter; and a reference work, The Oxford Companion to Jazz. Among the year's deaths were cornetist Nat Adderley (Adderley, Nathaniel ), bandleaders Tito Puente (Puente, Tito ) and Tex Beneke (Beneke, Tex ), trumpeter Jonah Jones (Jones, Jonah ), tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine (Turrentine, Stanley William ), Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Baden Powell (see Obituaries), Japanese saxophonist Sleepy Matsumoto, singers Jeanne Lee and Teri Thornton, trombonists Al Grey and Britt Woodman, trumpeter Willie Cook, and drummer Gus Johnson.

John Litweiler

      In 2000 the barriers continued to break down between various styles of pop music. Audiences continued to show an interest in music from different parts of the world, and performers from countries as diverse as Venezuela, Mali, and Mexico all made their musical mark.

      The most pervasive global music continued to be salsa, rumba, and other dance styles emanating from Latin America. The global Latin music boom had been sparked in part by the success of the elderly Cuban veterans of the Buena Vista Social Club, who continued to tour and release solo albums (most notably pianist Rubén González with his compact disc [CD] Chanchullo). Other Cubans enjoying success included trumpeter Jesús Alemañy, who teamed up with veteran New Orleans musicians to record Mardi Gras Mambo, which revived the musical links that had been broken between Havana and New Orleans at the start of the Cuban Revolution.

      The Latin music boom led to a revival of interest in other veterans, all of whom toured Europe—from the highly political Panamanian singer Rubén Blades to the Argentine singers Victor Heredia and León Gieco, who used their ballads to protest against the military regime in Argentina. Gieco was dubbed the “Bob Dylan of Argentina” owing to his political stance and his use of the harmonica. Susana Baca of Peru was hailed as a “new world music diva” with the release of Eco de sombros, an exquisite gentle selection of Afro-Peruvian songs.

      There were also fine performances from young newcomers from Latin America. Argentina's 20-year-old singer Soledad mixed political lyrics and folk songs with a dance routine that was worthy of Madonna, and she made an impressive debut in London. From Venezuela the young band Los Amigos Invisibles mixed salsa, cha-cha, and other Latin dance styles with Western funk, disco, and pop influences. Meanwhile, in Mexico there was an impressive showing by Los de Abajo, which fused local styles with an enthusiasm akin to the punk and ska revivals.

      In Great Britain bands such as Sidestepper and De Lata, the latter dominated by the exquisite vocals of Brazilian singer Liliana Chachian, mixed Colombian dance music with rhythm-and-blues riffs. Elsewhere British pop continued to fragment into different styles. The most successful newcomer was 19-year-old rhythm-and-blues and garage-music star Craig David, whose cool, gently soulful dance songs and ballads won him a series of awards at the influential MOBO (Music of Black Origin) award ceremony. It was also a good year for the Anglo-Bengali band Joi, whose album We Are Three mixed dance rhythms with traditional songs recorded in Bangladesh. There was continued experimentation from Eliza Carthy, Britain's most successful young folk-music performer; she spent much of the year touring with Joan Baez and released Angels and Cigarettes, her first album of strong, mostly self-written pop songs.

      Established veteran British musicians also produced some surprises. Robert Plant, best known as Led Zeppelin's singer, formed a new band, Priory of Brion. Joining the new group was guitarist Kevyn Gammond, with whom Plant had once performed in the pre-Zeppelin days. Instead of playing in large venues, however, the band made unannounced appearances in small halls or folk festivals and performed a selection of Plant's favourite songs from the 1960s. Van Morrison also returned to his earliest musical roots and influences. He recorded an album of skiffle songs with Lonnie Donegan, the hero of the 1950s British skiffle movement, before recording an album of old country and rhythm-and-blues songs with Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. The year also marked the death of Ian Dury (see Obituaries (Dury, Ian )), one of the most original British performers of the postpunk era; his songs had combined punk energy with humour and elements of the British music-hall tradition.

      After more than a 20-year absence from the stage, Iranian pop diva Googoosh (see Biographies (Googoosh )) made a comeback—in North America—and released a new CD, Zoroaster; she had been forbidden to perform in public in her homeland following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

      In Africa the commercial success of the year was Joko, the new album by the well-established Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, who matched his fine vocals with a series of percussive songs influenced by local Senegalese rhythms as well as elements of soul, reggae, and rap. The African newcomer of the year was Rokia Traoré of Mali, who mixed a frantic dance routine with songs that matched her own acoustic guitar work against the inspired playing by her band of the n'goni (traditional African lute).

Robin Denselow
      Teen pop, much of it generated by alumni of The Mickey Mouse Club, continued to dominate American popular music in 2000. Male vocal harmony quintet 'N Sync, including former Mouseketeers Chasez and Justin Timberlake, saw eager fans snap up 2.4 million copies of No Strings Attached, its second album. In April the album went platinum after one million copies were shipped (by August it went nine times platinum—9 million copies).

      In May Britney Spears, another former cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club, sold—during the first week of its release—1.3 million copies of her second album, Oops! . . . I Did It Again, a mix of sentimental ballads and rhythm-driven dance pop. Inspired by her success, record labels signed other young women, among them former Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera, who triumphed over Spears by winning the Grammy for best new artist. In late November the Backstreet Boys released their third album, Black & Blue, reportedly with an initial shipment of six million copies, a record. Madonna reemerged as a pop music force with a new album. Music, a mix of vibrant dance beats, hip-hop rhythms, and trippy guitars and synthesizers, debuted at number one on Billboard's album chart; it was Madonna's first number one album in more than 10 years.

      Latin music continued to gain in popularity; sales of CDs reportedly jumped 16% from midyear 1999 to midyear 2000. The Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Latin arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, staged the first Latin Grammys on national television. Aguilera performed on the show and released a Spanish-language album the same week. Crooner Luis Miguel, rock-pop group Maná, and veteran rock guitarist Carlos Santana (see Biographies (Santana, Carlos )) each won three awards. “Corazón Espinado,” a collaboration between Santana and Maná, received the Latin Grammy for Record of the Year.

      Earlier, at the Grammy Awards, Santana had won eight Grammys, tying a record set in 1983 by Michael Jackson. His victories included Record of the Year for “Smooth,” a collaboration with rock singer Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, and Album of the Year, for Supernatural (1999), which went platinum. “Smooth” was also named Song of the Year, earning a Grammy for songwriters Itaal Shur and Thomas.

      Hip-hop artist Eminem (see Biographies (Eminem )) released his second album, The Marshall Mathers LP. The recording stirred controversy among gay rights groups, feminists, and parents owing to its graphic content, but it also earned accolades from some critics for its mix of humour and dark, disturbing violence. A white rap specialist, Eminem recorded the album with production help from black rapper Dr. Dre, a.k.a. Andre Young. Amid the furor over its contents, the album sold 1,760,000 copies in its first week of release and stayed at the top of Billboard's pop album chart for eight weeks. Eminem's debut album, The Slim Shady LP, won a Grammy for best rap album, and “My Name Is,” a track from the album, was named best rap solo performance. A video clip for “The Real Slim Shady,” a track from The Marshall Mathers LP, was named best video and best male video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

      The Dixie Chicks—Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Martie Seidel—rose to superstar status in the country music world. The group was named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association and picked up Grammys for best country album and best country vocal by a duo or group. The trio also embarked on its first North American tour as headliners.

      New technology enabled Napster Inc., a California company, to pioneer a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that allowed computer-savvy music enthusiasts to exchange recordings. (See Computers and Information Systems .) The Recording Industry Association of America filed suit against Napster, calling the company “a haven for music piracy on an unprecedented scale.” In April Metallica took legal action against the company. More than 100 of the group's recordings, including five versions of an unreleased track, had appeared on the World Wide Web site. Dr. Dre also sued Napster, but rap-rock band Limp Bizkit accepted tour sponsorship from the company for a 10-date summer tour. On October 31 Napster and BMG parent Bertelsmann announced that they had formed a strategic alliance to develop an “industry-accepted” version of the free file-sharing service, which would include a monthly membership fee of about five dollars as well as compensation for rights holders.

