Italian opera masterpieces at Shaikh Ibrahim center on Monday

Manama, Italian Soprano Laura Baldassari and Pianist Sabrina Avantario will enthrall spectators on Monday with arias and songs from Italian opera.

During the concert at Shaikh Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research in Muharraq, historical masterpieces of Italian opera will be rendered.

The concert, to be held under strict health precautionary measures, including only 50% seating capacity, will start at 8 pm. It will be streamed live on the center’s YouTube channel.

Laura Baldassari was born in Ravenna in 1985. At the age of 18 she started studying Opera with professor Patricia Brown.

She perfected her art with Maestro William Matteuzzi and followed Soprano Edda Moser masterclasses at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where she sang as best alum of her class in the wiener saal and in schloss hoch.

In 2008 she won the first prize at the contest “Dino Caravita” and gained a two-year scholarship awarded by the Lions Club Dante Alighieri, Ravenna.

She has appeared in several concerts as a soloist presenting an opera repertoire including chamber music and contemporary compositions.

In 2009 she was chosen to play the role of Cunegonda in the opera Candide by L. Bernstein for the opera studio L.T.L. supported by the theaters of Pisa, Lucca and Livorno.

Subsequently she has been selected for the opera Die Groschenoper by Kurt Weill, where she played the roles of both Polly and Jenny.

She attended the Scuola dell’Opera del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and debuted there as the main character in “Le bel indifferent” by Marco Tutino.

According to Artemusicale, she also played “Catherine” in the operetta “Pomme d’Api” by J.Offenbach at Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

She has taken part in a touring performance in Italy and at Royal Opera House in Muscat of “Il Trovatore” (a Ravenna Festival Production) in the role of Ines, directed by Maestro Paskowsky

Source: Bahrain News Agency

F1 title contenders mellow headed into dramatic conclusion

Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton entered Yas Marina Circuit chasing history Thursday dressed head-to-toe in purple with a graffiti-styled expletive scrawled across the back of his sweater, reports AP.

Asked if he was sending a message, the seven-time champion claimed he was unaware of what it said until he was getting dressed. Pure coincidence, Hamilton said, but it sure looked as if he was ready for the finale of his title fight with Max Verstappen.

Both drivers had spent the last three days relaxing in Dubai before making their way 75 minutes south for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the championship will be settled Sunday.

They are tied in the standings — the first time since 1974 the title contenders entered the deciding race equal in points — and the championship battle this season has been the most dramatic in at least a decade.

As Hamilton and Verstappen sat next to each other for their joint news conference, the F1 championship trophy strategically placed between them, the race was already on.

No, not for the F1 title, but rather which driver could more convincingly appear as if they didn’t have a care in the world headed into the climactic conclusion.

Verstappen, just 24 years old, is trying to become the first Dutch world champion. He had a pretty decent hold on this title race until last month. Hamilton reeled off three straight victories to cut all 19 points off Verstappen’s lead in three action-packed races against his new rival.

Hamilton now has a record eighth F1 title in reach. The only Black driver in the global series can break his tie with Michael Schumacher by finishing ahead of Verstappen on the 16-turn, 5.28-kilometer (3.28 miles) track.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

Dictionary.com Anoints Allyship Word of the Year for 2021

NEW YORK — Allyship, an old noun made new again, is Dictionary.com’s word of the year.

The look up site with 70 million monthly users took the unusual step of anointing a word it added just last month, though “allyship” first surfaced in the mid-1800s, said one of the company’s content overseers, John Kelly.

“It might be a surprising choice for some,” he told The Associated Press ahead of Tuesday’s unveiling. “In the past few decades, the term has evolved to take on a more nuanced and specific meaning. It is continuing to evolve and we saw that in many ways.”

The site offers two definitions for allyship: The role of a person who advocates for inclusion of a “marginalized or politicized group” in solidarity but not as a member, and the more traditional relationship of “persons, groups or nations associating and cooperating with one another for a common cause or purpose.”

The word is set apart from “alliance,” which Dictionary.com defines in one sense as a “merging of efforts or interests by persons, families, states or organizations.”

It’s the first definition that took off most recently in the mid-2000s and has continued to churn.

Following the summer of 2020 and the death of George Floyd, white allies — and the word allyship — proliferated as racial justice demonstrations spread. Before that, straight allies joined the causes of LGBTQ oppression, discrimination and marginalization.

“This year, we saw a lot of businesses and organizations very prominently, publicly, beginning efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Allyship is tied to that. In the classroom, there is a flashpoint around the term critical race theory. Allyship connects with this as well,” Kelly said.

