JOHANNESBURG — One of South Africa’s top film producers squinted at a monitor as a hush settled over the crew. Cameras zoomed in on an actress playing a dealer of fine art — chicly dressed in a pencil skirt made from bold African textiles — who offered a coy smile as an old flame stepped into her gallery.
It’s the opening scene of a new Netflix movie about high-powered Black women, wealth and modern city life in Johannesburg — one in a flood of productions from a new generation of South African filmmakers. They are bent on telling their own stories on their own terms, eager to widen the aperture on a country after a generation of films defined by apartheid, poverty and struggle.
“We call it the legacy exhaustion, the apartheid cinema, people are exhausted with it,” Bongiwe Selane, the producer, said a few days later in the editing studio. “The generation now didn’t live it, they don’t really relate to it. They want to see stories about their experiences now.”
one of the most unequal in the world, where wealth is still concentrated mostly in the hands of whites and a small Black elite.
But in recent years, the country has also undergone major demographic and economic shifts. The first South Africans who grew up after apartheid are now adults, asserting their voices on social media and in professional workplaces. And a growing Black middle class has been eager to see itself reflectedonscreen — and showing it with their wallets.
box office expectations for locally made romantic comedies.
A year later, “Happiness is a Four Letter Word” — the prequel to Ms. Selane’s latest film that opens with the art gallery scene — outperformed several Hollywood releases in South African movie theaters on its opening weekend.
The movie revolves around three bold women navigating a new South Africa. There is Princess, a serial dater and owner of a trendy art gallery; Zaza, a glamorous housewife having an illicit love affair; and Nandi, a high-powered lawyer who gets cold feet on the cusp of her wedding.
“Audiences would come up to me to tell me how they also had a guy who broke their heart and they want to see that, to watch something where apartheid is not in the foreground,” said Renate Stuurman, who plays Princess. “It can be in the background, surely, it’s what brought us here, but people were happy to be distracted.”
according to Digital TV Research, an industry forecaster. For Netflix, the investment ispart of a larger push to acquire a generation of Black content.
Nollywood. Nigerian filmmakers have churned out thousands of movies — many produced with just a few thousand dollars and one digital camera — since the late 1990s.
Nollywood films won fans across English-speaking Africa, but South Africa is chipping away at its dominance, industry leaders say.
For the past two decades, South Africa has hosted major Hollywood studios drawn to its highly skilled workers and government-issued rebate on all production costs spent in the country.
Cape Town’s streets were transformed into Islamabad for the fourth season of Homeland; studios constructed models of Robben Island for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom;” and crews flew helicopters, crashed cars and set off massive explosions in downtown Johannesburg for “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Of the roughly 400 films made in South Africa between 2008 and 2014, nearly 40 percent were foreign productions, according to the National Film and Video Foundation, a government agency.
“Blood Psalms,” a series for Showmax, employs massive sets reminiscent of “Game of Thrones,” green screens to concoct magical powers, and elaborate costumes of armor and golden crowns.
Inside an editing suite in Johannesburg one recent morning, Mr. Qubeka chatted with an editor slicing together shots for the show, about a queen battling a world-ending prophecy — a plot drawn from African mythology.
“The true revolution,” Mr. Qubeka said, “is that we as South Africans are being sought out for our perspective and our ideas.”
ROME — Milva, whose charisma, warm voice and flaming red hair made her one of Italy’s most recognizable divas from the 1960s through the ’80s, died on April 23 at a hospital in Milan. She was 81.
Her daughter, Martina Corgnati, said the cause was a neurovascular disease.
In an eclectic career that spanned more than 50 years, Milva sang at pop festivals and performed in high-culture houses like the Paris Opera and Milan’s prestigious Piccolo Theater. She became popular across Europe, especially in Germany. She crooned traditional songs and had contemporary hits. She wore glamorous dresses while singing leftist anthems.
President Sergio Mattarella, in a statement, called her “a protagonist of Italian music, a cultivated, sensitive and versatile interpreter.” Her body lay in state last month at the Piccolo, where fans lined up to pay their last respects.
“She used to say, ‘First I’ll finish the show, then I can die,’” Ms. Corgnati said. “The show came before everything.”
1954 Billy Wilder movie of the same name. But her family called her Milva, a fusion of her two first names, and it stuck professionally.
leftist views and her votes for Communist politicians. She sang about the killing of factory workers by the Italian police, performed traditional antifascist songs of the Italian Resistance, and sang musical versions of the work of anarchist poets. She became — also thanks in part to her blazing red hair — identified with the political left.
In 1968, when she sang the Resistance song “Bella Ciao” at the RAI Auditorium in Naples, she told the presenter, “I have a weakness for freedom songs.”
Giorgio Strehler, who oversaw the Piccolo, cast her in Brecht roles, most notably Jenny in “The Threepenny Opera.” She carried his theatrical influence into her concerts, which included 15 appearances at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy.
She demonstrated “tireless perfectionism” in preparing her performances, said the director Filippo Crivelli, who worked with her for several years.
She characteristically sang with her hand on her hip, often dressed in Gianfranco Ferrè’s luxurious dresses and wearing a Guerlain perfume detectable from the first few rows.
Magazines put her on the cover, paparazzi chased her, and she was the subject of tabloid headlines, especially after one of her former boyfriends was found fatally shot in his car in mysterious circumstances and another killed himself.