Jay Orr


North America.
      With the exception of David Parson's choreographic direction for New York City's daylong New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, the year 2000 did little to spur creative energy in the dance world. Ballet seemed to dominate the year, whereas modern dance appeared somewhat more down than up. When 70-year-old American modern dance great Paul Taylor was asked in an interview for Dance Magazine to ponder the essence of his modern field, he begged off, claiming to have “no idea what modern dance was any longer.” He remained the creative force behind the Paul Taylor Dance Co., however, which premiered Arabesque at the Opéra Garnier in Paris before returning to New York to perform the ballet at City Center.

      A major motion picture about ballet, Center Stage, dwelt on youthful Sturm und Drang as played out in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a ballet school and company. The film featured dancers from American Ballet Theatre (ABT); Ethan Stiefel starred as a “bad boy,” and Sascha Radetsky was a “nice guy.” Unfortunately, owing to illness, the greatly gifted Stiefel had to sit out ABT's New York City spring season. Celebrating its 60th year, ABT ushered in its season with a brand new and gorgeous-looking production of Tchaikovsky's perennial favourite Swan Lake, which was reasonably well staged by artistic director Kevin McKenzie and prettily designed by Zack Brown. Principal dancer Susan Jaffe marked her 25th year with ABT, and male principal dancers Vladimir Malakhov, Julio Bocca, José Manuel Carreño, and Angel Corella shone, as did the fast-rising Marcelo Gomes and two especially gifted young American women, Gillian Murphy and Michele Wiles.

      New York City Ballet (NYCB) offered a premiere by choreographer Twyla Tharp, The Beethoven Seventh, which proved thrilling. Other new works were not quite as good; the troupe's semiannual “Diamond Project” ballets, new works made primarily with the support of the Irene Diamond Fund, were mostly unmemorable.

      In addition to creating The Brahms/Haydn Variations, a new ballet for ABT, Tharp started up a new company of her own after a more than 10-year hiatus; Twyla Tharp Dance performed two of her newest offerings, Surfer at the Styx and Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581, at the American Dance Festival (ADF). The latter commissioned Trisha Brown, Mark Morris, Mark Dendy, Doug Varone, Ann Carlson, and Jane Comfort for its modern-dance-focused summer fare, sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). Pilobolus, the perennially popular communal creative troupe, received the ADF's prestigious Scripps Award and played a monthlong season at the Joyce Theater in New York City, where its sidekick and smaller offshoot, Pilobolus Too, also gained some attention.

      In Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, under the direction of Charles and Stephanie Reinhart (who also ran the ADF), put on an ambitious George Balanchine celebration; six dance organizations presented 14 Balanchine ballets over two weeks. Represented there were several companies now run by and/or originally founded by dancers who worked under Balanchine. These included an ad hoc ensemble directed by Suzanne Farrell, San Francisco Ballet, Miami (Fla.) City Ballet, and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) Ballet. The series also featured Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, as well as an ensemble of dancers from Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet. Earlier in the year, after a protracted hiatus, the Bolshoi had toured nationally and showed off some its newest, most stellar dancers, notably the young Svetlana Lunkina and Maria Aleksandrova. The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg made a U.S. tour that featured Boris Eifman's fulsome and florid dramatic productions, led by Russian Hamlet, his newest work. In June alumni from various manifestations of Russian-based ballet companies outside Russia, all variously named or identified during the 20th century as Ballet Russe, held a reunion in New Orleans. Birmingham Royal Ballet, newly reconstituted as a separate entity from the London-based Royal Ballet, played New York City and Chicago for the first time under David Bintley and offered a mostly all-Bintley repertory, including Edward II, a two-act ballet that carried a warning: “parental guidance advised.”

      U.S. ballet companies continued to evolve and in some cases change. The fledgling Carolina Ballet gained attention for the multiact Carmen, produced by Robert Weiss; Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) hosted the taping of a video for the Balanchine Foundation. The Interpreters Archive video documented North Carolina School of the Arts teacher (and former Balanchine ballerina) Melissa Hayden coaching PNB dancers in three of her former roles. Houston (Texas) Ballet's (HB's) Ben Stevenson established himself as a choreographer of narrative spectacle with his new Cleopatra, made especially for ballerina Lauren Anderson. Boston Ballet (BB) also staged Cleopatra following the HB premiere performances and by year's end had offered The Four Seasons, another ballet by NYCB “permanent guest choreographer” Christopher Wheeldon. In advance of the 2001 departure of BB artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes, British-born Maina Gielgud was named to replace her. Fernando Bujones announced plans to stress the classical repertory as he assumed the reins of Southern Ballet Theater of Orlando, Fla. Danish-born Ib Andersen took over Phoenix's Ballet Arizona during a grave financial crisis. Former Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) ballerina Karen Brown became director of the Oakland (Calif.) Ballet. DTH played two weeks in New York City, featuring its own performances of Balanchine ballets. The perennially funny and highly popular New York City-based all-male travesty company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo toured widely and played a sold-out run at the Joyce Theater.

      The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater toured extensively and became a highlight of Lincoln Center Festival 2000 with a new production of Ailey's Blues Suite. Avant-garde veteran choreographer Trisha Brown offered one of the year's several jazz commissions, funded by the DDCF, and ballet-dancer-turned-modernist Mikhail Baryshnikov featured works by Brown in his Past Forward, a performance project for the White Oak Dance Project (WODP); he also brought out from retirement dance-making iconoclast Yvonne Rainer, whose After Many a Summer Dies the Swan proved how enchanting and effective 1960s-style plainness could still be. The WODP also presented a new solo for Baryshnikov by Mark Morris, whose company toured widely and whose new staging of the Virgil Thomson–Gertrude Stein collaboration, Four Saints in Three Acts, played in Berkeley, Calif., after its premiere in London.

      Casting a pall over much of the modernist activity was the artistic battle and stalemate over the legacy of Martha Graham. Midyear the company's board voted to suspend operations of the Martha Graham Dance Company (MGDC) and school, owing to financial problems and disagreements with Ron Protas, the heir to Graham's corpus of work and head of the Graham Trust. The lack of cooperation on both sides led to the cancellation of performances and the circulation of a letter that petitioned the dance world to refuse to mount or present any of Graham's dances until an agreement could be reached with Protas ensuring the existence of the MGDC and school. As a result of the MGDC's cancellation of a season at the Joyce Theater, the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. gained an extra New York City season. Meanwhile, the Joffrey kept to its plan to stage Appalachian Spring, a Graham classic.

      The nearly 75-year-old monthly periodical Dance Magazine spent its first year in newly relocated quarters in Oakland, Calif., turning out shinier and somewhat more hip issues under the editorship of Janice Berman. Meanwhile, Pointe, a brand-new dance glossy specifically dedicated to ballet, started up in New York City.

      Much of the dance news in Canada focused on the legal action taken against the National Ballet of Canada (NBC) by dancer Kimberly Glasco, who was dismissed from the company by its artistic director, James Kudelka. When the much-publicized disagreement was settled out of court with a monetary award, the greater questions of “cause” and contractual dancer rights ultimately went unresolved. Major productions of the NBC's year included the staging of Balanchine's evening-long Jewels as well as a new staging of Igor Stravinksy's Firebird by Kudelka. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens added “de Montréal” to its official name as it proceeded under the direction of the newly arrived Gradimir Pankov. The eighth edition of the Canada Dance Festival was held in Ottawa in June and paid special tribute to the 20-year career of Edouard Lock.

      Among the deaths in the dance world were choreographers Lucas Hoving (Hoving, Lucas ), Anna Sokolow (Sokolow, Anna ), Peter Gennaro (Gennaro, Peter ) , and Fred Kelley; dancers Tanaquil LeClercq (LeClercq, Tanaquil ), Janet Reed (Reed, Janet ), Harold Nicholas (Nicholas, Harold Lloyd ), and Gwen Verdon (Verdon, Gwyneth Evelyn ); dancers and choreographers Greg Reynolds and José Greco; (Greco, Jose ) costumer Suzanne Gallo; and composer Lucia Dlugoszewski.

