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Quick Takes: Edgy opera gets edgier

November 04, 2011

Long Beach Opera has long prided itself on being an edgy, experimental company that isn't afraid of taking artistic risks. Now the organization is headed in an even edgier and more experimental direction with a program scheduled to launch next year.

"Outer Limits" will be a sidebar series of programs that, the company states, will include a "broad spectrum of music styles, theatrical innovation and experimental storytelling," and will be staged in intimate, alternative venues accommodating 300 people.

The inaugural production of "Outer Limits" will be Gavin Bryars' "Paper Nautilus" at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach in September. The ocean-themed production is a dramatic cantata for soprano, mezzo-soprano, two pianos and six percussionists.

"Outer Limits" is being financed by a three-year $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The series will comprise at least one production in 2012 through 2015 and two productions starting in the 2016 fiscal year.

—David Ng

Police recover Dutch paintings

Police recovered two stolen paintings by Dutch masters and handed them back Thursday to the provincial museum they were stolen from five months ago.

Three suspects are in custody, police said.

The 17th century paintings, a depiction of two laughing boys by Frans Hals and a forest landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael, were snatched from the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden museum in the Netherlands town of Leerdam in May.

—Associated Press

Tony Awards backs Taymor

Julie Taymor, booted from the director's chair of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" before it officially opened on Broadway, has received a show of support from the organizers of the Tony Awards.

On Thursday, the Tonys announced that Taymor — and not her replacement, Philip William McKinley — is eligible for consideration in the director for a musical category.

Taymor served as the director of "Spider-Man" during its development and preview phases, working with the musical's composers, U-2's Bono and the Edge. But in March, producers removed her from the director's chair after negative reviews and numerous problems with the production. McKinley was brought in to retool the show for its June 14 opening.

—David Ng

Soledad O'Brien gets CNN show

CNN announced Thursday that it is remaking its morning lineup and will bring Soledad O'Brien back as host of a "conversational ensemble" show next year.

O'Brien's program is set to air from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays.

Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin will be hosts of a news show that will air from 5 to 7 a.m., the network said. Banfield, most recently at ABC News, played a prominent role at MSNBC a decade ago. Sambolin has worked in local news in Chicago.

CNN's "American Morning," where O'Brien worked from 2003 to '07, has struggled competitively. Conversational shows "Fox & Friends" on Fox News Channel and "Morning Joe" on MSNBC do better in ratings and buzz, and CNN is often eclipsed by its sister channel HLN with Robin Meade in the morning.

—Associated Press

Franklin tribute confounds Khan

Singing an Aretha Franklin song is a formidable task for anyone — even for Rock and Roll Hall

of Fame nominee Chaka Khan.

Khan says she's struggling to find the right song to pay tribute to Franklin at a concert at the rock hall in Cleveland. Saturday's concert, featuring Khan, Lauryn Hill, Ronald Isley and others, will cap a week of festivities honoring Franklin as part of the museum's American Music Masters series.

"It's very special. I really don't know what songs I'm going to sing. I just know one of them won't be 'Respect,'" she said with a laugh.

—Associated Press

They've got the Beatles covered

The stars of "Big Time Rush," a Nickelodeon series about four guys in a band, are making a TV movie for the cable channel, "Big Time Movie," that will feature some Big Time Covers.

The movie is in production in Vancouver, and besides featuring songs from Big Time Rush's second album, "Elevate," will include covers of four Beatles tunes: "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!," "We Can Work It Out" and "Revolution." It will air in 2012.

—Lee Margulies

Finally

Broadway bound: Patti LuPone and Laurie Metcalf will star in David Mamet's "The Anarchist" on Broadway next fall.

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