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23 November 2020

Beethoven’s 250th Birthday


Many planned events delayed, cancelled; go visit his homes instead


LUDWIG VAN Beethoven was supposed to have quite the 250th birthday party in 2020. Internationally, major events were scheduled as far from his hometown as Japan. Marin Alsop, music director of the symphony orchestras in Baltimore and Sao Paulo, had intended to conduct his Ninth Symphony in New Zealand, the United States, Brazil, England, Austria, Australia and South Africa. In Bonn, Germany, where Beethoven was born (baptized 17 December 1770), a year-long programme of 300 concerts, exhibitions, dance and theatre performances was planned. Vienna, where the composer spent most of his career, had a similarly impressive calendar set, including three staged versions of his opera Fidelio and special shows at the National Library, Leopold Museum and House of Music.




16 November 2020

Machu Picchu Again Welcoming Visitors


Peru has reopened several Inca sites including its most popular, Machu Picchu


MACHU PICCHU, Peru’s most popular tourist destination, reopened 1 November 2020 after an eight-month shutdown due to covid-19. Used to receiving 1.5 million visitors a year, it has had its capacity reduced by 70 per cent to accommodate physical-distancing rules, limiting the number of daily sightseers to just 675, and no groups larger than eight. Everyone must have their temperature taken before entering and wear a mask throughout their visit.




15 November 2020

Secret Swiss Fortification Opens to the Public


Fort de Chillon, opposite 12th-century Château de Chillon, was part of WWII defences


FROM THE END of November 2020 the Swiss will open the defences carved into the rock opposite the 12th-century Château de Chillon during the Second World War. The tunnels and caverns were part of the “national redoubt,” a series of fortifications begun in the 1880s to defend Switzerland by denying an invader access to the country by controlling its mountain passes. The Fort de Chillon works were constructed in 1941-2, when the country was surrounded by Axis powers, as the system’s western gateway. It had a garrison of more than 100 soldiers.




23 October 2020

Praise for Artemisia Gentileschi Exhibition


National Gallery’s first major show since covid-19 struck gets rave reviews


THE FIRST MAJOR exhibition at London’s National Gallery since covid-19 struck in March 2020 has opened to five-star reviews from the Telegraph, the Times, the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the BBC.




21 October 2020

New Berlin Airport to Finally Open


Nearly a decade late and billions of euros over budget


BERLIN’S NEW airport will finally open on 31 October 2020, nearly a decade later than originally planned, and billions of euros over budget.



San Diego, CA

1 October 2020

Comic-Con Gets Its Own Museum


Balboa Park venue will be year-round showcase of pop culture


WHEN THE FEDERAL Building reopens in San Diego’s Balboa Park in the late summer of 2021 its facade will be well-suited to its new purpose. Built in 1935 as part of that year’s California Pacific International Exposition, it was decorated in Mayan Revival style, its pyramid-shaped entrance topped by a massive, intricately carved frieze. That should provide the right sort of Raiders of the Lost Ark welcome for visitors coming to the Comic-Con Museum.




1 September 2020

Two Big Film Festivals Go Ahead


Venice to proceed as planned, Toronto will present a slimmed-down event


AFTER COVID-19 forced the 2020 edition of film festivals in Cannes, New York (Tribeca), Austin (SXSW), Telluride, San Francisco, Melbourne and Hong Kong to either cancel or put their programmes entirely online, two of the biggest are going ahead on schedule. The Venice International Film Festival will run 2-12 September. The Toronto International Film Festival will be held 10-19 September. Both will see modifications to conform with physical distancing rules.



New York, NY

27 August 2020

Metropolitan Museum to Reopen


But staying open with reduced admissions isn’t sustainable long-term


THE MOST-VISITED museum in the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which receives 6.5 million visitors in a normal year, will reopen 29 August. New York state governor Andrew Cuomo announced on 14 August that New York City museums (and bowling alleys) could reopen as of 24 August.




19 August 2020

British Museum to Reopen


Joins National Gallery and Victoria and Albert, already welcoming visitors again


THE MOST-VISITED museum in the United Kingdom, the British Museum, will reopen 27 August, joining the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery, which have been up and running since 6 August and 8 July respectively. In all three cases admission is free but timed-entry tickets must be booked online in advance, face masks must be worn and only parts of each facility is open to the public.




3 August 2020

Virus Causes Locarno Film Festival to Mutate


The focus in 2020 will be on unfinished films


ONE OF THE world’s oldest film festivals is remaking itself this year as a response to the covid-19 virus. The 73rd edition of the Locarno Film Festival runs 5-15 August and has been retitled Locarno 2020—for the Future of Films.




1 August 2020

Greece Opens Its First Underwater Museum


2,500-year-old merchant ship sank carrying 4,000 amphorae of wine


GREECE WILL OPEN its first underwater archaeological museum 3 August, allowing visitors to dive to the site where a cargo vessel with 4,000 clay amphorae—storage jars—in its hold sank in 30 metres of water about 425 B.C.




31 July 2020

Salzburg Festival Goes Ahead, Despite Covid-19


100th anniversary season is curtailed, but not cancelled


ARTS FESTIVALS around the world will be watching to see if the approach taken by Austria’s Salzburg Festival is successful and if it can be used by them to restart their own programmes.




29 July 2020

Britain’s National Trust Reopens a Few Properties


2020 is not the 125th anniversary the NT had hoped for


BRITAIN’S NATIONAL Trust, headquartered in Swindon, 130 kilometres west of London, is not having the kind of 125th anniversary year it had hoped for. Since mid-March all of its more than 300 historic buildings, from castles to cottages, have been closed thanks to covid-19.


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