Flurry of signings at London agency
AskonasHolt, under new management this past half-year, has pulled several early plums out of its Christmas pudding. In addition to Joyce DiDonato, whose switch we announced two weeks ago, Holt have signed the pianist Andras Schiff, the baritone Ludovic Tézier, the director Frederick Wake-Walker and the French soprano Julie Fuchs. That’s quite a fistful.
Best Arts Council news for years
The Government has appointed Darren Henley, head of Global Classic FM since 1999, as chief executive of Arts Council England. Now that’s a breath of fresh air. Darren is a commercial operator with a passion for music who travels up and down the country and is familiar with the workings of the outmoded subsidy system. […]
Sad death of British festival boss
David Blenkinsop, a Yorkshireman, turned the Perth arts festival truly original and international as its director from 1977 to 1999. Before that, he was a BBC reporter and a concerts manager at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Among his landmark achievements was to import Peter Brook’s nightlong staging of the Mahabharata. David, who was 77, had […]
A busy pianist, 91 today
Many happy returns to a dear friend, Menahem Pressler. He’s playing with Rattle and the Berlin Phil on New Year’s Eve.
Anna Netrebko’s cash goes a long way in Donetsk
The soprano has taken down a post on her Facebook page, explaining why she gave a million roubles ($19,000) to the opera house in war-torn Donestsk, handing the cheque to a pro-Russian separatist in front of a separatist flag. The incident has caused her no end of distress. In Donetsk, meanwhile, the money has been handed […]
Xmas cracker 2: For this we sent our boy to Oxford?
Whatever became of flowing gowns and Away in a Manger? Still, at least they sing in tune… From the publicity blurb: Out of the Blue, Oxford’s all-male a cappella group, in the 1994 hit single, which just turned 20 years old. Filmed entirely on the Oxford campus, Harry Potter movie fans will recognize the background […]
Maestro woes: Loser sues over music director ‘anomalies’
A month ago, power brokers in Seville, Spain, split the music directorship between the incumbent political pet Pedro Halffter, who had been rejected by the musicians, and the American John Axelrod. Halffter will remain opera chief at the Teatro de la Maestranza, while Axelrod gets to lead symphony concerts. The decision followed an international search for […]
‘The least subsidised opera house in Europe’
Madrid’s Teatro Rreal has put its finances in order. It now claims to have, at 30 percent of total revenue, the lowest level of state funding in Europe. That cannot, however, be true. Covent Garden manages on well below 30 percent and Glyndebourne receives no public funds at all, except for its touring operation. Nice […]
Breaking: Competition chair stands down, at 95
It’s about to be announced that Dame Fanny Waterman will retire as chairman and artistic director of the Leeds Piano Competition after next year’s round in September. Dame Fanny will be 95 in March 2015. photo: Andy Manning, 2009 A piano teacher, she founded the competition in 1961 at a time when no international […]
A Met Brünnhilde is found dead
Janis Martin, who commanded major Wagner roles at the Met, has been found dead by a visitor at her home in San Antonio, Texas. She was 75. There were no suspicious circumstances. A Californian, she sang 147 times at the Met, from 1962 to 1997. She also sang with the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1971 to […]
Video: Tchaikovsky Competition whitewashes its history
They’ve been digging out old Soviet video and recycling it in a new documentary, using the old politicised commentary without a smidgeon of detachment. Who knew, for instance, that in 1966 there was a fashion for ‘intellectual’ violin playing that caused David Oistrakh’s students to miss out on first prize? Watch in wonder. […]