She had no shortage of admirers. The Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone dedicated an album to her. Astor Piazzolla asked her to sing his tangos. Italians knew her best for “Alexander Platz,” a hit song adapted for her by the singer-songwriter Franco Battiato, a giant of Italian pop music, and “La Rossa,” a song written for her by another major artist, Enzo Jannacci.
She toured Asia and Europe, singing in at least seven different languages.
All that work took its toll. When her vocal cords grew inflamed, she gave herself cortisone shots to keep singing. Doctors said the treatments contributed to her neurovascular disease, according to Ms. Corgnati. She retired in 2012.
In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a sister, Luciana, and a brother, Antonio.
Vicky Schatzinger, a pianist who worked with Milva for 15 years, said she had repeatedly promised to cut her red hair once she left the stage, but she never did.
“She felt that her hair made her a character,” Ms. Schatzinger said. “But in reality, she was her character herself.”
Japan has contained Covid-19 far better than most other large countries. But it now faces the challenge of holding the Olympics this summer — and welcoming athletes from around the world — without causing new outbreaks.
The status of the Games has become a political issue in Japan, with polls showing most residents favoring either postponement or cancellation. Many people are frustrated with how Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first year in office, is handling the situation.
Yet for all of the criticism, it seems possible that Japan will hold a successful Olympics while keeping the virus under control. This morning, I want to walk you through the issue, with help from a couple of charts and from my colleague Motoko Rich, The Times’s Tokyo bureau chief.
An amazing statistic
Japan’s Covid response has been so successful that it achieved a remarkable feat: Overall deaths declined in 2020, even as they were surging in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. Japan kept its Covid toll low, and its pandemic measures caused a decline in some other fatalities, like those from the flu and vehicle accidents.
This article by Motoko, from almost a year ago, compares mask habits in Japan and the U.S.) The government also virtually closed its borders. And it was quick to focus on the settings where the coronavirus was most likely to spread, warning people to avoid the “three C’s” — closed spaces, crowded places and close contact.
only 2 percent of residents having received a shot. There is less urgency to do so in a country where fewer than 11,000 people have died of Covid.
Japanese regulators have so far approved only Pfizer’s vaccine and are still evaluating Moderna’s and AstraZeneca’s, despite their obvious success elsewhere. Even if those vaccines are approved soon, the government’s contracts with the vaccine makers do not require the delivery of many doses until late this year, Motoko notes. The country appears to be months away from reaching the vaccination levels of the U.S., Britain, Israel and other world leaders.
risen over the past two months, and the government declared a state of emergency in several major cities, urging new restrictions on activity. “Japan has recently lost a little control of the caseloads,” Motoko says. “Of course, it’s nothing like New Delhi, but it’s not like Sydney or Taipei, either.”
insist that the Games will go on, and there are billions of dollars at stake, not only for Japan but also for the Olympic organizers, major sponsors and television networks, including NBC. For athletes who have trained for years, the cancellation of the Games — after their postponement last year — would be deeply disappointing.
More tests than fans
The biggest safety measure is the barring of fans from outside Japan. At a typical Olympics, fans make up the great majority of visitors to the host country. By barring them, Japan has restricted entry to athletes, coaches, journalists and Olympics officials, many of whom will probably have been vaccinated. They will all need to take several Covid tests before coming, and athletes will be tested every day during the Olympics, with others being tested less frequently.
The dangers will also decrease if Japan can meet its goal of vaccinating most residents 65 and older — the people most vulnerable to serious Covid symptoms — by July 23, when the Games begin.
Even if that happens, though, Japan will not be free of risk. After months of allowing few international visitors, the country will be letting in tens of thousands of people. They will then interact with nearly 80,000 local Olympic volunteers, who will drive athletes and officials around Tokyo, serve as interpreters and do other tasks. A Covid-free Olympics seems unlikely. The question will be whether Japan can quickly identify, isolate and treat people who get the virus.
In this way, the Games may present a particularly intense version of the balance that many countries will be trying to achieve in 2021 — moving back to normal life while avoiding a new wave of a deadly virus.
“Inside Japan, historical currents are also important drivers,” Motoko and Hikari Hida have written. “The wartime cancellation of one Tokyo Olympics, in 1940, and the triumphant staging of another a quarter-century later are potent symbols of first regret and then rebirth.”
Dr. Megan Ranney, for CNN: “I wish we would either limit the Games to just the athletes, or insist on vaccination for all — including spectators and host communities …. Yes, these events deserve to go on, for the sake of the athletes — but we cannot pretend that the current recommended precautions are adequate.”
Rebecca Solnit makes the case for climate optimism, citing technological innovation and growing political will: “Each shift makes more shifts possible.”
Biden’s quiet steps to strengthen U.S. support for Taiwan are increasing the risk of war, Peter Beinart argues in The New York Times.
Get Hip: If you follow Barstool Sports or own a mug that says “Girlboss,” you may be cheugy.
A Times Classic: Go backstage at the (prepandemic) Metropolitan Opera.
Lives Lived: Patrick O’Connell helped shatter the stigma surrounding AIDS by developing awareness-raising campaigns, one of which included a red ribbon that became ubiquitous. He died at 67.
ARTS AND IDEAS
flourishing to describe a person’s overall well-being — physical, mental and emotional, which all feed on each other. “It’s living the good life,” Tyler J. VanderWeele, an epidemiologist, told The Times.
