Rob Mathes was telling us the other day how he orchestrated the Star-Spangled Banner for the big game, and received no credit for it from the NFL.

Quite by chance we discover that he’s also the ears behind the new chamber version of Mahler’s second symphony, conducted by Gilbert Kaplan and intended for towns and ensembles that can’t afford the full shebang.

It’s a terrific arrangement, jointly done by Rob and Gil. On record, you can turn up the volume, shut your eyes and imagine it’s the full shebang.

mahler kaplan small

Rob, an Emmy-winning composer, is the son of orchestral musicians and a considerable Mahler freak.

rob mathes



They threatened to strike a big show night unless Covent Garden paid them the London living wage.

Nothing to do with us, said the ROH, speak to your contractor. But as the date drew closer, the opera management crumbled.

As of April, 50 porters and cleaners will receive the London living wage of £8.80 an hour.


It is being reported that the media mogul needed medical treatment after an altercation with his ex-wife in the vicinity of the family piano.

We find this hard to believe.

Not that the ex-Murdochs may have had a difference of opinion. Happens in every marriage and no business of yours or ours or, of course, of the Murdoch-owned media.

But the claim that Rupert Murdoch had a musical instrument in his living room is a bit fantastical.

For what purpose? He has never shown a scintilla of interest in music.


It was the first showing of La Fanciulla del West at the Opéra, and le tout Paris turned out to wonder why they had never seen Puccini’s Wild West epic before.

It appears not everyone got the plot.

After final curtain, the lobby turned into a bar-room brawl. ‘C’est une honte ! (shameful)’ cried some patrons. ‘ Fermez-la, vous n’avez rien compris, connards (shut it, assholes, you just didn’t get it)!’ replied others. Has there ever been such a fuss over Puccini?

Le Monde has the full story.

Cast: Nina Stemme, Claudio Sgura, Marco Berti, Nikolaus Lehnhoff (director), Raimund Bauer (design), Andrea Schmidt-Futterer (costumes), Jonas Gerberding (vidéo), Chœur et Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris, Carlo Rizzi (conductor).



First they announced that live musicians were to be replaced by canned tracks on Dancing with the Stars. 28 players lost their jobs.

Now they have got rid of the excellent music director, Harold Wheeler.

The joint producers, BBC Worldwide Productions and ABC TV, issued this statement:

Our talented Music Director, Harold Wheeler, will not be joining us for Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars. Since season one, Harold and his band have performed brilliant music in our ballroom for our dancers and the American viewers at home. We are grateful to him and his band for their amazing work and years of collaboration. We wish him the best of luck.


Katherine Jenkins scores 26 on her debut appearance on 'Dancing with the stars'-767355

Switch off now.

Figures published by the Ministry of Culture in Rome reveal that  Stephane Lissner was paid 817,000 Euros last year to be general director of La Scala opera and ballet.

The figures have been disputed by La Scala, which maintains Lissner was paid *only*  507,000 Euros, plus bonuses and expenses, which include 85,000 euros for renting an apartment and 177,338 euros for pension, severance and social security costs (source: Il Messagero).

Hold it right there.

Half a million Euros ($680,000) to manage a tax-funded opera house? That’s more than twice what it takes to run Covent Garden.

And a bonus on top: for what? Not provoking a strike? not dancing with ballet boys? not taking more sick leave than the average diva?

This whole set up looks like sick pay. In toy town. With public money that Italy doesn’t have.

la scala lego


Lissner is leaving at the end of this season, a year early. He’s moving on to Paris Opera and Ballet. We guess they’ve matched the offer.