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Today's featured article

George Soliti in 1975

Georg Solti (1912–1997) was an orchestral and operatic conductor, best known for his appearances with opera companies in Munich, Frankfurt and London, and as a long-serving music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In the 1930s, he was a répétiteur at the Hungarian State Opera and worked at the Salzburg Festival for Arturo Toscanini. His career was interrupted by the rise of the Nazis. After conducting a season of Russian ballet in London at the Royal Opera House he found refuge in Switzerland, where he remained during the Second World War. After the war, he was appointed musical director of the Bavarian State Opera in 1946, the Frankfurt Opera in 1952, and the Covent Garden Opera Company in London in 1961. In 1969 Solti was appointed music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a post he held for 22 years. He restored the orchestra's reputation after it had been in decline for most of the previous decade. Known in his early years for the intensity of his music making, Solti was widely considered to have mellowed as a conductor in later years. He recorded many works two or three times at various stages of his career, and was a prolific recording artist, making more than 250 recordings, including 45 complete opera sets. The most famous of his recordings is probably Decca's complete set of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, made between 1958 and 1965. (more...)

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"Face on Mars"

On July 25, 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft captured images of a mesa in the Cydonia region of Mars with the appearance of a humanoid face (see inset), which led to much speculation about life on Mars. In 2007, high-resolution images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the same structure definitively showed that the face was merely an optical illusion known as pareidolia.

Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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