click links in text for more info

Ruggero Leoncavallo

Ruggero Leoncavallo was an Italian opera composer and librettist. Although he produced numerous operas and other songs throughout his career it is his opera Pagliacci that remained his lasting contribution, despite attempts to escape the shadow of his greatest success. Today he remains known for Pagliacci, one of the most popular works in the repertory, appearing as number 20 on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide in the 2013/14 season, his other well-known works include the song "Mattinata", popularized by Enrico Caruso, as well as the symphonic poem La nuit de mai. The son of Vincenzo Leoncavallo, a police magistrate and judge, Leoncavallo was born in Naples on 23 April 1857; as a child, he moved with his father to the town of Montalto Uffugo in Calabria, where Leoncavallo lived during his adolescence. He returned to Naples and was educated at the city's San Pietro a Majella Conservatory and the University of Bologna studying literature under famed Italian poet Giosuè Carducci.

In 1879 Leoncavallo's uncle Giuseppe, director of the press department at the Foreign Ministry in Egypt, suggested that his young nephew come to Cairo to showcase his pianistic abilities. Arriving shortly after the deposition of Khedive Ismail, Leoncavallo secured work as a piano teacher and pianist to the brother of the new Khedive Tewfik Pasha, his time in Egypt concluded abruptly in 1882 after revolts in Alexandria and Cairo led by ‘Urabi in which the composer departed for France. In Paris, Leoncavallo found lodging in Montmartre. An agent located in the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis secured Leoncavallo employment as an accompanist and instructor for artists who performed in Sunday concerts at cafés, it was during this time that he met Berthe Rambaud a "preferred student", who became his wife in 1895. Inspired by the French romantics Alfred de Musset, Leoncavallo began work on a symphonic poem based on Musset's poetry entitled La nuit de mai; the work premiered in April 1887 to critical acclaim.

With this success and now with enough accumulated money Leoncavallo and Rambaud would return to Milan to begin his career as a composer of opera. Back in Italy, Leoncavallo spent some years teaching and attempting ineffectively to obtain the production of more than one opera, notably Chatterton. In 1890 he saw the enormous success of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana and wasted no time in producing his own verismo work, Pagliacci. Pagliacci was performed in Milan in 1892 with immediate success, its most famous aria "Vesti la giubba" was recorded by Enrico Caruso and laid claim to being the world's first record to sell a million copies. The next year his I Medici was produced in Milan, but neither it nor Chatterton —both early works—obtained much lasting favour. Much of Chatterton, was recorded by the Gramophone Company as early as 1908, remastered on CD 100 years by Marston Records. Leoncavallo himself conducts the performance or at least supervises the production, it was not until Leoncavallo's La bohème was performed in 1897 in Venice that his talent obtained public confirmation.

However, it was outshone by Puccini's opera of the same name and on the same subject, premiered in 1896. Two tenor arias from Leoncavallo's version are still performed in Italy. Subsequent operas by Leoncavallo were in the 1900s: Zazà, 1904's Der Roland von Berlin. In 1906 the composer brought singers and orchestral musicians from La Scala to perform concerts of his music in New York, as well as an extensive tour of the United States; the tour was, all in all, a qualified success. He had a brief success with Zingari which premiered in Italian in London in 1912, with a long run at the Hippodrome Theatre. Zingari reached the United States but soon disappeared from the repertoire. After a series of operettas, Leoncavallo appeared to have tried for one last serious effort with Edipo re, it had always been assumed that Leoncavallo had finished the work but had died before he could finish the orchestration, completed by Giovanni Pennacchio. However, with the publication of Konrad Dryden's biography of Leoncavallo it was revealed that Leoncavallo may not have written the work at all.

A review of Dryden's study notes: "That fine Edipo re... was not composed by. His widow paid another composer to concoct a new opera using the music of Der Roland von Berlin. Dryden didn't find one reference to the opera in Leoncavallo’s correspondence nor is there a single note by him to be found in the handwritten score."What is certain is that in Edipo re, a short one act work, the composer uses the same melody for the final scene "Miei poveri fior, per voi non più sole..." as in the act 4 soprano aria from Der Roland von Berlin. It has been assumed that Leoncavallo left the opera less complete. Pennacchio may either have conc

HMHS Newfoundland

HMHS Newfoundland was a British Royal Mail Ship, requisitioned as a hospital ship in the World War II. She was sunk in 1943 in an air attack in the Mediterranean. Vickers, Sons & Maxim, Ltd of Barrow-in-Furness built Newfoundland for Furness, Withy & Co of Liverpool, her 1,047 NHP quadruple expansion steam engine was fed by five 215 lbf/in2 single-ended boilers with a total heating surface of 16,095 square feet. Her boilers were heated by 20 oil-fuelled corrugated furnaces with a grate surface of 377 square feet. Newfoundland worked Furness, Withy's regular transatlantic mail route between Liverpool and Boston via St John's, Newfoundland and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In May 1926 she was joined by RMS Nova Scotia. Newfoundland spent the first part of World War II on her peacetime route, carrying wounded troops from the UK to Canada, bringing the rehabilitated troops back home. In April 1943 Newfoundland repatriated some Allied servicemen from Lisbon to England. Among them was Flight Lieutenant John F. Leeming RAF, captured with Air Marshal Owen Tudor Boyd in 1940.

