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    Rosmarie Trapp of the ‘Sound of Music’ Family Dies at 93

    She was the last surviving daughter of the baron and the would-be nun depicted in the stage musical and 1965 film.Rosmarie Trapp, a member of the singing family made famous by the stage musical and film “The Sound of Music” and the last surviving daughter of Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp, the family patriarch, died on May 13 at a nursing home in Morrisville, Vt. She was 93.The Trapp Family Lodge, the family business in Stowe, Vt., announced her death on Tuesday.Ms. Trapp (who dropped the “von” from her name years ago) was the daughter of Georg and Maria Augusta (Kutschera) von Trapp, the would-be nun who became a governess with the family and ultimately married the baron.Rosmarie is not depicted in “The Sound of Music,” which focused on the seven children Georg von Trapp had with his first wife, although she was in fact almost 10 when the family fled Austria in 1938 after that country came under Nazi rule. Among the many liberties “The Sound of Music” took with the family’s story was the timeline — Georg and Maria actually married in 1927, not a decade later.In any case, Rosmarie did travel and perform with the Trapp Family Singers for years and was a presence at the lodge in Stowe, where she would hold singalongs for the guests. She acknowledged, though, that it took her some time to embrace the fame that the musical thrust upon her after it debuted on Broadway in 1959, beginning a three-year run, and then was adapted into a 1965 movie, which won the best picture Oscar.“I used to think I was a museum,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 1997, when she was evangelizing on behalf of the Community of the Crucified One, a Pennsylvania-based church, “but I can’t escape it.”“Now I’m using it as a tool,” she added. “I’m not a victim of it anymore.”Some of the children of Baron Georg von Trapp singing during a Mass in his honor in 1997 in Stowe, Vt., where the family runs a lodge. From left, Maria von Trapp, Eleonore Campbell, Werner von Trapp, Rosmarie Trapp and Agathe von TrappAssociated PressRosmarie Barbara von Trapp was born on Feb. 8, 1929, in Aigen, a village outside Salzburg, Austria. The family began singing publicly in the 1930s in Europe, but the baron had no interest in cooperating with Hitler once the Nazis took control, and so the family left Austria, taking a train to Italy. (The “Sound of Music” depiction of the departure was fictionalized.)The family gave its first New York concert, at Town Hall, in December 1938 and soon settled in the United States, first in Pennsylvania, then in Vermont.“We chose America because it was the furthest away from Hitler,” Ms. Trapp told The Palm Beach Post of Florida in 2007, when she spoke to students from the musical theater program and Holocaust studies classes at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens.The family singing group continued to perform into the 1950s. Late in the decade, Ms. Trapp and other family members went to New Guinea to do missionary work for several years. Ms. Trapp’s father died in 1947, and her mother died in 1987.Ms. Trapp’s brother, Johannes von Trapp, is the last living member of the original family singers and her only immediate survivor.The Trapp Family Singers repertory, of course, included none of the songs later composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for “The Sound of Music,” but when Ms. Trapp gave talks like the one at the Florida high school, she would gladly take requests for a number or two from the musical. What did she think of the film?“It was a nice movie,” she told The Post in 2007. “But it wasn’t like my life.” More

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    Maggie Peterson, a Memorable ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Guest, Dies at 81

    As Charlene Darling, a member of the musical Darling family, she appeared in five episodes, beginning with one in which her character became smitten with Mr. Griffith’s.Maggie Peterson, an actress who in a recurring role on the hit sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” memorably developed an infatuation with Mr. Griffith’s character, Sheriff Andy Taylor, died on Sunday. She was 81.Her death was announced in a post on her Facebook page. The post did not say where she died, but her family said last month that she had been moved from her home in Las Vegas to a nursing facility in Colorado. The family also said that her health took a turn for the worse when her husband, the jazz musician Gus Mancuso, died of Alzheimer’s disease in December at 88.Ms. Peterson was seen on “The Odd Couple,” “Green Acres” and other television shows from 1964 to 1987. But she was probably best known for playing Charlene Darling, a member of the musical Darling family, in several episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.” (Her brothers were played by the members of the Dillards, a prominent bluegrass band; their father was played by the veteran character actor Denver Pyle.)Charlene and the other Darlings first appeared in the 1963 episode “The Darlings Are Coming,” in which the family visited Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town where the show was set, and waited for her fiancé to arrive. Sheriff Taylor lets the family spend a night in the courthouse, and Charlene becomes smitten with the sheriff — an infatuation that ends abruptly when her fiancé arrives.Ms. Peterson was a successful singer before she became an actress.via IMDbThe Darlings returned to Mayberry four more times. In one episode, Charlene and her husband are looking for a young boy for their new baby girl to become engaged to. They pick Sheriff Taylor’s son, Opie, played by Ron Howard, but are eventually tricked into changing their minds.Ms. Peterson played a different character in a later episode of the show and two other characters in episodes of the “Andy Griffith Show” spinoffs “Mayberry R.F.D.” and “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” She also appeared in movies with Mr. Griffith and another “Andy Griffith Show” cast member, Don Knotts.She returned to the role of Charlene one last time in the 1986 TV movie “Return to Mayberry.”Margaret Ann Peterson was born on Jan. 10, 1941, in Greeley, Colo., to Arthur and Tressa Peterson. She was a successful singer before she became an actress, with a family vocal group called the Ja-Da Quartet (later known as Margaret Ann & the Ja-Da Quartet), which recorded an album for Warner Bros. Records in 1959, and the Ernie Mariani Trio.After her acting career ended, she worked for the Nevada Film Commission and, usually billed as Maggie Mancuso, was a location manager on “Casino” (1995) and other movies.Information on survivors was not immediately available.The Associated Press contributed reporting. More

