Recent Departures: Marcella Hazan and Patrice Chéreau

There is nothing like a good obituary to encourage the resumption of blogging. I am not referring to any major loss in the scholarly world, but instead to the passing of two unrelated figures who have been important to me personally.

Marcella Hazan taught more more about cooking than pretty much anyone else. After my first visit to Italy in 1995 where all the food came from her Essentials of Italian Cooking (and where other important encounters were also made), I returned to the UK and immediately purchased it and began learning. I have all of her subsequent books and still learn from them. She is the reason I have never made an oven-baked risotto, put milk into a ragù, and peel red peppers/capsicums on certain occasions. Tributes have been flowing in: see the New York Times here and Matthew Fort in the Guardian here.

If Marcella taught me about Italian Food, Patrice Chéreau taught me about the meaning of Wagner’s music. I remember watching his 1976 Centenary Production of the Ring on video tapes in the early 1990s. Wagner has been important to me ever since. For a taster of that production, look at this clip of the final Immolation Scene from Götterdammerung, with Gwyneth Jones in fine form.