Katrine Ames

Stories by Katrine Ames

  • Beverly Sills: An Appreciation

    Beverly Sills made her 1975 metropolitan Opera debut in Rossini's "The Siege of Corinth"—almost a decade later than she should have. The audience went wild. They knew that the soprano, born Belle (Bubbles) Silverman in Brooklyn, had pulled off a rare feat: an American singer had made it to the top, had an international career and had been on the covers of NEWSWEEK and Time years before scaling the operatic Everest, the Met. The company's general director, Viennese-born Rudolf Bing, had kept her out, but when he retired, she arrived. The morning after that "Corinth" premiere, a photograph of Sills taking a curtain call took up the entire front page of the New York Daily News.Sills died of cancer last week, at 78. Through formidable vocal and dramatic gifts, irrepressible humor and a will of titanium, she changed the face of opera in America. A frequent, hilarious guest on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," she wanted people to know "that opera singers don't have horns."At 4, she was...
  • Remembering Beverly Sills

    The late Beverly Sills, a peerless soprano, did everything she could—and there wasn't much she couldn't do—to make people fall in love with opera
  • Noteworthy

    "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song," Goethe once said. During summer in Europe, it's hard not to, and at this year's music festivals you're almost bound to hear at least one piece--a little song, perhaps--inspired by Goethe. Festival planners miss no opportunity to mark a musical anniversary, and 1999 is a mother lode. It's the 250th birthday of Goethe--the muse for composers as varied in style as Mozart, Schubert, Boito, Gounod, Berlioz, Liszt and Richard Strauss--and the 175th of Czech composer Smetana. ...
  • A Hot Trio Of Gumshoes

    IN A LONG LINE OF droll and deftly written crime novels, Elmore Leonard does for the music business what he did for the movies in ""Get Shorty.'' That is, he unleashes Chili Palmer. The hero--using that word advisedly--of ""Get Shorty'' makes a memorable return in Be Cool (290 pages. Delacorte. $24.95), due in stores Feb. 9. Of all Leonard's charming and unflappable protagonists, Chili just might be the most charming and unflappable. In any situation or milieu, he is always at home. ...
  • Tweety And Sylvester, Meet Mozart And Eigar

    SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE WORK-ANX-iety dreams? Try this nightmare, which Gil Shaham had a year ago and is recounting at an Indian restaurant in New York. In the dream he realizes that he has to play a concert in 15 minutes. He jumps into a taxi, which creeps through traffic and stops at the main entrance to the hall. "I'm carrying my tails and violin," Shaham says, "and I have to change as I walk through the audience. The orchestra is already playing. I'm almost at the first row and I say, "What is this piece?'" It's the Debussy violin concerto--but Debussy never wrote one. "I think, OK, I'm going to have to sight-read. The conductor says, in this French accent, Very nice of you to show up'." Could Shaham sight-read theunwritten Debussy? "I never found out. I woke up." He's laughing hard, but mid-cackle, he pales and reaches franticany under his chair. Then he smiles. "I was looking for my fiddle," he says. For once, he's only four blocks from home, so he didn't have to bring along his...
  • A League Of Her Own

    WHEN DEAD PEOPLE TALK TO Patricia Cornwell, she doesn't just listen, she takes notes. It's not Eleanor Roosevelt she communes with, it's anonymous stiffs, especially ones who met a particularly ghastly end. But the creator of the wildly popular crime-novel series about Dr. Kay Scarpetta, medical examiner, insists she's not ghoulish. "If I were just interested in dead bodies, I might have a funeral-home director as the main character. But it's the dead speaking, telling us what happened and telling us the way they lived, which usually leads up to the way they died. It's the mystery of all that." Just six years after Cornwell published her first novel, "Postmortem," communing with the dead has put her in the big leagues. Her new contract with Putnam-three books for a reported $24 million to $27 million works out to about $8.5 million a year, the same salary that baseball's highest-paid player, Ken Griffey Jr., recently negotiate ."Cause of Death," the seventh Scarpetta book, debuts at...
  • Gambling On A Career? Say It Ain't So, Luciano.

