Handel’s Semele is rehashed as the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story
It’s the latest in German shlock opera – a staging of Semele by director Floris Visser in Karlsruhe, at the Badisches Staatstheater, recast as the tawdry affairs of a former president. Jennifer France plays Lewinsky, Ed Lyon is the prez. Yes, that’s just how it was.
Vladimir Putin personally renews Bolshoi chief
In a conversation reminiscent of the darker years of Stalin’s rule, the Russian president has ordered a contract renewal for the Bolshoi boss, Vladimir Urin. Here’s the text of the conversation, carried on Putin’s official website: President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Urin, how long have you been General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, three and a half years? […]
Itzhak Perlman: I grew up on care packages
The violinist has authorised publication of his speech on receiving the Genesis Prize. Here’s how he begins: When I was growing up in Tel Aviv, my parents were poor, and to get enough food was a constant challenge. I remember care packages arriving from an aunt in Toronto: home-made chicken soup in a jar, a can of Del Monte […]
Lincoln Center has failed the arts
In a thoughtful jubilee essay on the evolution of the arts center, the historian Joseph Horowitz argues that the Manhattan project has patently failed in its mission to create a union of all the arts. The Lincoln Center dream (however vague) was of American performing arts synergistically feeding off one another in a […]
Better timing than any conductor you’ve ever seen
The irreplaceable Victor Borge. It is reported that the Danes are making a TV series about him.
Kurtag, 91, wins young artists’ award
The Borletti-Buitoni Award, usually reserved for young artists, will be presented tomorrow to György Kurtág and his wife Marta, on their 70th wedding anniversary. Press release follows. 19 February 2017: Today, Hungarian composer György Kurtág is 91 years old and also celebrates his 70th wedding anniversary. He and his pianist wife, Márta, have been presented […]
BBC seeks women to talk about classical music
Announcing a positive discrimination programme: We’re looking for female experts who’d like to appear on air as contributors to BBC programmes. Find out how to take part in our London event. Details here.
A world premiere Bartok recording? Yes, but…
From the Lebrecht Album of the Week: The unique selling point of this release is what appears to be the first recording of Bartók’s piano quartet in C minor, an unpublished work that the composer began in high school in 1898 and his publishers somehow forgot…. Read on here. And here.
Look who’s conducting the Vienna Opera ball
Semyon Bychkov has call in sick. So Speranza Scapucci jumps in. And she’s got another opera ball the following night in Baden-Baden. Cinderella no more. press release: Die italienische Dirigentin Speranza Scappucci, die vergangenen Herbst ihr umjubeltes Debüt an der Wiener Staatsoper gegeben hat, wird bei der Eröffnung des Wiener Opernballs 2017 am 23. Februar […]
‘I would work for half my pay if I thought quality would be defended’
Our Berlin-based diarist Anthea Kreston, catching up with an old friend in the Pittsburgh Symphony, finds the mood fragile and fearful after the bitter and unnecessary lockout. I am sitting, eating another glorious breakfast at my hotel in Waterloo, Brussels. Today is my final day of three here – this afternoon I catch a plane […]
Symphony concerts resume in Syria
The Italian organist Eugenio Maria Fagiani believes he is the first western musician to perform in Damascus since the start of the civil war in 2011. He joined the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Missak Baghboudarian, in Joseph Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante and Camille Saint-Saens third symphony at the Damascus Opera House February 9. He also played at St […]