Robert Greskovic

      Although many European dance companies created new works for the new millennium, others looked to the past with revivals and reworkings of some of the staple works of the 20th century. Particularly favoured were the ballets created for Sergey Diaghilev's company. The works, though over 70 years old, still held a fascination for modern choreographers and audiences.

      In London the Royal Ballet settled into the newly rebuilt Royal Opera House, which proved a major attraction. Highlights of the repertory were a Diaghilev program, including the company's first performances of reconstructions of Vaslav Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un fauneand Jeux and a controversial revival of Sir Frederick Ashton's ballet Marguerite and Armand, in which French guests Sylvie Guillem and Nicholas Le Riche starred in the roles created by Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev; hitherto the parts never had been danced by anyone else. The new opera house included a small studio theatre, which allowed the company to stage a short season of new works during the summer. Ross Stretton, director of the Australian Ballet, was appointed to succeed Sir Anthony Dowell as artistic director beginning in the 2000–01 season, and music director Andrea Quinn resigned to take an equivalent post with New York City Ballet. The Birmingham Royal Ballet—which remained homeless while its base theatre, the Hippodrome, was refurbished—moved to another Birmingham venue for a short Ashton festival, which featured an important revival of Dante Sonata, not seen since 1950.

      English National Ballet's third in-the-round production, a version of The Sleeping Beauty with choreography by director Derek Deane, was less well received than its predecessors. The company, which had severe financial problems, canceled plans for another new work by Deane and lost leading dancer Tamara Rojo, who joined the Royal Ballet. Scottish Ballet, under its new director, Robert North, gave the first performance of the full-length Aladdin, with choreography by Robert Cohan. Stefano Giannetti, appointed director of Northern Ballet Theatre in 1999, resigned to return to Italy after staging his full-length Great Expectations for the company.

      On the modern dance scene, Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP) premiered director Matthew Bourne's latest work, The Car Man. Based on Georges Bizet's score for Carmen but with a very different story, the piece was greatly admired by AMP's growing audience, although several critics found its dance content rather thin. The company had found a permanent home at London's Old Vic Theatre, once the cradle of the infant Royal Ballet. DV8 took its new work, Can We Afford This, to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London after its first performances at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia; Siobhan Davies's most recent piece, Of Oil and Water, was seen at the Sadler's Wells Theatre.

      Companies visiting Great Britain included the Mark Morris Dance Group, which gave the world premiere of Morris's production of Virgil Thomson's opera Four Saints in Three Acts, and the Mariinsky Ballet (touring under its former name, Kirov), which gave five weeks of performances at the Royal Opera House. Good reviews and continuing interest in the new theatre resulted in sold-out houses; as a result, several performances were added to the original schedule. The Béjart Ballet Lausanne gave its first London performance in several years at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, and the Universal Ballet of Korea was seen there during its first-ever visit to the U.K.

      The Opéra Garnier, principal home of the Paris Opéra Ballet, also completed a refurbishment. The company revived Rudolf Nureyev's productions of Raymonda and Cinderella; additions to the repertoire were a new work, Appartement by Mats Ek, and the company's first performances of George Balanchine's Jewels. Meanwhile, in The Netherlands Jiri Kylian celebrated his 25th anniversary with Nederlands Dans Theater by creating Arcimboldo 2000, a show for all three of the NDT companies.

      A highlight of the year was the Royal Danish Ballet's Bournonville Week, held in January and featuring five of the surviving masterpieces of its great choreographer August Bournonville. Most controversial was a revival of The Kermesse in Bruges with a reorchestrated score and a completely new interpolated divertissement, neither of which pleased the critics. Peter Schaufuss also mounted a new production of Kermesse for his own company in Holstebro, Den. Copenhagen hosted the first Chinese staging of a complete Bournonville ballet when the National Ballet of China danced La Sylphide in the Tivoli Gardens; the company's artistic director, Zhao Rubeng, intended to add more works from the international classical repertory.

      Elisabetta Terabust was appointed artistic director of the MaggioDanza in Florence, and English former dancer Patricia Ruanne was given a two-year contract as director of the ballet company of La Scala in Milan. The Milanese group had earlier become the first outside the Royal Ballet to produce Ashton's Ondine, with frequent guest dancer Alessandra Ferri in the title role, partnered by Adam Cooper. The ballet troupe in Naples appropriately revived Bournonville's Napoli, with Copenhagen-trained guest dancer Johan Kobborg in the lead; meanwhile, in Rome, Amedeo Amodio produced a new version of Coppélia. The Zürich Opera Ballet in Switzerland showed a new version of Sergey Prokofiev's Cinderella by director Heinz Spoerli.

      German companies toured in the East. The Bavarian State Ballet completed a visit to India; at home it had produced rechoreographed versions of two of Diaghilev's most famous ballets, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring; later in the year Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon entered the repertory. Prior to a tour of China, the Stuttgart Ballet gave its first performances of Ashton's La Fille mal gardée, featuring leading dancers chosen from among those in the younger ranks of the company. The revival was so successful that two extra performances were scheduled to meet public demand. The Hamburg Ballet showed a new piece by director John Neumeier that was based on the life of Nijinsky, and in Düsseldorf the Deutsche Oper Ballet performed Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, which was updated to a 1930s setting by Yuri Vamos. Plans for the amalgamation of the three ballet companies in Berlin were still under discussion.

      The Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg also put on a new production of Petrushka, modeled after the version by Leonid Leontyev; some claimed that Leontyev's version was a more-accurate representation of Michel Fokine's original than was the version known in the West. It also gave its first performances of Jewels, which was much acclaimed by critics and audiences in London during the summer. The company's leading ballerina, Altynay Asylmuratova, was elected artistic director of the Vaganova Academy, and many expected that she would greatly cut down on her stage appearances. The most important news from Moscow was the summary dismissal of Bolshoi Theatre chief Vladimir Vasilyev, former star dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, on the order of Pres. Vladimir Putin; ballet director Aleksey Fadeyechev was also dismissed. Vasilyev was replaced by conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Fadeyechev by another dancer, Boris Akimov. The ballet company made a successful tour in the United States and during the spring gave the first performance of Pierre Lacotte's reconstruction of Marius Petipa's first successful ballet, Pharaoh's Daughter. Several productions planned for the 2000–01 season were canceled on Rozhdestvensky's orders.

      Deaths during the year included those of June Brae, a dancer with the Sadler's Wells Ballet in the 1930s and '40s; Jeremy James, a choreographer just beginning to make a name for himself; and Russian émigré Tatiana Riabouchinska, one of the “baby ballerinas” of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1930s. (See Obituaries (Riabouchinska, Tatiana ).)

Jane Simpson


Great Britain and Ireland.
      Headlines about Lord Lloyd-Webber dominated British theatre news stories during 2000. His Really Useful Group acquired the group of Stoll Moss Theatres—a third of all the West End houses—for £87.5 million (about $126.9 million), in partnership with a venture-capitalist city firm, NatWest Equity Partners.

      The acquisition meant that Lord Lloyd-Webber was, in effect, the new landlord of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where The Witches of Eastwick, the new musical production of his great rival, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, was being presented. The musical was a witty version of both John Updike's novel and the subsequent film, with Ian McShane in the satanic Jack Nicholson role and Lucie Arnaz, Joanna Riding, and Maria Friedman playing the three bored housewives. The book, lyrics, and music by young American authors John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe were serviceable and enjoyable without being terribly exciting. The first act ended with the three witches flying high into the roof of the theatre above the main floor and almost into the upper level. Otherwise, the musical's content was distinctly earthbound, though the prospects for commercial success seemed stronger than for Martin Guerre, Sir Cameron's last major production.

      Lord Lloyd-Webber himself refurbished one of his newly acquired theatres, the Cambridge, and unveiled his latest show, The Beautiful Game, with book and lyrics by the popular comedy writer Ben Elton. The show followed the fortunes of a soccer team in Northern Ireland at the start of the recent Troubles in 1969. In the end the Cup Final hero was an Irish Republican Army murderer.