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    As Eyes Are on Eurovision, Europe Has Another Song Contest

    The Liet International, a competition for minority and regional languages, lacks the glitz of Eurovision. But its organizers say it helps keep endangered tongues alive.Follow live updates on the Eurovision grand final.TONDER, Denmark — The folk musician Billy Fumey strode onstage on Friday night in this quaint market town in rural Denmark and launched into an intense love song in the endangered language of Franco-Provençal. As he belted out a lyrical description of hair blowing in the wind — “Kma tsèkion de tèt frissons da l’oura lèdzira” — few in the 500-strong audience had any idea what he was singing about, but it didn’t seem to matter. When the yodeling-heavy track came to an end, the crowd clapped wildly, anyway.A few moments later, Carolina Rubirosa, a Spanish rock musician who sings in Galician, got a similar reaction. As did Jimi Henndreck, a psychedelic rock band from Italy who sang a raucous number in South Tyrolean, a German dialect. So, too, did Inga-Maret Gaup-Juuso, an electronic artist singing in a language of the Sami Indigenous people of Northern Europe.All were taking part in Liet International, a European song contest for regional and minority languages. After finishing her entry, Rubirosa switched to English to address the beer-swigging crowd. “This is a dream to be here today,” she said, “with my language, outside my country.” Minority languages are vital, Rubirosa added. “We don’t have to let them die.”The audience for the Liet International song contest at the Culture House in Tonder.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesDoria Ousset, a singer from the French island of Corsica, getting ready backstage. Performers have do their own makeup and hair.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesOusset on Friday sang an epic rock lament for a 17th-century Corsican soldier facing execution by French forces.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesAdri de Boer, a Dutch troubadour, appeared on the show, which was livestreamed on YouTube and will be broadcast on Dutch TV.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesAround 200 million people will tune into the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday to hear music from around the continent. The 25 pop stars who will compete in the final include those performing in Italian, Spanish and Ukrainian. Yet the millions of people in Europe who speak one of its many regional and minority languages are unlikely to find themselves represented on the Eurovision stage, let alone in their country’s pop charts.Since 2002, Liet International has been offering a platform to musicians from these communities — though it is a world away from the showy spectacle of a Eurovision final. Friday’s event occurred in the Culture House, a small hall next to a care facility for older adults in Tonder, which is in a German-speaking region of Denmark. The 13 acts shared tiny dressing rooms and applied their own makeup. The evening’s hosts, Stefi Wright and Niklas Nissen, have day jobs as a teacher and builder.The event, which was livestreamed on the contest’s YouTube page, attracted just 944 views, though a recording will soon be broadcast on television in the Netherlands.Uffe Iwersen, one of the event’s organizers, said its budget was around 100,000 euros, or about $104,000, so the organizers could not afford spectacular stage sets or pyrotechnics. He insisted that didn’t matter. “The languages are more important than explosions and the biggest light show on earth,” Iwersen said.Tjallien Kalsbeek, one of the competition’s organizers, said that Liet International had its roots in a contest started by a Dutch television station in the 1990s. That competition aimed to find new pop music in West Frisian, a language spoken by about 450,000 people in the north of the Netherlands.That contest was a hit, Kalsbeek said, and it became an annual event, expanding over time to include rap and techno entries. For its 10th anniversary, the organizers held a special edition that featured acts in other minority languages including Basque, Occitan and Welsh. This was the first Liet International; Friday’s was the 13th edition.About 500 people watched in the Culture House on Friday.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesMartin Horlock, right, performing in South Jutlandic, a Danish dialect.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesInga-Maret Gaup-Juuso, left, singing in a language of the Sami Indigenous people of Northern Europe.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesRoger Argemí, a singer from the Catalonia region of Spain, performing on Friday night. “When I want to express my real feelings, I use Catalan,” he said.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesThe status of Europe’s minority languages varies wildly. Some, like Catalan, are spoken by millions of people, yet others, like North Frisian, native to northern Germany, have just a few thousand speakers left and are at risk of extinction, according to UNESCO.Elin Jones, a professor of linguistic diversity at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, said by phone that regional languages that were protected by national governments and taught in schools like Welsh were thriving. But in countries including France, Greece and Russia, minority languages were more at risk, because children are usually educated in the national language only.Jones said that all minority languages should be supported. “They are an integral part of people’s identity, like sexuality or ethnicity,” she said.Several of the people participating in Liet International on Friday came from areas where speaking a minority language could be seen as a political act, including Sardinia, where some activists want more autonomy from Italy, and Corsica, the Mediterranean island where this year clashes broke out after a Corsican activist was beaten up inside a French jail.Onstage on Friday, Doria Ousset, a Corsican singer with a six-piece band, sung an epic rock lament for a 17th-century Corsican soldier facing execution by French forces. Afterward, in an onstage interview, the hosts asked about her inspiration. “The French state does not want us to know out history, so we have to sing it,” Ousset said. “It is our mission.”Yet in interviews with The New York Times, four other acts said they sang in regional languages for reasons that had nothing to do with politics. Roger Argemí, a young pop singer from the Catalonia region of Spain, said he wrote music mainly in English or Spanish, “but when I want to express my real feelings, I use Catalan” — the language of his childhood. Catalan sounded “much sweeter, and more melodic” than Spanish, he added.As removed as Liet International seemed from the glitz of Eurovision, there was at least one element it shared with its better-known rival on Friday: a tense voting process. Shortly after 10 p.m., the night’s acts walked onstage to listen as the members of a jury read out their scores one by one.As a leaderboard reshuffled with each new score, it became clear that this was a three-horse race between Ousset, the Corsican singer; Yourdaughters, two sisters from north Germany’s Danish-speaking minority who sang a dreamy R&B track; and Rubirosa, the Galician songwriter.Ousset, the Corsican singer, reacting after she was announced as the winner.Klaus Bo for The New York TimesWith one judge’s scores left to reveal, there were just a couple of points between those three acts. But as the judge read out the points, Ousset edged to the front. When she was announced as the winner, she collapsed into her bandmates’ arms in shock, then rushed to the front of the stage waving Corsica’s flag.“How do you feel?” asked Nissen, one of the hosts, in English. Ousset replied in Corsican with a lengthy, tearful, speech. Very few people in the audience understood a word she said. But they clapped and cheered anyway. More