    ON A NARROW ROAD in the Connecticut woods, where the ice lay thick as a Neanderthal skull, a long line of cars snaked toward the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Inside, the audience began filling the cavernous bingo hall, made over for the evening as a concert space at the country's most profitable gambling joint. When word came that traffic would delay the main event, some people stirred restlessly. These were high rollers who had coughed up $500 for a seat down front and $150 to sit 175 rows back, just out of earshot of the ping-ping of slot machines. What they were waiting for (and he has become as much a what as a who) was, in a word--emblazoned in gold on the program--PAVAROTTI. ...
  • Leaving The Country Behind

    MICHAEL REID IS NOT a freak. But judging from the hoopla surrounding his first opera, the aptly named ""Different Fields,'' you might think so. In this crossover era, it should be no surprise if a Grammy-winning songwriter with a string of country hits (Bonnie Raitt's ""I Can't Make You Love Me,'' Wynonna's brand-new ""To Be Loved by You'') bolts from the stable to compose a classical piece. The really freaky thing, see, is that Reid used to play football, big time. He was a defensive lineman at Penn State and All-Pro (""the maestro of mayhem'') with the Cincinnati Bengals in the '70s. Jocks are supposed to limit their classical-music forays to narrating ""Peter and the Wolf.'' Reid, 48, was always different. He majored in music, not marketing; he walked away from football in his prime. ""You throw yourself into deep waters to see how you survive,'' he says. ""I'm in the process of trying to think of myself as a composer.'' ...
  • D-Major Disney

    The classical-record industry has developed a small but noble niche: pastiche. There's Joshua Rifkin's inspired "Baroque Beatles Book" (regrettably out of print) and the Hampton String Quartet's antidote to holiday goop, "What If Mozart Wrote 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'." Now there's another smart and loving parody, "Heigh-Ho! Mozart" (Delos), 16 Disney tunes arranged by Donald Fraser in the manner of 16 composers."The Second Star to the Right," a la Thomas Tallis (born about 1500), is stark and lovely. Takeoffs of the romantics work well--a ripe, Rachmaninoffish "Beauty and the Beast" and a "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" that could pass for low-level Tchaikovsky. Even if you don't know a tune, you'll recognize the inspiration: "With a Smile and a Song" may be new to you, but it's genuine ersatz Chopin. Hats off, too, to the liner-notes team, who provide lively texts: short, big-print ones for kids, meatier ones for adults. "Heigh-Ho!" is more fun than "Pocahontas" and...
  • To See, Or Not To See?

    Fox took five years to make the latest "Die Hard," while Bruce Willis's image faltered. Now he's cleansed himself in the purifying waters of "Pulp Fiction" and "Nobody's Fool." One eleventh-hour ending was believed too soft, another thought too explosive after Oklahoma City. Explosive won. Expect a hit. Don't expect subtlety.Mel Gibson directs himself as a medieval Scottish hero, but there's no vanity here: he's dirty and he's having a hell of a bad hair day. Will anyone go? "Rob Boy" did middling business. But "Braveheart" looks like a true epic--even if it is Moody and bloody long. "Oh, we're not too hard on the audience." Gibson says of a torture scene. "It's quite beautiful, if disembowelment can be called beautiful."Glint Eastwood clearly doesn't know how to direct a summer movie-he finished under budget. Are he and Meryl Streep too old? Will Streep look foolish? Unlikely. Ornery Eastwood should turn the gooey novel into a classy weeper. If critics think it's bad, fans of the...
  • The Bartoli Express

    It was just a little patch of grass, not even a park, in downtown Pasadena. But when Cecilia Bartoli reached the edge of it, she stopped, whisked off her shoes and began to run around. "Excuse me," said the mezzosoprano, who was in town to give a sold-out recital, "but it's very important for me to feel the ground under my feet." ...
  • Star-Driven To The Box Office

    In hollywood, practice sometimes actually can make perfect. Harrison Ford has made a career of playing the same guys, but giving them a variety of textures. In the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" trilogies, his Han Solo and Indy had a slightly different warp and woof every time. Ford took on CIA superhero Jack Ryan in "Patriot Games" (1992); in _B_Clear and Present Danger, _b_he recuts Ryan's suit, and his elegant tailoring saves the movie. ...
  • Other People's Money

    Seen many good new American musicals lately? If you've been looking on Broadway, probably not. You should try an opera house. The energy and inventiveness that once fueled that native theatrical form is now combustion for American opera. There's a kaleidoscope of composers, including John Adams, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Robert Moran and Anthony Davis, creating works as accessible as "Grand Hotel"--and a lot more imaginative. ...
  • As Fast as You Can Say 'Jackie Robinson' . . .