His escape plan from Vincigliata PG 12 prisoner of war camp in Italy was by cleverly faking a bad nervous breakdown case. He succeeded so well that the international medical board, with Swiss and Italian doctors, unhesitatingly accepted his case; as he describes in his book: In the late afternoon we went aboard the British hospital ship Newfoundland, lying at the quay ready to sail for England. I walked up the gangway, as I felt my two feet touch the ship's deck I looked up - I suppose I am too sentimental - at the flag flying from the masthead. "Done it!" I said aloud. After the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, HMHS Newfoundland was assigned as the hospital ship of the Eighth Army, was one of two hospital ships sent to deliver 103 American nurses to the Salerno beaches on 12 September; the hospital ships were attacked twice that day by dive bombers, by evening they were joined by a third hospital ship. Concerned by a number of near misses, it was decided to move the ships out to sea and anchor there for the night.

All three ships were brightly illuminated and carried standard Red Cross markings to identify them as hospital ships, their protection under the Geneva Convention. At 5:00 a.m. on 13 September while under the command of Captain John Eric Wilson O. B. E, Newfoundland was hit by a Henschel Hs 293 air-launched glide bomb 40 nautical miles offshore of Salerno; the bomb was launched by a Dornier Do 217 bomber belonging to KG 100. It struck on abaft of the bridge; the ship was only carrying 34 crew members. Communications were lost but, more the fire fighting equipment was shattered. Mayo came alongside to rescue the patients, put a party on board to help with damage control. By now the ship had caught fire. There was another explosion and it became clear that the oil tanks had caught fire; the injured crew left 12 crew members battled the fire for a further 36 hours. The ship was beyond repair and was towed further out to sea and intentionally scuttled the day after the attack by the destroyer Plunkett.

Of the people on board, six of the British staff nurses and all of the medical officers had been killed. Burrell, David. Furness Withy, 1891-1991. Kendal: World Ship Society. ISBN 0905617703. Haws, Duncan. Furness Withy. Merchant Fleets. 37. Crowborough: Travel Creatours Ltd. ISBN 094637838X. Monahan, Evelyn, and If I Perish: Frontline U. S. Army Nurses in World War II. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-375-41514-9. OCLC 51978030. "The Sinking of HMHS Newfoundland". WW2 People's War. BBC Online

Aleksey Zatsepin

Aleksey Vladimirovich Zatsepin is a Russian former swimmer, who specialized in freestyle and individual medley events. He is a five-time Russian champion in individual medley, he won a gold medal, as a member of the Russian team, in the 4×200 m freestyle relay at the 2002 European Junior Swimming Championships in Linz, Austria. Zatsepin qualified for two swimming events at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, by clearing a FINA A-standard entry time of 2:02.15 from the Russian Championships in Moscow. He teamed up with Maksim Kuznetsov, Yevgeniy Natsvin, Stepan Ganzey in the 4×200 m freestyle relay. Swimming the second leg, Zatsepin recorded a split of 1:51.75, the Russian team finished the heats in eleventh overall with a final time of 7:23.97. In his only individual event, 200 m individual medley, Zatsepine challenged seven other swimmers on the final heat of seven, including top medal favorite Michael Phelps of the United States, he rounded out the field to last place by nearly two seconds behind Australia's Adam Lucas in 2:04.11.

Zatsepine failed to advance into the semifinals, as he placed twenty-ninth overall in the preliminaries. Zatsepin retired from his sporting career in 2005 to serve as an assistant coach for the swimming team at Kama State Institute of Physical Culture in his home town Naberezhnye Chelny. Profile – Info Sport Russia Profile – Dukh Sporta

Dov Schwartzman

Dov Schwartzman called Berel Schwartzman, was a Haredi Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva of Bais Hatalmud, which he founded in the Sanhedria Murhevet neighborhood of Jerusalem and led for over 40 years. He founded and led the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia together with Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, co-founded the first yeshiva in Israel for baalei teshuva, he taught and influenced tens of thousands of students, many of whom received semicha from him and went on to lead their own communities. He was conversant in all areas of Torah and Kabbalah. Schwartzman was born in Elul 1921 in Nevel, Russia to Rabbi Yehoshua Zev Schwartzman, a graduate of the Slabodka yeshiva. In the 1930s, his family escaped Communist Russia and immigrated to Tel Aviv, where his father served as a Rav. Schwartzman enrolled in Yeshivas Bais Yosef Novardok and learned under Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, the Steipler Gaon. In 1933, at age 12, he transferred to the Hebron Yeshiva in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem, where his hasmadah was evident and admired.

