From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.
As 2012 winds down and the Top 10 game kicks into high gear, we're all replaying the past year in our heads. Hype recedes as we reflect and the industry begins to check out for the holidays. That doesn't mean the fires are out — Camille Paglia waded into the feminist conversation around Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, Geeta Dayal poked holes in Beck's latest project and a collection of quotes from Pitchfork interviews got under our skin all over again.
Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 2:20 pm
Egypt's main opposition group has called for mass protests against President Mohammed Morsi's decision to go ahead with a referendum on the country's draft constitution.
"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," said Sameh Ashour, who spoke on behalf of the National Salvation Front, the main umbrella group for opposition parties.
Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 5:03 pm
U.S. forces rescued Sunday an American doctor who was kidnapped in Afghanistan last week.
Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., was kidnapped Dec. 5 along with two other aid workers who were returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic outside Kabul. All three worked for Morning Star Development, a Colorado-based nonprofit.
NPR's Sean Carberry reported on the rescue for our Newscast Unit. Here's what he said:
A young intelligence officer during the Second World War survives life in a Nazi concentration camp. A music producer in the 1970s falls in love with a young bohemian singer who breaks his heart. A lonely Italian neuroscientist makes a revolutionary discovery: Humans have no souls. These are some of the stories Sebastian Faulks weaves together in his latest novel, A Possible Life.
This past week marks a sad anniversary in one corner of the music world. In December 2009, the Philadelphia guitarist Jack Rose died of a heart attack. He was just 38 years old and about to release a new album of the fingerstyle guitar music he was known for.
Rose's career was relatively short, and the style of music he played doesn't have a huge fan base these days, but for one artist, Rose meant a lot.
Daniel Bachman is a 23-year-old guitarist who loves traditional guitar music, He's his own musician, but he grew up listening to Rose.
The Afghan construction industry has been one of the big winners since the fall of the Taliban. NATO and the international community have pumped billions of dollars into building roads, schools and bases.
With the drawdown of troops and NGOs, however, comes a drawdown in construction spending, and that has Afghan contractors scrambling to find new business.
Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 1:53 pm
The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. A patch to the alternative minimum tax. An increase in capital gains taxes.
As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, all of these are possible, but none certain. That uncertainty solicits many questions from anxious taxpayers. But, for accountants and financial planners, there are a few definitive answers.
Financial professionals who spoke with NPR say they are not strangers to uncertainty. When the Bush tax cuts were up for expiration two years ago, for instance, the feeling was similar.
Three years of euro-zone recession have badly hurt Spain's media sector, where some 8,500 journalists have lost their jobs. Dozens of newspapers have closed and the remaining publications are sharply cutting back as ads plummet.
That's led to warnings from journalists, who see a threat to press freedom at a time when Spaniards want to understand why their financial stability is unraveling.