In addition, teachers, frontline workers and mothers who juggled jobs, home duties and child care in lockdown gained allies as the pandemic took hold last year.

Without an entry for “allyship,” Kelly said the site saw a steep rise in lookups for “ally” in 2020 and large spikes in 2021. It was in the top 850 searches out of thousands and thousands of words this year. Dictionary.com broadened the definition of “ally” to include the more nuanced meaning. The terms “DEI” and “critical race theory” made their debuts as entries on the site with “allyship” this year.

What it means to be an authentic ally has taken on fresh significance as buzz around the word has grown louder. One of the aspects of allyship, as it has emerged, is how badly it can go.

Among the examples of how to use the word in a sentence cited by Merriam-Webster is this one written by Native activist Hallie Sebastian: “Poor allyship is speaking over marginalized people by taking credit and receiving recognition for arguments that the unprivileged have been making for their entire lives.”

As global diversity, equity and inclusion executive Sheree Atcheson wrote in Forbes, allyship is a “lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people.” It’s not, she said, “self-defined — work and efforts must be recognized by those you are seeking to ally with.”

Allyship should be an “opportunity to grow and learn about ourselves, whilst building confidence in others,” Atcheson added.

Among the earliest evidence of the word “allyship,” in its original sense of “alliance,” is the 1849, two-volume work, “The Lord of the Manor, or, Lights and Shades of Country Life” by British novelist Thomas Hall: “Under these considerations, it is possible, he might have heard of Miss Clough’s allyship with the Lady Bourgoin.”

Kelly did some additional digging into the history of allyship in its social justice sense. While the Oxford English Dictionary dates that use of the word to the 1970s, Kelly found a text, “The Allies of the Negro” by Albert W. Hamilton, published in 1943. It discusses extensively the potential allies of Black people in the struggle for racial equality:

“What some white liberals are beginning to realize is that they better begin to seek the Negro as an ally,” he wrote. “The new way of life sought by the liberal will be a sham without the racial equality the Negro seeks. And the inclusion of the Negro in the day-to-day work, in the organization, the leadership and the rallying of the support necessary to win a better world, can only be done on the basis of equality.”

On the other side of allyship, Kelly said, “is a feeling of division, of polarization. That was Jan. 6.” Allyship, he said, became a powerful prism in terms of the dichotomy at a chaotic cultural time during the last two years.

Other dictionary companies in the word of the year game focused on the pandemic and its fallout for their picks. Oxford Languages, which oversees the Oxford English Dictionary, went for “vax” and Merriam-Webster chose “vaccine.” The Glasgow, Scotland-based Collins Dictionary, meanwhile, plucked “NFT,” the digital tokens that sell for millions.

While Merriam-Webster relies solely on site search data to choose a word of the year, Dictionary.com takes a broader approach. It scours search engines, a broad range of text and taps into cultural influences to choose its word of the year.

Source: voice of America

Feature: Chinese Films Appeal To Egyptian Audiences, Artistes at Cairo Film Festival

CAIRO, The small theatre of the Cairo Opera House seemed packed, as the audience were watching a group of short films, starting with China’s ‘Poem for a Distant Village,’ which is one of the 22 works, contesting in the International Short Film Competition, in the 43rd edition of Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

Directed by Liu Bing, the 30-minute fiction, which makes its world premiere at CIFF, tells a story of a producer who has to cancel a film project, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and returns to his native village with the director and cinematographer. The village life amid the crisis inspires them to make another film about childhood and death.

“It tells about a very important period we all have gone through, which is the COVID-19 lockdown,” Sami Creta, a programme manager at Alexandria’s Jesuit Cultural Centre, said.

He highlighted the importance of the participation of films “from an ancient culture like China.”

Among the films screened in the same programme was Egyptian short film, ‘It’s Nothing Nagy, Just Hang up!’ by Youhanna Nagy, who expressed his admiration of the Chinese short film.

Besides the inspiring storyline, Nagy said, he admired the Chinese film’s cinematography, as well as, the sound effects that show “the Chinese director’s awareness that sound represents half the quality of the film.”

In a movie theatre in downtown Cairo, an Egyptian young woman seemed relaxed, while watching ‘A Chat,’ a Chinese feature film screened during the festival.

“The film has put me in a peaceful mood. Its pace is perfect and the faces of the Chinese actresses and their costumes made me feel so comfortable,” Eman el-Badry, a filmmaking student, said, after watching the film.