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    Eurovision 2022: What to Know and How to Watch

    LONDON — The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956 as a friendly music competition between public service television broadcasters and has since grown into the world’s largest — and perhaps most eccentric — live music event.This year, the competition takes place while there is a war in Europe; in February, the event’s organizers announced that Russia would be barred from competing, citing “the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”This week, 35 other countries, including Ukraine, competed in semifinal rounds ahead of Saturday’s final, which attracts more than 180 million viewers around the world. The event, held in Italy this year, rewards live viewership, with clips from performances and reactions spreading quickly across social media.Below are rundowns on hotly tipped acts, advice about how to watch from the United States and views about how the war in Ukraine is likely to affect the competition.Sweden’s entry this year is Cornelia Jakobs, who sings “Hold Me Closer,” a warm and emotional pop track.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow does the Eurovision Song Contest work?Each country selects an act with an original song that must be performed live onstage. The song is picked either by the national broadcaster or through some kind of contest. (For example, Sweden has the “Melodifestivalen” to choose its entry.) There are a number of rules that entrants must follow, including a limit of three minutes on song length and a ban on lyrics or gestures deemed by the organizers to be political.Despite the name, countries beyond Europe’s traditional geographical borders also compete in Eurovision. Israel debuted in 1973, for example, and Australia has been taking part since 2015. This year, Armenia and Montenegro are returning to the contest after not competing in 2021. Smaller nations are also represented, such as San Marino, a landlocked enclave in Italy with a population of just over 30,000. Last year, San Marino’s entry, performed by the singer Senhit, featured an appearance by the American rapper Flo Rida.The winner of Eurovision is chosen by a combination of votes by viewers at home and by national juries in each country. The scores from the national juries are tallied first, then the fan votes are announced, act by act, starting with the countries that received the lowest jury points. This part of the show can be tense and even uncomfortable to watch, with cameras last year showing entrants from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain each receiving the dreaded “zero points” from the public.After the two semifinals have whittled the entrants down, the qualifiers join entries from the “big five” countries — Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — which have an automatic pass to the final because they contribute the most financially to the running of the contest. Twenty-five countries will compete at the final this year.Traditionally, the competition is held in the country that won the previous year. Turin, in Italy, hosts this year after the rock band Maneskin triumphed in 2021.The crowd at Thursday’s semifinal in Turin, Italy.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow can Americans watch the competition?The streaming service Peacock will be airing the final on Saturday from 3 p.m. Eastern time. The service also streamed the competition’s semifinals. The figure skater Johnny Weir will be providing commentary on the broadcast.The commentary can often add some humor to the many long hours of televised competition. In Britain, the comedy host Graham Norton has become renowned for his reactions and quips.“We’ve got a real range of music tonight,” Norton said while introducing the 2021 competition from the Dutch city of Rotterdam. “Brilliant staging, great lighting, some wonderful vocalists, and others — well, some as flat as Holland.”Oleh Psiuk, center, of Ukraine’s entry, Kalush Orchestra, posing this week in Turin with a group of people protesting the war in Ukraine. Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affected the competition?Initially, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said that Russia could continue to participate because the competition was a “nonpolitical cultural event.”The day after the invasion, however, with Ukraine and other countries threatening to withdraw, the broadcasting union backtracked. Russia could not take part, the union said in a statement, because the country’s inclusion “would bring the competition into disrepute.”Sentimentality, friendly bias and politics can affect the voting. This year, Ukraine is favored to win, with the rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra representing the country. Its song, “Stefania,” is an ode to the mother of one of the band members. The act received special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel for the competition and has performed throughout Europe to raise funds for the war effort.Ukraine won the contest in 2016 with “1944,” by Jamala. The song was a memorial to Crimean Tatars during World War II, but it was also interpreted as a comment on the Russian invasion of Crimea, which took place two years earlier.Kalush Orchestra received special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel to Italy for the competition.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhat happens if Ukraine wins this year?If Ukraine does take the title, the war and humanitarian crisis in the country would most likely present challenges to its hosting the competition in 2023.In the past, when a country has been unable to host, another has stepped in. The last time that happened was in 1980, when Israel declined to host after winning for a second straight year. The competition was held in the Netherlands instead.If Australia ever wins the competition, the logistical difficulties of hosting a primarily European contest on a different continent mean that a European country and broadcaster would co-host the following year’s contest alongside Australia, according to the European Broadcasting Union.Australia’s entry, Sheldon Riley, during a dress rehearsal in Turin. His track reflects on his childhood experiences, including being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhich other acts should I know about?Sweden has won Eurovision six times (second only to Ireland), with ABBA one of the acts to have claimed victory for the country. The Swedish entrant this year is Cornelia Jakobs, who sings “Hold Me Closer,” a warm and emotional pop track that builds with each subsequent verse.The Spanish entry, performed by Chanel, has also been predicted to do well at the final, with a catchy song, “SloMo,” accompanied by a high-energy dance routine.The prospects for Britain, after last year’s zero points overall, are looking up. The country’s entry, “Space Man,” is performed by the TikTok star Sam Ryder and has been gathering some momentum.There has also been praise for Australia’s entry, “Not the Same,” performed by Sheldon Riley. The song reflects his childhood experiences, including a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome he received at age 6.Maneskin has gone on to global fame since winning the 2021 competition, performing on “Saturday Night Live” and at the Coachella festival this year.The duo Subwoolfer, representing Norway, wear wolf masks, surrounded by dancers in morph costumes, for their act.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesAre there any surreal acts this year?Eurovision entrants have a tradition of employing surreal staging, lyrics and costumes to stand out.This year, the Norwegian entry, by the pop duo Subwoolfer, has gained attention. Their song, “Give That Wolf a Banana,” has the pair wearing wolf masks, with backing dancers in yellow morph suits.The Moldovan entry, “Trenuletul,” by Zdob si Zdub and the Advahov Brothers, has built a following by pairing traditional instruments like the accordion with the electric guitar. Their song’s upbeat lyrics are matched by the band’s enthusiastic choreography.Each year, fans travel to the competition to see their country compete. Here, some were in Turin for Thursday’s semifinal.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhat about North American versions of Eurovision?The NBC show “American Song Contest” reimagines Eurovision for the United States, with 56 entries from 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Instead of airing over the course of a week, like Eurovision does, the contest has been airing weekly on the network since March.The final took place on Monday, when AleXa, representing Oklahoma, won with “Wonderland.” The song received 710 points overall from the jury and public voting, 207 ahead of the second-place entry, from Colorado.But underwhelming ratings suggest that “American Song Contest” failed to capture the excitement of Eurovision. In an interview with The New York Times, Audrey Morrissey, an executive on the show, suggested that U.S. audiences might need time to get used to the format. “It is a very different sort of mechanism — there isn’t another show where performance happens and there isn’t a critique right after,” she said.Next year, there will be a Eurovision Canada, where entries from the country’s three territories and 10 provinces will compete in an offshoot of the original. International expansion has been an ambition for Eurovision. Martin Österdahl, an executive supervisor of the competition, told a podcast recently, “We’re changing our focus slightly in our strategy from managing a contest to managing a brand, and that brand will be a global entertainment superbrand.” More

