The Saxon arts minister Minister Sabine von Schorlemer held a press conference today with the Staatskapelle music director Christian Thielemann in an attempt to dispel any confusion over her sacking of the Semper Oper director, Serge Dorny.


The minister said Dorny had emailed her with a long list of changes he wanted to make – to the company’s logo, marketing, the programming of the Staatskapelle, and more. In the email, he apparently threatened to resign if his demands were not met. When no agreement could be reached with him, the minister said, Dorny was given notice.

‘I would have preferred it if the affair could have been settled quietly and in mutual agreement. But that was impossible after the last meeting which I don’t want to go into further,’ said von Schorlemer.

She added that working with Dorny had proved more difficult that envisaged and that he had spoken badly of Semper employees.

Thielemann said that relations between him and Dorny had initially been ‘cordial’. They shared common interests, such as wine. However, when Dorny opposed plans to stage a new Ring over the 2015-17 seasons, ‘I was speechless…’ He added: ‘Lyon is a different world. He’s president there and has all the power.’

Asked about his own role in Dresden, Thielemann said he was contracted to conduct 15 times a season. ‘I feel very comfortable in the Semper Oper,’ he added.


UPDATE: Von Schorlemer later told MDR television that Dorny issued her with an ultimatum: either she agree to all of his conditions or he’ll quit. She said he acted like he was the Sun King, without any consideration for the Semperoper team.

Thielemann also told MDR: ‘I ascertained that he wasn’t interested in working together. While we shared a Schnitzel and a glass of wine privately, he went to the minister afterwards and asked her to disempower me. I don’t know if that’s really such a fortunate way to behave.’

It’s getting nasty again in Rome. Graham Spicer reports from Milan that theatre staff are theatening to strike opening night. The Mayor, Ignazio Marino, says if they do that again he’ll shut the place down for good. Riccardo Muti, the music director, has indicated he will leave if the unrest continues. His daughter Chiara, is directing Manon Lescaut, and Muti is working with Anna Netrebko for the first time.

Unless the strike goes ahead.


The Detroit music director is worried abiut the declining visibility of Afro-American artists. He writes:

Over time, the contributions of African-Americans profoundly changed the American musical landscape and paved the way for others. Well before such artists as André Watts, Henry Jay Lewis, William Grant Still, James DePreist and Thomas Wilkins, however, black musicians were forging paths in all parts of the world, albeit in small numbers.

In their time, Beethoven and Haydn were both described as Moors. The former wrote some of his most significant music for the black violinist George Bridgetower. Before that, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was France’s most prominent black composer. And in England, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor had considerable success with a work he wrote entitled “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.”

So where are they now? And why so few?


A major blow for Avid, the tech company that took over Sibelius software and got rid of its core development staff.

Avid was today dropped from the Nasdaq share index after questions about its performance. Full report here.



Avid closed at $4.93 yesterday, down more than 28% from Friday’s close. Avid was first listed on NASDAQ in 1993 and its share price had once reached as high as $66 in 2005

The star violinist Vadim Repin has pulled out of a Liverpool concert with an excrucuating tendonitis of the shoulder.

The concerto he was due to play this Thursday was Andrzej Panufnik’s. Not many soloists, outside Poland, know it off pat.

Amazingly, the US violinist Tai Murray does. She flies in for a Merseyside debut amid cheers of relief.

tai murray

Really good news. People who steal instruments get caught.

harry manx

Breaking News : Commander Thomas Argenbright of the Ohara Airport Police called Harry Manx at 5pm Monday in Montreal to let him know they have apprehended the suspect of the theft of Harrys’ Mohan Veena in Chicago. As of that time the whereabouts of the instrument were still unknown. Commander Argenbright commented that catching the suspect was a priority for them as the story had gained so much attention in Chicago. We will keep you posted of further developments.

Rani Souza

It was always a tacky thing to make a musical out of the human miseries of the Profumo scandal, but the fallen Lord of the West End complains that he hasn’t had a hit in 20 years so he wasn’t going to be put off by such niceties. Stephen Ward opened before Christmas amid great media razzamatazz.

It has now been announced that the show will close in March, after a four-month run. You may wish to catch the last performances at discounted prices. Or not.

stephen ward

Diego Maradona, multimillionaire and World Cup cheat, has sent the following message to the embattled Caracas government:

Por todas las mentiras que están diciendo y creando los imperialistas.

Yo estoy dispuesto a ser un soldado de Venezuela para lo que manden, porque la verdad estos señores, si se les puede decir señores, ya dan asco.

For all the lies the imperialists are saying and creating… I am ready to be a soldier of Venezuela for what they tell, because the truth these gentlemen, if you can call them gentlemen, and they suck.’

Long live Chavez and long last Maduro!


Here’s the latest image of Caracas at night:

caracas burns

Simón Díaz, famed the world over for Bamboleo, has died aged 85. He also wrote the locally popular “Caballo Viejo,” (Old Horse).

In 2002, Diaz recorded a television song, asking Hugo Chavez to listen to his opponents, while reminding demonstrators that Chavez was elected by popular franchise.


What comes round, comes round.

The Baden-Baden Festpeilhaus has awarded its 50,000-Euro Herbert von Karajan Music Prize to the VPO.

vienna phil

The fun begins when you read the official citation:

Mit dem Herbert von Karajan Musikpreis wird 2014 ein Orchester ausgezeichnet, das wie kaum ein zweites Ensemble seinen ganz spezifischen Klang über viele Jahrzehnte hinweg bewahrt hat und damit unverwechselbar geworden ist”, erklärte Festspielhaus-Intendant Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser. 

The Herbert von Karajan Music Prize 2014 is awarded to an orchestra that has, like hardly any other ensemble, retained its specific sound over many decades, unmistakably so,’ said Festspielhaus director Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser.

Now read that through the rimless spectacles of the Berlin Philharmonic. The Berliners ditched Salzburg to take up an expensive Easter residency in Baden-Baden, where they are supposedly #1. They won’t be happy to read the have lost their specific sound. Not one little bit.

Expect angry phone calls in Baden-Baden.

The music director of the Semper Oper was accused by the sacked general director, Serge Dorny, of making unreasonable demands.

Here‘s Christian Thielemann’s reply:

(And here’s an update from his press conference).



‘Herr Dorny hat einen Vertrag unterschrieben, der von seinem Anwalt ausgehandelt wurde, und damit müsst’s eigentlich gut sein. (…) Wie es dazu kam, dass er plötzlich meint, seine Befugnisse und Kompetenzen genügen ihm nicht mehr, ist mir ein Rätsel.’

‘Mr. Dorny signed a contract that was negotiated by his lawyer, and that’s the end of it. … How did it come about that suddenly his powers and authority were no longer enough for him. That is beyond me.’

And, more colourfully:

‘Getroffene Hunde bellen eben. Aber davon lassen wir uns nicht provozieren.’

A beaten dog barks. But let’s not get provoked by that.