- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 8, 2004

Callas’ gems for sale

Associated Press

Jewelry once belonging to famed soprano Maria Callas will be sold at auction, Sotheby’s said Thursday.

The sale, to be held at Geneva, Switzerland’s Hotel Beau-Rivage Nov. 17, will include 11 pieces given to the opera diva by her husband, wealthy Italian industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini, in the 1950s.

The most expensive of the jewels is an 11.7 carat marquise-shaped diamond ring that Sotheby’s expects to sell for between $120,000 and $180,000.

Miss Callas left the jewels to a friend when she died in 1977.

Miss Callas and Mr. Meneghini married in 1949, but she eventually left him for Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, with whom she had a stormy relationship until he wed Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968.

Isley stricken

MTV.com

Soul music legend Ronald Isley, lead singer of the Isley Brothers, and sometime R. Kelly collaborator, suffered a mild stroke July 30.

Mr. Isley, 63 (aka Mr. Biggs), whose 2003 Isley Brothers album, “Body Kiss,” was almost entirely produced and arranged by Mr. Kelly, felt ill while walking in London, Reuters News Agency reported Thursday. The singer checked himself into a London hospital for a few days before returning to his home in St. Louis, where he is recovering.

On Aug. 24, the Isley Brothers will release “Taken to the Next Phase,” an album of the group’s classic tracks, remixed by such artists as Mos Def, the Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, Raphael Saadiq and the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.Am.

According to Reuters, Mr. Isley’s speech was unaffected by the stroke and he hopes to resume performing as soon as possible.

Lights out

Associated Press

Curtain up? Just barely.

Broadway is anticipating a glum couple of weeks at the box office, primarily because of the Republican National Convention followed by the Labor Day weekend, a traditionally slow time for shows.

And several productions won’t even be around at the end of the month to greet the GOP.

“Caroline, or Change,” the Tony-winning Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical, and “Frozen,” Bryony Lavery’s drama about a serial killer, announced Thursday they are closing before the convention starts. They join “Little Shop of Horrors,” which said last week it would fold Aug. 22, the same day as “Frozen.” “Caroline,” which received six 2004 Tony nominations, including one for best musical, ends its four-month run Aug. 29 without recouping its $6 million investment.

Chris Boneau, a spokesman for “The Lion King,” whose touring company opened a lengthy run in Boston just before the start of the Democratic convention in late July, said: “Boston was a ghost town.”

Until now, summer business on Broadway has been good, particularly for such shows as “Avenue Q,” “Wicked” and “The Boy from Oz,” starring Hugh Jackman. “Oz,” is grossing more than $1 million a week as the show heads toward a Sept. 12 closing, which is when Mr. Jackman’s contract expires.

Yet Republican delegates will be going to see some shows, courtesy of the New York City Host Committee. On Aug. 29, the day before the convention opens, some 13,000 free tickets will be available for special performances to eight different shows including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King” and “42nd Street.”

Magical mystery tour

Associated Press

Admirers of Lewis Carroll’s fantasies for children can surf into a rare 21st century wonderland, courtesy of the Library of Congress: an online version of the author’s unpublished personal scrapbook.

Mr. Carroll collected about 130 scrapbook items between the years 1855 and 1872, during which he wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and its sequel “Through the Looking-Glass.”

It has not appeared in published form, said library spokesman Guy Lamolinara, although the original has been available at the library to scholars for a century, after it was acquired soon after Mr. Carroll’s death in 1898.

A lecturer in mathematics at Oxford University, Mr. Carroll also published under his real name — Charles Lutwidge Dodgson — such titles as “Euclid and Modern Rivals” and “Symbolic Logic.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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