In the pandemic, many people have understandably been doing the opposite of flourishing: languishing, or feeling stagnant with dulled emotions and motivation. A Times story on languishing was one of our most read articles in recent weeks.
But there are simple habits backed by science that can help you flourish. They include celebrating small moments in life, like a warm bath or hanging out with a friend; setting aside time once a week to reflect on the things you’re grateful for; and volunteering, even a couple of hours a week. (Are you flourishing? Take this quiz.)
“People think that in order to flourish, they need to do whatever their version of winning the Olympics is, or climbing a mountain, or having some epic experience,” Adam Grant, a psychologist, said. The reality is the opposite. — Sanam Yar, Morning writer
MEXICO CITY — Someone in a Charlie Brown costume frantically waves hello. A person dressed as a monkey pretends to take photos with a stuffed camera. An elderly man who just got his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine grabs a microphone and starts singing very loudly.
“I’m 78, but they tell me I look 75 and a half,” the man said gleefully, the assessment supported by his apparent lung strength as he belted out a ranchera song with abandon.
In a bid to improve their customer service, vaccination centers in Mexico’s capital now come with a slate of entertainment options, including dancing, yoga, live operatic performances and the chance to watch large, bare-chested Lucha Libre wrestlers do the limbo.
The goal is to make the process as appealing as possible, said a woman leading a singing and dancing performance for people waiting for a shot at a military parade ground in Mexico City on a recent Wednesday.
virus in Latin America and the sputtering vaccination efforts in many of its countries. Concerns have been compounded recently by the rapid spread of a virus variant first discovered in Brazil.
At the vaccination center in Mexico City, women in white shirts led the crowd in various yoga poses that could be done in wheelchairs. Men performed tricks with a surprising number of soccer balls. A professional opera singer congratulated everyone.
the third highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, where the government resisted imposing strict lockdowns, fearing damage to the economy, and which has not tested widely, arguing it is a waste of money.
Many believe that the only escape from this nightmare is mass vaccination, but the campaign had been moving glacially. By mid-April, though, the pace has picked up nationally — and after some messiness in the beginning, the nation’s capital has gotten better at efficiently getting shots into arms.
“We quickly realized that with the strategy we had in place, we couldn’t attend to seniors with the level of service they deserved,” said Eduardo Clark, who helps coordinate the city’s vaccination program.
Lucha Libre wrestlers, named Gravity, Bandido, Guerrero Olímpico, Hijo de Pirata Morgan and Ciclón Ramírez Jr.
“It’s a little bit of joy,” Ms. Silva shouted over the live band playing a few feet away, nodding to the beat. “It reanimates what you have inside.”
With the pandemic closing wrestling arenas, the government has put the Lucha Libre fighters to creative use, enlisting them to enforce mask wearing by pretending to accost people and now this.
“I’m glad they are here cooperating, in solidarity with people,” said Francisca Rodríguez, whose husband’s wheelchair had momentarily been commandeered by a sweating Ciclón Ramírez Jr.
Ms. Rodríguez said Mr. López Obrador, had done an “excellent” job of managing the pandemic, though she acknowledged that the president had taken a beating for refusing to vaccinate some workers in private hospitals, who say they’re being made to wait longer than those at public hospitals.
“There is a media war against President López Obrador right now,” she said, pointedly. “Even American newspapers are attacking the president.”
As people were vaccinated and filed into the area where they would be observed for adverse reactions, the Lucha Libre wrestlers broke out into a “yes you could!” chant.
“My children are going to ask me how it was, so I’m going to bring them evidence,” said Luis González, 68, recording the performance on his cellphone.
When Mr. González’s wife got the coronavirus four months ago, he sat by her side, fanning her with a piece of cardboard to try to make more air available to breathe. After 38 years of marriage, he watched her die in their home, waiting for an ambulance.
Mr. González sat in the front row long after his observation period had passed, alone, watching the wrestlers dance.
“You feel the emptiness, especially at night,” he said. “During the days, it’s easier to distract myself.”
The soprano Renée Fleming sauntered onstage in a shimmering long-sleeve gown, perched on a chair and started to sing.
For a renowned performer decades into her career, it might have been an uneventful Wednesday evening at the Shed, the expansive performance space in Hudson Yards. But after 13 months in a pandemic, a sea of faces was a novel sight for the opera star and the trio accompanying her.
“Wow, applause!” she remarked after finishing the meditative opening number. “Very exciting.”
Exciting, indeed — and no mean feat to pull off.
After the Shed and other flexible New York performance spaces lobbied to let audiences in, it got the go-ahead to open its doors for a live event on April 2, after 386 days of shutdown. Fleming’s April 21 show there, before a limited audience, was the fourth performance in a series co-sponsored by NY PopsUp, a public-private program aimed at reviving the arts.
acted in a play during the Shed’s opening season, wouldn’t be left completely untended: Bottled water, tea bags and a kettle would be in her dressing room.
Alex Poots, the Shed’s chief executive, had one big announcement to share with the staff. The venue had not received state permission to expand the size of the audience. In the days leading up to the concert, the Shed had asked to double capacity from 150 to 300, which would still only be a fraction of the roughly 1,200 people the McCourt, its largest performance space, can seat.
But the state had essentially told them: Not so fast.
The concert had sold out in two hours. Audience members who did secure tickets had already received the first of four emails explaining the coronavirus protocols they would need to follow.