    In 19 years in the big leagues, he got 255 hits and batted in 1,276 runs. Go figure. OK, 255 was the number of times Don Baylor got hit by a pitch-a bruising major-league record. He's never backed off the inside fast ball-and that's just one reason he's eminently qualified to be a manager. Last week, having narrowly missed the to s a few times elsewhere, he finally connected. The Colorado Rockies, one of two National League expansion teams making their debuts next spring, named Baylor, 43, as skipper. ...
  • Two Down The Aisle

    Maybe it was nerves-after all, Nelson Mandela was new to the role. But nobody seemed to mind that the father of the bride and his daughter Zinzi didn't get to the church on time. The Methodist ceremony in Johannesburg started 90 minutes late. Afterward, Nelson and his estranged wife, Winnie-together for the first time in months--obligingly, if wordlessly, posed for pictures. At the end of a reception, where Zinzi and her husband, Zweli Hlongwane, greeted 850 guests, she did have something to say: "My feet are killing me.
  • It's A Boy! Oops, A Girl!

    Believe it or not, her parents didn't name her Eve. But Sara Kobitz is something out of Ripley's: on her father's side, she's the first female in at least eight generations. Melissa and John Kobitz of Portage, Ind., who already have a son, Adam, 3, were so sure a boy was on the way that they bought everything in blue. They were thrilled when Sara arrived last week-and John's mother is still so taken aback she keeps calling her "him." What to do with all those baby blue duds? Melissa has sent them to a friend who's expecting a boy. She will, no doubt, be tickled pink.
  • Damaged Goods

    The part called for an upper-class Englishman with a dark obsession. So naturally it went to Jeremy Irons. In Louis Malle's "Damage," based on the 1991 best-selling novel, he plays an emotionally becalmed Tory M.P. who's explosively attracted to his son's fiancee (Juliette Binoche). The movie won't open until December, but last week their high-sweat onscreen couplings earned it an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Malle calls that unfair-and doesn't want to prune the passion to win a tamer R.
  • Vietnam And Remembrance

    For a museum exhibit, the labeling is sparse-because the 500 objects in "Personal Legacy: The Healing of a Nation" speak for themselves. They're culled from the 25,000 letters, stuffed animals, combat boots, rosaries and even lace undies Americans have left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington since 1982. Displayed at the National Museum of American History, the collection poignantly evokes both war and remembrance.
  • Leona Framed in Minneapolis

    She's doing time for tax transgressions, but you can't put a lock on Leona. The Queen of Mean will soon be seen in an unpenitent light, dominating an upcoming exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Multimedia artist Judith Yourman has painted the hotel harpy since 1985, but it was the drama of her trial that inspired "Nightmare at the Helmsley Palace," including video animation of breaking teacups. Yourman, who feels for Leona, declares that "she represented both success and excess.
  • Toujours l'Amour, for Now

    Were those chains of love that Sandra Bernhard was wearing last week as she strode down the runway at the Chanel show? She's complaining that Madonna dumped her for Miami gadabout Ingrid Casares, but at least she's finding romance on screen. In an upcoming episode of "Roseanne," sure to take the heat off "Murphy Brown," Bernhard reveals that she's fallen for a make-over artist, played by Morgan Fairchild. The veep won't like it, but it's model behavior.
  • X-Istential Rap

    Arrested Development, the Atlanta-based group with a spiritual bent and two top-10 hits (including the pastoral "Tennessee") has stood apart from the urban violence of other rappers. Now it moves a few notes closer, with "Revolution," which plays during the end of Spike Lee's upcoming film bio of Malcolm X. "You don't want us to go get a gun now, do ya?" the song asks. Even Malcolm didn't have the answer to that one. PHOTO: Malcolm's music: Lee with group (E. LEE WHITE)Subject Terms: ARRESTED Development (Music performers)Copyright 1992 Newsweek: not for distribution outside of Newsweek Inc.
  • Star Bright?

