Jessye Norman was a diva whose voice could not be denied

(CNN)If arias are like lyrical prose poems, then each singer who performs one is like a poet who reads their work with a unique timbre and cadence. Whether she was singing the Habenero from Act 1 of Bizet’s “Carmen,” “Lieder” by Richard Strauss or performing in a Wagner opera, Jessye Norman’s voice was pure poetry. Let’s face it: poetry and opera are two art forms that tend to make people feel inadequate. Talk of poetic forms and conventions elicits as much anxiety, defensiveness and accusations of elitism as mentioning overtures, arias and recitatives. Having been shaped in the world of Jim Crow Georgia in the 1940s, Jessye Norman understood what it felt like to be excluded, which affected her approach …

Grateful Dead drummer: We’re disrupting nature’s rhythms and killing our planet

(CNN)I bet you’ve never thought about what it would mean to set aside half the planet for all the creatures that thrived just 200 years ago. To tell you the truth, until recently, neither did I. And killing the thing you love the most seems like a pretty stupid idea to me. I am hoping to contribute to the solution by participating in the Earth’s Call live stream concert in Aspen, Colorado, on May 18. Earth’s Call is a new nonprofit that is finding and funding innovative solutions to the climate crisis, and the event is a celebration and call to action. My fascination with the rhythms of our planet — and the universe beyond — goes way back, and …