Category Archives: Искусство

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Actor Kevin Spacey Charged in UK with 4 Counts of Sexual Assault

British prosecutors said Thursday they have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault against three men. 

The Crown Prosecution Service said Spacey “has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” 

The alleged incidents took place in London between March 2005 and August 2008, and one in western England in April 2013. The alleged victims are now in their 30s and 40s. 

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the service’s Special Crime Division, said the charges follow a review of evidence gathered by London’s Metropolitan Police. 

Spacey, a 62-year-old double Academy Award winner, was questioned by British police in 2019 about claims by several men that he had assaulted them. The former “House of Cards” star ran London’s Old Vic Theatre between 2004 and 2015. 

Spacey won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie “American Beauty.” 

His celebrated career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was a teenager. Spacey denies the allegations. 

The charges were announced as Spacey was testifying in a courtroom in New York City in the civil lawsuit filed by Rapp. He was on the witness stand Thursday and not immediately available for comment. 

A criminal case brought against him, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019. 

 

Biden to Host K-pop Stars BTS, Discuss Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

K-pop superstars BTS will head to the White House next week to address hate crimes targeting Asians and people of Asian descent with U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

Biden would host the global phenomenon musical group on Tuesday and would “discuss Asian inclusion and representation, and to address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination which have become more prominent issues in recent years,” it said.

The seven members of the South Korean boy band are known for their upbeat songs and dances and have built a loyal global fan base, winning the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year crown in February for the second straight year.  

The meeting comes as May’s recognition of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) month comes to a close amid a sharp upswing in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the past year. Attacks against people of Asian descent have escalated as some politicians and pundits have encouraged Americans to blame China for COVID-19, amid other tensions.

Just this month, a man was charged with allegedly shooting three women of Asian descent at a hair salon in Dallas, while another man in California was accused of killing one person and wounding five others in a shooting at a Taiwanese-American church. Authorities are investigating both incidents as potential hate crimes.

The K-pop stars are also known for using their lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering youngsters since debuting in 2013.

“Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world,” the White House said in its statement.

Controversial Russian Opera Star Takes Stage in Paris

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Western nations have sidelined a raft of Russian artists, dancers and musicians with links to President Vladimir Putin. That includes star opera singer Anna Netrebko, who was dropped by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Netrebko, however, is making a comeback of sorts with an appearance Wednesday night in Paris — underscoring a broader debate over the limits of cultural boycotts.

Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska received a standing ovation starring earlier this month in Puccini’s Turandot. The Ukrainian singer took her curtain call at New York’s Metropolitan Opera draped in her country’s flag. 

Celebrated Russian sorprano Anna Netrebko was originally tapped for the role. But the war in Ukraine changed that. Netrebko has condemned the conflict, but not Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

She publicly endorsed Putin’s reelection in 2012, although not in 2018. In 2014, she was photographed alongside a Russian-backed separatist leader from Ukraine’s Donbas region. She recently told Le Monde newspaper her intentions hadn’t been political, and said she was uninformed about the area’s history. 

Now Netrebko is back on stage — singing at the Paris Philharmonic with another Russian, mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova. Beyond a last-minute appearance in Monaco, the event is considered her formal return to the Western stage.

The Paris Philharmonic declined an interview request. But in a statement, it said that while it has canceled artists formally linked to the Russian government, it aims to keep ties whenever possible with those who are not. After Netrebko’s criticism of the war, it noted, Russia’s Duma, the lower house of parliament, called her a traitor. 

The Paris institution has a different position from the Metropolitan’s, where Netrebko will not be singing for the foreseeable future. 

Russian singers aren’t the only ones under Western scrutiny. Dancers and other Russian artists are being boycotted for their ties to Moscow. It’s a very different situation from Cold War days, when artists from the United States and the former Soviet Union were often welcomed on each other’s stages. 

“The two superpowers were in a competition for hearts and minds the world over, and they were attempting to demonstrate to the world and to one another’s populations that theirs was the superior system,” said Kenneth Platt, a professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “So from the perspective of each of the superpowers, it was their interest to showcase their culture and to engage their cultural exchanges.”