      Lord Lloyd-Webber could scarcely have dreamed up a more unlikely subject; he took his audience where they almost certainly did not want to go. His score, however, was acclaimed as one of his best by most critics, with its chants, anthems, simple love songs, and a rousing showstopping ballad, “Our Kind of Love,” which was a reworking of a Puccinian aria he had originally composed for a possible sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The musical was given a bleak, hard-hitting production by Robert Carsen, who usually worked in opera houses, and some brilliant soccer-style choreography by Meryl Tankard, formerly a star of the Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal.

      It was a busy year all around for new musicals, though none matched the former two. Lautrec was a dismal retelling of the life story of diminutive French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; Hard Times was a jolly, not unskilled version of Charles Dickens's least enjoyable novel; and La Cava was a strange medieval pageant, starring Oliver Tobias, in which listening to the music was the aural equivalent of chewing cardboard. Notre-Dame de Paris was not really a musical but a Gallic rock concert with some striking designs and muscular choreography. The King and I settled happily into the Palladium with Elaine Paige at the top of her form as the governess amid sumptuous designs that looked as though the king of Siam lived in a luxuriously appointed scarlet Indian restaurant.

      The other musical highlights were provided by Matthew Bourne and his company Adventures in Motion Pictures, which started the year by reprising its gorgeous Swan Lake at the Dominion and ended it by opening a rather less-successful but still steamily impressive version of Georges Bizet's Carmen, The Car Man, at the Old Vic. The Car Man, described as an autoerotic experience, was relocated to a garage in the American Midwest and owed much to both film versions of The Postman Always Rings Twice as well as to Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock.

      Elsewhere in the West End, film stars took to the stage. Kathleen Turner gave a blistering, moving performance as the alcoholic Mrs. Robinson in Terry Johnson's new stage version of The Graduate. She was succeeded in the role, however, by model Jerry Hall, famous for her marriage to and divorce from rock star Mick Jagger. Although Hall looked great, she failed to muster any inner life for her character. Donald Sutherland, hardly bothering to act, dropped by in a poor mystery play, Enigmatic Variations, and then London braced itself for Darryl Hannah in The Seven Year Itch, Jessica Lange in Long Day's Journey into Night, and Macaulay Culkin in Madame Melville, a new play by Richard Nelson.

      The surprise hit was Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones, in which two unknown Irish actors, Sean Campion and Conleth Hill, played two extras on a film set in rural Ireland as well as performing the roles of the leading lady, the director, and the rest of the cast. It has been said that theatre, in the end, is about two bare boards and a passion. So it proved here, in an evening of hilarity and delight that they played to packed audiences all year. The success of the play renewed confidence not just in the discernment of West End audiences but also in the art of theatre itself. Equally encouraging was the Almeida Theatre's presentation in the West End of Nicholas Wright's Cressida, in which Sir Michael Gambon gave a glorious performance as a manager of boy actors on the Elizabethan stage. Sir Michael returned triumphantly later in the year in The Caretaker by Harold Pinter, part of the playwright's 70th birthday celebrations.

      The Almeida also colonized a large warehouse in Shoreditch, nearer the East End, for its Shakespearean double whammy: Ralph Fiennes in the title roles of Richard II and Coriolanus. They were fairly conventional productions made exciting by their setting, and the whole venture had a pleasing European feel about it, with patrons trekking into unknown territory by car and then wandering around a huge welcoming bar and coffee counter area before entering the Gainsborough Studios themselves, the site of the making of many famous British movies, notably Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. Fiennes was in fine vocal form as Shakespeare's contrasting titans. In its Islington, North London, headquarters, the Almeida also offered a riveting production of Neil LaBute's Bash; Celebration, a short new piece by Pinter that was set in a swish London restaurant and produced on the same bill as his first play, The Room; a persuasive revival by Sir Richard Eyre of Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Mains sales called The Novice; a less-persuasive British premiere of Arthur Miller's Mr. Peters' Connections; and a poetic British premiere of Yasmina Reza's inconsequential first play, Conversations After a Burial, starring Claire Bloom.

      The other small London powerhouse, the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, maintained its standards with Matthew Warchus's exemplary revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo with William H. Macy; a searing production by Michael Grandage of Peter Nichols's brilliant comedy of adultery, Passion Play; a beautiful new look at Tennessee Williams's Orpheus Descending with Helen Mirren and newcomer Stuart Townsend and directed by Nicholas Hytner; and To the Green Fields Beyond, a new play by Nick Whitby about a World War I tank division in the French woods, directed by Oscar-winning Sam Mendes (see Biographies (Mendes, Sam )), who was still at the helm of the Donmar despite the lure of Hollywood.

      Overall, the Royal National Theatre (RNT) had a slightly less-successful year. Its new work record under Trevor Nunn had been patchy but was partly redeemed by the ingenious Sir Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden, two plays in one, performed simultaneously by the same cast in two separate venues. Actors played a scene and then dashed next door to join another one. In a usual scenario, marriages were falling apart on the day of the local village fete. The RNT also aimed high with David Edgar's Albert Speer, based on Gitta Sereny's magisterial book about Adolf Hitler's architect. Alex Jennings played the title role, and Roger Allam was an unforgettable Hitler. Nunn's production was panoramic without being as memorable as his more Dickensian spectacles. Nunn hit his stride once more with an elegiac, beautifully acted Anton Chekhov play, The Cherry Orchard. In the small Cottesloe the audience was ringed on three sides of the acting area around Vanessa Redgrave as Ranevskaya, her own brother Corin as her stage brother Gayev, and Allam, who again caught the eye as the upstart estate manager Lopakhin.

      Simon Russell Beale played a tubby Hamlet for the National and made of him a lonely mama's boy with a quick and racing mind. John Caird's production expunged the Fortinbras scenes and set the action, gloomily, in a dark castle littered with luggage trunks and strewn with candles. The other notable RNT revival was Howard Davies's production of Arthur Miller's first Broadway success, All My Sons, in which Julie Walters returned triumphantly to the stage after a nine-year absence and James Hazeldine played the guilty airplane-engine manufacturer.

      The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon embarked on a program that featured all of Shakespeare's history plays—from Richard II to Richard III—for the third time in its own history. Owing to either a lack of coherent vision or a fashionably Postmodern eclecticism, the plays were presented in different styles and on different scales by different directors. An all-white modern-dress chamber production of Richard II (with Samuel West as the poet king) was followed by the teeming Henry IV plays in traditional costume in the Swan Theatre. Desmond Barrit was a tumultuous Falstaff, and William Houston emerged as a genuine new star, taking his humorous, energetic Prince Hal forward to the main Stratford stage as the most exciting King Henry V since Kenneth Branagh.

      The Royal Court reopened its refurbished theatre in February with Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol, a gloomy play about an Irish alcoholic. There followed equally gloomy and not very good plays by Jim Cartwright (Hard Fruit) and Martin Crimp (The Country, with Juliet Stevenson) before Sir David Hare came to the rescue with My Zinc Bed, a scintillating comedy about addiction and dependency. A triangular relationship developed between an Internet entrepreneur, his young wife, and a poet who had come to interview the entrepreneur for a newspaper. Sir David's own brilliant production drew compelling performances from Tom Wilkinson, Julia Ormond, and Steven Mackintosh.

      The Globe at Southwark had another good year, with Vanessa Redgrave eccentrically playing Prospero in The Tempest and Mark Rylance thrilling the open-air spectators as Hamlet. Across town the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park enjoyed the most critically successful season in its recent history with beautiful productions of Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. In the regional theatre the places to watch were the Sheffield Crucible, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Newcastle Playhouse, the Glasgow Citizens, and, after a fallow period, the Bristol Old Vic. The medieval mystery plays were presented for the first time inside the York Minster. Barrie Rutter's Northern Broadsides, based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, gave the rumbustious premiere of Alcestis, a version of the Euripides play by Ted Hughes, Great Britain's late poet laureate. The Chichester Festival Theatre revived George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House with Joss Ackland as Captain Shotover and Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business, a brilliant family farce that slid into malpractice and criminality.

