At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation in the international opera world, and one of the most versatile. Among his recordings this year are albums dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.
Novelist Delia Ephron says that losing her older sister Nora was like "losing an arm." But for all their collaboration and closeness, Delia writes about the complications of sisterhood in her new collection of autobiographical essays, Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.).
Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen continue to mine American pop culture in their latest film. It's 1961 in Greenwich Village and a homeless folk singer is trying desperately to break out. Critic David Edelstein says the overarching tone of the film is snotty, condescending and cruel.
The New York Times calls Stephen Sondheim the "greatest and perhaps best-known artist in American musical theater." Sondheim composed the music and lyrics for, among others, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Company. In 2010 he joined Fresh Air to discuss his career in musical theater.
New York City is home to more paintings by Johannes Vermeer — eight — than any other city. And until mid-January, it's playing host to one more: the world-renowned Girl with a Pearl Earring. Critic Lloyd Schwartz says, since the painting's 1994 restoration, "It's even more breathtaking than I remembered."
How close are TV interrogations to the real thing? Not very, says Douglas Starr. In a New Yorker article, he explores the "gold standard" of interrogation methods, developed in the 1940s. But there's concern that this technique is based on outdated science, and may produce false confessions.
Smartphones and the Internet have made it easier than ever for people to share photos of their friends, family, pets and children. But sharing personal photos raises technological and ethical questions. Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal recently became a father and has some tips for navigating the world of online photo sharing.
South Africa's Mponeng gold mine is a 2.5-mile-deep network of chutes and tunnels that employs about 4,000 miners. Of course, that number doesn't include the miners who wander its tunnels clandestinely, stealing and refining ore. In a new book, journalist Matthew Hart investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.
The actor's new memoir, A Story Lately Told, ends just as her Hollywood career is taking off. Critic David Edelstein calls Alexander Payne's latest film a "superb balancing act." America's Test Kitchen shares tricks for buying, seasoning and cooking your bird this year.
Ronstadt recently revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing. Her memoir, Simple Dreams, reflects on a long career. In this conversation with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, she offers frank insights on sex, drugs, and why "competition was for horse races."
For critic Maureen Corrigan, this year's hybrid family holiday may be best celebrated by escaping into a book. Her recommendations include a kids' book about Russian Jews that identify with the Pilgrims, and a novel that contemplates class divides during wartime through the lens of a football game.