Today, it will be hard for Russia to overcome Western revulsion over its reported atrocities in Ukraine. Still, Platt is one who does not support a blanket boycott of Russian artists.  

“My basic position on canceling and national identities is if you want to cancel people, cancel them because they are in support of the war, or aligned with this inimical Russian state or because their books and films are pro-war.  Not because they are Russians, or their books are Russian,” he said.

That’s also the position of Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, who spoke to France 24 TV at the Cannes Film Festival going on now. The festival has banned Russians with official ties to the Kremlin and slotted time for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the venue via video link. 

“Yet I do not agree with excluding those Russian authors, artists, filmmakers who are against this war, who are just like the rest of the civilized world — just trying to fight against the evil,” he said. 

Loznitsa is not in lockstep with some of his compatriots who back a broader ban of Russian artists. 

Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Platt has his doubts about Netrebko’s operatic return. 

“I think Ms. Netrebko has a prominent public voice,” he said. “I would want her to see her using that voice far more vociferously to condemn this war and Putin’s dictatorial regime in the strongest possible terms — much more so than she has done — before welcoming her back into the limelight.” 

The Paris Philharmonic has also welcomed Ukrainian musicians who fled the war in their homeland, It’s working with the head of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra to place them in various French orchestras. Some have already performed in concerts in recent weeks.

Gallaudet University Celebrates its Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Graduates

Gallaudet University in Washington hosted its first undergraduate commencement ceremony since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Gallaudet is the only university in the world where deaf, deaf-blind and hard-of-hearing students live and learn bilingually in American Sign Language and English. Keynote speaker Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, among others, addressed the graduating students. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has the story

Artists Flock to Dakar for Biennale

One of the most prominent events in the world of contemporary African art is kicking off in the Senegalese capital after a four-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 14th edition of the Dakar Biennale features the work of hundreds of artists from around the world, ranging from immersive installations to costumed performances.

About 100 spectators gathered on Dakar’s ocean walkway as dancers outfitted in traditional West African costumes gyrated to the sound of djembes. One dancer, dressed as a broomstick, twirled about, while another, donning a mythical lion costume, approached those filming on cellphones to offer a roar. Behind them, a young woman covered in mud held still as an artist covers her in powdered pigments.

The event is one of hundreds set to take place in Dakar over the next month.

The official 2022 biennale selection includes 59 artists from some 30 countries, but hundreds of other spaces, both in Dakar and throughout Senegal, are showcasing art. Even restaurants and hotels have converted their walls into miniature museums.

“The Dakar biennale is unique because it brings together the great majority of audio-visual creators from around the African continent and its diaspora,” said Khalifa Dieng, a scenographer for the National Gallery exhibit. The gallery is hosting works by Senegalese painter El Hadji Sy for the event.

Nigerian painter Tyna Adebowale traveled from her home base in the Netherlands to show her work. She completed an artist residency in Dakar and said she was inspired by the sense of community she found.

“I love the creative vibe of Senegal as a whole,” Adebowale said. “There’s no ego, it’s towards one goal, which is art and culture for the sake of the whole country, the community, the people. I love the collective support that I see. It’s a very beautiful spirit, very vibrant. I really admire it.”

The energy at the festival is perhaps more amplified this year as the 2020 event was postponed due to COVID19, making this the first biennale in four years.

This year’s theme is “Ndaffa,” which means to forge out of the fire in Serer, one of the languages spoken in Senegal.

It refers both to the need to recalibrate as we emerge from the pandemic into a new world, as well as to the history of African creation and its influence on contemporary African art.

Lou Mo is one of four official international curators. Her exhibit, “Havana: Forge of the South,” seeks to link Havana with Dakar via shared themes of migration, race and creolization. Dakar, she said, has become one of Africa’s leading art hubs.

“Both with the biennale that’s now 32 years old, to different institutions, different artists,” she said. “And I think there’s definitely an international trend of raising the importance of African art. So, I think there’s many possibilities for Dakar in the future.”