      The Edinburgh Festival mounted a wonderful dance program alongside a sexy version of Molière's Don Juan from Ingmar Bergman's Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm and a controversial four-hour translation by Frank McGuinness of Ramón María del Valle-Inclán's Barbaric Comedies. This rollicking, crude tale of pillage and rape—and a lot worse—was co-presented by the Dublin Theatre Festival, which did not flinch from shocking the locals with it at the Abbey Theatre.

      Outside the festival the Abbey also presented a lovely new Tom Murphy play, The House. At the Gaiety Theatre indomitable Dublin impresario Noel Pearson gave actor Stephen Rea his head with a daringly modernized production of Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. The audience hated it, just as they had the first time it appeared in 1926.

Michael Coveney

U.S. and Canada.
      Whither the American musical? No answer to that well-worn question was forthcoming in the theatrical year 2000, but it was a topic on many minds. The puzzlement escalated to the level of feverish debate at Tony Awards time, when Contact—an episodic dance drama with no singing, little dialogue, and (in an alarming development for the Broadway musicians union) a prerecorded score—shut out its more easily categorizable competition for the top musical awards. The Lincoln Center Theater Company production, a vehicle for Susan Stroman's witty and emotion-drenched choreography, had critics as well as Tony voters stammering for superlatives, but its win as best musical served to confirm traditionalists' fears that the art form as they had known it was up for grabs.

      Musical-theatre developments outside New York served only to confirm their trepidations. On the West Coast, major musical projects were fashioned from the unlikeliest of raw materials. At San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, experimental director Martha Clarke, known for bringing to life in her pieces such esoteric stuff as the paintings of Hiëronymus Bosch and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (The Garden of Earthly Delights and Vienna: Lusthaus, respectively) made a bid for mass appeal by using the 1952 Hollywood movie Hans Christian Andersen as the template for an extravagant entertainment with avant-garde trimmings. The movie's sunny Frank Loesser songs (“Wonderful Copenhagen”) mixed sometimes uneasily with the dark psychological themes of Sebastian Barry's book and with Clarke's signature flying choreography to create a one-of-a-kind musical that was likely, after some retooling, to be widely seen. Composer Philip Glass and director JoAnne Akalaitis, his collaborator and former wife, based In the Penal Colony, the chamber work they debuted to general acclaim at Seattle, Wash.'s A Contemporary Theatre, on a brooding story by Franz Kafka.

      The actor-centred Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago also tested the musical-theatre waters. Ensemble member Tina Landau directed composer Mike Reid's The Ballad of Little Jo, based on a 1993 film, about the fate of a woman who makes her way in the American West of the late 1800s by disguising herself as a man. Like Landau's earlier Floyd Collins, created with composer Adam Guettel, Little Jo had a quasi-operatic style and musical eclecticism that was likely to be influential.

      The old guard of the musical theatre was represented, perhaps ironically, by the artist who had broken the mold a generation (or two) earlier, 70-year-old Stephen Sondheim. Saturday Night, a straightforward romantic musical written in the 1950s when Sondheim was 24, arrived for the first time in New York after stagings in London and Chicago and was praised for its peppy score and for having captured the ambiance of Depression-era Flatbush, Brooklyn. Two other musicals of identical title, The Wild Party, kicked up a storm of publicity by facing off at major New York nonprofit theatres, but neither was a critical success. Composer Andrew Lippa's Manhattan Theatre Club version of the louche Jazz-Age poem by Joseph Moncure March fared somewhat better than Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe's adaptation at the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) Public Theater; the latter, studded with such big names as Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt and overweight with production values, lost an estimated $5 million and led to open speculation about artistic director Wolfe's ability to keep the NYSF financially afloat.

      On the nonmusical front, the most interesting plays of the year dealt with hot-button social issues. Provocative newcomer Rebecca Gilman, whose work had been praised in London and Chicago, garnered national attention with the Lincoln Center Theater production of Spinning into Butter, a daring riff on racial attitudes in academia. Antigay violence was the theme of The Laramie Project, a powerful docudrama created by Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project on the heels of the sensational murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo. Kaufman and his collaborators based their drama on hundreds of interviews conducted in the weeks and months after the killing. This sad, gripping work debuted at the Denver (Colo.) Center Theatre Company, with many of the citizens of nearby Laramie who were depicted on stage in attendance on opening night.

      One of the most produced—and most provocative—works of the year was also based on interviews: Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. After running 15 months Off-Broadway, the play, a catalog of women's attitudes about their bodies and sexuality, received productions across the country and reached mass audiences not usually receptive to such progressive fare. Originally performed by the author herself, the play gained steam when film and television figures such as Calista Flockhart, Claire Danes, and Whoopi Goldberg joined the cast.

      Michael Frayn's talky drama about nuclear physics, Copenhagen, was an unlikely crowd pleaser on Broadway, winning the year's best-play Tony. Another British drama, Tom Stoppard's melancholy memory play about A.E. Housman, The Invention of Love, had considerable impact on the American scene in well-received productions in San Francisco, directed by Carey Perloff; Philadelphia, directed by Blanka Zizka; Chicago, directed by Charles Newell; and, late in the season, at Lincoln Center Theatre in New York, directed by Jack O'Brien.

      Iconic Sam Shepard made a long-overdue arrival on Broadway: the cowboy playwright's corrosive 1980 comic drama True West, about a pair of combative brothers and their elusive aspirations, was given a sizzling revival with independent film figures Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternating in the roles. The revolving casting was not just a stunt; it contributed to the play's gleeful absurdity and its central theme of identity confusion. Late in the year Shepard's latest play, a family drama called The Late Henry Moss, opened at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, with such high-voltage stars as Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, and Woody Harrelson in the cast.

      African American theatre experienced a feeling of crisis. Financial trouble forced the Crossroads Theatre Company of New Brunswick, N.J., which had won the Tony Award for outstanding regional theatre just two seasons earlier, to close its doors, at least temporarily. The African Grove Institute for the Arts, an advocacy organization founded by outspoken playwright August Wilson and two professors from Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., worked to improve conditions by providing support and resources for independent black producing organizations.

      Another behind-the-scenes shift occurred when more than 200 leaders from the commercial and nonprofit theatre sectors met during the summer at Harvard University to discuss past animosities and the potential for cooperation. The gathering, called Act II, marked the first time in 26 years that the two branches of the American theatre had engaged in structured conversation, and it revealed a landscape greatly changed by such now-commonplace interactions as nonprofit-to-commercial transfers, commercial “enhancement” of productions with transfer potential, and the sharing of artists between theatre worlds.

      On the Canadian scene, a pair of musical blockbusters—the West End import Mamma Mia!, fashioned around the prefab melodies of the disco-era megagroup Abba, and Disney's ubiquitous The Lion King—kept Toronto box offices busy. Perhaps the most artistically interesting development was the wide visibility of The Overcoat—a grand-scale dance drama, conceived and directed by Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling—based on Nikolay Gogol's story about a downtrodden man who finds a coat that makes him a king. The play swept eight of Vancouver's local theatre awards in 1997 before finally making its way across Canada in 2000 and carrying with it a cast of 22 and a two-story set weighing more than 10 tons.

      Robert Lepage, the presiding genius of the Canadian avant-garde, debuted an important new work, The Far Side of the Moon, at the du Maurier World Stage, Toronto's biennial festival of international theatre. The piece explored the narcissism of the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union through the lens of sibling psychology. In a sensitive solo performance, Lepage played two brothers, one successful and vain, the other eccentric and unconventional; utilizing his signature special effects, he fashioned a resonant connection between the personal rivalry of the characters and the political rivalry of nations.

