Verdi’s Music Keeps Playing, In Opera Houses and Online

Surely one of the greatest honors for any artist is for his or her work to survive long after the artist’s death. Such is the case for the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Though yesterday (January 27) was the anniversary of his death in 1901, his operas continue to be heard and performed throughout the world.

Opera houses continue to stage productions of his work, and his work is even being performed in ways that take advantage of modern technology, ways Verdi could never have imagined. On January 7th of this year, the Royal Opera House of London broadcast a Royal Opera LIVE event online, in which viewers could watch ten hours of uninterrupted footage from backstage at the Royal Opera House. As part of this event, and to celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday this year, the Opera House invited people from all over the world to submit video of themselves singing Verdi’s Va Pensiero from the opera Nabucco. Video submissionsGiuseppe_Verdi00 came in from all over the world, capturing people performing Verdi’s music in diverse places such as The Sydney Opera House, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and one woman’s kitchen while she prepares Christmas dinner. These performances were broadcast as part of the Royal Opera LIVE event, and can still be seen on Youtube and the website of the Royal Opera House. Furthermore, some of the best moments from the submissions will be incorporated into a new commissioned work by  British composer Elspeth Brooke inspired by Va Pensiero. The new composition will debut later this year.

This was just the first of many celebrations of Verdi planned for this year, the 200th anniversary of his birth on October 10, 1813. The Vienna State Opera, in Vienna, Austria, for example, will be staging a number of Verdi operas this year, including La Traviatta and Rigoletto. Verdi’s works will be performed around the world, in places as diverse as Munich, Helsinki, and Shanghai. These events not only pay tribute to Verdi, but show that opera continues to be a vital and important art form, even if it is not as popular as it once was. They also show that great art can transcend time and popular styles, resonating with people even centuries after the art was first created.

To learn more about Giuseppe Verdi, his life, and his contributions to the world of music, check out Giuseppe Verdi and Italian Opera by William Schoell (ISBN #978-159935-041-7) from your local library, or purchase it from Morgan Reynolds Publishing. Then check out our Classical Composers series, featuring biographies on Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Josh Barrer,

Associate Editor

Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Twitter Turns Six

“Just six years ago… co-founder Jack Dorsey published the very first public tweet to the world. But little did Dorsey know that the 24-character snippet of text would be just the beginning of a worldwide revolution,” reported International Business Times.

Since then, “The social network has garnered 300 million users that are collectively tweeting one billion tweets every 4-5 days.”

Twitter celebrated its sixth birthday this past Wednesday. Chris Smith and Marci McGrath, authors of Twitter: Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, wrote, “Twitter filled a basic human need to communicate and feel connected.”

This week, Piers Morgan, an avid Twitterer himself, told his audience during his “Only in America” segment, “In a maximum of 140 characters, people anywhere can communicate with each other instantly, and in real time, about anything they want. It’s used by astronauts in orbit, explorers deep under water, and even presidents.”

But in the six years it has existed, Twitter has done more than simply connect people. It has become a tool for change. Jack Dorsey once said, “I’m really excited about what technologies like this can do for government and getting more of the citizens engaged into public action and public policy and into that conversation of how we structure our societies, how we structure our cultures, and what we want to see in the world.”

And that’s exactly what Twitter has done. Throughout the unrest in the Middle East and even in our own backyard with the Occupy movement, Twitter was spitting out thousands (maybe even millions) of tweets informing citizens about what was going on, why, and how to get involved.

International Business Times reported:

While the micro-blogging platform has helped activists around the world organize, the real revolution–The Twitter Revolution–has only just begun…. The ability to dispatch information on a whim has come to represent much more than the ability to express one’s self. It has also given people the ability to share and exchange ideas at a faster rate than ever before. On Twitter’s sixth birthday, it’s evident that the infant company has already grown into a colossal force…. Not only will the revolution be tweeted, the revolution is tweeting.

There is no doubt that Twitter will play a major role in the coming election year, as a campaign board for candidates and a discussion forum for citizens. Revolution, indeed.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about Twitter and its founders, check out Twitter: Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams by Chris Smith and Marci McGrath (ISBN 9781599351797)

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is Facebook going to die?

The mainstream media got punked last week by a group claiming to be the infamous Anonymous hackers. News agencies around the world put out an alert that Anonymous planned to destroy Facebook on November 5, 2011 (Guy Fawkes Day).

Reporting by London-based Telegraph was typical:  “A splinter group from the notorious hacker collective Anonymous is rumoured to be gathering support for a plan to ‘kill’  online social networking giant Facebook. . . . Its aim was to destroy the social network on the grounds that it abused the privacy of users.”  And thanks to a YouTube video and Twitter account said to be posted and managed by the illusive group, and of course news sources, the rumor spread like wildfire.

By this week, news agencies realized they had been duped and quickly killed the rumor. As CBSNews headlined, “We’ve been had! Anonymous not ‘killing’ Facebook.”

Parmy Olsen of reported that it wasn’t just a rumor from nowhere, though. Olsen wrote, “A few supporters of Anonymous had actually collaborated earlier this year on a operation aimed at taking Facebook offline. . .”

Eventually the collaborators got bored and abandoned the idea, Olsen wrote. But some newcomers stumbled upon their abandoned chat room, and took up the torch. It was these newcomers, thought to be kids out of school for the summer and posing as Anonymous members, who created the Twitter account and the video.

“So next time you hear about a looming cyber attack by Anonymous, stay calm. Bear in mind that pretty much anyone can front a well-made YouTube video and think twice about whether this is all just a bit of fun for a few bored people  on their summer break.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s goal for Facebook is to make the world “open,” according to Judy Hasday, author of Morgan Reynolds’s Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Said Zuckerberg:

The thing I really care about is making the world more open and connected. What that stands for is something that I have believed in for a really long time. . . . Open means having access to more information, right? More transparency, being able to share things and have a voice in the world. . .

Perhaps Zuckerberg did not realize when he created Facebook that providing an “open” world might also open Pandora’s box to a myriad of privacy issues and media frenzy.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information on Zuckerberg and Facebook, check out Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg by Judy Hasday, a Morgan Reynolds book. (ISBN 9781599351766)

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Google vs. Facebook


The rivalry in the intense world of on-line social media heated up when Google launched Google+, or, as CNET’s Rachel King defines it, “the Goog’s effort at producing a major social-networking platform, which ties in with the growing competition with Facebook…”

One week later, on July 6, Facebook announced that it was partnering with Skype to provide video chatting through Facebook. Google has had a video chat function in Gchat for three years. Rafe Needleman, editor of CNET, reported, “Video calling is now table stakes for social products.”

Since Google+ was launched, there have been third party attempts to create contact-export tools that can extract contact information from Facebook and import it to Google+. Facebook, however, has blocked these attempts. Facebook claims that these tools do not follow its Terms of Use which state, “You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means without permission.”

King reports, “Google’s competitors are truly starting to remove their gloves….Though he didn’t cite Google specifically, it’s not too difficult to figure out which corporation [Google]  he was talking about when he said Facebook will ‘always do better than a company trying to a million things.'”


In other news, Google is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC is investigating “into whether the internet giant has abused its dominance in Web-search advertising . . .”

Former CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt is scheduled to testify before Congress on Google’s behalf in September.


The world of social media is always changing, but we can be assured that conflict between the major players will continue to be a constant.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about Google and Facebook and their founders, check out Morgan Reynolds’s new books:

Google Founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin by Kerrily Sapet

ISBN 9781599531773

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg by Judy L. Hasday

ISBN 9781599351766

Published in: on August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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