The event will continue through June 21.

Cannes: Transylvania-set ‘R.M.N.’ Probes a Ubiquitous Crisis

Cristian Mungiu’s Cannes Film Festival entry “R.M.N.” is set in an unnamed mountainous Transylvanian village in Romania, but the conflicts of ethnocentricity, racism and nationalism that permeate the multi-ethnic town could take place almost anywhere.

Of all the films competing for the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes, none may be quite as of the moment as “R.M.N.” The movie, using a Romanian microcosm, captures the us-vs-them battles that have played out across Europe and beyond, wherever immigration and national identities have collided.

Mungiu, the celebrated Romanian filmmaker of the landmark 2007 abortion drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” has long been accustomed to his films being written off as grim portraits of a faraway Eastern Europe. It’s a caricature he rejects, especially when it comes to “R.M.N.”

RMN is the Romanian abbreviation for an MRI, which, when scanning the brain, can reveal fascinating secrets of how human beings are wired, Mungiu told Agence France-Presse.

“Whenever journalists interpret that it’s yet again another somber painting of this country, well, it’s not about that country — or not only about that country,” Mungiu told reporters Sunday. “It’s good to check your own elections in your own countries.”

When a local bakery in need of workers — most of the town’s men have gone abroad to find work — hires a few men from Sri Lanka, a Romanian village’s already complicated mix of ethnicities — Romanian, Hungarian, German — turn increasingly volatile.

But “R.M.N.,” which features a powerhouse 17-minute single shot of a contentious town meeting, from the start teases at the question of who, exactly, is an outsider and who gets to define tradition. In the end, even the village’s local bears could be said to have their say.

“What is tradition? We do something because someone did this before. But why precisely do we do is this?” Mungiu said. “If you dig deep down, it’s a way of fighting back the fear you have of something. It’s a way of unleashing these violent impulses that you have.”

“I’m sorry to say this, but we are a very, very violent species of animal. And we need very, very little to identify an enemy as other,” added Mungiu. “You can see this today in the war in Ukraine.”

The Palme d’Or will be awarded May 28.

Creator of ‘Star Wars’ X-Wing and Death Star Dies at 90

Colin Cantwell, the man who designed the spacecraft in the “Star Wars” films, has died. He was 90.

The Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday that Sierra Dall, Cantwell’s partner, confirmed that he died at his home in Colorado on Saturday.

Cantwell designed the prototypes for the X-wing Starfighter, TIE fighter and Death Star.

He also worked on films including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “WarGames.”

Cantwell was born in San Francisco in 1932. Before working on Hollywood films, Cantwell attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he got a degree in animation. He also attended Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture.

In the 1960s, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA on educational programs about flights. Cantwell worked with NASA to feed Walter Cronkite updates during the 1969 moon landing.

Cantwell wrote two science fictions novels. He is survived by his partner of 24 years, Dall.

Longtime ‘New Yorker’ Writer, Editor Roger Angell Dies

Roger Angell, the celebrated baseball writer and reigning man of letters who during an unfaltering 70-plus years helped define The New Yorker’s urbane wit and style through his essays, humor pieces and editing, has died. He was 101.

Angell died Friday of heart failure, according to The New Yorker.

“No one lives forever, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that Roger had a good shot at it,” New Yorker Editor David Remnick wrote Friday. “Like the rest of us, he suffered pain and loss and doubt, but he usually kept the blues at bay, always looking forward; he kept writing, reading, memorizing new poems, forming new relationships.”

Heir to and upholder of The New Yorker’s earliest days, Angell was the son of founding fiction editor Katharine White and stepson of longtime staff writer E.B. White. He was first published in the magazine in his 20s, during World War II, and was still contributing in his 90s, an improbably trim and youthful man who enjoyed tennis and vodka martinis and regarded his life as “sheltered by privilege and engrossing work, and shot through with good luck.”