      Among the losses to the theatre community were a pair of legendary Broadway producers, David Merrick (Merrick, David ) and Alexander H. Cohen (Cohen, Alexander Henry ); veteran Chicago director Michael Maggio (Maggio, Michael John ) and the promising 38-year-old director of Wit, Derek Anson Jones; and actors Nancy Marchand (Marchand, Nancy ), Gwen Verdon (Verdon, Gwyneth Evelyn ), Richard Mulligan (Mulligan, Richard ), and Beah Richards (Richards, Beah ). (See Obituaries.)

Jim O'Quinn

Motion Pictures
      (For Selected International Film Awards in 2000, see Table (International Film Awards 2000 ).)

      Generally, the dawn of the new century found world cinema at one of the most stagnant periods of its history. Almost no film of 2000 from any country dazzled viewers with its originality or seemed to herald a new era or proclaim a new talent. Film themes seemed narrow in range, universally and obsessively repetitive.

      Perhaps the artistic uncertainty reflected a fundamental economic revolution that had far-reaching implications for the relationship between filmmakers and their audience and ultimately, without doubt, for the future content and use of the moving image. More clearly than ever before, the motion picture was in transition from a public, theatrical medium to a private home entertainment. Huge increases in the video market, as the popularity of the digital versatile disc (DVD) soared, confirmed the changed economies of production and distribution in Hollywood and the rest of the world. In the United States, while video sales and rentals totaled close to $20 billion, gross domestic box-office revenues slipped to $7.5 billion. The top-grossing video film was Disney's Tarzan, which earned $268 million in this form—$96 million more than it had earned in theatres during its original release.

United States.
      Among the year's outstanding box-office winners were Mission: Impossible 2, a formulaic sequel to a film that was in itself inspired by a 1960s television series; Ron Howard's charmless adaptation of a classic children's book, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Keenen Ivory Wayans's audaciously gross parody of schlock-horror films and other teenage delights, Scary Movie; and Michael Higney's latest sequel to the hugely popular Japanese animation series, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, which exploited a massive juvenile enthusiasm.

      Films that earned critical as well as commercial success notably included Ridley Scott's sumptuous Gladiator. In Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis and producer-star Tom Hanks aimed to recapture the mythical quality of their earlier Forrest Gump, giving Hanks the role of a modern Robinson Crusoe, an executive cast away on a desert island and discovering the means of spiritual as well as physical survival. Neil LaBute's Nurse Betty was an original and eccentric story about a young woman traumatized by her husband's murder and, while being pursued by her husband's former killers, retreating into the fantasy of becoming a soap opera heroine.

      Michael Almereyda's Hamlet was a bold, sometimes pretentious, but still compelling updating of Shakespeare to a digital-focused 2000 New York. Philip Kaufman's Quills offered a stylish and witty adaptation of Doug Wright's play about the Marquis de Sade's richly creative incarceration in the asylum of Charenton.

      In 2000 comedy appeared as one of Hollywood's strongest genres. Playwright David Mamet's seventh film, State and Main, was a winning screwball affair about the impact of a film crew upon a small New England town. The Coen brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? was a peripatetic period comedy, with nods to Homer's Odyssey, about three escapees from a chain gang in the Depression-era Deep South. Lasse Hallström's Chocolat, from a novel by Joanne Harris, was a winning social-moral comedy about the transformation of a staid French village when a young woman opens a chocolate shop, with all its seductions and temptations. Curtis Hanson's version of Michael Chabon's novel Wonder Boys, adapted by Steve Kloves, became a stylish screwball comedy about a college professor facing midlife crisis and creative block.

      The annual Sundance Festival showed independent filmmaking to be more buoyant than in recent years. Co-winner of the festival's Grand Jury Prize, Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me was a finely observed drama of the complex relationships of a mature brother and sister. Writer-director Karyn Kusama's Girlfight brilliantly and delicately traced the sociological and psychological issues involved in the decision of a spirited near-delinquent Latino girl (an outstanding performance by newcomer Michelle Rodriguez) to make her way in the male-dominated world of boxing. Jenniphr Goodman made an endearing character comedy about an overweight Don Juan, The Tao of Steve.

      Recent events and people inspired a number of major films. Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich starred Julia Roberts in the real-life role of a rough-tongued working-class woman inspired to take on big-business interests in an ecological cause. Later in the year Soderbergh completed a second film, Traffic, a docudrama on the drug trade and the conduct of the war against it. Roger Donaldson's Thirteen Days chronicled the Cuban missile crisis. Wolfgang Petersen, with his penchant for dramatizing actual events, depicted the struggles of a group of Massachusetts fishermen against the great storm of 1991—The Perfect Storm. In Almost Famous Cameron Crowe nostalgically described his days as a teenage rock critic.

British Isles.
      In the U.K. the outstanding commercial and critical successes of the year were Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliott, a sometimes touching tale of a boy from a tough mining district who sets out to be a ballet dancer; Peter Lord and Nick Park's vigorous animation feature Chicken Run; and Nigel Cole's Saving Grace, returning to older styles of British comedy with the story of a green-fingered widow (Brenda Blethyn) who becomes a successful cannabis farmer. The best literary adaptations were Terence Davies's version of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, about a young woman looking for a husband in early-20th-century New York, and the Dutch director Marleen Gorris's The Luzhin Defence, from Vladimir Nabokov's novel about a love-struck Russian chess wizard at Lake Como in 1929.

      In Ireland Pat Murphy directed Nora, the story of James Joyce's life with the former servant Nora Barnacle, while John Mackenzie's When the Sky Falls was based on the life of Dublin investigative journalist Veronica Guerin, murdered in 1996. Stephen Frears's Liam offered a child's-eye view of the lives of a Dublin Catholic family in the depressed and politically turbulent 1930s.

Australia and New Zealand.
      The record-breaking Australian box-office success was The Wog Boy, a broad comedy about ethnic life conceived and acted by Nick Giannopoulos and directed by Aleksi Vellis. In Innocence Dutch-born Paul Cox returned to his early theme of ageless love with a touching, passionate story of a couple who resume an affair after a separation of 45 years. The most memorable film of the year from New Zealand was Vanessa Alexander's first feature film, Magik and Rose, a charming, accomplished movie about two girl friends eager to become mothers.

      Even while national production saw its share of the home market dropping to little over 30%—about half the money earned by American films—France maintained a good standard of commercial production, with a predominance of thrillers and social comedies. While some of the most costly and ambitious films—most notably the period drama Vatel, an Anglo-French co-production directed by Roland Joffé—failed to recoup their costs, a runaway success at the box office was the action comedy sequel Taxi 2, directed by Gérard Krawczyk. Other notable commercial successes were Mathieu Kassovitz's thriller Les Rivières pourpres; Agnes Jaoui's social comedy Le Goût des autres (1999), chronicling the interaction of an actress, a businessman, a bodyguard, and a barmaid; Dominick Moll's eerie thriller Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien; Gérard Jugnot's comedy Meilleur espoir féminin (Most Promising Young Actress), and Fabien Onteniente's comedy Jet Set.

      Of France's true auteurs, Claude Chabrol, in Merci pour le chocolat, (Night Cap) transformed a 1940s novel by Charlotte Armstrong into a mischievously satiric thriller, set in a rich Swiss industrialist family. One of the most idiosyncratic young directors, François Ozon, adapted an early play by German filmmaker R.W. Fassbinder as Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes (1999). While respecting the four-act structure and four-person cast of the original, Ozon gave his material dazzling cinematic touches. Ozon followed this with the no-less-excellent Sous le sable, tracing the progress of the grief and fantasies of a woman suddenly widowed (an outstanding performance by Charlotte Rampling).

      Italian production grew as producers aimed at an international market with co-productions and English-language pictures. One of the biggest box-office hits of the year was Silvio Soldino's Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips), the heartening story of a neglected wife who discovers a fulfilling new bohemian way of life away from her insensitive family. Another notable film in a generally undistinguished year was Marco Tullio Giordana's I cento passi (The Hundred Steps), about a young Sicilian who rejects his family's Mafioso traditions to become a communist.