Written and directed by Wang Xide and starring Ying Ze and Mu Ruini, the film was screened under the International Panorama section of CIFF 43, outside the official competitions, among 15 films from different countries, including Lebanon, Germany, France, Sweden and Spain.

‘A Chat’ is a story about three generations of women in a southern Chinese family, including Gu Qing, a quiet tailor in her 30s, who lives in a small town on her own. Her life is dull, until one day her niece, Sun Yue, comes from afar to learn sewing from her.

“I love China and when the Chinese do something, they make it excellent,” the Egyptian student said.

The 43rd CIFF, which screens over 100 films from more than 60 countries, has four main competitions, including the international competition for feature fiction, documentary films, and the international short film competition.

Egyptian veteran movie star, Hussein Fahmy, who was CIFF president for four years, hailed the Chinese cinema industry and said, he visited Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) twice and established close cooperation between CIFF and SIFF.

“The Chinese films are good and the cinema industry in China, as I saw in the studios I visited there, is very advanced,” the renowned Egyptian actor told Xinhua.

For his part, CIFF President, Mohamed Hefzy, said that, the festival pays great attention to the participation of Chinese films, noting that, the Chinese cinema industry now competes with Hollywood cinema, in terms of box office revenues.

The 43rd CIFF kicked off on Nov 26, and will conclude on Dec 5 (today).

Source: Nam News Network

Korean star Gianna Jun on acting goals and aging well

Seoul, Despite being one of the most well-known faces in Asia, acting never gets easier for South Korean superstar Gianna Jun.

“I feel like I climbed the mountain 1,000 times,” she said about filming her latest series, “Jirisan.”

Jun plays Seo Yi-Gang, a mountain ranger at Jirisan, a mountain located about four hours south of central Seoul. Jun and her team of rangers are responsible for search and rescue while also tackling mysterious events, AP reports.

Jun, 40, has fronted over dozens of beauty and fashion campaigns for brands including Alexander McQueen and Gucci.

Jun, best known for her hit 2001 film “My Sassy Girl” and the 2014 drama “My Love from The Star,” spoke with The Associated Press about “Jirisan,” whether she’ll join a social media platform like TikTok and being one of the few female Korean actors in their 40s capable of leading a female-led show. Remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.

AP: What was the most challenging scene to film?

JUN: According to the script, there (is a scene) with rain, then fire. I thought, “What’s the next natural disaster?” When I received a script every day, I thought, “What comes after the fire? Snow?!” I was scared whenever I received a script. We (also) filmed a fire scene inside the set for several days. My eyes were burning, and black water came out of my nose whenever I showered at night.

AP: I read a Korean article which said despite a relatively low rating for “Jirisan,” you represent a handful of female actors in their 40s who are able to lead a genre series.

JUN: Really? (laughs) I’ve only seen negative press coverage these days.

AP: Do you think there is more room for female creators and actors in the Korean cinema compared to the past?

JUN: Two decades ago, not really. But now, there are many series with female lead characters.

AP: Do you feel much pressure when choosing your next project?

JUN: Not really. Not every film I star in will be a success. But I have never chosen a project, thinking it’d tank. So I pick the next movie and move forward. In line with that, I had “My Sassy Girl” in my 20s, Cheon Song-yi in my 30s, and Seo Yi-Gang in my 40s. I am just performing roles that fit my age so there is no big pressure on that.

AP: Have you thought about being active on social media platforms like Tiktok or Instagram?

JUN: I enjoy them, but don’t think I’m specialized in that field, so it would be difficult for me to give it a try. But I try to stay informed.

AP: What’s your goal as an actor?

JUN: Instead of having a specific goal as an actor, I want to age well, as a person. Of course, I start wanting more whenever I see recent hits. It’d be a lie to say I am not tempted by potential hits, but as long as I take my time to prepare myself and wait, I am optimistic that I’ll find good projects.

AP: Can you elaborate on what you mean by aging well?

JUN: I think aging well means that my mind is at peace at the moment. Tomorrow is important. But I think as long as your heart is at peace, it reflects on your face. Also, I have kids, and they have their happiness. I have my own happiness, and furthermore, my family and people around me have their own happiness. It varies. But for me, I think aging well is nothing special but being comfortable and happy with where I am right now and spending time feeling happy.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

Egyptian Int’l Defence Expo Kicks Off In Cairo

Egypt held yesterday, the second edition of its largest international defence expo, EDEX 2021, with more than 400 defence companies from 42 countries, showcasing their up-to-date defence products.

