Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Great Performances of Le Nozze di Figaro

NEW YORK, Dec. 24, 2014  Mozart's elegant masterpiece of marital discord, Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Met Music Director James Levine and staged by Richard Eyre, is the season premiere of Great Performances at the Met Friday, January 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS.
Eyre's staging of the opera, in which the romantic bonds of two couples are tested over the course of one eventful day, is set in a stately manor in 1930s Seville. Ildar Abdrazakov, star of Prince Igor (also seen on Great Performances at the Met) and an acclaimed Figaro at the Met in the past, sings the title role. The cast also includes Marlis Petersen as Figaro's quick-witted bride-to-be, Susanna; Peter Mattei in one of his most acclaimed roles as Count Almaviva; Amanda Majeski in her Met debut as Almaviva's wife, the long-suffering Countess; and Isabel Leonard as the boisterous page Cherubino. Eyre's Met credits include the 2009 hit production of Carmen and last season's Werther, both broadcast on Great Performances at the Met.
The Wall Street Journal found this new production of Le Nozze di Figaro to be "A swiftly paced, playful evening… Eyre skillfully built the comic ensembles to climaxes that made you laugh out loud… A happy Marriage at the Met." New York Magazine raved, "A ravishing, intricately wrought evening of music, humor and emotional depth… An evening like this is the strongest argument for the continued vigor of the Met."
A continuation of five characters' stories, including Figaro, the Count and Countess, Bartolo, and Don Basilio, Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (though written several decades earlier) is the sequel to Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which will be coming up on Great Performances at the Met on March 22 at 12 p.m. (check local listings). Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard stars in both productions, as Cherubino in Figaro and Rosina, the future countess, in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
One of the most popular operas of all time, Mozart's Figaro features music that has been used in countless movies and advertisements, including Trading Places, The King's Speech, and The Shawshank Redemption.
Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast.
Le Nozze di Figaro  was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 18 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 69 countries around the world. The transmission reached a record-breaking 16 million viewers.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by Donald G. Sisler, with additional funding by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer.  For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
About WNET
As New York's flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the MetUnder the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met's 2014-15 season features five new productions shown Live in HD, including Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by James Levine and directed by Richard Eyre; Lehár's The Merry Widow, conducted by Andrew Davis and directed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman; Rossini's La Donna del Lago, conducted by Michele Mariotti and directed by Paul Curran; Tchaikovsky's one-act opera Iolanta presented in a double bill with a new staging of Bartók's one-act Bluebeard's Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Mariusz Treliński; and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by David McVicar.
Building on its 84-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its ninth season in 2014-15 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company's extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mars Water Reservoir

HOUSTON, Dec. 18, 2014  -- NASA and an international team of planetary scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a distinct and global reservoir of water or ice near its surface.
Though controversy still surrounds the origin, abundance and history of water on Mars, this discovery helps resolve the question of where the "missing Martian water" may have gone. Scientists continue to study the planet's historical record, trying to understand the apparent shift from an early wet and warm climate to today's dry and cool surface conditions.
The reservoir's existence also may be a key to understanding climate history and the potential for life on Mars. The team's findings are reported in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
"There have been hints of a third planetary water reservoir in previous studies of Martian meteorites, but our new data require the existence of a water or ice reservoir that also appears to have exchanged with a diverse set of Martian samples," said Tomohiro Usui of Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, lead author of the paper and a former NASA/Lunar and Planetary Institute postdoctoral fellow. "Until this study there was no direct evidence for this surface reservoir or interaction of it with rocks that have landed on Earth from the surface of Mars."
Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and NASA's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division, located at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, studied three Martian meteorites.
The samples revealed water comprised of hydrogen atoms that have a ratio of isotopes distinct from that found in water in the Red Planet's mantle and current atmosphere. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with differing numbers of neutrons.
While recent orbiter missions have confirmed the presence of subsurface ice, and melting ground-ice is believed to have formed some geomorphologic features on Mars, this study used meteorites of different ages to show that significant ground water-ice may have existed relatively intact over time.
Researchers emphasize that the distinct hydrogen isotopic signature of the water reservoir must be of sufficient size that it has not reached isotopic equilibrium with the atmosphere.
"The hydrogen isotopic composition of the current atmosphere could be fixed by a quasi-steady-state process that involves rapid loss of hydrogen to space and the sublimation from a widespread ice layer," said coauthor John Jones, a JSC experimental petrologist and member of NASA's Mars Curiosity rover team.
Curiosity's observations in a lakebed, in an area called Mount Sharp, indicate Mars lost its water in a gradual process over a significant period of time.
"In the absence of returned samples from Mars, this study emphasizes the importance of finding more Martian meteorites and continuing to study the ones we have with the ever-improving analytical techniques at our disposal," said co-author Conel Alexander, a cosmochemist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
In this investigation, scientists compared water, other volatile element concentrations and hydrogen isotopic compositions of glasses within the meteorites, which may have formed as the rocks erupted to the surface of Mars in ancient volcanic activity or by impact events that hit the Martian surface, knocking them off the planet.
"We examined two possibilities, that the signature for the newly identified hydrogen reservoir either reflects near surface ice interbedded with sediment or that it reflects hydrated rock near the top of the Martian crust," said coauthor and JSC cosmochemist Justin Simon. "Both are possible, but the fact that the measurements with higher water concentrations appear uncorrelated with the concentrations of some of the other measured volatile elements, in particular chlorine, suggests the hydrogen reservoir likely existed as ice."
The information being gathered about Mars from studies on Earth, and data being returned from a fleet of robotic spacecraft and rovers on and around the Red Planet, are paving the way for future human missions on a journey to Mars in the 2030s.
These findings can be viewed online in their entirety at:
For more about the ARES Division at JSC, visit:
Learn about NASA's Journey to Mars at:



Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Most Downloaded Medical App in America

GREENVILLE, S.C.Dec. 14, 2014  -- ChartSpan, a consumer platform for patients managing healthcare records, has become the most downloaded iPhone and iPad medical app in the United States.
ChartSpan is an iPhone and iPad app empowering consumers with the ability to request, manage and send electronic healthcare records. The product was built by a group of innovative entrepreneurs who grew tired of waiting for the healthcare system to deliver on the promise of universal access to electronic patient healthcare records.
Less  than two months after it's initial product release ChartSpan has climbed to the number #1 ranking in the medical category on iTunes. ChartSpan is also beating industry conversion averages for downloads-to-active-users by nearly 500%.
ChartSpan is a FREE, encrypted and secure patient platform.  Patients user ChartSpan to organize their entire family's healthcare records from their smartphone or tablet. ChartSpan is the only consumer healthcare record technology built to capture all healthcare records and require no manual data entry.
"Our early success is validation of the two years we've spent developing this patient technology," said ChartSpan CEO and cofounder, Jon­Michial Carter. "We've taken a contrarian approach to interoperability in healthcare. We've waited for more than a decade for providers, the government and the healthcare industry to deliver ubiquitous access to our patient healthcare records, with little success. At ChartSpan, we decided to stop waiting on providers and build technology that would enable those with chronic illnesses and mothers, managing their family's healthcare needs, to use their smartphones, tablets or computers to manage their own workflow of healthcare records and information. Our technology includes much more than just medical records, it includes the ability to ingest dental, prescription, over ­the­ counter medications, genome information, vision, mental health records and much more."
Demand for ChartSpan's iPhone and iPad app is only the beginning for this healthcare start­up company from Greenville, South Carolina and an Iron Yard Digital Healthcare Accelerator graduate. "We are starting with healthcare encounter data, but much more is to come," said Carter. "We are working to combine patient encounter data with bio­medical  data from fitness bands, glucose readers and various other devices, as well as genome and proteomics data, to create preventive analytical dashboards for patients. We are building the most powerful data recommendation engine ever seen in consumer healthcare."
ChartSpan plans to add an Android app to its Patient Platform by February  and a web ­based version in Q1 of 2015.
About ChartSpan:
ChartSpan has invented mobile technology that collects and centralizes the management of electronic, patient healthcare data for patients. Through innovative data conversion technology, ChartSpan turns paper healthcare records into electronic records, generating structured data and eliminating the need for manual entry of personal healthcare records.
To learn more about ChartSpan, please visit To download the ChartSpan App, please visit the Apple App Store. For more information about ChartSpan, or to schedule an interview with ChartSpan CEO, Jon­Michial Carter, please contact Armen Allahverdian at 713.894.0325 or email him at
This content was issued through the press release service at For more info visit: 
SOURCE ChartSpan


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Little Sparrow"

"The art is an outburst of the soul, the translation of the suffering or the care of a serious social malaise?
Likely! I've never met an artist lacking sensitivity and I've never seen sensitivity without pain, without inner struggle.
If you think that everything is due and that some people are privileged why with a gift of nature, remember the little sparrow, remember the "voix du paradis" remember the sublime Edith Piaf.


Edith Piaf
by name of  Edith Giovanna Gassion  
born December 19, 1915, Paris, France
October 10, 1963, Plascassier, near Grasse

French singer and actress whose interpretation of the chanson, or French ballad, made her internationally famous. Among her trademark songs were Non, je ne regrette rien (“No, I Don't Regret Anything”) and La Vie en rose (literally “Life in Pink” [i.e., through “rose-coloured glasses,” from an optimistic point of view]).
Piaf's songs and singing style seemed to reflect the tragedies of her own difficult life. Her mother, a café singer, abandoned her at birth, and she was taken in by her grandmother, who reared the girl in a house of prostitution. Piaf became blind at age three as a complication of meningitis but recovered her sight four years later. A few years after that she joined her father, a circus acrobat, and accompanied him while he performed. She sang in the streets of Paris until she was discovered by Louis Leplée, a cabaret owner, who gave her her first nightclub job. It was Leplée who began calling her “la môme piaf,” Parisian slang for “little sparrow,” in apparent reference to her diminutive size—under 5 feet (142 cm) tall and about 90 pounds (40 kg) in weight. She later adopted the name professionally. Her debut was acclaimed by the actor Maurice Chevalier, who was in the audience that night.

