- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 3, 2005

Loren honored

Associated Press

Film legend Sophia Loren received a lifetime achievement award at the opening of the Istanbul Film Festival.

“I feel surrounded by love,” she said at Friday’s event.

She said she would place the award next to her Oscars. The 70-year-old star won a best actress Oscar in 1961 for “Two Women” and an Academy Award for career achievement in 1991.

Miss Loren was the guest of honor at the festival which ends April 17.

Muti exits La Scala

Associated Press

Riccardo Muti, citing continued hostility by La Scala employees, stepped down Saturday as musical director of the opera house, ending a 19-year tenure and pitching the institution into more turmoil.

There was no immediate word on a possible successor at the Milan theater, which launched the career of Giuseppe Verdi and is a source of national pride in Italy.

The behind-the-curtains drama started weeks ago, shortly after La Scala reopened in December following an extensive renovation. Mr. Muti, 63, denounced what he said was the vulgar hostility of the theater’s employees. They, in turn, accused him of running the opera house as his private fiefdom. Several performances were canceled because of the feud.

Last month, hundreds of employees, including musicians and stagehands, called on Mr. Muti to step down. They had pledged to strike for each scheduled premiere.

The ill will stemmed from a decision by La Scala’s board to dismiss superintendent Carlo Fontana, who had a difficult relationship with Mr. Muti. Mr. Fontana was replaced by Mauro Meli, former director of La Scala’s theatrical division. Union members had demanded his resignation.

Mr. Muti, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992, becomes a candidate to take over as music director of the New York Philharmonic when Lorin Maazel retires after the 2008-09 season.

Mentioned as possible successors at La Scala are Riccardo Chailly, who retired as music director of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw last summer and becomes general music director at the Leipzig Opera and Gewandhaus Orchestra in September, and Daniele Gatti, music director of the Teatro Communale in Bologna and the Royal Philharmonic in London.

Note worthy

Rap music pioneer Chuck D and world-renowned pianist Michael Feinstein will be on hand tomorrow when the Library of Congress announces its selection of the 50 historic sound recordings to be added to the third annual National Recording Registry.

Mr. Feinstein, one of the premiere interpreters of American popular song, and a member of the National Recording Preservation Board, will perform a musical selection represented on the Registry on George Gershwin’s piano. The instrument is on view in the Library’s George and Ira Gershwin Room, a permanent exhibit that is part of the agency’s extensive Gershwin collection.

The National Recording Registry was established under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 “to maintain and preserve sound recordings and collections of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” its guidelines state. Registry recordings must be at least 10 years old.

Nominations for inclusion are gathered both from the public and from the National Recording Preservation Board, which is composed of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound, and preservation.

Kate Smith’s premiere radio broadcast of “God Bless America” in 1938, Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” — heard on radio’s Mercury Theater in 1938 — and Billie Holiday’s landmark recording “Strange Fruit” in 1939 were among the first 50 recordings placed in the Registry.

Compiled by R. Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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