Gone was the chance to rush to a concert after work and plop down into your seat as the curtain rose. Before they entered the Shed, concertgoers would need to check one of three boxes: show proof of full vaccination; demonstrate a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event; or have taken a rapid antigen test, which is less reliable, within six hours of showtime.
This was such a jumble of rules and dates that the front-of-house staff would be provided printed cheat sheets for the day of the show.
Bill Frisell was surrounded by piles of sheet music — some Handel, some Stephen Foster — laid out on the dining room table and the living room floor of his Brooklyn home. He was writing out his parts in pencil, referencing a list of songs that Fleming had sent to him, the bassist Christian McBride, and the pianist Dan Tepfer.
“Down in the Depths (on the Ninetieth Floor),” Fleming was up on East 57th Street, visiting her longtime hair stylist, Michael Stinchcomb, at Vartali Salon.
Stinchcomb has been an avid fan since the 1990s and first met Fleming backstage at Carnegie Hall. He’s been doing her hair for more than two decades, often traveling around the world when she performs.
But last winter Fleming moved from New York to Virginia, and the pandemic had prevented her from visiting Stinchcomb until the day before her Shed performance.
“She was so happy to come in,” Stinchcomb said. “She’s a woman who likes to look good.”
Later that afternoon, Fleming arrived at the Shed for a three-hour rehearsal, where she and the musicians discussed harmonies, tempos and spots for improvised solos.
“A full rehearsal the day before a show?” McBride said. “That’s a lot in the jazz world.”
Wednesday: 11 hours to showtime
José Rivera pointed at the space between two clusters of seats. “From here to here, it’s 6-foot 4,” he announced, bending to scrutinize his yellow tape measure. “From here to here is 6-foot 1.”
That made the grade: According to state rules, the distance between audience members had to be over six feet.
He and another facilities employee, Steven Quinones, had been arranging the chairs for some two hours, ensuring that the setup matched a detailed paper diagram.
“And see, this is the big aisle that people walk through, so it’s 9 feet, 5 inches,” Rivera continued, raising his voice to be heard over the whirring of a third colleague zooming around the room on an industrial floor scrubber.
Five floors up, Josh Phagoo, an operations engineer, checked up on one of the Shed’s most important technologies for Covid safety: the HVAC system. Massive air handlers and chillers in the building’s engine room whirred constantly as Phagoo made sure the machines that keep the air at roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity at 50 percent were functional.
On the stage itself, the first piano notes of the day were vibrating through the air, up to the McCourt’s 115-foot ceiling.
Stephen Eriksson had arrived at 11 a.m. to tune the gleaming Steinway grand piano. While he said his business had disappeared for the first four months of the pandemic, now he is busier than ever.
For nearly 30 minutes, he used a tuning wrench to make sure that the piano was concert ready. Afterward, he played a bit of Debussy and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
“That’s a bit of pure indulgence,” he said.
Wednesday: Three hours to showtime
Within 15 minutes after arriving at the Shed, Fleming — who was scheduled for her second vaccine in New York the morning after the show — got the rapid Covid test in her dressing room. Negative.
Afterward, she rehearsed onstage with the musicians, their instruments positioned more than six feet apart from one another, while an audio crew member in a mask and a face shield flitted around them, making sure everything was working properly.
The six-person crew working the show was slightly smaller than usual, according to Pope Jackson, the Shed’s production manager. Everywhere they went, they brought along what Jackson referred to as a “Covid cart,” which contained a stock of masks, gloves, sanitation supplies and brown paper bags, which the musicians’ union requires so that players have a clean place to put their masks while they perform.
Downstairs, a staff of eight security guards had their nostrils swabbed to make sure that they tested negative.
Fleming and the musicians had been doing virtual and outdoor concerts throughout the pandemic, but the security staff was filled with people whose careers had been even more upended.
Allen Pestana, 21, has been unemployed for more than a year after being let go from working security at Yankee Stadium; Duwanna Alford, 53, saw her hours cut at a church in Morningside Heights; Richard Reid, 33, had worked in April 2020 as a security guard at a field hospital in Manhattan, where he had tried to forget his health fears and focus on the hazard pay he was receiving.
This was the moment before a concert where the theater was alive with preparation and nerves — a bustle missing in the city during the first year of the pandemic.
“It’s like doing the electric slide, the moonwalk and the bachata all at once,” Jackson said of the minutes before showtime. “But when the lights go up, it all fades away.”
The front-of-house staff had only 20 minutes to review the audience members’ IDs and Covid-related documents; take their temperatures; and show them to their seats.
Icy gusts of wind just outside the doors weren’t making things any easier.
But by 8:05 p.m., 150 people had settled into their precisely placed seats, able to snap a photo of the QR code on the arms of the chairs to see the concert program.
In between performances of the jazz classic “Donna Lee” and “Touch the Hand of Love,” which Fleming had once recorded with Yo-Yo Ma, the artists chatted onstage about what they’d been doing with their lives for the past 13 months.
“Wishing this pandemic would be over,” McBride said.
Tepfer said he had been improving a technological tool that made it easier for musicians to play in unison over the internet — a tool that he and Fleming had used to rehearse together virtually.
Frisell had not performed for an indoor audience since the beginning of the pandemic. “This is such a blessing,” he said.
The show ended with a standing ovation, and then the musicians played an encore: “Hard Times” by Stephen Foster, which Fleming described as a song that tends to resonate in times of crisis.