      The status of immigrants continued to provide a rich subject for German filmmakers. Roland Suso Richter's Eine handvoll Gras (A Handful of Grass) told the story of a Hamburg cab driver who befriends a Turkish urchin. Frieder Schlaich's disturbing Otomo (1999), based on a true news item, chronicled the last day of a man beaten down and finally killed by racist oppression in the city of Stuttgart. Yuksel Yavuz's Aprilkinder (April Children; 1999) was a drama about a family of Kurdish immigrants in Hamburg, the generation gap exacerbated by transplantation and new influences.

      Among established directors the best work came from Jan Schütte, whose Abschied: Brechts letzter Sommer was a fascinating re-creation of a day in the late life of Bertolt Brecht, surrounded by friends and lovers, with the threat of the authoritarian East German state always hovering. Volker Schlöndorff's Die Stille nach dem Schuss (The Legends of Rita; 1999) was an edgy realist political drama about a 1970s woman terrorist who defects to East Germany only to find new disillusionment.

Spain and Portugal.
      Spain maintained a substantial popular production. Notable films included José Luis Garci's Una historia de entonces (You're the One), the story of an aspiring woman writer in the 1940s who returns to her home village after the death of her lover; Álex de la Iglesia's high-spirited comic group portrait of the denizens of a rundown old Madrid tenement, La comunidad; and Agustín Villaronga's El mar, a striking if overheated melodrama of religion, sexuality, and the heritage of violence from the civil war, set in a tuberculosis hospital in the 1940s.

      In Portugal Manoel de Oliveira, at 91 unchallenged as the world's oldest filmmaker, audaciously adapted the collected sermons of the 17th-century priest and missionary Antonio Viera to achieve a demanding but often touching portrayal of faith in Palavra e utopia. More recent historical events inspired José Nascimiento's Tarde demais (Too Late), a re-creation of the dramas surrounding the real-life catastrophe of a fishing boat sinking in the Tagus River; and the directorial debut of the actress Maria de Medeiros, Capitães de Abril (Captains of April), about the events of April 25, 1974, when a military coup overthrew Portugal's fascist regime.

Northern Europe.
      Scandinavia had one of Europe's major successes in the Danish-Swedish-French co-production Dancer in the Dark, directed by the Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier. Conceived as a musical tragedy and starring the Icelandic pop singer Björk, it had an overcooked melodrama whose harvest of international praise and prizes seemed exaggerated. Meanwhile, von Trier's associate in the self-publicizing “Dogme 95” group, Kristian Levring, made a watchable drama, The King Is Alive, about a group of bus tourists stranded in the Namibian desert and distracting themselves by putting on a performance of King Lear.

      In Sweden the actress Liv Ullman filmed a script by Ingmar Bergman, Trolösa, in which an old filmmaker, not by chance called Bergman, recollects relationships destroyed by sexual infidelity. Roy Andersson's Sångerfrån andra våningen (Songs from the Second Floor) offered an absurdist journey, made up of 46 disconnected episodes.

      The Finnish directors Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio explored the legends and tales of magic and myth from the Nenets people in the north of Russia in Seitsemän laulua tundralta (Seven Songs from the Tundra; 1999). In Iceland, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Englar al heimsins (Angels of the Universe) related the adventures and torments of a sensitive artist. The Norwegian director Stein Leikanger's Da jeg traff Jesus . . . med sprettert (Odd Little Man) portrayed the tough childhood days of the jazz poet Odd Børretzen.

Eastern Europe.
      Safe Sex (1999), a low-budget and undistinguished sketch comedy about the sexual problems of a group of Athenians, written and directed by Thanasis Papathanasiou and Michalis Reppas, proved the biggest box-office success in the history of Greek cinema.

      The most notable international successes of the year in Hungary were Janos Szasz's fine documentary A Holocaust szemei (Eyes of the Holocaust) and Bela Tarr's characteristic visionary fantasy of elusive political import Werkmeister Harmoniek (Werkmeister Harmonies), set in a dismal village that is incited to passive revolt. Domestic successes were Frigyes Godros's Glamour, which related the changing fortunes of a Budapest family of shopkeepers through the 20th century, and Barna Kabay's popular success with an updating of one of the country's biggest hits of the 1930s, the social comedy Hippolyt (1999), about a cultivated butler in the house of a newly rich family.

      The collapse and corruption of Russian society continued to provide themes for that country's filmmakers and were toughly dramatized in Stanislav Govorukhin's Voroshilovsky strelok (1999), about an old man's revenge on the rapists of his granddaughter when the authorities turn a blind eye.

      In sharp contrast was Aleksandr Proshkin's Russky bunt, a satisfying, if surprisingly traditional adaptation of Aleksandr Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter. The cult avant-garde director Aleksandr Sokurov turned to documentary with Dolce, a portrait of the Japanese writer Toshio Shimao, mostly reflected through his aged widow, Miho.

      From Georgia, Nana Dzhordzhadze's 27 Missing Kisses related charmingly the encounters of a summer holiday when a teenager and his father are both enchanted by the same 14-year-old girl. The first feature film from Azerbaijan, Sari gyalin (Yellow Bride; 1999), directed by the documentarist Yaver Rzayev, was a black comedy set during the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict of 1988 and relating the story of the alliance of two soldiers from opposing sides.

      In other parts of Eastern Europe, film production remained sporadic as film industries struggled to revive after years of official subsidy and control. Among the more interesting films to emerge—all looking back to the past—were Krajinka by Martin Sulik of Slovakia, which chronicled the changing life of a small Slovak village from the 1920s to the 1970s; the Czech Republic's Jan Hrebejk's Musime si pomahat (Divided We Fall), the story of a couple sheltering their Jewish neighbour in the last days of the World War II German occupation; and the Croatian Vinko Bresan's Marsal, a fantasy about a small Adriatic port bothered by the ghost of the former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. From Yugoslavia, Ljubisa Samardzic's Nebeska udica (Sky Hook; 1999) related the struggles of a group of young Belgraders to rebuild their basketball court, destroyed by the NATO bombings.

Middle East.
      The explosion of creative cinema in Iran seemed attributable mostly to the influence of the gifted, still comparatively young, directors Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf. A Kiarostami alumnus, Jafar Pahani, followed his gentle debut film, Badkonake sefid (The White Balloon; 1996) with Dayereh (The Circle), a powerful picture of the oppression of women in Iran's patriarchy, examined through a number of simply told stories. In Djomeh another former Kiarostami assistant, Hassan Yektapanah, treated the problems of a young Afghan refugee facing the racism and oppressive customs of an Iranian village. Makhmalbaf's prodigy daughter, Samira, followed her teenage debut, Sib (1998), with an equally finely observed story of two itinerant teachers and their encounters in the troubled border region joining Iran and Iraq, Takhte siah (Blackboard).

      Japanese production in 2000 was marked by nostalgia. With Dora-heita (1999), the 85-year-old Kon Ichikawa realized a script written 30 years earlier as a joint project with directors Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, and Masaki Kobayashi. The story, from Shugoro Yamamoto's novel Diary of a Town Magistrate, tells of a samurai who poses as a drunken playboy in order to root out some gangsters. Kaneto Shindo—at 88 second only to Portugal's Manoel de Oliveira as the world's oldest working director—made a lively biographical film, Sammon yakusha, of the character actor Taiji Tonoyama, who appeared in many of Shindo's films and in private life was a notorious alcoholic and womanizer. A younger veteran, Nagisa Oshima, explored the theme of homosexual love among 19th-century samurai in the handsome Gohatto (Taboo; 1999).

      In contrast to these retrospective works, an outstanding first film by Akira Ogata, Dokuritsu shonen gasshoudan (Boy's Choir; 1999), was the story of two friends in an orphanage whose lives are conditioned by the political eruptions of the 1970s outside their school and by their growing consciousness of the ephemeral nature of the talent they cherish as ambitious boy sopranos. Almost four hours long and in black and white, Shinji Ayoama's Eureka was a powerful portrayal of the traumas of the aftermath of a fatal hijacking incident.

