In 1963, the conservative British government was shaken to its foundations by the Profumo Scandal. The central character in this disastrous affair was John Profumo, Britain's minister of war, who had become sexually involved with call-girl Christine Keeler, whose "sponsor" was high-priced osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward. Fancying himself a dashing international adventurer, Ward had also offered Christine to alleged Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov. Another of Ward's stable, Mandy Rice-Davies, allegedly had slept with numerous British and American luminaries. The whole sordid story, which ended with Ward's suicide and Profumo's public disgrace, was recounted with relish in director Michael Caton-Jones's Scandal, which featured John Hurt as Stephen Ward, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Christine Keeler, Ian McKellan as Profumo, Bridget Fonda as Mandy Rice-Davies, and Jeroen Krabbe as Ivanov. In its original form, the film was ripe enough to court an X-rating; post-production trimming enabled it to squeak by with an R.
Carl Maria von Weber's opera "Der Freischütz" met with instant success on its premiere in Berlin 1821, rapidly spreading throughout Europe. Audiences identified readily with the folk melodies and hunting character of its Bohemian setting. The story tells of Max's struggle to win Agathe in marriage. The desperation which leads him to trade with the devil in order to regain his lost marksman's skills, finds resolution when fate intervenes to prevent the fatal "free bullet" from striking Agathe, saved by the sacred roses in her bridal coronet. In this Achim Freyer production from the Wüttemberg State Opera, the Huntsman's role is taken by Toni Krämer, with Caterina Ligendza as Agathe, Raili Viljakainen as Ännchen and Wolfram Raub as Samiel, under the bariton of American conductor Dennis Russell Davies.