Inaugurated by Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the expo will run until Dec 2, at Egypt’s International Exhibition Centre in New Cairo, a city on the southern edge of the capital, Cairo.

EDEX is fully supported by the Egyptian Armed Forces and presents a brand new opportunity for exhibitors to showcase latest technology, equipment and systems across land, sea, and air.

During the ceremony, Egypt’s Defence Minister, Mohamed Zaki, said that, the event will enable manufacturing companies, to feature their defence systems and also the latest developments in military production.

“Peace needs potentials and capabilities to be protected and maintained,” Zaki pointed out, saying, the expo has created a gathering to promote military development and exchange expertise between countries.

“It is important for our company to join the exhibition, as it is our first time to participate in this big event,” said Wang Yan, business manager with ELINC China Co., Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Electronics Corporation (CEC).

Focused on defence electronics and industry solutions, ELINC provides state-of-the-art products and systems, as well as, life cycle support covering consulting, developing and related services.

Wang, whose company has a business presence in more than 160 countries and regions, all over the world, added, the expo is a great chance to open a new market for the company’s products in Egypt.

Unlike ELINC, China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO Group), which is the main platform responsible for developing mechanised, digitised and intellectualised equipment for the military, joined the show for the second time.

At the expo, the company brought a variety of advanced weapons and equipment systems, covering multiple fields, such as fire strike, intelligent ammunition, air defence and missile defence, military technology cooperation and non-traditional security.

“Our company has been deeply involved in the Egyptian market for more than 20 years and is a long-term strategic partner of the Egyptian Ministry of Defence,” said the manager of NORINCO Group’s booth.

With 920,000 military personnel, the largest military power in Africa, Egypt is ranked 13 among 140 countries, according to the Global Firepower Index 2021.

In addition, Egypt has historically maintained continuous investment in the latest weaponry as a defence strategy, and has strengthened national production lines across a range of military complexes.

Source: Nam News Network

Einstein notes with sketches of relativity theory sold in Paris auction for $13 million

Paris, A manuscript co-authored by Albert Einstein, offering a rare insight into the legendary physicist’s thinking leading up to his general theory of relativity, was sold in an auction on Tuesday for 11.7 million euros ($13.17 million).

 

Auction house Christie’s had estimated the value of the manuscript at between 2 million and 3 million euros.

 

The 54 pages of paper, around half filled with Einstein’s handwriting, are one of only two working documents known in which the thinker approaches his famous theory that laid the groundwork for modern cosmology and technology such as GPS navigation.

 

They had been kept in the custody of the Swiss physicist Michele Besso, a close friend and academic partner of Einstein’s, who co-authored the work between 1913 and 1914.

 

“That’s also what makes it particularly important given that working documents by Einstein before 1919 are extremely rare,” said Vincent Belloy, an expert at Christie’s who hosted the auction in Paris, Reuters REPORTED.

 

“Einstein is someone who kept very few notes, so the mere fact that the manuscript survived and made its way to us already makes it absolutely extraordinary,” he added.

 

Made up mainly of endless calculations in black ink on wrinkled, slightly yellowed paper, the manuscript challenges Einstein’s popular image as an absolute genius, because it shows that even he – at least sometimes – made mistakes.

 

“Einstein makes errors in this manuscript, and that I think makes it even greater in a way, because we see the persistence, the thought that was in the process of being built, that is being corrected and redirected,” Belloy said.

 

In May, a handwritten letter in which Einstein mentioned his famous E=mc² equation, a part of his earlier theory of special relativity, was sold at roughly one million euros in the United States, more than three times its estimated price.

 

With his general theory of relativity that was published in 1915, Einstein revolutionized modern physics when he first described gravitation as a geometric warping of space and time, a finding that remains valid.

 

Christie’s did not reveal the name of the buyer.

 

Source: Bahrain News Agency

Musician Jon Batiste Leads Grammy Award Nominations with 11

Jon Batiste might be the Grammys biggest surprise: The multi-genre performer and recent Oscar winner made such an impression on voters that he scored the most nominations with 11 on Tuesday.

Batiste earned an album of the year nod for “We Are” along with record of the year with “Freedom,” a feel-good ode to the city of New Orleans. His nominations span several genres including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music video.

Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. each came away with the second-most nominations with eight by the time the Recording Academy was done announcing its nominees for its Jan. 31 show. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo both had seven nods.

Along with Batiste’s surprise domination, another shock was The Weeknd nabbing three nominations after the pop star claimed he would not allow his label to submit his music. Earlier this year, he angrily slammed the Grammys, calling them “corrupt” after he received zero nominations despite 2020’s biggest single, “Blinding Lights.”