Chinese-language Films.
      While commercial production flourished in ever-increasing variety in China, Zhang Yimou made a small, quiet masterpiece in Wo de fu qin mu qin (The Road Home; 1999), a poignant chronicle of a lifelong love between a village teacher and his peasant wife. Also notable was Sun Zhou's Piao liang ma ma (Breaking the Silence; 1999), portraying a single mother living in Beijing and struggling to educate her deaf son. The best of the reviving production of Singapore was Kelvin Tong and Jasmine Ng's Eating Air (1999), a spirited study of the dreams and realities of a fecklessly drifting young generation.

      Hong Kong production seemed unaffected by the return to China, as effective comedy, crime, and adventure films proliferated. The island's major international success of the year was Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, the story of a love affair between two married people in 1960s Hong Kong. Xilu xiang (Little Cheung; 1999) completed Fruit Chan's trilogy, set at the time of the handover of Hong Kong, and observed the changing life and the inevitable adjustments through the eyes of the two children of an ordinary family.

      After establishing an outstanding career in Hollywood, Ang Lee returned to Taiwan to direct a spectacular magic and martial arts drama Wo hu zang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), which became one of Taiwan's biggest international hits. Another leading Taiwanese director, Edward Yang, returned brilliantly to form with Yi yi (A One and a Two), which surveyed a whole milieu through the midlife crisis of a businessman.

South Asia.
      Established Indian directors dealt with topical themes. Buddhadev Dasgupta's Uttara (The Wrestlers) examined the effects of Hindu fundamentalism on a quiet Bengali community. Shyam Benegal's Samar (Conflict; 1999) looked at the abuse of “untouchability” obliquely, through the adventures of a film crew trying to make a film on the subject.

      From Nepal, Tsering Rhitar Sherpa's Mukundu (Mask of Desire) related the family complications that ensue when a childless woman invokes the aid of a riverbank goddess.

      Rituparno Ghosh followed in the path of fellow-Bengali director the late Satyajit Ray with Bariwali (Lady of the House; 1999), a poignant portrait of a woman whose fiancé died from a snakebite on the eve of their wedding and whose solitude is briefly relieved when a film company moves into her home.

Latin America.
      The film industries of Latin America were mostly dedicated to supplying the local market, and comparatively little filtered through to an international audience. One of the rare international figures was the Mexican Arturo Ripstein, who completed two films of quality in 2000. Así es la vida (Such Is Life) was a modern version of Medea, set in a contemporary poor urban community and shot with great technical invention that made use of digital video techniques. La perdición de los hombres (The Ruination of Men) was a black comedy about the murder of an unlovable bigamist.

      Other notable Latin American films of the year were, from Brazil, the directorial debut of the actress Florinda Bolkan with an elegant and talented portrait of an upper-middle-class family, Eu nio conhecia Tururu (I Didn't Know Tururu); and Andrucha Waddington's Eu, tu, eles, relating with charm the daily adventures of a poor woman coping with her three husbands and their respective sons.

      From Argentina, Lucho Bender's Felicidades (Merry Christmas) was the chronicle of a miserable Christmas Eve celebration in Buenos Aires. Cuba offered Gerardo Chijona's Un paraíso bajo las estrellas (1999), a funny, charming accomplished comedy drama about the denizens of a Havana nightclub, Tropicana Cabaret.

David Robinson

Nontheatrical Films
      Makers of nontheatrical films continued to set a fast creative pace in 2000. A comedy by Florida State University students Kelsey Scott and Robert McCaffrey won eight first-place awards. The Buse (rhymes with muse) is a whimsical tale of two spirits. Another student production, The Letter, was an evocative, beautiful, yet gruesome film about the removal of a cancerous breast without anesthesia in France in 1811. Based on a letter from Fanny Burney to her sister, it was produced in Australia by Anne Delaney and was named best overall film at the Columbus (Ohio) International Film & Video Festival.

      Generations: The Story of Ketel One Vodka, an industrial film by Pieter-Rim de Kroon of The Netherlands, traced one family's secret-formula vodka business beginning in 1691 through 10 generations. It won prizes in France, The Netherlands, and the U.S. along with the IVCA Award in London for music and photography.

      The new CINE Masters Series and Golden Eagle winner was Journeys (1998), which portrayed sport fishing throughout the world, from deep-sea to fly fishing. Emphasizing the fishermen's commitment to “catch and release,” the film was made by Donna Lawrence Productions for the International Game Fish Association.

Thomas W. Hope

▪ 2000



Classical Music
      By 1999 the history of the 20th century could be seen in full perspective, and one conclusion evident to music lovers was that it had been the most operatic century since the Renaissance and the origins of opera. Newspapers and television (the nonfiction programs as well as the ones with invented plots and characters) were filled with “operatic” material—if Samuel Johnson's definition of opera as an “exotic” and “irrational” entertainment was accepted. Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, and Modest Mussorgsky produced no works with more extreme characters, situations, and gestures; intense emotions; and flagrant abandonment of logic than were seen in the headlines of the century's daily papers. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that opera was the fastest-growing form of classical music throughout the 1980s and '90s; opera attendance grew nearly 25% between 1982 and 1992 and another 12.5% in the following five years. In part the opera boom was undoubtedly due to the popularity of spectacles such as the “Three Tenors” (Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras) concerts and pop-opera phenomena such as Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. (See Biographies. (Bocelli, Andrea )) While the audience for opera was growing, however, all other forms of classical music suffered audience shrinkage.

      Despite the enormous costs of production, which were unhappily reflected in the price of tickets, new operas were being composed and performed at an accelerating pace—particularly operas on 20th-century subjects. New on opera stages in 1999 were A View from the Bridge (composed by William Bolcom, based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name, and premiered by the Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Great Gatsby (composed by John Harbison, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and commissioned by New York's Metropolitan Opera), The Golden Ass (composed by Randolph Peters with a libretto by the late Robertson Davies, based on the Latin picaresque novel by Apuleius, premiered in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company), and Le Premier Cercle (premiered at the Opéra National de Lyon, France, and composed over a 12-year period by Gilbert Amy, who also wrote the libretto, which was based on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel of the same name). Still awaiting production was yet another operatic treatment of a 20th-century literary classic, Sophie's Choice, with music and libretto by Nicholas Maw, based on the novel by William Styron, commissioned to celebrate the reopening in London of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and scheduled for its premiere late in 2002.

      Clearly evident in the opera boom was a tendency to adapt literary works that had already established a reputation and an audience. This was a practice as old as opera itself, dating back to the time when Claudio Monteverdi adapted the final episode of Homer's Odyssey for Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Operas were also being produced with fresh subject matter, however. One of the year's most notable new operas, What Next?, was composed by Elliott Carter, with libretto by Paul Griffiths; it was not an adaptation of a literary classic but an examination of an archetypal 20th-century subject. One American critic who attended the premiere, Philip Kennicott, described it in the Washington Post as “a one-act musical evocation of an auto accident, its aftermath, and the smug satisfaction that the walking wounded—i.e., mankind—take in selfishness and inner preoccupation.” Although the premiere, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, was at the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden, it was sung in English. This recalled the time-honoured practice of American opera companies' performing operas in foreign languages, and it may have been a sign of the growing prestige of American composers (most notably Philip Glass) in European opera houses. On the other hand, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mo., in late 1998 broke its 40-year tradition of performing all its operas in English with Italian-language performances of Verdi's La traviata and Gioacchino Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri.

      Carter was more than 90 years old when What Next?, his first opera, was produced, and he thereby surpassed Verdi's remarkable record for creative longevity. At the other end of the age spectrum was 30-year-old Mark Lanz Weiser, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, Md., whose opera Where Angels Fear to Tread had an impressive premiere at the conservatory. The libretto, by Roger Brunyate, was based on a minor classic, E.M. Forster's first novel. Weiser's music—basically post-Wagnerian but capable of Italian-style lyricism—had a promising technical mastery.

      Operas that premiered successfully without benefit of prestigious literary sources included Tod Machover's Resurrection at the Houston (Texas) Grand Opera and the Central Park trilogy, which had its debut at the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., before its second run at the New York City Opera—not far from Central Park. The trilogy consisted of