    For mere mortals, the category is FOOD. But for the contestant on "Celebrity Jeopardy!" it's LET'S DO LUNCH. There are a few adjustments in this week's all-star version of the popular TV quiz show, in which 15 high-Q performers, including Donna Mills, Luke Perry and Emma Samms, are competing for charity. The producers categorically deny that they're dumbing down the show, even in AMERICAN HISTORY. So watch out for that trick question about who's buried in Grant's Tomb.
  • Santa Maria And Spaceships

    During an early rehearsal of Philip Glass's "The Voyage" at the Metropolitan Opera, one orchestra member asked conductor Bruce Ferden how long the first act would run. " Forty-five minutes," the maestro replied. "Oh," said the musician. "So if we played it without repeats it would last five?" ...
  • The Election Connection

    In 1990, Arizonans approved a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, by a 3-to-1 margin. This is not a misprint. The catch: the ballots didn't count. The people casting them, all participants in the Kids Voting program, were under 18. While the state's "real" electorate defeated the King referendum and a school-funding issue, children approved both, though they knew that King Day would simply replace another school holiday. ...
  • Sitting in the Driver's Seat

    Robert De Niro is starring in another new vehicle. This time, it's a bus. In "A Bronx Tale," due out next year, De Niro plays a New York City driver determined to keep his young son off the streets. If the intense actor occasionally mutters to himself on location, not to worry: he's probably just having words with the filmmaker. For the first time ever, De Niro is not only in front of the camera but behind it, as the director--the truly big wheel.
  • Cheaper By The Dozen

    Hard Times Are Fueling Rising Numbers Of Multigeneration Families
  • Big-League Triple Play

    Music had the Bachs. Now baseball has a family dynasty, too. When Bret Boone, 23, suited up for the Seattle Mariners last week, he became the first third-generation man in major-league history. Grandfather Ray, an infielder, spent 13 seasons in the bigs, and Bret's father, Bob, retired in 1990 after 18 years as a catcher. In his first at-bat, the second baseman hit a run-scoring single. Definitely a Boone for the game.
  • Fergie Plays Footsie

    Definitely a Kodak moment: bare-breasted Fergie and her "financial adviser," Texan John Bryan, frolicking in St. Tropez with her two daughters. A scathing Buckingham Palace statement made it clear that the in-laws were not amused when the pictures turned up in British tabs. In one shot, Bryan nuzzles Fergie's foot; in another, she tries to hide her naked upper stories. Vacation photos have been bad news for Fergie before. She and Prince Andrew separated in March after the discovery of photos of her and Texas oil tycoon Steve Wyatt relaxing together. Maybe she should just send postcards.
  • The Books Of Summer

    It used to be easy to hype each summer's novels. A TAN-FASTIC FUN-IN-THE-SUN FICTION FIESTA. Or, HAVE A BALL WITH THIS BEACH-BAG BOOK BONANZA. This year, as the ozone layer melts away like a TV addict's attention span, all we can responsibly say is: here are some new books which you must under no circumstances take outdoors for more than five minutes without a hat and sunblock. ...
  • Domesticated Bliss

    Lee Ryan and Robin Leonard have lived together for eight years. Last July they went to city hall in San Francisco and made it legal. While a friend took photographs, Ryan hummed wedding marches in Leonard's ear. It was, says Leonard, 31, a lawyer and editor at Nolo Press, "a wonderful emotional experience." At work, colleagues hung up streamers and put a JUST DOMESTICATED Sign over the door. Leonard and Ryan, a 33-year-old law librarian, are lesbians, and the license they picked up at city hall certifies them as "domestic partners." Christine Farren, 37, and David Ferland, 33, live in Waterbury, Vt. The town doesn't recognize domestic partnerships, but Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Inc., where Farren is an administrative assistant, does. Since 1989, the ice-cream company has offered unmarried couples the same benefits, including health insurance, that married employees receive. Ferland, manager of a small hotel with no group-health plan, is now covered through Farren. Without the policy...
  • Dancing In The Dark

    Will you serve the nuts-I mean, would you serve the guests the nuts? ...
  • The New Oral Tradition

    If you log endless hours behind the wheel of a car or on a stationary bicycle, you've probably heard a lot of good books lately. The audio-book business is thriving, with annual sales approaching $1 billion. Before the mid-'80s, when publishers woke up to the boom in portable cassette players and automobile tape decks, it scarcely existed. Since then, business has grown so quickly that there has been almost no market research. "What we find," says Leslie Nadell, director of publicity, promotion and advertising at Random House Audio Publishing, "is that once people have listened to one they become instant converts." (Best customers: public libraries.) Some bibliophiles are uncomfortable with the genre, since most books are recorded in condensed form. But professional audio abridgers often do a remarkably good job, and authors get to vet the manuscripts. Increasingly, new books and tapes are appearing simultaneously. Herewith, some recent examples, now playing at your local bookstore,...