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    How to Watch Eurovision 2022

    LONDON — The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956 as a friendly music competition between public service television broadcasters and has since grown into the world’s largest — and perhaps most eccentric — live music event.This year, the competition takes place while there is a war in Europe; in February, the event’s organizers announced that Russia would be barred from competing, citing “the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”This week, 35 other countries, including Ukraine, competed in semifinal rounds ahead of Saturday’s final, which attracts more than 180 million viewers around the world. The event, held in Italy this year, rewards live viewership, with clips from performances and reactions spreading quickly across social media.Below are rundowns on hotly tipped acts, advice about how to watch from the United States and views about how the war in Ukraine is likely to affect the competition.Sweden’s entry this year is Cornelia Jakobs, who sings “Hold Me Closer,” a warm and emotional pop track.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow does the Eurovision Song Contest work?Each country selects an act with an original song that must be performed live onstage. The song is picked either by the national broadcaster or through some kind of contest. (For example, Sweden has the “Melodifestivalen” to choose its entry.) There are a number of rules that entrants must follow, including a limit of three minutes on song length and a ban on lyrics or gestures deemed by the organizers to be political.Despite the name, countries beyond Europe’s traditional geographical borders also compete in Eurovision. Israel debuted in 1973, for example, and Australia has been taking part since 2015. This year, Armenia and Montenegro are returning to the contest after not competing in 2021. Smaller nations are also represented, such as San Marino, a landlocked enclave in Italy with a population of just over 30,000. Last year, San Marino’s entry, performed by the singer Senhit, featured an appearance by the American rapper Flo Rida.The winner of Eurovision is chosen by a combination of votes by viewers at home and by national juries in each country. The scores from the national juries are tallied first, then the fan votes are announced, act by act, starting with the countries that received the lowest jury points. This part of the show can be tense and even uncomfortable to watch, with cameras last year showing entrants from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain each receiving the dreaded “zero points” from the public.After the two semifinals have whittled the entrants down, the qualifiers join entries from the “big five” countries — Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — which have an automatic pass to the final because they contribute the most financially to the running of the contest. Twenty-five countries will compete at the final this year.Traditionally, the competition is held in the country that won the previous year. Turin, in Italy, hosts this year after the rock band Maneskin triumphed in 2021.The crowd at Thursday’s semifinal in Turin, Italy.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow can Americans watch the competition?The streaming service Peacock will be airing the final on Saturday from 3 p.m. Eastern time. The service also streamed the competition’s semifinals. The figure skater Johnny Weir will be providing commentary on the broadcast.The commentary can often add some humor to the many long hours of televised competition. In Britain, the comedy host Graham Norton has become renowned for his reactions and quips.“We’ve got a real range of music tonight,” Norton said while introducing the 2021 competition from the Dutch city of Rotterdam. “Brilliant staging, great lighting, some wonderful vocalists, and others — well, some as flat as Holland.”Oleh Psiuk, center, of Ukraine’s entry, Kalush Orchestra, posing this week in Turin with a group of people protesting the war in Ukraine. Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesHow has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affected the competition?Initially, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said that Russia could continue to participate because the competition was a “nonpolitical cultural event.”The day after the invasion, however, with Ukraine and other countries threatening to withdraw, the broadcasting union backtracked. Russia could not take part, the union said in a statement, because the country’s inclusion “would bring the competition into disrepute.”Sentimentality, friendly bias and politics can affect the voting. This year, Ukraine is favored to win, with the rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra representing the country. Its song, “Stefania,” is an ode to the mother of one of the band members. The act received special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel for the competition and has performed throughout Europe to raise funds for the war effort.Ukraine won the contest in 2016 with “1944,” by Jamala. The song was a memorial to Crimean Tatars during World War II, but it was also interpreted as a comment on the Russian invasion of Crimea, which took place two years earlier.Kalush Orchestra received special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel to Italy for the competition.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhat happens if Ukraine wins this year?If Ukraine does take the title, the war and humanitarian crisis in the country would most likely present challenges to its hosting the competition in 2023.In the past, when a country has been unable to host, another has stepped in. The last time that happened was in 1980, when Israel declined to host after winning for a second straight year. The competition was held in the Netherlands instead.If Australia ever wins the competition, the logistical difficulties of hosting a primarily European contest on a different continent mean that a European country and broadcaster would co-host the following year’s contest alongside Australia, according to the European Broadcasting Union.Australia’s entry, Sheldon Riley, during a dress rehearsal in Turin. His track reflects on his childhood experiences, including being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhich other acts should I know about?Sweden has won Eurovision six times (second only to Ireland), with ABBA one of the acts to have claimed victory for the country. The Swedish entrant this year is Cornelia Jakobs, who sings “Hold Me Closer,” a warm and emotional pop track that builds with each subsequent verse.The Spanish entry, performed by Chanel, has also been predicted to do well at the final, with a catchy song, “SloMo,” accompanied by a high-energy dance routine.The prospects for Britain, after last year’s zero points overall, are looking up. The country’s entry, “Space Man,” is performed by the TikTok star Sam Ryder and has been gathering some momentum.There has also been praise for Australia’s entry, “Not the Same,” performed by Sheldon Riley. The song reflects his childhood experiences, including a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome he received at age 6.Maneskin has gone on to global fame since winning the 2021 competition, performing on “Saturday Night Live” and at the Coachella festival this year.The duo Subwoolfer, representing Norway, wear wolf masks, surrounded by dancers in morph costumes, for their act.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesAre there any surreal acts this year?Eurovision entrants have a tradition of employing surreal staging, lyrics and costumes to stand out.This year, the Norwegian entry, by the pop duo Subwoolfer, has gained attention. Their song, “Give That Wolf a Banana,” has the pair wearing wolf masks, with backing dancers in yellow morph suits.The Moldovan entry, “Trenuletul,” by Zdob si Zdub and the Advahov Brothers, has built a following by pairing traditional instruments like the accordion with the electric guitar. Their song’s upbeat lyrics are matched by the band’s enthusiastic choreography.Each year, fans travel to the competition to see their country compete. Here, some were in Turin for Thursday’s semifinal.Alessandro Grassani for The New York TimesWhat about North American versions of Eurovision?The NBC show “American Song Contest” reimagines Eurovision for the United States, with 56 entries from 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Instead of airing over the course of a week, like Eurovision does, the contest has been airing weekly on the network since March.The final took place on Monday, when AleXa, representing Oklahoma, won with “Wonderland.” The song received 710 points overall from the jury and public voting, 207 ahead of the second-place entry, from Colorado.But underwhelming ratings suggest that “American Song Contest” failed to capture the excitement of Eurovision. In an interview with The New York Times, Audrey Morrissey, an executive on the show, suggested that U.S. audiences might need time to get used to the format. “It is a very different sort of mechanism — there isn’t another show where performance happens and there isn’t a critique right after,” she said.Next year, there will be a Eurovision Canada, where entries from the country’s three territories and 10 provinces will compete in an offshoot of the original. International expansion has been an ambition for Eurovision. Martin Österdahl, an executive supervisor of the competition, told a podcast recently, “We’re changing our focus slightly in our strategy from managing a contest to managing a brand, and that brand will be a global entertainment superbrand.” More

