The past year was full of culture sensations, some more worthy of our attention than others. Twenty-twelve brought us many successes and failures, revelations and metamorphoses.

The Rolling Stones went on their 50th Anniversary tour this year

Photo: Mark Seliger

Let’s start with music culture, where we enjoyed the 50th anniversary tour of the Rolling Stones. Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen joined hands to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy, putting on a benefit concert on December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) and raising around $50 million. The Philharmonic 360 performances also regaled us with adventurous music at the Park Avenue Armory. The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, directed by Gustavo Dudamel, came to Carnegie Hall for a breathtaking performance.

In theatre and opera, Deborah Voight starred in Götterdämerung as Brünnhilde, the final installment in director Robert Lepage’s “Ring” cycle at the Metropolitan Opera. Once became a Broadway hit, and Death of a Salesman rose again as a cultural phenomenon under the direction of Mike Nichols.

The art world enjoyed the opening of the Barnes Foundation’s new home in Philadelphia, which

Justin Peck's "Year of the Rabbit" was a sensation in dance this year

Photo: Andrea Mohin / NY Times

did a fine job of recreating its “old” feel. Discovering Columbus was installed at Columbus Circle, and enjoyed both praise and criticism for its use of the historic Christopher Columbus statue, giving us a new take on an old part of our heritage and culture. Galleries were also left ravaged and broken after Hurricane Sandy hit, but found hope and inspiration in the community, dutifully coming together to rebuild what was lost.

A sensation in dance, the Year of the Rabbit by young choreographer Justin Peck premiered in October. Deborah Hay’s As Holy Sites Go/duet followed in November, and Ratmansky’s Symphony No.9 also thrilled audiences. On a sadder note, Renee Robinson made her spectacular exit after over thirty years as a professional dancer.

E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" brought a new genre to mainstream audiences

E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” brought a new genre to mainstream audiences
Image: Vintage Books

Literature lovers promoted a new genre this year when they ate up E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Erotica became part of mainstream pop culture after more than 65 million copies sold worldwide, and imitation authors came out with their own takes on similar subjects. Random House and Penguin also decided to merge, and the author of one of the biggest book sensations of the year, No Easy Day, chose to protect his identity and remain anonymous.

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