In 1935 Piaf made her theatrical debut, and within a few years she was singing in the large music halls of Paris. Initially her material was standard music hall fare, but eventually she had songwriters such as Marguerite Monnot and Michel Emer writing songs specifically for her. In the mid-1940s she became a mentor to the young Yves Montand, and she worked with him in the film Étoile sans lumière (1946; “Star Without Light”). She had an affair with the middleweight boxer Marcel Cerdan, who died in a plane crash on his way to meet her. Her unhappy personal life and unadorned though dramatic style underlined her expressive mezzo-soprano voice, and she was able to move audiences wherever she or her recordings traveled.
In addition to singing, she recorded her thoughts about her life in two books, Au bal de la chance (1958; “At the Ball of Fortune”; Eng. trans. The Wheel of Fortune) and the posthumously published Ma vie (1964; “My Life”; Eng. trans. 1990). Piaf's recordings remained available into the 21st century, and she was the subject of several biographies as well as plays and movies.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Frida Kahlo

By F Guzzardi
When analyzing the profiles of famous people with disabilities, tends to emphasize the aspect of "heroic" character and   the dark side and difficult. In the case of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, disability has been disguised by its ability to sublimate the pain in personal works of art that are appreciated regardless of its extraordinary biography.

His life was intense and cruel. characterized by strong emotions and torments that procured depression. But his art is a testimony of the success achieved that saves it from being considered to be a "victim" that a '' icon with disabilities ", in spite of a patriarchal culture, of an unfaithful husband and a horrible accident that could have been nourish the myth of "tragic heroine".

She was a woman with a disability who from the outset faced her plight opposing Doom, able to transform the immobility opportunities in artistic and subsequently to transform suffering into art. The pain depicted in his paintings is never tragic, if anything bold and vivid: Frida draws the strength and the weakness of mankind.
The numerous self-portraits, unusual and full of color, make us perceive what this woman's body wound, was central to his ar and in his life

Frida was a woman with a special force, you probably need to have to address both the health problems that the most strictly personal. The thirty have undergone surgical operations, some non-essential from a medical point of view, or the fury with which he sought to accomplish three pregnancies, without success, showing the determination to overcome the barrier of his frail body, considered an obstacle to his strong personality and the enormous thirst for life.

Even the relationship with the famous painter Diego Rivera, which caused more pain than joy, brings out the intense passion with which he was able to deal with the drift frustrating and turn this obsession into a loving bond almost mystical. In the pages of his diary, kept over the last ten years of his life, Frida declares his passion unreservedly to her husband, and only after the amputation of his right leg, a year before his death, it appears the inevitable discomfort that makes her feel inadequate and eager to leave.

Frida Kahlo was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, then a suburb of Mexico City. The mother had mestizo origins, father, photographer, was born in Baden-Baden. His parents, in fact, Hungarian Jews had emigrated to Germany.
The relationship with his father was characterized by great admiration and affection and when he painted the portrait, he added on the bottom of it the words: "I pictured my father Wilhelm Kahlo, original Hungarian-German artist and photographer by profession, character generous, intelligent, noble and courageous, because, although it has suffered from epilepsy for sixty years, he never stopped working and fought against Hitler, with admiration. His daughter Frida Kahlo. "

Mexican painter noted for her intense, brilliantly coloured self-portraits painted in a primitivistic style. Though she denied the connection, she is often identified as a Surrealist. She was married to muralist Diego Rivera (1929, separated 1939, remarried 1941).

In 1925 Kahlo was involved in a bus accident that so seriously injured her that she had to undergo some 35 medical operations. During her slow recovery from the trauma, Kahlo taught herself to paint. She showed her early efforts to Rivera, whom she had met a few years earlier, and he encouraged her to continue to paint. After their marriage, Kahlo traveled (1930–33) with Rivera, who had received commissions for murals from several cities in the United States. In 1938 she met André Breton, a leading Surrealist, who championed her work; both Breton and Marcel Duchamp were influential in arranging for some of the exhibits of her work in the United States and Europe. In 1943 she was appointed a professor of painting at La Esmeralda, the Education Ministry's School of Fine Arts. Her house in Coyoacán is now the Frida Kahlo Museum. The Diary of Frida Kahlo, covering the years 1944–54, and The Letters of Frida Kahlo were both published in 1995.

Frida Kahlo de Rivera,  original name  Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón  
born July 6, 1907, Coyoacán, Mex.
July 13, 1954, Coyoacán