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    Artists Are Putting Their Stamp on Lincoln Center

    In a partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Public Art Fund, works by Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite will help reintroduce Geffen Hall this fall.When David Geffen Hall reopens on the Lincoln Center campus this fall, two new artworks — by Nina Chanel Abney and by Jacolby Satterwhite — will be splayed across the 65th Street facade and a 50-foot media wall in the renovated lobby.These highly visible pieces, commissioned by the performing arts center in partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Public Art Fund, are positioned to help reintroduce the longtime home of the New York Philharmonic to the city and will inaugurate a rotating program of visual artists invited to put their stamp on Lincoln Center.“One of the overriding goals of the new David Geffen Hall has been to find ways to connect more meaningfully with outside — not just to open up but to reach out,” said Henry Timms, president and chief executive of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “We’ve been very intentional about thinking about different voices, different audiences, more people seeing themselves at Lincoln Center. The Studio Museum was the perfect partner for that.”For the museum, which has been organizing temporary installations of public art since 2016 in Harlem while its 125th Street building is under construction, this collaboration was “a great opportunity to extend our engagement in site-specific commissioned artwork,” said Thelma Golden, the Studio Museum’s director and chief curator. It also allows the museum to complement the work at Lincoln Center “to broaden and deepen and expand their program and the ways in which they engage audiences.” Golden pulled in the Public Art Fund for the organization’s resources and expertise in implementing large-scale public projects.Together, the institutions developed the curatorial vision and identified the two prominent locations for the art — a 10,000-square-foot expanse on the north facade of the building and a new multiuse media wall running across the lobby. This space has been reconceived as a kind of living room, open to the public all day with beverages. Nonticketholders will be able to view the art on the media wall that will also broadcast the Philharmonic down to the lobby when it is playing upstairs. Abney, 39, known for her bold, large-scale paintings, and Satterwhite, 36, a multidisciplinary artist who combines digital media and painting, were selected from more than half a dozen artists of color invited to make site-specific proposals.A rendering of a multiuse media wall that will be at David Geffen Hall. Satterwhite’s commission will appear there, and concerts will be streamed, as well.via DBOX“That facade for so long was thought of as the blank back side of the building and is kind of hiding in plain sight,” said Nicholas Baume, artistic and executive director of the Public Art Fund. “It’s right there at that intersection of all these major streets and can express this concept that Lincoln Center wants to open itself up to the city and address some of that symbolic citadel-like podium elevation of the original ensemble of buildings.”In a dynamic constellation of colorful stylized figures, symbols and patterns to be printed on vinyl and applied across a grid of 35 windows on that north facade, Abney will pay homage to San Juan Hill, a largely Black and Puerto Rican neighborhood that was demolished to make way for the 14-acre federally aided Lincoln Center project, which broke ground in 1959.“I was interested to delve into the history and the amazing people who inhabited that neighborhood,” said Abney, who is working with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to study San Juan Hill, considered the birthplace of the Charleston and bebop, and home to musicians including the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. “It’s acknowledgment and celebrating what was there.”In tandem, Lincoln Center has commissioned the composer Etienne Charles to explore the neighborhood’s legacy in a piece, “San Juan Hill,” to be performed by the Philharmonic in the new hall for free on Oct. 8.“This is part of a necessary engagement with our history,” Timms said. “This isn’t a one-off.”In a poetic, digitally animated landscape that will unfold across the 50-foot media wall in the lobby, Satterwhite plans to tell a story about the past, present and future of the New York Philharmonic. “The history of Lincoln Center is very male and white — that’s what it’s perceived as,” Satterwhite said. He is working with archivists there to mine footage of conductors and performers of different races and genders working more at the margins of the Philharmonic, to be woven fluidly into a kind of pastoral concert with 100 student musicians and dancers from Alvin Ailey, LaGuardia High School and others that Satterwhite is filming.“I want to reanimate the timeline that may traditionally be told, without any kind of hierarchy,” Satterwhite said. The pandemic, he feels, has offered an opportunity for “culture and society to reconfigure and reflect on itself. I want this piece to be very much about moving forward.” More

