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Opera singer Tara Erraught
Opera singer Tara Erraught
Lucas Wiegelmann

BERLIN — As the expression goes, "It ain't over "til the fat lady sings." But a recent slew of insults from British opera critics hurled at one full-figured young singer has added a new twist to the expression.

Internationally known mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught was keen to sing at the Glyndebourne Festival, the UK's most important opera festival, as a next step in her career. She debuted in the title role as the young male lover Octavian, who later becomes the Rosenkavalier, or Knight of the Rose, in Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier. But instead of accolades for her talent and performance, she was the target of derision — for her figure.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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