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Classical 101

Rostropovich Monument Unveiled in Moscow

In the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mstislav Rostropovich played Dvorak's Cello Concerto while throngs protested outside.  The famed cellist would wind up being exiled from his native land for six years.

 "Such people, without a doubt, made up and make up the pride of our country." Vladimir Putin

Now, five years after his death, a monument to Slava has been unveiled in Moscow. Read Putin Praises Rostropovich at Moscow Sculpture Unveiling (WQXR) Watch Rostropovich: The Genius of the Cello http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt4tfg5Ed5U

Opera: Not a Business for Sissies

We marvel at what opera singers are able to do with their voices.  The strength, energy, and training necessary to be heard over a symphony orchestra is enormous...but at what price?

Mezzo Vesselina Kasarova says that after 10 years on stage, most singers develop common cold-like symptoms year-round, "because we breathe in dirt, dust and odors" while performing. Overuse of steroids in the form of cortisone is common, say singers and doctors treating them.

The treatment masks problems with inflamed vocal cords but the problem worsens to the point where operations may become necessary. That, in turn can change a voice — and even ruin it. Knowing what she knows now, would she do it again?  "Maybe not." Read Mezzo Says Opera Tough Business (Associated Press)

What is Debussy...Chopped Liver?

Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. Haydn...when milestone birth dates come around, the hoopla is huge. However, The Guardian's music writer Tom Service wants to know, what about Claude Debussy? Read We Should Celebrate Debussy by Assessing his Real Legacy (The Guardian)