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    Mahmood and Blanco’s Eurovision Song Shows Italy’s L.G.B.T.Q. Progress

    The love song, and its video showing the artist Mahmood embracing another man, has been well received in a nation with a spotty history on L.G.B.T.Q. rights.MILAN — In February, the artists Mahmood and Blanco turned to each other onstage at Italy’s national song competition and sang, “I’d like to love you, but I’m always wrong.” It was the refrain of “Brividi” (translated as “Chills”), a song about the vulnerability of love, as experienced by all people — regardless of gender, identity or sexuality.When the song won at that competition, the Sanremo contest, and became Italy’s entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the unexpected happened: There wasn’t much pushback.The two after winning the Sanremo music contest in Italy in February.Ettore Ferrari/EPA, via ShutterstockThere was some grumbling from a socially conservative politician about what he called L.G.B.T. “domination” at the contest, and disdain that Mahmood performed one evening wearing a garter, but Alessandro Mahmoud, known as Mahmood, had been expecting a bigger response, he said in a recent interview.When the musician — who was born in Italy to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father — won the national song contest in 2019, anti-immigration comments followed. But this year, even those polemics normally trumpeted by conservative politicians did not flare up. The 29-year-old artist saw the muted criticism for “Brividi” as a sign that “something has happened in Italian society.”Italy has long been influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, which for generations considered homosexuality as a taboo topic to be either ignored or shunned. In a 2005 text approved by Benedict XVI, who was pope at the time, homosexuality was described as “not a sin” but essentially “an intrinsic moral evil.”L.G.B.T.Q. rights in Italy have advanced after decades of campaigning, but some legal challenges remain. Same-sex civil unions were legalized in 2016, years after other European countries, but same-sex marriage is not legal, nor can someone in a same-sex civil union legally adopt his or her partner’s biological child.On Being Transgender in AmericaPhalloplasty: The surgery, used to construct a penis, has grown more popular among transgender men. But with a steep rate of complications, it remains a controversial procedure.Elite Sports: The case of the transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has stirred a debate about the nature of athleticism in women’s sports.Transgender Youth: A photographer documented the lives of transgender youth. She shared some thoughts on what she saw.Corporate World: What is it like to transition while working for Wall Street? A Goldman Sachs’ employee shares her experience.So when two men sang a love song, clearly engaging with each other, as part of a cherished national competition, it was a first. The track “normalizes what should have always been normal,” Mahmood said.The song’s video more explicitly shows Mahmood tenderly embracing a man, while Blanco sings to a woman. A video of the song on Mahmood’s official YouTube page has been viewed more than 55 million times.Italian society’s approach to sexuality is changing. “Sexual orientation no longer has any importance, nor is it important to label oneself anymore,” said Aldo Cazzullo, a columnist in the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera. In the 1950s and 1960s, many gay people in Italy were not open about their sexuality, Cazzullo said. This was followed by an era of coming out and empowerment, and “now there’s no longer the need to say anything,” he said. He pointed out that two of Italy’s southern regions had voted to elect gay men as regional presidents.Mahmood said that although his songs speak volumes about who he is, he doesn’t define his sexuality: “It makes no sense to make distinctions anymore.”Blanco, the stage name of Riccardo Fabbriconi, 19, said that his “generation is much more open” and that people his age no longer thought in terms of gender identity. In just two years, he has gone from posting videos “singing in my underwear in my bedroom,” he said, to a multicity Italian summer tour that sold out in 72 hours.And Blanco said he also saw Italy as being “more open in general — I hope.”A recent headline in the newspaper La Stampa in Turin captured this sentiment: “Blanco, son of the fluid century, his generation will save us.”“My generation is much more open,” said Blanco, 19, left. Mahmood, 29, says he doesn’t define his sexuality.Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York TimesOn Tuesday evening, the Italian hosts for the Eurovision Song Contest semifinal broadcast included Cristiano Malgioglio, a songwriter and popular television personality also known for his outlandish couture, who riffed on his love life. Speaking of the five countries that automatically get into the final — Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Britain — he quipped, “I have a boyfriend in every nation.” He was a host last year, too.Eurovision has always “had a large L.G.B.T.Q. element in its fandom,” said Catherine Baker, a historian at the University of Hull who has written about the competition. After significant rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in the late 1990s and the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam, which banned discrimination against people on the grounds of sexual orientation, “Europe became associated with the idea of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and symbolically that had an impact on Eurovision, even if it wasn’t organized by the European Union,” Baker said.The competition has also long been a trailblazer when it comes to L.G.B.T.Q. representation onstage, featuring artists like Iceland’s Paul Oscar, Israel’s Dana International and Finland’s Saara Aalto over the years.L.G.B.T.Q. people face openly hostile environments in several European countries, including Poland, Hungary and Russia. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the powerful head of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by claiming that it was part of a struggle against ideals imposed by liberal foreigners that included gay pride parades.Franco Grillini, a prominent Italian L.G.B.T.Q. rights activist, said a song like “Brividi” would once have been “unimaginable” at a festival that normally has Italians glued to their television screens.In the past, homosexuality could also hurt a musical career in Italy, he said, citing the case of Umberto Bindi, a talented, gay singer-songwriter who caused a scandal in Sanremo in 1961 by wearing a pinkie ring (then a presumed sign of homosexuality). He never got the recognition he deserved because “he was brutally discriminated” against, Grillini said.But democracies have a way of righting wrongs, according to Angelo Pezzana, another L.G.B.T.Q. rights activist. “It’s always been like this. Remember that not a century ago, women went to jail for the right to vote,” he said. In Italy, women only got the right to vote in 1945. The Mahmood-Blanco duet “was a sign that things had changed in a positive way,” he said.The track “normalizes what should have always been normal,” Mahmood said of the Eurovision song.Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York TimesThat said, Italy’s record on equal rights for L.G.B.T.Q. people remains spotty. Apart from not having fair representation when it comes to marriage and adoption, in October, the Senate rejected a bill meant to make violence against L.G.B.T.Q. people a hate crime, a label that would have meant harsher penalties. Critics blamed the lack of consensus both on political bickering as well as on Vatican interference, given that a few months earlier the Vatican had openly opposed the bill, saying it infringed upon guaranteed religious liberties.“Italy is still profoundly linked to the Vatican, which conditions Parliament,” said Grillini, who was a lawmaker for seven years.Even under Pope Francis, the message has been mixed. Shortly after his election in 2013, Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” and he has continued to encourage the church to be more welcoming toward the L.G.B.T.Q. faithful. But since then, the Vatican has rejected the notion that gender identity can be fluid, and it has reaffirmed its opposition to same-sex marriage.But at least at the Sanremo contest, old prejudices didn’t seem to apply.“All my songs speak of my way of experiencing love and sex,” Mahmood said. “The least an artist can do is give an example.” More

