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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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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Midsummer in Winter

In the moving documentary Midsummer in Newtown, a production of a Shakespeare comedy starring local kids brings renewal to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

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Our Rhinoceros Year

In Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco, two men are sitting in a cafe in a small French town when the improbable news arrives that a rhinoceros was seen in town. Soon the two men look out the window to see several rhinoceroses rampaging through the streets. They are surprised at this development, of course … and then one of the two men starts transforming into a rhinoceros as well.

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Eamon Loingsigh

Eamon Loingsigh in Exile

Writers create whole worlds; we see this most often in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Eamon Loingsigh is a Brooklyn writer whose world is fully grounded in urban reality — the rough waterfront docks of Auld Irishtown in Brooklyn, 100 years ago. His first novel Light of the Diddicoy introduced a teenage striver, Liam Garrity, who arrives from Ireland and quickly comes to understand how high the stakes for survival are in New York City. The second book in this trilogy, Exile on Bridge Street, came out in October …

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