A STOPOVER IN CULTURAL ZURICH

It is back to Malibu after nearly a month abroad, mostly at sea in the Indian ocean and on safari in South Africa.
 
It was great, thank you, though arts and entertainment venues were limited, and it is good to be at large again in southern California seeking out the diversity of its rich cultural scene, and so I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites.
 
To be sure, our adventure did have its cultural experiences, in particular in a stopover in Zurich i had once known and enjoyed briefly 44 years ago. if anything, the city. like the Swiss, is enduring and engaging.
 
I stretched the stopover from LAX to Capetown to a weekend so as to be able to catch a controversial opera and an outstanding ballet in the opulent Zurich opera house. to see anything in the 1100 seat neo classical building is a rare treat .
 
The opera was the political production Lady Macbeth von Mzensk, written in 1934 by the edgy Dimitri Shostakovich, and reportedly almost sent him to Siberia by an underwhelmed Stalin.
 
Despite despising the Russian despot — he treated my family and millions of others cruelly – in this singular instance i have to admit his criticism was on target. the opera was a musical muddle. A bad. the translation from Russian to English did not help.
 
The disappointment was allayed the next night attending the ballet Anna Karenina. The production was marvelous, the sets and costumes dazzling, the dancing to the music of Rachmanioff by the resident ballet company breathtaking.
 
During the two days I was also able to visit the Kunthaus Zurich, the city’s, and Switzerland’s, outstanding art museum, and much to my pleasure view a very accessible collection that included an enormous water lily painting of Monet’s
 
Also on view were select works of van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso, and a surprising number of Edvard Munch paintings, though i could see how his distinctive canvases would appeal to the sober Swiss.
 
And a cultural excursion to Zurich would not be complete without visiting the Fraumunster church and viewing the stunning Chagall windows.
 
But it is now back in L..A., with lots to see and hear, and so little time, and so much traffic.

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hallkaplan

Parallel careers as an urban planner and a journalist, principally at present airing commentaries on pubic radio 99.1 KBU.FM The many arrows in my quiver have included Emmy award winning reporter/ producer for local Fox Television News, design critic for the Los Angeles Times, urban affairs reporter for The New York Times, an editor of The New York Post, contributor to various popular and professional publications, news services and broadcast outlets, including Reuters, NET, NBC, CBS, NPR and the BBC. Founding editor of the East Harlem (NY) Independent. A diversity of professional positions and consultancies in the private and public sectors, (Metro, Disney Imagineering, Howard Hughes, M. Milken, NYC Educational Construction Fund, US Comptroller of the Currency etc,) assorted academic appointments (UCLA, USC, CCNY, Art Center etc.), and always open to new challenge. And let us not forget fashioning sand castles and acting on 90210, crafting TV docs, design reviews, master plans. Books: "The Dream Deferred: People, Politics and Planning in Suburbia," "L.A. Lost and Found," an architectural history of Los Angeles, "L.A. Follies," a collection of essays, and co-author of "The New York City Handbook." Writings have appeared in academic texts, commentaries on the web, scripts for TV, and wherever, latest the Architects Newspaper, The Planning Report and Planetizen.

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