Astonishing video of the concert when the lights went out
A member of the Guildford audience filmed what happened after the lights went out in the town’s new concert hall. After completing his concerto with the orchestra in pitch-darkness, Tchaikovsky winner Daniil Trifonov calmly played Chopin. According to the Surrey Ad it was filmed by “Mark Williams, who runs William’s Newsagents in Onslow Village”. That […]
The lights went out on the orchestra. So what did they do?
When I went to hear the LSO last night they were all abuzz with what had happened the night before – the opening concert in the new hall of the home town of their principal flute and all-round ambassablogger, Gareth Davies. Valery Gergiev was coming to Guildford, a dormitory town that last stirred, slightly, in […]
Just in: Trebs & Co to warm up London Olympics
Anna Netrebko, her husband and her best stage tenor of the moment are booked to warm up a key London venue ahead of next summer’s Olympics. She’ll be appearing in London for the first time as a joint act with hubbie Erwin Schrott. Prime tenor Jonas Kaufmann makes up the pack at the Royal Albert […]
An opera that celebrates print media
Strasbourg stages the world premiere tomorrow of an opera about its most celebrated citizen. It’s called La Nuit de Gutenburg and it honours the inventor of movable type, Johannes Gutenberg (usually spelled the German way), who spent a formative part of his adult life as a goldsmith in Strasbourg and has a central square named […]
What Valery Gergiev does at four in the morning
My friend Katya hangs out with the hard crowd. Round about the time the cock is clearing its throat, she took this pic of the maestro having a little private ruminate on the piano. Later on, when the LSO blogger gets his act together, I’ll tell you what Valery did when all the lights went […]
He's back! Piano star returns from 'looking like death'
At the Tchaikovsky Competition this summer, the Brazilian legend Nelson Freire walked off the piano jury with, one other member told me, ‘a face like a shroud’. He was seriously ill, and Valery Gergiev was deeply concerned. Last night Gergiev conducted Freiere at the opening of the London Symphony Orchestra season at the Barbican, with […]
Israel Philharmonic: a farewell summary
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra ends its European tour tonight in Verona, before returning home for the Jewish New Year. The only disruption to its concerts was in London. Other pro-Pal actions promised elsewhere failed to materialise. In Spain, Queen Sofia attended their concert (pic’d here with Zubin Mehta). What can we conclude? Not much, except […]
Just in: young Venezuelan lands a European orchestra
He’s a sistema graduate, 27 years old, and he’s just been named chief conductor by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, in Norway. His name is Christian Vasquez. Bookmark it. Here’s the agent’s bio and promo pic. Stavanger, Norway’s oil capital, will get a brand new concert hall next year. Christian could be on a roll. Ever since […]
Ovulating sopranos or fellating fruit bats – who's gonna win this year's Ig Nobel Prize?
The paper I posted recently about the effects of ovulation on the singing voice – studied in three countries from the perspective of heterosexual males – looks like a good candidate for the year’s least coveted international awards, the Ig Nobel Prizes. Defined as ‘improbable research (which) makes people laugh and then think’, its recent […]
Pandas in an incubator
My Shanghai translator, Dr Yun Sheng, has been visiting a panda reservation where curators attempt to persuade the shy and stubborn creators to change their timeworn habits and get breeding. She sent me these stunning pictures. No particular reason for sharing them, except – why did they remind me of symphony orchestras? Oh, add your […]
The Passenger – masterwork, not masterpiece
Fiona Maddocks, in her Observer review today of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s opera, applies a careful – though by no means cautious – distinction between masterwork and masterpiece. She argues that The Passenger is a major work by a master-composer without ever quite convincing the critical spectator that is belongs to the elite cadre of deathless masterpieces. It’s […]