A park bench and a vista in Morningside Park, New York City

Mockingjays on Morningside

I was already thinking about Columbia University, where courageous students are calling out the college administration’s support for genocide in Gaza, when I heard Paul Auster had died of cancer at the age of 77 in his home in Brooklyn.

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What We’re Up To

Litkicks is 26 years old! It’s been a journey. Lately we’re busy doing a couple of excellent podcasts.

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A battleship in Il Trovatore in Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera

Comprehending Trovatore

Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” is one of the most popular operas of all time, and also one of the hardest to follow. What is going on with this crazy plot? There’s a lot under the surface, and it’s all spelled out in this explainer by Marc Eliot Stein, who shows how a thrilling but nakedly horrible storyline became an entertainment fit for 19th century operagoers. This fascinating episode ends with a look at the Marx Brothers “A Night at the Opera”, which joyously tears Verdi’s masterpiece to shreds.

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Daniel Nester

Beelzebub and Galileo

Season 3 of “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera” has kicked off with something different! We are joined by Daniel Nester, poet, author, professor and podcaster, and one of only a few people I’ve ever met who has actually co-written a libretto for a modern opera, “The Summer King” by Daniel Sonenberg.

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