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Prague to Host World Premiere of Vivaldi's Lost Opera

A Prague festival will host the world premiere of Antonio Vivaldi's opera L'Unione della Pace, e di Marte, following its reconstruction by a Czech expert 284 years after its only performance.

"It's a specific genre of Baroque opera, shorter, which is called 'la serenata' and which was composed for a specific occasion at that time," conductor, composer and harpsichord player Ondrej Macek told Agence France Presse.

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Poet Adonis Urges Assad to Cede Power to People

Renowned Syrian poet and intellectual Adonis urged President Bashar al-Assad to end his crackdown on popular protests and cede power to his people, in an open letter published on Tuesday.

"The Socialist Baath Party has not remained in power this long because of the strength of its ideology, but because of the power of its iron fist," wrote the French-based Adonis, winner of this year's prestigious Goethe Prize and one of the most popular poets and essayists in the Arab world.

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Vienna Museum Told to Return Nazi-Looted Art

An art commission charged with returning Nazi-plundered works has recommended a Vienna museum hand over five drawings by Schiele to the descendants of their Jewish owner, it was reported Monday.

The drawings by Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) belonged to Viennese man Karl Maylander, who was deported to a Polish labour camp in 1941, according to culture ministry documents.

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Warsaw's Mozart Festival: Operatic Marathon in Bijou Venue

In a musical first, all Mozart's theatrical works will get an airing by the Warsaw chamber orchestra at the 21st Mozart Festival which gets underway on Wednesday, the festival director said.

The festival will thus be "a unique performance" Stefan Sutkowski enthused Monday.

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Peru Bid for World's Tallest Christ Angers Locals

Peruvian President Alan Garcia's plan to build the world's tallest Christ statue has angered local residents who fear the soaring monument will mar the city's skyline.

Garcia, who told reporters he has personally donated $37,000 to finance the project, said the 37-meter (120-foot) statue is a "personal dream."

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Paloma Herrera Celebrates a Life of Dance

"To dance is my life," Argentine ballerina Paloma Herrera said as she celebrated 20 years this month with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

Modest and very un-diva like, Herrara is at 35 one of the symbols of the nation's foremost ballet troupes. She has been a principal dancer since 1995.

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South African Art World Gives 'Kitsch' Tretchikoff the Nod

The blue-green tinged portrait is a lurid splash of color outside the South African National Gallery, in a nod to painter Vladimir Tretchikoff who was blackballed by the art world in his lifetime.

The poster of his most famous work -- the mass-printed "Chinese Girl" -- is for the first major retrospective of the eye-popping works that earned him the labels "king of kitsch" and a "painterly Barbara Cartland".

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Pope Pays Tribute to 'Painful' History of Roma People

Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute on Saturday to the "painful" history of Europe's Roma nomads and called for the community to start a "new page" through integration.

Speaking to around 2,000 Roma representatives at a meeting in the Vatican, Benedict also said that Roma culture had "enriched" Europe but that the community had suffered from intolerance for centuries.

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Canada Returns Seized Antiquities to Bulgaria

Canada returned 21,000 coins, jewelry and other rare antiquities to Bulgaria on Friday that had been illegally excavated and smuggled into the country, the government announced.

The seizure and return of the illegally imported cultural objects, which cover more than 2,600 years of Bulgarian history, was the largest ever in Canada.

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Philippines' Historic Walled City to Rise Again

After enduring wars, earthquakes, fires and poverty-driven neglect, the walled city of Intramuros that makes up the Philippine capital's historic centre may rise again as a tourist attraction.

Government planners see the UNESCO World Heritage listed but famously dilapidated site becoming one of Manila's biggest drawcards, similar to Singapore's Clarke Quay but with the added color of centuries of history.

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