SEOUL — “Minari,” the critically acclaimed movie about a hard-luck family of Korean immigrants in the United States, was not exactly a commercial blockbuster in South Korea: Fewer than a million people watched it in 54 days of screening across the country.
But when one of its stars, Yuh-Jung Youn, won the Academy Award for best supporting actress, South Koreans rejoiced not only because it was a first for a Korean actor, but also because of the recipient.
On Monday morning, the South Korean media sent out news flashes when Ms. Youn won her Oscar. Cable channels announced plans to screen her previous films. Social media was abuzz with fans congratulating her.
“Her performance brilliantly helped us relive the memories of our own mothers and grandmothers,” President Moon Jae-in said in a statement, referring to Ms. Youn’s character in the film.
“Woman of Fire,” but left acting to marry Jo Young-nam, one of South Korea’s best-known singers. In the 1970s, she followed him to the United States, where Mr. Jo tried on a career as a gospel singer. The marriage ended in divorce in the 1980s.
“A Good Lawyer’s Wife” (2003), many female actresses declined the role of a woman who has sex with another man while her husband is terminally ill. Ms. Youn took the role, saying she could used the money to redo her living room.
She once performed the role of a spiteful queen in a Korean soap opera so well that people often cursed when they saw her on the street.
“People like her because they know her life story,” said Huh Eun, a retired college media professor in Seoul. “When they think of her, they don’t think of the glorious spotlight usually associated with film stars, but of a woman who has struggled to make a living all these years like the rest of us.”
Ms. Youn’s global breakthrough came when she was offered a role in “Minari.”
quoted Ms. Youn as saying. “This is our first time living this life, so we can’t help but feel regretful and hurt.”
Ms. Youn’s Oscar acceptance speech went viral for a characteristic tongue-in-cheek attitude. The award was presented by Brad Pitt, whose production company financed the film. “Mr. Brad Pitt, finally, nice to meet you!” she said to the American superstar. “Where were you when we were filming in Tulsa?”
“Minari” depicts a Korean family struggling to build a life as farmers in rural Arkansas in the 1980s, when many poor Koreans headed for the United States for a better life. It is the second film about Koreans to make history at the Academy Awards, after “Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon Ho, won four Oscars last year.
“Parasite” grossed more than 10 million viewers within two months of its release. Part of the reason “Minari” failed to achieve the same commercial success in South Korea is because the immigrant experience of the 1980s that it portrays is quickly fading.
These days, far fewer Koreans emigrate to the United States, and those who do are usually the children of rich families who go there to study. That may change, too, as Koreans watch hate crimes involving Asian-American victims soar in the United States.
But Ms. Youn struck a chord with South Koreans in her role as Soonja, the foul-mouthed but loving grandmother in “Minari” who moves from South Korea to the United States to take care of her grandchildren. Her grandson doesn’t consider Soonja a “real grandma” and complains that she “smells like Korea.” They slowly build a bond by playing cards together and sharing Mountain Dew, which Soonja seems to think is a health drink because it is made from “dew from the mountains.”
After “Minari” began accumulating awards at film festivals in recent weeks, fans started calling Ms. Youn “the Meryl Streep of Korea.” She has done what no other Korean actor or actress has done: while “Parasite” won best picture and best director, none of its actors were nominated for Oscars.
On Sunday night during the award ceremony, Ms. Youn said her true inspiration was her two children. “I’d like to thank my two boys who made me go out and work,” she said while holding her statuette.
“This is the result because mommy worked so hard.”
who died last week at age 99, will be laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. His send-off will be highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant the ceremony had to be scaled back, but also because it comes just after a very public airing of a family rift.
Pandemic rules in Britain have meant that the funeral will be pared down, with adjustments that include a limit of 30 guests at the church service. The queen and select family members will all be wearing masks and seated six feet apart.
The subdued service will reflect not only the reality of life in a pandemic, but also Philip’s own wishes for the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said in a statement this week. The prince was deeply involved in the organization of the event, which was years in the planning.
Before the ceremony — which will be live-streamed from nytimes.com and in this briefing from about 2:30 to 4 p.m. London time (9:30 to 11 a.m. Eastern) — Philip’s coffin will be moved on Saturday afternoon from a private chapel in Windsor Castle to the castle’s Inner Hall, where prayers will be said.
The ceremony will be rich with symbolism and nods to Philip’s life of service to the royal family and to the nation. The Grenadier Guards, a centuries-old regiment of the British Army, which the Duke of Edinburgh served as a colonel for more than four decades, will place his coffin on a hearse that the prince helped design. The vehicle, a modified Land Rover Defender, will then lead a small procession toward St. George’s Chapel, also on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The process of designing the hearse began 18 years ago, and tweaks were still being made up until 2019. The open-top rear section was custom-made to Philip’s specifications, and the original vehicle was repainted “dark bronze green,” typical of military use, at his request.
Philip served in the Royal Navy, seeing combat during World War II, and his naval cap and sword will be placed on his coffin before the funeral service. The coffin will be draped in his personal flag, which pays tribute to his Greek heritage and his British titles. A variety of other military groups will be represented during the procession, and a team of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St. George’s Chapel.
Members of the royal family — including Philip’s four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, and some of his grandchildren, including William and Harry — will walk behind the coffin as it is driven to the chapel. Those with honorary military titles are expected to wear suits displaying their medals rather than uniforms, reportedly in deference to Prince Harry, who was forced to give up his military titles when he stepped away from royal duties.