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    Martha Wainwright Tells a Few Stories She Might Regret

    With a new memoir, the singer-songwriter from a famous musical family says she is happy to be “letting go of this story of being No. 4 on the totem pole.”When Martha Wainwright was 14 years old, she moved to New York from her home in Montreal to live with her father, the singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her mother, the Canadian folk star Kate McGarrigle, was busy with a new album and a concert tour, and so it was decided that Loudon would watch over Martha for a year. The New York experiment turned out to be something of a failure, though, according to Ms. Wainwright; she did poorly in school and stayed out late, as if in competition with a father who was sometimes out even later. But the year definitely had its upsides: “I became more like my father, as if the DNA in me that came from him started to wake up,” she writes in a new memoir, “Stories I Might Regret Telling You.”A few years later, she went with him on a tour of Britain, serving as his warm-up act and joining him onstage for father-daughter duets. One night she heard him introducing “I’d Rather Be Lonely,” a song she had figured was about an old girlfriend. So she was surprised when he told the audience it was about the year he had spent living with his teenage daughter. As Ms. Wainwright listened to him sing the key lines — “You’re still living here with me / I’d rather be lonely” — she began to cry.“A part of me wanted to jump to my death from my tiny seat,” she writes in the memoir. “Or, better yet, take off into the night, leaving him standing there waiting for me. But the show must go on, so I dried my tears and went down the stairs and on to the stage.”The new book, cigarette and all.HachetteConfessional art always comes at a cost, for its creators and subjects alike, as people in the Wainwright-McGarrigle family know all too well. Loudon, who rose to sudden success with the novelty hit “Dead Skunk,” has included songs about his family on a majority of his more than 25 albums, many of them devastatingly personal. Ms. McGarrigle, who made 10 albums as part of a duo with her sister Anna before her death in 2010, also wrote a number of autobiographical songs that touched on her marriage to Loudon, which ended in divorce, and their children.When Martha and her older brother, the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, came of age, they joined what was by then an established family tradition. The first song Ms. Wainwright wrote was about the birth of a new half sibling, a wry welcome to her singular family; and a song on her brother’s 1998 debut album delved into his relationship with his mother.As children, Martha and Rufus sang for paying audiences at folk festivals. Later, when he had a deal with the DreamWorks record label and started touring the world, she was often his backup singer, an arrangement that eventually came to an end. “He needed to cut the fat and I needed to get out of his shadow,” she writes.Rufus and Martha Wainwright sing their father’s hit “Dead Skunk” at a show in London, circa 1984.Martha Wainwright Collection In New York, Ms. Wainwright performed in dive bars while putting herself through a series of crushes on unavailable men. She was by turns ambitious and self-destructive. On nights when she knew a label scout or producer was in the crowd, she would go onstage drunk or high. “I created an impossible situation for myself,” she writes. “I was afraid to fail but I kept setting myself up to fail.”As her brother’s fame grew, she struggled with her status as the least famous member of her nuclear family. And while her parents provided inspiration, she says in the book that they could have been more helpful. “I don’t know if you’re wondering where my dad was during those New York years,” she writes, “but at the time, I was wondering, too.”For a while Rufus was running around as part of a “sons of” club, a group that included Sean Lennon, Chris Stills and Harper Simon. “They were all getting signed and written about and had publicists and photo shoots and beautiful girlfriends,” Ms. Wainwright says in the memoir. “Were their songs better than mine?” The chip on her shoulder led her to write a grand statement song, its title a vulgar epithet. Contrary to what she has told journalists in the past, the song isn’t about her father — or, rather, it isn’t exclusively about him.In addition to the attention-grabbing title, the song had perhaps the closest thing to a pop hook to be found in her oeuvre up till then. Whereas the typical Martha Wainwright melody meanders as it showcases her acrobatic whisper-to-scream vocal range, this one was different: a folky strum-and-shout with straightforward lines like “Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish I was born a man.”The Guardian called the song a “masterpiece” when it appeared in 2005 as the centerpiece of “Martha Wainwright,” her first album. Critics admired her debut but couldn’t resist comparing her with the rest of her family. A Pitchfork reviewer praised her voice and her songs, only to add the caveat that her ability to write about personal matters with such candor “would be more remarkable if it weren’t a genetic