In Copenhagen tonight, Keith Warner, head of the Royal Opera, addressed an anti-cuts concerts from his knees.  ‘Please,’ he said, help me save my chorus.’

Cutbacks.  56 opera singers to become 40th  - Photo: HOLM MAGNUS

Government cuts threaten to reduce the chorus by one-third and, by doing so, demolish Denmark’s place in the league of major opera houses.

Here’s a live report from Politiken. Google gives a legible translation.

The BBC tonight starts screening a Danish political drama, Borgen, after the phenomenal success of the crime series, The Killing.

Over the past year, four young Danish conductors have landed promising international posts and the former artistic director of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Kasper Holten, was appointed head of the Royal Opera company in London. These are huge credits for a small nation. And they arise from a deep and disciplined cultural infrastructure, topped by the Royal Theatre.

Yet a petty-minded government is threatening to sacrifice all these gains by imposing drastic cuts on the Royal Theatre, slashing its chorus and performing cast and throwing away its competitive leadership in the region.

The prime minister,  Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is married to the son of a British Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock. I’d very much doubt that he’s impressed.

Meantime, here’s Kasper Holten denouncing the cuts on state TV.

The Badische Staatskapelle of Karlsruhe will launch its 350th anniversary on Monday. It was formed as a court orchestra in 1662 and has been going strong ever since.

In November 1876, it gave the world premiere of the first symphony by Johannes Brahms, conducted by Felix Otto Dessoff.

Justin Brown, a British conductor, is the present music director. Can anyone name an older full-time orchestra?

This is from a current production at the theatre, Der Mann die Welt Ass. Wonder how it got that name. Here’s the website.


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The Economist magazine devotes its back page to a fond farewell. This week the editorial eye fell on the great Cape Verdi singer, Cesaria Evora, who died a week before Christmas.

The writer, anonymous by convention, clearly knew the great morna singer, adored her voice and visited her island. The epitaph has everything in it except her music. Read on here and listen below.