The queen will arrive at the chapel by car. Before the service begins, there will be a national minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time.
There was much speculation about how the family dynamic would play out, as the funeral will be the first time that Prince Harry has returned to Britain since stepping down as a senior royal. The service also comes just weeks after he and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in which they laid bare their problems with the royal family.
The funeral service will last less than an hour. A choir of four will sing music chosen by Prince Philip. They will be located some distance from the seated guests, in line with public health guidelines, Buckingham Palace said.
His body will then be interred in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel. Flags in Britain that have flown at half-staff at royal residences since his death will remain that way until Sunday.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who married the future queen in 1947, brought the monarchy into the 20th century.
Almost 24 years ago, the world watched as a pair of brothers, age 15 and 12, walked a mile through the grounds of Windsor Castle behind a horse-drawn carriage holding their mother’s coffin.
The image of the boys, Prince William and Prince Harry, heads bowed as they walked slowly alongside their father, uncle and grandfather, became seared into Britain’s national consciousness.
On Saturday afternoon, the eyes of the country and the world will again turn to the brothers at a different funeral — that of their grandfather, Prince Philip.
This time, much of the interest is centered on the relationship between the princes, weeks after Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a searing interview to Oprah Winfrey and spoke of their differences with the royal family. Harry also described his brother and father, Prince Charles, as being “trapped” by their roles.
William and Harry will both walk behind their grandfather’s coffin during a procession to the funeral service, but Prince Philip’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips, will walk between the brothers, according to plans released by Buckingham Palace.
Speculation about whether their grandfather’s funeral will help heal the brothers’ apparently strained relationship has swirled since Philip’s death on April 9. Prince Harry returned to Britain this past week from his home in California, his first visit since stepping down as a senior royal last year. Meghan, who is pregnant, remained at home on doctor’s orders, Buckingham Palace said.
In the days leading up to the funeral, the British tabloids pored over the brothers’ relationship, with the Daily Mail asking, “If you were William, could you forgive Harry?” But in public statements, both men focused on the personal loss of their family’s patriarch.
In his statement, William said of his grandfather, “I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life — both through good times and the hardest days.”
“I will miss my grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job,” he added.
Harry, in a separate statement, said that Philip had been “authentically himself” and was a man who “could hold the attention of any room due to his charm.” He added that his grandfather would be remembered “as the longest-reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.”
“But to me,” Harry added, “like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”
Alan Cowell,a longtime New York Times correspondent, reflects on the death of Prince Philip and his funeral.
Elizabeth and Philip were married the year I was born — 1947 — when Britain’s deference toward its royal family had not yet been exposed to the merciless shredding that was to come. Back then, my own family might almost have seen itself reflected, albeit remotely, in their lives.
Like Prince Philip, whose funeral is on Saturday, my father had served in World War II, on deployments that were so protracted that, my mother recalled, she went three years without seeing him. In London, Buckingham Palace was bombed. So, too, were the rowhouses in Barrow-in-Furness in northwestern England where my aunts, uncles and grandparents lived, close to the shipyards targeted by the German Air Force.
When Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, we clustered around a small black-and-white television at a neighbor’s home to follow what was billed as the country’s first coronation to be broadcast live. Certainly, it was a moment of pomp that seemed to fete Britain’s re-emergence from postwar deprivation.
But by the time Prince Philip died last week, Britons had long ceased to march quite so closely in step with the royals. The mirror had become distant, supplanted by the oft-voiced questions: When did the sovereign family and its subjects begin to go their separate ways? And what does that bode for the future of the monarchy?
Amid coronavirus restrictions, Britain has had to adjust how it grieves over the past year. And with current rules allowing for just 30 people at funerals, the royal family scaled back plans for the service for Prince Philip.
A select handful of his closest family members will be the only ones allowed in St. George’s Chapel. They will be required to wear masks, follow social-distancing guidelines and refrain from singing, Buckingham Palace has said.
So who will those 30 people be?
First, of course, there is Queen Elizabeth II. Like the rest of the family, she will wear a face covering and sit at least six feet from other attendees.
Several family members will take part in the procession behind Philip’s coffin before they enter the chapel. The custom-built hearse will be followed by his daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal; and by his son Charles, the Prince of Wales. Directly behind them will be their younger brothers, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex; and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Then some of Philip’s grandchildren will follow: Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex; Peter Philips, the son of Princess Anne; and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, in that order.
Behind them will be the final two in the procession: Vice Admiral Tim Lawrence, Princess Anne’s husband; and David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon and son of Princess Margaret, the queen’s deceased sister.
Other family members will gather inside the church. Charles’s wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be seated with him, and Prince Edward will be joined by his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
Prince William’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will also join him in the church. Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, did not travel with him from their home in California.
Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s daughter; and the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew — along with their spouses — are also scheduled to be present.
Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, and her husband, Daniel Chatto, will attend, as will three of the queen’s cousins who regularly carry out official royal duties: Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester; Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent; and Princess Alexandra.
Three of Prince Philip’s German relatives will also be in attendance: Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Philipp, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
And there was room for one more distant family member, Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten, who was a close friend and carriage-driving partner of Prince Philip. She is married to the grandson of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle, who was much beloved by the royal family. Lord Mountbatten was killed by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.
