Met loses its chief fundraiser to Philadelphia
In a further sign of disarray at fortress Gelb, Marita Altman, who has been Director of Major Gifts at the Metropolitan Opera since 2008, is leaving to join Opera Philadelphia as v-p of development. She starts the new job this week. Great catch for Philly, but who’ll rattle the big begging bowl for the Met? press release: […]
Leipzig books 90 year-old for 26 concerts next season
The Gewandhaus, which is publishing details today of Andris Nelsons’s first half-season as Kapellmeister, has allocated no fewer than 26 concerts to the US-born Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt, who will be 90 next year. Guess he doesn’t cancel as easily as those wussy youngsters.
Prime minister announces death of chorus conductor
The Latvian prime minister Māris Kučinskis has gone on Twitter to offer condolences on the death of Gido Kokars, who has died at the age of 95. Kokars was a leader of the country’s phenomenal choral tradition. Is there a prime minister of any other country who can even remember the name of a chorusmaster?
Christa Ludwig at 89: I would never be a singer again
The magnificent mezzo shares some thoughts on her 89th birthday: ‘When Jon Vickers sang … I began to weep on the stage’ ‘There is no such thing as the best: if you say today that Anna Netrebko, who has lots of promotion, is the best opera star in the world, this is not true.’ ‘Maria […]
Orchestra asks its audience to bring food
The Toledo Symphony is asking all ticket holders to bring canned food to concerts during the month of March. The food will be donated to the Martin Luther King Kitchen on Vance street. Those who can’t spare the time for a symphony are asked to bring food anyway. More here.
New York musicians mourn a pivotal clarinetist
Laura Flax, former principal clarinet at City Opera, died on March 12, aged 64. Laura was a role model for innumerable orchestral players and an inspiration to their children. She chaired the orchestral committee at NY City Opera unflappably through rocky times. And she found time to premiere works by works by Joan Tower, Shulamit Ran, […]
Some composers don’t travel
Wolfgang Rihm turns 65 today. He is being lionised in German media and ignored in all others. Rihm is by far the busiest of living German composers, rushing from one rich commission to the next. He has been composer in residence at the Lucerne and Salzburg festivals and is a favourite of Anne-Sophie Mutter, who […]
What the world needs now is more Carlos Kleiber
Facebook has reminded me that five years ago today I posted this rare clip of CK conducting Wozzeck, a work which his father premiered in Berlin in 1926. Has that score ever sounded more captivating? Can’t get enough of it. Enjoy your week.
What does it take to make Czechs smile?
This is the trailer for a new Rachmaninov recording by Khatia Buniatishvili, one of the more engaging soloists on the circuit. The orchestra is the Czech Philharmonic. Their facial expressions are phlegmatic, if not glacial. Do these players enjoy being on record? And on camera?
Despite rave reviews, Idomeneo is not selling at the Met
It’s a slightly better picture than the deserted landscape we posted last week. But this is the current state of sales for tomorrow (Monday) night for Idomeneo. The red spots are the seats still available – about one-third of the house. No wonder they can afford to tell Jonas Kaufmann he’s not really needed.
Who behaved worse after 1945 – the Vienna Philharmonic, or the Berliners?
From my essay in The Literary Review, on Fritz Trümpi’s new book about the two Nazified orchestras. … Compare this to how the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra treated its former concertmaster. Szymon Goldberg, a Polish Jew, was recruited to Berlin in 1930 by the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. Expelled from the orchestra in 1934, he roamed Europe […]