Americans support exporting drones to Ukraine — with a caveat

Drones have taken center stage during the war in Ukraine. Initially, Ukraine capitalized on the Turkish-manufactured TB2 Bayraktar drone to help disrupt Russia’s invasion, including by sinking the Moskva, Russia’s acclaimed guided missile cruiser. In the second half of 2022, Ukraine took the unprecedented step of building an “army of drones” to consolidate earlier gains,…

THE SCOOP | For Sale: The Empress Caterina Stradivari, A Violin With A Unique History

The Empress Caterina violin by Antonio Stradivari (Photos courtesy of Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows)
The Empress Caterina, a violin crafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1708 during his so-called Golden Period, is coming up for auction on June 8, 2023. Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows of New York will auction the rare violin online, with a provenance that can be established going back almost three centuries.
A storied provenance
The violin has a long history, some of it anecdotal, that spans a turbulent period of Russian history, and crosses paths with a number of larger than life characters.
The violin first appears in official records in 1898 as property of W.E. Hill & Sons. Alfred Hill visited Russia in 1898, and catalogued the collections of Prince Youssapoff. Youssapoff, aka Felix Felixovich Yusupov, is famous for having been one of Rasputin’s assassins, as well as marrying Tsar Nicholas II’s niece, the Princess Irina Alexandrovna.
He was also extremely wealthy, and owned a massive collection of instruments. Among them, Hill was documented as having “brought back intelligence concerning the existence of 16 more instruments that were unknown to us before”. The Empress Caterina of 1708 was one of the previously unrecorded 16 violins; Hill purchased the instrument for the company and brought it back with a story.
A trip through Russian history
According to Hill’s account in the company records, the instrument had passed through the hands of the Russian ambassador to Venice, who’d bought it for Empress Elisabeth Petrovna. Empress Petrovna, who ruled Russia from 1741 until she died in 1762, was much beloved, in part for her refusal to execute a single person during her reign.
After she died, the violin was passed along to Catherine the Great, who succeeded her as empress. Catherine II supported the arts and Western ideals. Adrian Moïsevitch Gribovsky served as Cabinet Secretary during the last year of Catherine’s reign, a man who was known as a literary writer as well as a public servant. He was also a lover of music with his own orchestra. He often played the Stradivarius himself.
Gribovsky, as it turned out, was also fond of gaming, and was not afraid to use state funds to finance his hobby. After Catherine II’s death, he was dismissed in disgrace. When he died in 1834, the instrument went to his son-in-law, Vasily Yakovlevich Guberti, where it passes into obscurity for a period of time before ending up with Prince Youssapoff in the late 19th century.
From Russian royalty to musicians to collectors
Once he had it back in London, Hill’s company sold the instrument on February 16, 1899, sold for £650 to Mrs. Marie Douglas Stothert, a French violinist. She was noted as a virtuosic player — with a wealthy engineer for a husband. Stothert traded the Caterina back into Hills 12 years later for the 1714 “Dolphin” Stradivari. Hills sold it again a couple of months later to French violinist Henri Belville.
After a few more collectors bought and sold it, in 1982 it ended up in the possession of German-Italian industrialist Giorgio Feige. It’s his estate that is now selling the violin at auction.
Stradivari’s Golden Period
The instrument comes from Stradivari’s Golden Period, generally acknowledged as stretching from 1700 to 1720. At this point, he turned away from the Long Pattern period, and produced more standard-sized instruments.
He was successful enough to acquire premium materials such as Alpine spruce, which is often credited for its uniquely dense growth in harsh conditions. He’d honed and improved his techniques over the years by trial and error. Stradivari’s unique use of various woods and varnishes is even now being studied by scientists looking for clues to his genius.
Tiny samples from the Empress Caterina, crafted in maple and spruce, were taken and analyzed, including cross-referencing with other known instruments of the area and period, with several significant matches. The violin is reported to be in excellent playing condition, with original main parts, and the original label.
It’s the first time a Golden Period instrument has come up for sale in about 15 years, and the purchase includes several certificates of provenance.
No official estimates have been announced, however Tarisio has a reputation for acquiring top dollar for Stradivari, including the Stradivari record of $15.9 million USD for the 2011 sale of the Lady Blunt violin.
Online bidding begins on June 8.
Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.
Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)

Cilantro Lime Shrimp


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp is bursting with flavor and it takes about 10 minutes to make! Serve it over rice or tacos for an easy weeknight dinner!

Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Cilantro lime shrimp is so easy to whip up, and it’s loaded with flavor!! This is always on my dinner rotation. We serve it over rice, with tortillas to make shrimp tacos or over a salad. For more shrimp recipes, you might also enjoy this easy Air Fryer Shrimp, Honey Garlic Shrimp, Shrimp and Grits and Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice.


Shrimp: You can buy fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp that’s peeled or unpeeled. Unpeeled is generally cheaper, but you will need to peel and devein it.
Seasoning: Cumin, salt, pepper
Garlic: Crush five cloves of garlic.
Lime: Squeeze two tablespoons of juice from one medium lime.
Cilantro: Chop fresh cilantro.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Season the shrimp with cumin, salt, and pepper.
Cook the Shrimp: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and half of the shrimp to the pan. Cook them undisturbed for about two minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook for another minute until opaque. Transfer to a plate.
Garlic: Add the remaining oil and shrimp to the pan. After a couple of minutes, flip the shrimp over, add the garlic, and cook for one minute. Return the first batch of shrimp to the skillet, and mix well so the garlic is evenly incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat.
Lime and Cilantro: Squeeze the lime juice and sprinkle the cilantro all over the shrimp.

What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Shrimp
I like eating this with rice and an avocado and romaine salad. Here are some other suggestions for how to serve this protein:

Cooked shrimp is good for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. You could microwave it, but I recommend eating the leftovers cold.

Don’t like cilantro? Sub fresh chives.
Switch up the flavors by using basil or parsley and lemon juice.
Shrimp didn’t brown? Your pan may not have been hot enough, or it was overcrowded.
Grilling: If you’d rather grill the shrimp, check out my Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Kebab recipe.

More Shrimp Recipes

Cilantro Lime Shrimp
#wprm-recipe-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #f3cc41; }#wprm-recipe-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-1-33); }#wprm-recipe-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-1-50); }#wprm-recipe-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-1-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-1-33 stop { stop-color: #f3cc41; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-1-50 stop { stop-color: #f3cc41; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-1-66 stop { stop-color: #f3cc41; }5 from 17 votes

Quick and easy, Cilantro Lime Shrimp is bursting with flavor – and it takes just minutes to make!

Prep: 5 minutes minsCook: 5 minutes minsTotal: 10 minutes mins

Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 2 /3 cup

ul.wprm-advanced-list-4929 li:before {background-color: #424242;color: #ffffff;width: 22px;height: 22px;font-size: 12px;line-height: 12px;}InstructionsSeason the shrimp with cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to the pan, then add half of the shrimp. Cook them undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook until opaque throughout, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining shrimp to the pan and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, add the garlic, and cook until the shrimp is opaque throughout, about 1 minute.Return the first batch of shrimp to the skillet, mix well so that the garlic is evenly incorporated and remove the pan from the heat.Squeeze the lime juice over all the shrimp. Add the cilantro, toss well, and serve.

Last Step: Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.

Video[embedded content]
NutritionServing: 2 /3 cup, Calories: 119 kcal, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 19 g, Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 144 mg, Sodium: 140 mg

INTERVIEW | Richard Ouzounian And David Briskin On Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music