Angell well lived up to the standards of his famous family. He was a past winner of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award, formerly the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, for meritorious contributions to baseball writing, an honor previously given to Red Smith, Ring Lardner and Damon Runyon among others. He was the first winner of the prize who was not a member of the organization that votes for it, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

His editing alone was a lifetime achievement. Starting in the 1950s, when he inherited his mother’s job (and office), writers he worked with included John Updike, Ann Beattie, Donald Barthelme and Bobbie Ann Mason, some of whom endured numerous rejections before entering the special club of New Yorker authors. Angell himself acknowledged, unhappily, that even his work didn’t always make the cut.

“Unlike his colleagues, he is intensely competitive,” Brendan Gill wrote of Angell in Here at the New Yorker, a 1975 memoir. “Any challenge, mental or physical, exhilarates him.”

Angell’s New Yorker writings were compiled in several baseball books and in such publications as The Stone Arbor and Other Stories and A Day in the Life of Roger Angell, a collection of his humor pieces. He also edited Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker and for years wrote an annual Christmas poem for the magazine. At age 93, he completed one of his most highly praised essays, the deeply personal This Old Man, winner of a National Magazine Award.

“I’ve endured a few knocks but missed worse,” he wrote. “The pains and insults are bearable. My conversation may be full of holes and pauses, but I’ve learned to dispatch a private Apache scout ahead into the next sentence, the one coming up, to see if there are any vacant names or verbs in the landscape up there. If he sends back a warning, I’ll pause meaningfully, duh, until something else comes to mind.”

Angell was married three times, most recently to Margaret Moorman. He had three children.

Angell was born in New York in 1920 to Katharine and Ernest Angell, an attorney who became head of the American Civil Liberties Union. The New Yorker was founded five years later, with Katharine Angell as fiction editor and a young wit named Andy White (as E.B. White was known to his friends) contributing humor pieces.

His parents were gifted and strong, apparently too strong. “What a marriage that must have been,” Roger Angell wrote in Let Me Finish, a book of essays published in 2006, “stuffed with sex and brilliance and psychic murder, and imparting a lasting unease.” By 1929, his mother had married the gentler White and Angell would remember weekend visits to the apartment of his mother and her new husband, a place “full of laughing, chain-smoking young writers and artists from The New Yorker.”

In high school, he was so absorbed in literature and the literary life that for Christmas one year he asked for a book of A.E Housman’s poems, a top hat and a bottle of sherry. Stationed in Hawaii during World War II, Angell edited an Air Force magazine, and by 1944 had his first byline in The New Yorker. He was identified as Cpl. Roger Angell, author of the brief story Three Ladies in the Morning, and his first words to appear in the magazine were “The midtown hotel restaurant was almost empty at 11:30 in the morning.”

There were no signs, at least open ones, of family rivalry. White encouraged his stepson to write for the magazine and even recommended him to The New Yorker’s founder, Harold Ross, explaining that Angell “lacks practical experience but he has the goods.” Angell, meanwhile, wrote lovingly of his stepfather. In a 2005 New Yorker essay, he noted that they were close for almost 60 years and recalled that “the sense of home and informal attachment” he got from White’s writings was “even more powerful than it was for his other readers.”

Not everyone was charmed by Angell or by the White-Angell family connection at The New Yorker. Former staff writer Renata Adler alleged that Angell “established an overt, superficially jocular state of war with the rest of the magazine.” Grumbling about nepotism was not uncommon, and Tom Wolfe mocked his “cachet” at a magazine where his mother and stepfather were charter members. “It all locks, assured, into place,” Wolfe wrote.

Unlike White, known for the children’s classics Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Angell never wrote a major novel. But he did enjoy a loyal following through his humor writing and his baseball essays, which placed him in the pantheon with both professional sports journalists and with Updike, James Thurber and other moonlighting literary writers. Like Updike, he didn’t alter his prose style for baseball, but demonstrated how well the game was suited for a life of the mind.