With Covid-19 restrictions limiting the numbers of mourners at Prince Philip’s funeral, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is one of the most prominent figures to miss Saturday’s ceremony in Windsor Castle.
Under regular circumstances, Mr. Johnson would have been high on the list of several hundred people invited to pay their last respects at the ceremony, a significant moment in Britain’s national life.
But as soon as attention began to focus on the practicalities of holding the funeral under pandemic rules, Downing Street said that Mr. Johnson would not attend.
“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday,” Downing Street said in a statement last weekend.
Given that his government designed the coronavirus restrictions, Mr. Johnson’s decision to make space for family members looks well judged, and at least allows him to say that he will watch the event like most Britons, on a screen.
British political leaders must tread a fine diplomatic line in dealings with their monarch, who is their head of state and leads a royal family that attracts worldwide interest.
Participating in royal ceremonies usually raises the prestige of politicians, but there are dangers in being considered eager to exploit the attention generated by royal occasions — particularly when a member of the royal family has died.
That is something that Mr. Johnson will recall from his previous career as a journalist.
In 2002, the Spectator and the Mail on Sunday accused Downing Street of intervening in arrangements for the funeral of the Queen Mother to try to secure a more prominent role for Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time.
Downing Street denied the claims, saying it had sought only to clarify what role Mr. Blair would play rather than seeking to expand it. It even protested to a press watchdog but ultimately withdrew its complaint after much negative publicity in the aftermath of the Queen Mother’s funeral.
That was at least a partial victory for the Spectator, whose editor at the time was Mr. Johnson.
NAIROBI, Kenya — At a state lodge in Kenya’s central highlands, Prince Philip in February 1952 delivered to his wife of four years, then known as Princess Elizabeth, the news that would change their lives forever: Her father, King George VI, had died, and she was to be queen.
Philip, who died on April 9 at age 99, spent the next seven decades not only as the queen’s consort, but also in a central role in reshaping Britain’s monarchy for the modern era. Known as the Duke of Edinburgh, he was a patron or member of hundreds of organizations, devoted himself to educational and scientific projects, and attended public events to support the queen — participating in more than 22,000 solo engagements before his retirement in 2017.
But in parsing Philip’s legacy, his most visible role for much of the world outside Britain was in complementing the queen as she fulfilled her duties as head of the Commonwealth. The organization, largely composed of colonies once under the British Empire, has defined Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign.
From the onset, Philip recognized the monarchy’s “centrality” in the Commonwealth, said Sean Lang, a senior lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University in Britain. And over the next few decades, he established initiatives like the Commonwealth Study Conferences to examine and find solutions for global challenges, in addition to founding the Duke of Edinburgh award program, which helped millions of young people build self-confidence and hone their outdoor skills.
The projects not only “transformed lives,” Mr. Lang said, but also “helped to associate the monarchy with shaping the future instead of living in the past.”
Yet the concept of the Commonwealth, aimed at projecting and preserving British influence, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, particularly in the wake of the recent interview Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, gave to Oprah Winfrey. In it, they related that a member or members of the royal family had said they did not want the couple’s child, Archie, to be a prince or princess, and expressed concerns about how dark his skin would be.
The Black Lives Matter protests in the United States have also revived debates in Britain around racism and the legacy of empire, even as more Commonwealth nations mull abandoning the queen as their head of state, or declare themselves a republic.
As Philip is being lauded for supporting the queen in upholding the Commonwealth, that depiction represents a kind of romantic fixation that detracts from history, said Patrick Gathara, a political commentator and cartoonist in Kenya.
“It’s made to seem that we should be invested in this institution rather than in the history that it actually represents,” Mr. Gathara said, adding, “The Commonwealth is born of colonialism and imperialism.”
After his death, Prince Philip’s sometimes offensive and racist remarks have also been revisited. During his tours around Commonwealth nations, he reportedly remarked to a former president of Nigeria, who wore a traditional dress, “You look like you are ready for bed.” He once asked, “You are a woman, aren’t you?” after accepting a gift from a woman in Kenya.
While different people will remember the comments differently — from blunders to jokes to derogatory statements — Mr. Gathara said the remarks expressed something deeper about privilege and power structures that continue to shape the world.
“If we had much more cognizance of the racist nature of the world’s system that grew out of colonialism, then these sort of statements, we wouldn’t see them as curiosities,” Mr. Gathara said. “We would see them as what they are: a real reflection of how the world works.”
Shortly after Prince Philip died on April 9, the BBC cut away from its schedule to broadcast special coverage across its television channels and radio stations for the entire afternoon and night.
As popular shows were taken off the air — including an episode of “EastEnders,” a soap opera that has run since 1985, and the final episode of “MasterChef,” a cooking competition show — the BBC was flooded with expressions of displeasure. To be exact: It received 109,741 complaints, the BBC said on Thursday, making it the most complained-about moment in the BBC’s history.
As Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC has a pre-eminent position in the British media, and its funding from the public via a license fee puts it in a difficult position. It is frequently attacked for being too liberal, and too conservative, while its access to public funding is controlled by the government, currently a Conservative administration.
The BBC tries to reflect the mood of the nation, but recently a fierce debate about the role of the royal family bubbled up after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
Too little coverage of tributes to Philip, and the BBC would have run the risk of not showing proper respect for his life. Still, the broadcaster received so many online complaints that it set up a streamlined process — a dedicated online form — for people to register their disappointment about the extent of its coverage.