L-R: Richard Ouzounian and David Briskin (Photos courtesy of the artists)
In 2021, the Royal Conservatory of Music had a roaring success with Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in Concert. Riding the wave of that triumph comes Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in Concert, showcasing the many talents of Cynthia Dale and Eric McCormack (who were also the stars of Follies).
The show opens at Koerner Hall on Friday (May 26), but be warned. Friday and Sunday are practically sold out, so your best bet for a ticket are the two Saturday performances.
A Little Night Music premiered on Broadway in 1973, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical was inspired by the 1955 Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night. Nominated for a whopping 12 Tony Awards, the production won six, including Best Musical. The plot deals with a weekend in the country and various romantic entanglements.
Over the years, the show has become the darling of both musical theatre and opera companies. It has literally never been off the stage, and by that, I mean worldwide. The musical was even made into a 1977 film starring Elizabeth Taylor.
Stage director Richard Ouzounian, who also helmed Follies, is arguably one of Canada’s most knowledgeable gurus on both musical theatre and Sondheim. The big surprise is David Briskin as music director. Ballet aficionados will know Briskin as the esteemed conductor of the National Ballet.
Both men joined me for a lively Zoom conversation about Sondheim and A Little Night Music. I talked to Ouzounian first, with Briskin joining me later, and I discovered that they are as excited about the show as any Sondheim aficionado.
Richard Ouzounian on Sondheim and A Little Night Music
I gather that the journey taken by A Little Night Music is a bit smoother than Follies.
Follies was meant to both celebrate Sondheim’s 90th birthday and be a fundraising gala for the RCM. We were one of the first shows to hit the stage after the pandemic, but we could only have 50% capacity. Five days before we opened, Premier Doug Ford announced theatres could have full capacity. It was not easy selling 50% of the house in five days.
So how did Night Music come to be?
We all had such fun doing Follies that Mervon Mehta, the RCM’s executive director of performing arts, asked, What do we do next?
Koerner Hall has such beautiful acoustics that it makes it a wonderful place to hear a musical score. The two most “orchestra” shows of Sondheim are A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd. We chose the former because it requires less resources in terms of singers. It’s a smaller show. When asked, both Cynthia Dale and Eric McCormack immediately said they’d come back.
The show is not billed as a gala this year.
No — it’s part of the RCM’s regular season, with an added fourth show. What’s interesting is that these performances are a kind of celebration because it is A Little Night Music’s 50th anniversary. It opened in 1973.
How did David Briskin become involved? I have to say I’m really looking forward to him conducting Night Music. For me, he’s anchored in the ballet world.
Paul Sportelli was the music director for Follies, but he’s currently involved in another show. David and I have been friends for years, so I knew his background. He actually began his conducting career in summer stock, putting on a different musical each week. He’s a real musical theatre junkie.
I understand you’re using an unusual version of the show.
It’s the original orchestration by the great Jonathan Tunick that has six more strings. Tunick is one of Broadway’s best arrangers, and when it comes to Sondheim, he is almost psychic in interpreting the composer. Sondheim trusted him completely.
What has your rehearsal period been like?
We turned the rehearsal process on its ear. The stage director doesn’t usually sit in on the music rehearsals, but David and I were both there. The first week we had one-on-one with each singer individually, where we would talk about the songs and explore interpretations. It was a great experience, exhilarating, even. The singers and I could see David’s respect for Sondheim, and how thoroughly he knew the show.
Has Night Music always been a favourite of yours?
To tell the truth, no, at least not until we started to work on it. When the show first opened, I was just 23. I was too young to appreciate it.
Isn’t it true that concert versions usually cut the book part?
Yes. They usually include all the songs, and just enough text to stitch the songs together. We’re doing the whole show — songs and text. We’re even having a simple set of birch trees designed by Nick Blais and choreography by Robin Calvert.
Sondheim has the reputation of being musically difficult.
That’s true. For example, he has underscores, where someone is singing one song, while another song plays beneath. Also, the songs are always changing meaning, and a reprise always conveys something different. For example, there is a section of five earlier songs that are sung, not by the original characters, but by others, which changes everything. There are also double and triple rhymes in the lyrics.
I know that Hugh Wheeler’s book is much admired.
And the cast is discovering just what a great book it is. We all are. Wheeler was inspired by the Bergman film, but he made changes, so you could say that his book was “suggested” by the film. Wheeler’s tone is different. In the film, Madame Armfeldt is just a tiny role, while Desirée has a son, and not a daughter. Wheeler has also included literary allusions.
Sondheim always had great collaborators. Like Wheeler, they gave him the tools to create the words and music. It’s magical the way the book works with the music. The more we explore the show, the more complex we find the score. At all times, a whole range of human emotions are at the centre of the songs.
What is the magic of Sondheim to you?