trait.”Her next album, “I Know You’re Married but I’ve Got Feelings Too,” was partly produced by Brad Albetta, a bass player who, by the time of its 2008 release, was also her husband. Their relationship had always been tumultuous, but she had pushed for marriage anyway, partly because she wanted to “grow up” before losing her mother, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.Martha Wainwright with her mother, Kate McGarrigle, in London, 2009.Martha Wainwright Collection Her memoir goes deep into her mother’s illness and death, which coincided with the premature birth of Ms. Wainwright’s first child. In less capable hands, such material could come across as maudlin, but Ms. Wainwright has a light touch and an eye for telling detail. She describes wanting to put her mother’s cancer-ridden body in the same kind of incubator that was keeping her son alive, as well as the moment when she and Ms. McGarrigle compared their damaged bodies — her own fresh C-section incision, the chevron scar from chemo that covered her mother’s torso.Ms. Wainwright’s marriage limped along after her mother’s death. She clung to Mr. Albetta as a source of stability (not to mention bass playing). “I really like the makeup sex / It’s the only kind I ever get,” she sang from the stage while on tour for the album “Come Home to Mama,” with her husband close behind onstage.An early draft of “Stories I Might Regret Telling You” that contained more details about those years was used as an exhibit in their divorce proceedings in 2018. That version — “the whole enchilada,” as Ms. Wainwright described it in an interview — was pared down considerably before publication.Rather than zeroing in on the father of her children (a second son was born in 2014), Ms. Wainwright, 46, concludes the memoir by focusing on her creative and personal renaissance of recent years. She describes the aftermath of a show she gave in Los Angeles, when she emerged rumpled from the house of “someone everyone in the world wants to sleep with” full of joie de vivre and “glad to know that rock ’n’ roll was still alive and I was still a part of it.”The extended musical family in New York, 2012, from left to right: Martha Wainwright, the singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, Rufus Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, and the singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche.David Corio for The New York TimesOn a recent Zoom call, she looked and sounded exactly as she does onstage: beautifully unvarnished, full of open-mouthed laughter. In the past few weeks she has been preparing to go on tour with a show that combines readings from the memoir and performances of songs on her fourth album, “Love Will Be Reborn.” She said a documentary filmmaker has been following her around, adding that she sometimes wished she had a larger-than-life persona to hide behind, like Tom Waits’s or Laurie Anderson’s.Lately, she added, she has been in the mood to do some serious spring cleaning in her building in Montreal, which she inherited from her mother. “There’s a back room that’s filled with the Kate McGarrigle and Anna McGarrigle archive and crap,” she said, gesturing toward a door behind her desk. “I feel like I’m almost about to light the whole thing on fire. I’m not going to do it literally, but I’m like, ‘OK, let’s call a museum and have them take it away.’ And I think that I’m kind of excited about it. And maybe I’m excited about letting go of this story of being No. 4 on the totem pole.”She said that when she thinks about her earlier albums, filled with so many songs referring to her marriage, she wonders whether she had created the situation in order to mine it for material. Now she’s in a relationship that inspires lyrics like “I got naked right away when I saw you / And my love was like the rain when I saw you.”If her contentment threatens her creative output, she’s fine with that. “I’ll keep the love and forgo the material, if need be,” she said.But later in our conversation, she revised that assessment, after mentioning her plan to pick up her guitar later in the day and try to write some new songs: “I haven’t in a while, so I’ll see if I’m too happy and I made a terrible mistake.”Ms. Wainwright said she has been wondering if she’s too happy to write songs.Alexi Hobbs for The New York TimesEven her relationship with her father seems in a good place. “Stories I Might Regret Telling You” begins with the story of her own birth, or, rather, the story of how she almost wasn’t born. Her father, she writes, tried to persuade her mother to have an abortion when she was pregnant with her, which is something he confessed to Ms. Wainwright when she was a teenager. “It hurt my feelings,” she writes with an understatement that makes the story sort of hilarious. “I had always felt a little out of place in the world, and knowing that I’d only just barely made the cut didn’t help matters any.”Three days before our interview, her father called her to say he loved the book.“I mean, his voice was a little tight when he said it,” Ms. Wainwright said. “He told me he didn’t see things exactly the same way, and I asked him if he could accept my version, and he said that he could accept it. And so that was a really nice moment for us.” More