The latest from Europe

Hans Werner Henze’s “Phaedra”. All photos © Ruth Walz,
courtesy Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin

Those good people at signandsight have been busy again, and here are their latest offerings in English translation of cultural events in Europe.

In the cradle of the Phaedra myth

Hans Werner Henze’s fourteenth opera “Phaedra” almost cost him his
life. Now the premiere has taken place in Berlin. Volker Hagedorn
visited the eighty-one-year-old composer at his home above the Tiber
valley, where he has lived and worked since 1953.

Nonchalance out of the depths

Benjamin Biolay is France’s new Serge Gainsbourg. He is pioneer of the
“Nouvelle Chanson,” even if he rejects the term. And basically he
sings about one thing: love, nothing but love. By Elke Buhr (Photo ©
Bruce Weber, courtesy Virgin Records France / EMI)

Building on the past

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor’s new Kolumba art museum for the
Archbishopric of Cologne is magnificently successful, in terms of both
material presence and dignified handling of the past. Sitting astride
a Gothic church, an archeological site and a 1950s chapel, it builds
on a history stretching back thousands of years. By Jörg Biesler

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