Recent links of note:
“Tamara Rojo to leave English National Ballet after 10 years as artistic director”
Nadia Khomami, The Guardian
Tamara Rojo is coming to America. The current principal dancer and artistic director of the English National Ballet has just been named the next leader of the San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in the United States. Born in Quebec and trained in Spain, Rojo was a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet before taking the reins of the ENB in 2012, where she gained a reputation as a risk-taker. Among her most notable artistic choices was to commission the choreographer Akhram Khan to create a contemporary version of Adolphe Adam’s Giselle in a controversial 2016 production that recast the rural villagers as migrant factory workers. Before setting off for the west coast, Rojo will present her new adaptation of Alexander Glazunov’s Raymonda, which moves the ballet’s story from the middle ages to the nineteenth century and boasts a lead character inspired by Florence Nightingale. The resource-rich San Francisco Ballet, which dances over one hundred performances a year, might be the perfect vehicle to enable Rojo to experiment with new choreographers.
“Falling in Love with Terror”
Gary Saul Morson, New York Review of Books
The Russian scholar and New Criterion contributor Gary Saul Morson has penned an article in this week’s New York Review of Books on the “new type of hero” that appeared in late nineteenth-century Russia—the terrorist. “Polite society,” he observes, “celebrated terrorists, who included the first suicide bombers.” One such figure was Boris Savinkov, a writer known for his Memoirs of a Terrorist and novel The Pale Horse, which has just received a fresh translation by Michael Katz. Not commited to a single ideology, the anti-Bolshevik fighter eventually became a Bolshevik propagandist before dying in prison at age forty-six in 1925 (Soviet authorities recorded it as a suicide). Morson is critical of a new Savinkov biography by Vladimir Alexandrov, who presents the violent figure as a sort of secular saint. Rather than acting out of concern for common people, Savinkov, Morson argues, was motivated simply by “risk, adventure, and the sheer thrill of dramatic murder.” He also counted the adventurous Pushkin and Lermontov among his favorite writers. Citing Solzhenitsyn and Mandelstam, Morson ends by asking, “Could it be that the romanticization of terror and revolution is the main reason Russia followed its lugubrious path?”
“American Folk Art Museum gifted major work by itinerant 19th-century portraitist Ammi Phillips”
Karen Chernick, The Art Newspaper
Ammi Phillips (1788–1865) was an itinerant portrait painter working in nineteenth-century New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut and patronized by an increasingly prosperous middle class. New York’s American Folk Art Museum has just acquired a new work by this self-taught artist, who is perhaps best known for his paintings of brightly dressed young children. Portrait of Frederick A. Gale (ca. 1815) depicts a young blonde boy wearing red shoes and a green one-piece suit with a large white collar. The son of a grist mill owner, the young Gale is also shown carrying a book, indicating the importance the family placed on education. The portrait will be displayed in “Multitudes,” a new exhibition celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the museum.
“Music for a While #57: Hold out your light.”Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“Terry Teachout, 1956–2022,” by Kyle Smith.On the late critic.