Composer’s son, presumed kidnapped, is found dead
Two weeks ago, the Kazakhstan composer Yerkesh Shakeyev posted a Facebook appeal, seeking the whereabouts of his son, Safar, who had gone missing in the former capital, Almaty. Safar, 25, graduated from two American colleges, in Danville and California. The Kazakh authorities thought he might have been kidnapped for ransom. His body has now been found in […]
So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen’s muse is gone
Marianne Ihlen, Leonard Cohen’s mid-60s lover and the inspiration for one of his greatest ballads, has died at around the age of 80. A Norwegian, she met the poet on a Greek island. He drover her all the way home to Norway, but the romance was not destined to last.
A rare rave for Exterminating Angel
Fiona Maddocks, sparing with her five stars, was utterly uplifted by the new Thomas Ades opera at Salzburg. The world premiere of The Exterminating Angel by the British composer Thomas Adès (b 1971), long on the horizon, keenly awaited, took place on Thursday at the Haus für Mozart. It was the opening opera of the […]
A great bass-baritone turns 90
Tomorrow, August 1, will be Theo Adam’s 90th. We wish him many more years of strength.
Russian opera chief is declared bankrupt
Vladimir Kehman, controversial and ambitious head of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg and later of the opera house in Novosibirsk, has been declared personally bankrupt by a St Petersburg court. The ruling will remove him from all public offices by the end of the year. Read more here (in Russian).
Label news: Bayreuth rolls out new deal with DG
The Wagner festival is renewing its association with the major German label. Makes sense, right? First off this production line will be video of last year’s excellent Tristan, condcuted by Christian Thielemann, directed by Katharina Wagner. Next, however, will be this summer’s Parsifal, the almost universally derided ‘bloodbath’ production by Uwe Eric Laufenberg. Maybe they’ll […]
Steinway rage at secondhand piano trade
Ronen Segev runs a used piano business, Park Avenue Pianos, in New York. When he has too many concert grands in stock, he loans them out for free. This kind of thing does not go down well with Steinway. Ron Losby, president of Steinway & Sons Americas, said he wasn’t familiar with Mr. Segev’s business, […]
Justus Frantz is back on podium after savage shark attack
The German pianist and conductor is making light of surviving an attack by a shark off the shores of Hong Kong, a disaster that put him on hospital for a week with leg wounds. ‘I’m back,’ Justus told a German festival audience. ‘Let’s just forget about it.’
Rare silent film of Schoenberg conducting
Before you start trying to guess which work, it’s Verklärte Nacht with the LA Phil in March 1935, six months after his arrival as a refugee in the US.
Pianist, murdered in 1927, is heard again on record
A detailed piece of detective work at the British Library enables us to hear the first and last recording of the once-promising American pianist Marion Roberts, who was murdered outside Paris by her fiancé almost 90 years ago. Marion was 26. Eighty-nine years ago, a sensational story flashed across front pages in France and the […]
I saw my first opera at 25. Now, I’m 105 and still going strong
This is Aaron Blecker, retired Manhattan CPA, talking to the Met orchestra musicians: The first time I went to the Met was in 1936, with my future wife, Sophie Barman. When we were dating, we discovered that we both liked opera, but neither of us could afford to go. I wanted to surprise her, so […]