Herbert Kretzmer, lyricist of Les Miserables, dead at 95
LONDON – Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist best known for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. Tributes poured in from giants of the London stage, including theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh, singer Elaine Paige and lyricist Tim Rice. Les Miserables producer Mackintosh said Kretzmer was instrumental in bringing Victor Hugo's classic tale of defiance and redemption in early 19th century France to the stage in English in October 1985, five years after it had opened in Paris. Until a young British producer by the name of Cameron Mackintosh invited Kretzmer to tea in June 1984 and his life changed. Though the expanded English version of Les Miserables — it was never Les Mis for Kretzmer — had mixed reviews at the start, it would soon become one of the biggest successes of 20th century theater.
Lebanon holds Baalbek concert despite virus, economic crisis
Musicians from the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra perform during a concert in the ancient northeastern city of Baalbek, Lebanon, Sunday, July 5, 2020. Dubbed "an act of cultural resilience," the concert aims to send a message of unity and hope to the world amid the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic and financial crisis in Lebanon. For the first time since the Baalbek International Festival was launched in 1956, this year's concert is being held without an audience, in line with strict COVID-19 guidelines. Lebanese watching the 55-minute show at home posted nostalgic sentiments on social media about bygone days that have been replaced by an economic crisis and growing poverty and hunger. Lebanon is being shaken by a severe economic and financial crisis, made worse in recent months by the coronavirus and lockdown restrictions.