During one period, he would study for 40 hours at a time. He would begin learning on Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. and continue straight through till Monday night, with short breaks for prayers and eating. He would sleep on Tuesday night, rise early on Wednesday for another 40-hour stretch, his roommate in the yeshiva, Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, never saw him in the room, since Schwartzman would come in after Lefkowitz was sleeping and leave before he awoke. Rabbi Aharon Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, chose him as a son-in-law after visiting Israel and witnessing Schwartzman's genius and diligence. In 1946 Schwartzman came to America to marry Rabbi Kotler's daughter and began learning at the Lakewood Yeshiva, where he led chaburas. In the mid-1950s, as part of Lakewood Yeshiva's effort to establish out-of-town yeshivas and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky were sent to head the new Talmudic Yeshiva of Philadelphia. In 1955 Schwartzman departed to open his yeshiva in Israel and was replaced as rosh yeshiva by Rabbi Elya Svei.

From 1961 to 1962 he was a maggid shiur at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin. Schwartzman moved back to Israel in the early 1960s, he established a yeshiva in Ramat HaSharon, in 1965 founded Yeshiva Maron Tzion in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem, which evolved into Yeshivat Bais HaTalmud, now located in Sanhedria Murhevet. In addition to delivering a daily blatt shiur and a weekly shiur klali, he traveled abroad to raise funds for the yeshiva's upkeep, his lifelong dedication to Torah study produced a scholar, at home in the breadth and depth of Judaism's holy works. He was fluent in the works of the Maharal and had a thorough mastery of Jewish philosophical works, Hasidic thought, Kabbalah, his shiurim were known for their clarity. In his Gemara shiurim, he presented the pshat in such a way that it was clear this was indeed the only meaning, he was known for his Friday-night shiur in the yeshiva on Mizmor Shiur L'Yom HaShabbat, which presented a different explanation each week of Psalm 92.

He enlivened his students with his excitement for learning, endeared them with his paternal concern for their needs and his pleasant and humble personality. Schwartzman was one of the fathers of the Israeli baal teshuva movement. In the early 1970s, he co-founded the first yeshiva for baalei teshuva, Shema Yisrael, with Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Rabbi Nota Schiller, Rabbi Noach Weinberg. After this yeshiva evolved into Ohr Somayach yeshiva, Schwartzman continued on as a rosh yeshiva, delivering shiurim and guiding the staff in establishing policies for the new and untested field of baal teshuva education. Schwartzman's health worsened in his last years, forcing him to give up his duties as rosh yeshiva of Beis HaTalmud, he was buried on the Mount of Olives. With his first wife, Schwartzman had three daughters. With his second wife, Yehudis Moller, daughter of Rabbi attorney Meir Moller of Paris, whom he married in 1962, he had another son and five daughters, his sons and sons-in-law are Torah educators in Israel and America.

His eldest, Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman, the eldest grandson of Rabbi Kotler, is the rosh yeshiva of Lakewood East in Jerusalem. His second son, Rabbi Zvulun Schwartzman, heads the kollel in the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, his third son, Rabbi Isser Zalman Schwartzman, is a maggid shiur at Yeshivas Hadera in Modiin Ilit. Two of his sons-in-law, Rabbi Yeruchem Olshin and Rabbi Yisroel Neuman, are roshei yeshiva at the Lakewood Yeshiva in America, his son and sons-in-law from his second wife are Rabbi Yitzchok Binyomin Schwartzman, Rabbi Yosef Strasser, Rabbi Yair Bak, Rabbi Gavriel Sheinberger, Rabbi Dovid Broner and Rabbi Dovid Slutch. Photo of farewell party for Rabbi Schwartman in Philadelphia, 1955 Mussar Vaad

Aozora Bank

Aozora Bank, Ltd. is a Japanese commercial bank that offers service in 19 branches in Japan and in 2 overseas representative offices. Aozora Bank is the successor of the Nippon Credit Bank, founded in 1957 as the Nippon Fudosan Bank under a special government trust banking license alongside the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan. Nippon Fudosan Bank was itself based on the remaining assets of the Bank of Joseon in Japan. In December 1998, NCB was brought under government control in order to deal with its extraordinary amount of bad debt left over from the crash of the Japanese asset price bubble in the early 1990s: at the time, the bank was ¥270 billion in debt. An investor group led by Softbank and Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. purchased NCB in 2000 for ¥80 billion. As part of this deal, the government included a "defect warranty provision" to the effect that NCB could demand within the next three years that the government purchase any claims which had fallen by twenty percent or more from value.