It’s the same as growing into Shakespeare. You can see a Shakespeare play many times and always find something different. Sondheim is like that. You love his musicals differently, depending on the age you are. You always find new riches.
Has anything influenced your approach to A Little Night Music?
Harold Prince directed the original Broadway production, and he told his cast that he wanted to see dark chocolate showing through. My heart belongs with Hal Prince.
The cast (L-R, top to bottom): Cynthia Dale, Fiona Reid, Gabi Epstein, Erick McCormack, Tess Benger, Dan Chameroy (Photos courtesy of the artists)
Davis Briskin on the Music of Stephen Sondheim & A Little Night Music
What research did you do, David, coming back to musical theatre after so many years?
Finding out what a composer has to say about his work is important. I did a lot of reading on how Sondheim approaches composing, both through his own essays, and what others have written. I also poked around YouTube to see what I could find on him.
Watching Sondheim in interviews was fascinating. He was usually looking into the distance and stroking his beard. You could see the wheels turning in his head. Those old interviews were very illuminating. I believe that Sondheim might have been on the spectrum — Asperger Syndrome. He loved puzzles and word games, and his energy level was a bit too much.
As for A Little Night Music itself, it demanded in depth research because of its complexities.
Is Night Music a favourite of yours?
I’ve always loved the show, but I never had a chance to do it. That’s why this has been a labour of love. It’s been more than just routine. It’s been a project, if you know what I mean.
What do you think you have brought to the show as the music director?
I think I bring a broader musical perspective. I trained as a singer myself, and I coached singers for auditions. I have conducted operas so I know the voice. And then there is my knowledge of classical composers like Ravel and Debussy who influenced Sondheim. Most of all, musicals have been a big part of my life, given all the years I spent in summer stock.
How did you approach working with these musical theatre actors?
I knew they saw me as the National Ballet music director, so I had to build trust, and I gained that trust through the work we did together. They were receptive to all the detail and thought I brought to the score, based on my research. Once I had their trust, I could give diction notes, and work on clarifying lyrics.
It’s been great to be in a room with musical theatre stars again. In reality, being music director on this show meant going back to a set of tools that I hadn’t used in years. It’s actually been refreshing — a nice change. Working on Sondheim is such a joy.
What is at the heart of Sondheim’s music in general?
It’s the richness, as well as his craft and intelligence. The score is filled with allusions to classical composers, particularly Ravel. I think that Sondheim wrote 20th century art songs. Not only that, every single number has its own identity, and his approach to rhyme is brilliant.
He’d start with a scene, and then do the lyrics and melody, but really, his lyrics are the most important thing. His songs are all about the text, and the relationship of rhythm to text. His shows lie in the text. Singers just have to follow the line of the song. It’s all there. They should just let the songs carry them — just be a vessel for the music.
In terms of the history of musical theatre, I believe that Sondheim is on a parallel road, blazing his own trail.
What about the score of A Little Night Music?
Sondheim deliberately wrote all the music in 3/4 time — waltz time. The construct of the piece is triangular — such as three people in a relationship, so their music overlaps, with three tunes fitting together like a fugue. This score is heady stuff.
Night Music is unusual because it has five singers who function as a Greek chorus.
In fact, when original Broadway director Hal Prince first got the score, he said, “What am I going to do with them?” They were originally called The Quintet, but over the years, they have become known as the Liebeslieder Singers. In usual productions, they are musical theatre performers. In casting this show, however, Richard made the decision that they should all be trained classical voices. He wanted an operatic tone for them.
What is the overall shape of the orchestra?
You could call it a chamber orchestra or a salon orchestra. There is no rhythm section, and instead of a piano, there is the celeste.
Where is the orchestra coming from?
It’s the RCM’s Glenn Gould School Orchestra. The school is heavy on strings, and so is the score for A Little Night Music, so it’s a perfect match. Using the students means we don’t have to double. In a Broadway orchestra, one player might be doing the saxophone, clarinet and flute — in other words, a range of woodwinds — but we can have dedicated players.
Richard mentioned that you were using Jon Tunick’s original orchestration.
This score is like a point of departure because it marks the growth of the show by notating when things have changed, so it’s a fund of background information.
How did the National Ballet react to you working on Night Music?
They were excited for me, while I’m excited to show audiences a side of me no one knows.
Check for tickets [HERE].
Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.
Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Paula Citron is a Toronto-based freelance arts journalist and broadcaster who hosts her own website, For over 25 years, she was senior dance writer for The Globe and Mail, associate editor of Opera Canada magazine, arts reviewer for Classical 96.3 FM, and dance previews contributor to Toronto Life magazine. She has been a guest lecturer for various cultural groups and universities, particularly on the role of the critic/reviewer, and has been a panellist on COC podcasts. Before assuming a full-time journalism career, Ms. Citron was a member of the drama department of the Claude Watson School for the Arts. Latest posts by Paula Citron (see all)

