The celebrated Old Spice series displays an enlightened awareness of the power of music.

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Given my great interest in the life and works of Xavier Montsalvatge (already manifested here and here), I have been looking forward to a new production of his first opera El gato con botas (Puss in Boots) from 1947. The innovative production, which I have had encouraging glimpses of, opens on Friday. I strongly recommend it.

Even the sky played its dramatic part outside the Met opening last night.

© Tony Husband 2010 for Stephenfry.com

Open Culture. Wide Open.

September 22, 2010

This site’s various sections have links to an amazing variety of free resources. There’s a new link to the archive of Paris Review interviews.

Did you know that there are free audiobooks of all of Jane Austen’s novels on iTunes? No, neither did I. And don’t miss OK Go’s amazing dog act. Yes, I said dog act.

Julian Young’s new “philosophical biography” of Friedrich Nietzsche proposes solutions to mysteries about his subject’s relationship with Richard Wagner, including this one discussed in an interview with Scott Horton:

Nietzsche wrote that a “deadly insult” had come between himself and Wagner. You suggest that you’ve learned what it was.

Wagner had long disapproved of Nietzsche’s close friendships with men–love he held could only exist between the sexes–and by 1877 he was offended by the developing anti-Wagnerian tenor of Nietzsche’s thought. To Nietzsche’s doctor he wrote that the cause of the patient’s many health problems–which included near blindness–was “unnatural debauchery, with indications of pederasty.” His former disciple was, in other words, (a) incipiently gay and (b) going blind because he masturbated. Somehow Nietzsche learned not only of the existence of the letter but of its the exact wording. That was the “deadly insult.”