“Baseball is not life itself, although the resemblance keeps coming up,” Angell wrote in La Vida, a 1987 essay. “It’s probably a good idea to keep the two sorted out, but old fans, if they’re anything like me, can’t help noticing how cunningly our game replicates a larger schedule, with its beguiling April optimism; the cheerful roughhouse of June; the grinding, serious, unending (surely) business of midsummer; the September settling of accounts … and then the abrupt running-down of autumn, when we wish for — almost demand — a prolonged and glittering final adventure just before the curtain.”

Angell began covering baseball in the early 1960s, when The New Yorker was seeking to expand its readership. Over the following decades, he wrote definitive profiles of players ranging from Hall of Famer Bob Gibson to the fallen Pittsburgh Pirates star Steve Blass and had his say on everything from the verbosity of manager Casey Stengel (“a walking pantheon of evocations”) to the wonders of Derek Jeter (“imperturbably brilliant”). He was born the year before the New York Yankees won their first World Series and his baseball memories spanned from the prime of Babe Ruth to such 21st century stars as Jeter, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

Early Voting Holds off Epicenter to Win Preakness Stakes

Maybe extra rest isn’t such a bad thing for a racehorse after all.

In the Preakness Stakes that was run without the Kentucky Derby winner because Rich Strike’s owner felt he needed more time off after his 80-1 upset, Early Voting validated a gutsy decision to skip the Derby and aim for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Early Voting held off hard-charging favorite Epicenter to win the Preakness on Saturday, rewarding trainer Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman for their patience. Early Voting stalked the leaders for much of the race before moving into first around the final turn and finished 1¼ lengths ahead of Epicenter, who was second just like in the Derby.

“We thought he needed a little more seasoning, the extra rest would help him,” Klarman said. “He was pretty lightly raced — only three races before today. And as it turned out, that was the right call. We wanted to do right by the horse, and we’re so glad we waited.”

The initial plan in the Preakness was for Early Voting not to wait and for jockey Jose Ortiz to take him to the lead. That looked especially important on a day when the dirt track at Pimlico Race Course was favoring speed and making it hard for horses to come from behind down the stretch.

But when Armagnac jumped out to the lead, Ortiz settled Early Voting, who had plenty of speed left before the finish line with Epicenter threatening inside at the rail.

“I was never worried,” Brown said. “Once we had a good target, I actually preferred that. We were fine to go to the lead, but I thought down the back side it was going to take a good horse to beat us. And a good horse did run up on us near the wire and it was about the only one that could run with us.”

After just two Triple Crown winners in the past four-plus decades, Rich Strike owner Rick Dawson took plenty of criticism for skipping the Preakness because he felt the horse needed more rest to prepare for the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Some of that might be muted in the aftermath of Early Voting’s impressive performance.

“That’s very hard to get an owner to pass on the Derby, and they did the right choice,” said Ortiz, who won the Preakness for the first time. “The horse, I don’t think he was seasoned enough to run in a 20-horse field and they proved that they were right today. I’ve been on him since he was a baby. We always knew he was very talented, but we knew he was going to be a late developer.”

Rosmarie Trapp, Whose Family Inspired ‘Sound of Music,’ Dies

Rosmarie Trapp, whose Austrian family the von Trapps was made famous in the musical and beloved movie “The Sound of Music,” has died.

She died Friday at the age of 93 at a nursing home in Morrisville, Vermont, Trapp Family Lodge announced. Her brother Johannes is president of the Stowe resort.

Rosmarie was the first daughter of Austrian naval Capt. Georg von Trapp and Maria von Trapp, and a younger half-sibling to the older von Trapp children portrayed on stage and in the movie. The family escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 and performed singing tours throughout Europe and America. They settled in Vermont in the early 1940s and opened a ski lodge in Stowe.

“She traveled and performed with the Trapp Family Singers for many years, and worked at the Trapp Family Lodge in its infancy when the family first began hosting guests in their home,” Trapp Family Lodge said in a statement.

“Her kindness, generosity, and colorful spirit were legendary, and she had a positive impact on countless lives,” the statement said. 

