How to enunciate 'r's in French opera – and how to be one
Some weeks ago, the mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham had a dilemma. Rinat is the world’s Carmen of choice and a director asked her to change the way she pronounced her ‘r’ for a Belgian audience at La Monnaie. He wanted it gutturalised rather than rolled. Have you any idea how difficult it is to sing guttural […]
Wenceslas Square tonight belongs once more to Vaclav Havel
photos (c) Eos Chater And this is Good King Wenceslas himself
Just in: Grammy-winning jazz composer dies
Ralph MacDonald started out drumming for Harry Belafonte. In all, he made 400 albums. His most celebrated composition was Roberta Flack’s Where is the love? MacDonald was 67 when he died yesterday in Stamford, Conn.
Russia's opera company for the blind – video report
Andrea Bocelli, eat your heart out. A report in English from Russian Television, with reporter participation.
Obama talks about the value of arts. BP pumps them with cash.
One of the great disappointments of the Obama presidency has been its failure to foster the creative potential of America’s arts. Another, probably unforgettable, was the president’s xenophobic assaults on British Petroleum when a BP rig sprung a bad leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Made us all so proud to be British (even though BP […]
Listening to radio. Actually listening, not just hearing it.
A dozen francophone friends came round last night to hear my programme on Barbara and the effect was unexpected. We sat, whiskey tumblers and champagne glasses in hand, and gave the speakers our full attention for 45 minutes. It felt like being transported back to the 1930s of our parents and grandparents when radio was the […]
Better dead than read: the Guardian slashes obituaries
It’s hardly worth dying any more. The Guardian, which has the best pair of eulogy pages in Britain, is cutting back from two pages to one, Press Gazette reports. That’s bad news for the late lamented, both the famous and those more locally appreciated who receive sweet tributes from their community. The Guardian is suffering […]
Phew! Fallen Met mezzo gets sent home
Wendy White, who fell eight feet from an insecure Met platform in Gounod’s Faust has been sent home after a night in St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. She suffered extensive bruising but no broken bones. The Met, however, has some safety questions to answer. These accidents are far too frequent.
Havel: National Theatre bids farewell
The following statement was read last night at the National Theatre in Prague by its director Ondrej Cerny, before the curtain went up on Dvorak’s Rusalka: Václav Havel has died. The greatest spiritual authority of our young democracy has left us for ever. An extraordinary human, a true citizen, a great politician, a splendid […]
Violin dealer sent to Vienna for trial
The flamboyant violin dealer Dietmar Machold will not face the mercies of Swiss justice. Machold, who declared bankruptcy last year, was arrested in Switzerland ten months ago on charges of fraud and embezzlement. Five Stradivarius and four Guarnerius are among 17 instruments, worth $50 million, that the authorities in both countries would like to trace. […]
Singer falls eight feet from Met stage. One accident too many this year
Wendy White is stable in hospital, according to latest reports. She was singing the role of Marthe in Gounod’s Faust when her platform collapsed. (Wendy is bottom right) (René Pape (left) as Méphistophélès duets with mezzo Wendy White. Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.) UPDATE: more details here. Earlier this year, Deborah […]