Even though The Weeknd said he would boycott future Grammys, he still became a nominee for his work on album of the year projects, including Doja Cat’s deluxe edition “Planet Her” and Kanye West’s “Donda.” His third nomination was for his appearance on West’s single “Hurricane,” which also features Lil Baby.

“What I like is the fact that no one is thinking about what happened before, what was the controversy, what was the noise, or where was this artist making music last year,” said Harvey Mason jr., the Recording Academy’s CEO. He said voters focused on the “excellence of music” while considering nominees like Batiste and Kacey Musgraves, whose work also crosses over into different categories.

“The voters are truly evaluating music and not getting caught up in the reputations of any other outside noise or any history of artists,” he continued. “With that in mind, I think they’re voting for things that they are acknowledging as excellence.”

Mason said he was pleased with the new peer-driven voting system after seeing the list of nominees. He instituted the 10-3 initiative — which allows the academy’s more than 11,000 members to vote for up to 10 categories in three genres. All voters can vote for the top four awards.

The new system replaced the anonymous nominations review committee — a group that determined the contenders for key awards. Some claimed committee members favored projects based on personal relationships and promoted projects they favored and worked on.

Harvey knows the new voting system might not be perfect at first, but he believes the initiative will produce fair results in the long run.

“I know we didn’t get every single one perfect,” Harvey said. “I know there will be some people that feel left out or that we missed a nomination here or there. That makes me sad because I don’t want anybody to have that feeling. But I do feel like we’re heading in the right direction. I’m pleased with the way our voters did the work.”

For the first time, the academy expanded the number of nominees in the general field categories from eight to 10. The change impacts categories such as record, album, song of the year and best new artist.

Harvey said the academy increased slots in the general field categories after seeing an uptick voting participation over the past year along with the acceptance of new membership invitations and a high number of more than 21,730 entries submitted for Grammy consideration.

“We thought the timing was right,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to do what the academy does — which is to highlight music, highlight the industry and highlight excellence in a bigger way. With the change in our voting structure, we don’t have the nomination review committee. This gives our voters an opportunity to have their voice heard, but also gives them a chance to have a bigger pool to draw from when it comes time to that one winner that takes home the Grammy.”

Other album of the year nominees include: Bieber’s “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe),” Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” West’s “Donda,” Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga’s “Love for Sale,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” Taylor Swift’s “evermore” and Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO.”

Batiste, the bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” picked up a bid in the best score soundtrack for visual media category for his work on Pixar’s “Soul,” which won him an Oscar for best score earlier this year. Coming into Tuesday, he had three Grammy nominations but no wins yet.

Batiste will compete for record of the year against a bevy of candidates including Bennett & Gaga’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” ABBA’s “I Still Have Faith in You,” Bieber’s “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon, Brandi Carlile’s “Right on Time,” Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” with SZA, Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” Rodrigo’s “drivers license,” Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” and “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic — the super duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.

Jay-Z, who was nominated for three Grammys on Tuesday, now has the most nominations of all time with 83. The 23-time Grammy-winning rapper moved past Quincy Jones, who has been nominated 80 times.

 

Source: Voice of America

Chad Hanekom returns against hometown hero Miro Jurkovic at BRAVE CF 56 in Serbia

Manama, Former Middleweight world title challenger Chad Hanekom is back at the BRAVE CF Arena and he will look to continue his road towards the top of the division against Miro Jurkovic.

The Middleweight bout between Hanekom and Jurkovic is going to take place at BRAVE CF 56, marking the promotion debut in Serbia, the latest step of the organization’s European takeover, and the home country of Miro.

Holding a professional record of 7 wins and only two losses, Chad “Superman” Hanekom is coming off a brutal knockout win over Dominic Schober in March, 2021, and is eager to get another crack at the BRAVE CF world title.

Miro Jurkovic, meanwhile, boasts a professional record of 11 wins and four losses. After dominating the local Serbian scene, Jurovic is looking to establish his international career, after winning Fight of The Year honors for his epic fight against Andreas Gustafsson last year in his BRAVE CF debut.

BRAVE CF 56 takes place on December 18, at the Bel-Expocentar, in the Serbian capital Belgrade. The event will be promoted in association with MMA League of Serbia and further bouts will be announced in the coming days.

Serbia will become the 10th European country to host a BRAVE CF event, and 25th nation overall, an absolute record for a company in business for little over five years.

Source: Bahrain News Agency