Vietnamese, French performers join hands to bring “Kieu Story” to opera

In order to create diversity for the music and also to bring the opera “Kim Van Kieu” closer to the Vietnamese audience, directors have brought in colours of the Vietnamese culture. Many kinds of traditional musical instruments like “dan bau”, “dan nguyet” and bamboo flute will took the stage at the same time, performed by […]

George Saunders becomes first winner of UK’s newest literary prize

Saunders, 55, is acknowledged as one of the finest short story writers and his work appears regularly in GQ and the New Yorker. For a time he filed a weekly column for Guardian Weekend magazine called American Psyche. Formerly a geophysical engineer, he teaches creative writing at Syracuse University, New York.

Writers and critics on the best books of 2013

AM Homes Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited by Phillip Buehler (Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc) is a hauntingly beautiful book about the five years the American folk legend, songwriter and activist spent as a patient at the Greystone Park State Hospital in New Jersey. Guthrie, who had Huntington’s disease, lived among the mental […]

The Observer’s books of the year

Peter ConradAcademic, author and Observer critic In Moments That Made the Movies (Thames & Hudson), David Thomson, with his all-seeing eyes, analyses details in favourite films that the rest of us, no matter how well we know them, have overlooked. Richard Havers’ and Herbie Hancock’s Verve: The Sound of America (Thames & Hudson) turns the […]

Samuel Johnson non-fiction shortlist: From the Romans to Thatcher

As I pursued my research, I discovered the degree to which the same moral issues that are chewed over in the editorial columns today were discussed in the correspondence of the first Afghan war: should you try to “promote the interests of humanity”, as one British civil servant put it in 1840, and champion social and […]

Nicki Minaj Made Sure Her Pastor Officiated Wedding

Lydia founded “Life in Its Poetic Form Christian Ministries” way back in 2000, and Nicki’s a huge supporter of her work — even thanking her in front of millions of people at the 2015 VMAs after accepting the award for best hip-hop video.

Media coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death was mostly a chaotic mess

He concluded: “Kobe Bryant died on Sunday with one of the young women in his life, and how you will come to measure his life has to be judged by how deeply you believe that he corrected his grievous fault through the life he lived afterwards, and how deeply you believe that he corrected that […]

Holocaust survivors, age 86 and 89, who hid together from the Nazis for 18 months in occupied Belgium reunite in California for the first time in 76 years and share a tearful hug

‘But when we received information of the concentration camps, the gas chamber, the mountains of corpses, my father understood that his wife and his daughter would not come back. And he died of …,’ he said, his voice trailing off.

Chris Cornell posthumously wins Grammy for Best Recording Package

“Charpentier: Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles” — Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Jesse Blumberg, Teresa Wakim & Virginia Warnken; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble)

French teacher cleared to take Facebook to court over nude art post

Center for persecuted arts opens in Germany Reaching for the sun “Icarus” is the title of this painting by Oscar Zügel of 1935. The Nazis recognized it for what it was: criticism of their regime. According to Greek mythology, Icarus was overly giddy after receiving a new pair of wings and flew too close to […]