“The Sound of Music,” was based loosely on a 1949 book by Maria von Trapp. Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, had seven children. After his first wife died, Georg married Maria, who taught the children music.

Georg and Maria von Trapp had three more children, Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes, who were not portrayed in the movie. Eleonore “Lorli” von Trapp Campbell died in October in Northfield, Vermont.

When she became a U.S. citizen in 1951, she signed her name as Rosmarie Trapp, leaving out von, according to the lodge.

Rosmarie worked for five years as a missionary and teacher in Papua New Guinea with her sister Maria, her relatives said. In Stowe, she was known for walking everywhere, frequently pulling her purchases home in a wagon or cart. She also wrote frequent letters to the local newspaper, where she was given her own space, “Rosmarie’s Corner,” for her stories, they said. She led sing-alongs, knitting circles, spun wool, owned multiple thrift shops and loved to teach people to sing, they said.

1955 Mercedes Sells For Record $143 Million: Sotheby’s

A 1955 Mercedes-Benz, one of only two such versions in existence, was auctioned off earlier this month for a whopping $143 million, making it the world’s most expensive car ever sold, RM Sotheby’s announced Thursday.

The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was sold to a private collector for almost triple the previous record, which was set in 2018 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that fetched over $48 million.

The invitation-only auction took place on May 5 at the MercedesBenz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, the auction house said.

The car is one of just two prototypes built by the Mercedes-Benz racing department and is named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, according to RM Sotheby’s.

“The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupe remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart,” the auction company added.

RM Sotheby’s said the proceeds from the auction will be used to establish a worldwide Mercedes-Benz Fund that will fund environmental science and decarbonization research. 

‘Chariots of Fire’ Composer Vangelis Dies at 79 

Vangelis, the Greek electronic composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning score for the film “Chariots of Fire” and music for dozens of other movies, documentaries and TV series, has died at 79. 

Greek media reported that Vangelis — born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou — died in a French hospital late Tuesday. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other government officials expressed their condolences Thursday.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer among us,” Mitsotakis tweeted. 

The opening credits of “Chariots of Fire” roll as a bunch of young runners progress in slow motion across a glum beach in Scotland, as a lazy, beat-backed tune rises to a magisterial declamation. It’s one of the most instantly recognizable musical themes in cinema — and its standing in popular culture has only been confirmed by the host of spoofs it has sired. 

The 1981 British film made Vangelis, but his initial encounter with success came with his first Greek pop band in the 1960s. 

He evolved into a one-man quasi-classical orchestra, using a vast array of electronic equipment to conjure up his enormously popular undulating waves of sound. A private, humorous man — burly, with with shoulder-length hair and a trim beard — he quoted ancient Greek philosophy and saw the artist as a conduit for a basic universal force. He was fascinated by space exploration and wrote music for celestial bodies, but said he never sought stardom himself. 

Still, a micro-planet spinning somewhere between Mars and Jupiter — 6354 Vangelis — will forever bear his name. 

Born on March 29, 1943, near the city of Volos in central Greece, Vangelis started playing the piano at age 4, although he got no formal training and claimed he never learned to read notes. 

“Orchestration, composition — they teach these things in music schools, but there are some things you can never teach,” he said in a 1982 interview. “You can’t teach creation.” 

At 20, Vangelis and three friends formed the Forminx band in Athens, which did very well in Greece. After it disbanded, he wrote scores for several Greek films and later became a founding member — together with another later-to-be internationally famous Greek musician, Demis Roussos — of Aphrodite’s Child. Based in Paris, the progressive rock group produced several European hits, and their final record “666,” released in 1972, is still highly acclaimed. 

Aphrodite’s Child also broke up, and Vangelis pursued solo projects. In 1974, he moved to London, built his own studio and cooperated with Yes frontman Jon Anderson, with whom he recorded as Jon and Vangelis and had several major hits. 

Signature piece

But his huge breakthrough came with the score for “Chariots of Fire” that told the true story of two British runners competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Vangelis’ score won one of the four Academy Awards the film won, including best picture. The signature piece is one of the hardest-to-forget movie tunes worldwide — and has also served as the musical background to endless slow-motion parodies. 