Oxfam: G7 Countries Owe the Global South More Than $13 Trillion in Development & Climate Assistance

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.NERMEEN SHAIKH: We end today’s show with a new Oxfam report that shows G7 countries collectively owe poor nations in the Global South more than $13 trillion in development and climate assistance, but instead, these countries are saddled with daily debt repayments of $232 million, deepening the global chasm of inequality.
To talk more about this, we go now to New Delhi, India, where we’re joined by by Amitabh Behar, interim executive director of Oxfam International.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Amitabh Behar. If you could lay out what this report found, the Oxfam report?
AMITABH BEHAR: The report is essentially talking about how we need to really relook at the narrative. The current narrative where we talk of G7 as these charitable global leaders, which actually should be getting resources in terms of debt repayment from the low- and middle-income countries, needs to be completely transformed. You know, we need to change the gaze. The gaze is, essentially, where we need to look at what do the G7 countries owe to the poor and the middle-income countries. So I think that change is critical.
And as you said, our report clearly says that the G7 countries owe $13.3 trillion to the low- and middle-income countries. So, that’s massive. So, this is in the form of the nonpayment of aid and not putting resources in climate action. So, that’s really the story. And when the G7 met in Hiroshima, they were talking about zero hunger, they were talking of climate action, but they did not really look at what their responsibility is.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Amitabh, if you could elaborate on that? You’ve said the huge costs from climate damage caused by the, quote, “reckless burning of fossil fuels by rich countries needs to be addressed here as part of the debt.” What are you calling for?
AMITABH BEHAR: Well, if you look at, as in — if you look at the commitments that were made by G7, they said, from ’22 to ’25, they were going to invest $100 billion every year. And we have not really seen that money come.
And if you increasingly look at the massive damages happening because of the climate crisis, particularly in the South, somebody needs to take responsibility for that. And it’s fairly clear, report after report, that the G7 countries are significantly responsible for these emissions. And at this moment, as our report says, that they almost owe $8.7 trillion in terms of loss and damages. So, that’s something that must be put up front by the G7 countries, but that’s not happening.
And then, the second part is that in 1970, the G7 countries agreed to a 0.7 of GNI as ODA. But we have, ’til now, not even seen half of that money getting realized. So there are massive shortfalls, deficits in terms of the money that G7 owes to the developing countries.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Amitabh Behar, if you could explain what the concrete effects of these crippling debt payments are on the Global South? This comes as a global hunger crisis has risen for the fifth consecutive year. Talk about the impact on individual states of these debt repayments and where the money is taken from to repay the debt.
AMITABH BEHAR: Absolutely. I think that’s also very central to our report, that the $230 million that goes out every day in terms of debt repayment, which is going to go to the coffers of the G7 countries and also a lot of rich bankers, is essentially the money that could have been invested in education, in health, in gender justice programs, in ensuring safe drinking water, in climate resilience. But that’s the money that’s going back to the G7 countries.
And this is happening in the context of the polycrisis that we are witnessing. As you’ve said, a fifth year we are seeing in a row where hunger is rising. Almost 280 million-plus people sleep hungry every night. And this is the time when this whole debt crisis is being talked of. And, you know, this is also in the context of the fuel crisis. You’re looking at inflation. So, even the cost of debt repayment is going higher as the dollar cost goes up. So, in the context of the polycrisis, this is really hypocrisy to say that G7 is taking global leadership, while it’s the schools and the public health system, safe drinking water, which is getting taken away from the poor and the excluded communities.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Amitabh, we just have 30 seconds. If you could say how humanitarian aid fits into it, the inadequacy of it, and what needs to be done?
AMITABH BEHAR: It’s extremely inadequate. It’s fairly clear that the need for humanitarian aid is just growing. And that’s growing because what we are looking at — you know, the polycrisis is also in terms of inequality, the climate crisis, conflicts. These are all coming together. And at this juncture, the humanitarian aid is galloping in terms of the need manyfold. But the commitments are very, very hollow. And that’s really —
NERMEEN SHAIKH: I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave it there, Amitabh Behar, interim executive director of Oxfam International, speaking to us from Delhi. And that does it for the show.