A similar provision had controversially been offered to the purchasers of LTCB, purchased from the government and renamed Shinsei Bank. Aozora applied this provision conservatively in order to write off ¥400 billion in bad debts owed by about 100 companies, in contrast to Shinsei Bank, the contemporaneous successor of the Long-Term Credit Bank, which wrote off nearly three times as much and was criticized in political circles for doing so; the sale of NCB to Softbank was viewed as a precedent for the licensing of Sony Bank, Seven Bank and other new banking platforms in Japan. The bank was renamed "Aozora" in 2001. Softbank planned to make Aozora an investment bank for internet-related companies. However, Softbank was unsuccessful in obtaining the cooperation of the Financial Services Agency, sold its 49% stake to Cerberus Capital Management in September 2003 for ¥101 billion. Aozora launched operations as a retail bank on April 1, 2006, opened its first new branch in Nihonbashi on November 20.

Aozora Bank was listed as the No. 1 unsecured creditor to Lehman Brothers with about $463 million USD in bank loans to the investment bank as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2008. By comparison, the second largest unsecured creditor was Mizuho Bank with $289 million, third largest Citibank with $275 million. On December 16, 2008, Aozora Bank announced that it had ¥12.4 billion exposure to the Bernard L. Madoff ponzi scheme. On April 25, 2009, Aozora Bank and Shinsei Bank announced negotiations to integrate their operations in the summer of 2010, with an eye toward an eventual merger. Banks had been hit by losses in the US subprime market; the talks collapsed in May 2010 amid disputes over capitalization and business strategy, as well as the abatement of the 2008 financial crisis. Aozora acquired Japan Wealth Management Securities in 2011, merging it with existing subsidiary Aozora Securities in 2012. In January 2013, Cerberus announced that it would sell most of its stake in Aozora, cutting its total share from 58 percent to 7.7 percent.

Cerberus sold this last portion of its stake to Barclays for distribution to other investors in August 2013, ending Cerberus's shareholding in Aozora. Aozora's head office is located in the Kudan area of Chiyoda City, near Yasukuni Shrine; the bank has retail branches in Chiba, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Takamatsu and Yokohama. Aozora has representative offices in New York, Seoul and Shanghai, financing subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States. List of investors in Bernard L. Madoff Securities List of banks List of banks in Japan

Brain Slaves

Brain Slaves were a band from Auckland, New Zealand called The Coshercot Honeys. They were acclaimed for their unique sound, which combines neo-psychedelia with garage rock, pop hooks, syncopated grooves. After forming in late 2005 through The Coshercot Honeys performed shows throughout Auckland, following some personnel changes in 2006, the band began to gain wider attention with high energy live shows and more experimental song writing. Reviewer Joanna Hunkin compared them with Franz Ferdinand. In April 2007 the song "We're All Lions" was played on Auckland student radio station 95bfm and other student radio throughout the country; the song rose to #1 on the 95bFM Top Ten chart and was nominated for three bNet awards including "Best Song" and "Best Pop Song". To follow up the single they released an E. P. of the same name distributed by Rhythm Method, which rose to #18 in the Independent New Zealand Charts. They released a video to accompany the single shot by Trophy Wife Productions. In 2008 the band played a number of support slots including The Veils, Matt Costa and a national tour with Collapsing Cities.

They played alongside The Mint Chicks and The Checks at Vodafone Homegrown on the Wellington Waterfront. The band played at the Rhythm and Vines festival on 30 December 2008 alongside Franz Ferdinand, Late of the Pier and Public Enemy, played again at the Vodafone Homegrown festival in March 2009. On 12 November 2008, New Zealand indie music website Cheese on Toast revealed the band had changed their name to Brain Slaves; this was confirmed on the band's myspace page. Brain Slaves explained. About the same time as this occurred, new material in the form of small song snippets and videos appeared on Myspace and Youtube. On 10 February 2010, the band announced that they had broken up, saying "The five of us have been the tightest crew, but we feel now that it is time to cut loose and experience life as individuals, not as five parts of one personality." The news was broken by a blogger on, although the Brain Slaves asked him to withhold this information. They went on to say "Brainslaves were a band, but always will be five silly f***ers who love music and mayhem."

They will release a free download pack with all their songs, the two music videos they made, other footage. Brain Slaves' MySpace page