Vangelis later wrote music scores for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982) and “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992), as well as for “Missing” (1982) and “Antarctica” (1983), among others. 

He refused many other offers for film scores, saying in an interview: “Half of the films I see don’t need music. It sounds like something stuffed in.” 

Vangelis was wary of how record companies handled commercial success. With success, he said, “you find yourself stuck and obliged to repeat yourself and your previous success.” 

His interest in science — including the physics of music and sound — and space exploration led to compositions linked with major NASA and European Space Agency projects. When British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died in 2018, Vangelis composed a musical tribute for his interment that the ESA broadcast into space. 

Vangelis brought forth his symphonic swells playing alone on a bank of synthesizers, while flipping switches as his feet darted from one volume pedal to another. 

“I work like an athlete,” he once said. 

He avoided the lifestyle excesses associated with many in the music industry, saying that he never took drugs — “which was very uncomfortable, at times.” 

Vangelis said he didn’t ever experiment with his music and usually did everything on the first take. 

“When I compose, I perform the music at the same time, so everything is live, nothing is pre-programmed,” he said. 

The composer lived in London, Paris and Athens, where he bought a house at the foot of the Acropolis that he never dolled up, even when his street became one of the most desirable pedestrian walks in town. The neoclassical building was nearly demolished in 2007 when government officials decided that it spoiled the view of the ancient citadel from a new museum built next door, but eventually reconsidered. 

Vangelis received many awards in Greece, France and the U.S. Little was known of his personal life besides that he was an avid painter. 

“Every day I paint and every day I compose music,” he said — in that order.

Female Referees to Officiate Men’s World Cup for 1st Time 

Female referees will make World Cup history this year by working games at a major men’s tournament for the first time in Qatar.

Three female referees and three female assistant referees were announced Thursday by FIFA among 129 officials selected for World Cup duty, including one man who caused controversy when refereeing a chaotic African Cup of Nations game in January while suffering with heatstroke.

French referee Stéphanie Frappart already worked men’s games in World Cup qualifying and the Champions League, after handling the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. She also refereed the final of the men’s French Cup this month.

“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said FIFA Referees Committee chairman Pierluigi Collina, who worked the 2002 World Cup final. “In this way, we clearly emphasize that it is quality that counts for us and not gender.”

Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are also on the list of 36 referees preparing for the 64 games at the tournament, which will be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

The 69 assistant referees include Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina of Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States.

“I would hope that in the future the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational,” Collina said.

Among the male referees is Janny Sikazwe of Zambia, who blew the final whistle at an African Cup group match after 85 minutes and again 13 seconds before the 90 minutes were complete, with Mali leading Tunisia 1-0.

About 30 minutes after the match, officials ordered the teams back on the field to restart play but Tunisia refused. The result was later ratified by the Confederation of African Football despite an official protest by Tunisia.

The match was played in heat and humidity in Cameroon, and Sikazwe later explained he started to become confused in the intense conditions.

Sikazwe will be working at his second World Cup after handling two group games at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The extreme heat in Qatar led FIFA to decide in 2015 to move the tournament to the cooler months in the Gulf emirate.

FIFA has picked 24 men to work on video reviews. The VAR system made its debut in 2018.

FIFA said 50 referee-and-assistant trios began preparing in 2019 for World Cup duty, with the project affected by limits on international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two referees were picked from each of Argentina, Brazil, England and France.

All the officials — who were not allocated into specific teams of three — face future technical, physical and medical assessments this year, FIFA said.

When Not Tending to War Wounded, Ukraine Rock Star Jams With Bono, Sheeran

Taras Topolya is a Ukrainian rock singer. From the first day of the war in Ukraine, he has been working as a paramedic with the country’s Territorial Defense. But when he has a break, he plays with big names in the Western music industry. Lesia Bakalets has the story, narrated by Anna Rice. VOA footage by Yuriy Zakrevskiy.