The BBC said on Thursday that Philip’s death “was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.” It also said that the decision to alter the schedule had been made with careful consideration, which “reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster, during moments of national significance.”
Two commercial broadcasters took divergent approaches. ITV, like the BBC, reportedly also had a large drop in viewers on April 9 amid its many hours of Prince Philip coverage. Channel 4 had special programming but then aired a popular show, “Gogglebox,” which shows people watching television, at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, the BBC and ITV will both broadcast Philip’s funeral.
There were numerous portrayals of Prince Philip over the course of his long life. Actors including Tobias Menzies, Matt Smith, James Cromwell and Christopher Lee all played the part.
Yet no one ever truly captured the man’s essence onscreen, one of his biographers says.
The reason, said the biographer, Ingrid Seward, author of “Prince Philip Revealed,” is that no members of the public ever had the opportunity to study him closely. As a man accustomed to walking a few paces behind his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, he remained partly out of view.
Ms. Seward, who has interviewed many members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana, began talking to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in the late 1970s. And some of their early meetings were disasters. “He was rude to me,” she said.
But she eventually formed a clearer view of Philip’s complicated persona — his irascible character, his acerbic wit, his generosity of spirit.
The accuracy and relative merits of film and television portrayals of him evolved along with the public perception of the monarchy, from two television movies based on the courtship between Charles and Diana to Philip’s most recent depiction in “The Crown.”
In “The Crown,” which premiered in 2016, Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies played Philip, and Seward took issue with both portrayals.
“They make him seem grumpy and bored,” she said. “He was never bored. He led a really active, packed, busy life.”
She maintains that Smith in Seasons 1 and 2 didn’t carry himself the way Philip did. “Everyone knows that he walks with his hands behind his back, that he’s got a very military stance, even in his 99th year,” Seward said, adding that this posture made him seem taller than he actually was.
She said Smith’s Philip was too pouty and petulant, even if Philip did struggle to find a role for himself when Elizabeth first became queen.
“Philip does not sulk,” Seward said. “That is so not him.”
She said she found that in Seasons 3 and 4 Menzies offered a more nuanced portrayal of a man in midlife crisis, but that there was no such crisis.
“The moon landing, no, no, no,” Ms. Seward said, referring to the “Moondust” episode, in which Philip becomes obsessed with the Americans’ 1969 moon landing and wallows in feelings of failure because of his own, less-consequential position in life. (Jonathan Pryce will take over the role in Season 5.)
“Once Philip established himself, he was fine,” Ms. Seward said. “He accomplished so much, and he traveled all over the world on his own.”
In a coup for the venerable Paris Opera, founded in 1669 by Louis XIV, the company announced on Friday that the superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel would be its next music director.
The musical leader of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009 and the rare classical artist to have crossed into pop-culture celebrity, Dudamel has led only a single production in Paris: “La Bohème,” in 2017. And while he has dipped his toe into the operatic repertory in Los Angeles, at the Metropolitan Opera and elsewhere, he has been largely known as a symphonic conductor.
But another big appointment will come as little surprise to those who have watched Dudamel rise steadily over the past 15 years. The new position is a milestone in the heady career of an artist who made his name as a wunderkind with orchestras in North and South America and who is now, at 40, taking the reins at one of Europe’s oldest opera companies. His tenure will start in August, for an initial term of six years, overlapping for much of that period with his position in Los Angeles, where his current contract runs through the 2025-26 season.
Dudamel — who was born in Venezuela in 1981 and trained there by El Sistema, the free government-subsidized program that teaches music to children, including in some of its poorest areas — occupies a unique position in music. He is sought by leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. But he also appeared in a Super Bowl halftime show; was the classical icon Trollzart in the animated film “Trolls World Tour”; is conductor of the score for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film version of “West Side Story”; and inspired a messy-haired main character in the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle.” In 2019 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
started last fall — has expanded its audience in recent years, but still faces the pressure of roiling debates about racial representation and the relevance of expensive-to-produce classical art forms.
It is no longer the norm — especially outside German-speaking countries — for opera music directors to start as pianists and singer coaches and work their way up through the company ranks, as Philippe Jordan, 46, Dudamel’s predecessor in Paris, did. While Dudamel lacks that preparation, he is not unknown in major opera houses. He made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 2006, when he was in his mid-20s, and at the Berlin State Opera the following year. He first appeared at the Vienna State Opera in 2016, and at the Met in 2018, with Verdi’s “Otello”; on Wednesday he finished a run of “Otello” in Barcelona.
In Los Angeles, he has contributed to the Philharmonic’s robust educational outreach, especially the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a program inspired by El Sistema that was founded in 2007. He also continues to hold the post of music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, but after he criticized the government there in 2017, the country canceled his planned international tour with that ensemble.While he has not been able to perform with the Simón Bolívar since then, he still works with the ensemble remotely and has sometimes met outside Venezuela with groups of its players.
Dudamel’s appointment comes two months after the release of a report on discrimination and diversity at the Paris Opera, focusing on changes to the repertory, school admissions process and racial and ethnic makeup of its in-house ballet company.
Around the world, opera companies, too, have been called on to make their staffs, artistic lineups and repertories more representative. Alongside Ching-Lien Wu, the Paris Opera’s newly appointed (and first female) chorus master, Dudamel’s hiring is part of an effort to change the face of the company’s executive ranks and how it thinks about diversity and equity.