James Conlon Interview

The Paris Opera on the Place de la Bastille is nearly as famous for political strife as the Bastille itself was. The high-tech, 2,700-seat opera house, opened in 1989 as part of the Mitterrand legacy, has witnessed power politics, frequent strikes and the firing of two music directors. When two years ago the new general director of the Opéra de Paris, Hugues Gall, selected an American, James Conlon, as principal conductor and musical adviser, the French press referred to Conlon as the “brave maestro.” Now, nearing the end of his first season, Conlon has not only managed to sail above the strife but has brought new life to the Opera. Continue reading “James Conlon Interview”

Let Them Eat Bread

The French government took drastic steps in January to protect the beleaguered baguette from cut-price rivals that sometimes sell for as little as 1.50F at supermarkets compared with about 4F at traditional bakeries. A new law aimed at safeguarding baker-artisans now restricts the name “bakery” to the establishments of bakers who bake their bread on the premises. The new law will require an estimated 5,000 shops selling bread made from factory frozen dough to take down their “bakery” signs. Continue reading “Let Them Eat Bread”