First responses to the Met’s decision to cancel the simulcast of the controversial opera.

Composer John Adams: ‘My opera accords great dignity to the memory of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, and it roundly condemns his brutal murder. It acknowledges the dreams and the grievances of not only the Israeli but also the Palestinian people, and in no form condones or promotes violence, terrorism or anti-Semitism. The cancellation of the international telecast is a deeply regrettable decision and goes far beyond issues of ‘artistic freedom,’ and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.’

Alice Goodman, librettist:  It’s hard to believe that the Met didn’t foresee all this and didn’t have a plan in place, as the St Louis Opera did, to handle it proactively. I foresee a great deal of pressure now to cancel the production, and wonder how the Met will respond. Cutting the number of performances?

London Barbican chief Nicholas Kenyon: ‘decision to cancel telecast of John Adams’s Death of Klinghoffer is shocking shortsighted and indefensible.’

Composer Nico Muhly: I was gonna HOST the HD of Klinghoffer. It is one of the most delicious, complicated, and wrenching operas I can think of. I encourage all of you to listen to the last seven minutes of the opera, in which Marilyn Klinghoffer confronts the captain of the Achille Lauro. Listen to how the kinetic energy at the beginning slowly melts into a landed grief with this passacaglia-like bass near 4 minutes, which itself then flips into floating strings under the most gorgeous line of the opera: “I grieve as a pregnant woman grieves / For the unseen, long-imagined son. Suffering is certain.” Solo oboe on high d! Wordless women’s chorus! Those strangz! The little recollections of the angry grief in the bassoon, flute, piano…
The whole last three minutes is one endless, slow-moving collapse into the single G she sings at the end. Yes gawd. Love this opera.

Composer Michel Van Der Aa:  What we can learn from the Klinghoffer debacle at the MET is how dangerous it is to have an opera system with such a dependance on funding through donors. That generosity comes with influence. At least with a government based subsidy system that influence is less immediate and less hands on*. (*depending on the government of course)

Also really quite absurd that the decision to cancel the movie transmission was forced by someone who had not even seen the opera; Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League “who said he had not seen the opera, but did not believe it was anti-Semitic.”

Peter Gelb said hundreds of emails had persuaded him that a Met broadcast of John Adams’s opera The Death of Klinghoffer might be seen as promoting anti-semitism. The opera shows the murder of a disabled US citizen by Palestinian hijackers.

Gelb said he did not want to be seen doing anything ‘that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as pro-terrorist.’ He did not, however, believe the opera was antisemitic and there will be eight performances of Klinghoffer at the Met in September and October.

The decision to cancel the simulcast is a direct response to an outcry by Jewish groups and tabloid newspapers. It suggests the Met lacks the courage of its artistic convictions in staging the controversial opera.

The Death of Klinghoffer

First reactions here:


The headline is, on this occasion, an intentional exaggeration.

There is to be a memorial performance of Mozart’s Requiem on Friday week in Piccadilly for the lovely singer Felicity Smith, whose sudden death at 33 left London’s opera community shocked and devastated.

Unfortunately, Diana Montague who was to have sung the mezzo part, has stepped in as Mrs Grose at Opera Holland Park at very short notice.

Happily, her replacement is the brilliant …. Alice Coote, whose contributions lit up our space last month.

Don’t hesitate another second. Book here. Be there if you can.



That’s the claim being made for Tona Brown, who makes her debut at the Weill recital hall at Carnegie on June 25. Tona doesn’t just play the violin. A lifelong fan of Leontyne Price, she also sings arias in an accomplished mezzo voice.

She saysI make it a priority to do both mediums (violin and voice) on most concerts unless I am in poor voice and its all violin or the client hires me to just do one or the other.  Switching between the two doesn’t bother me at all because they are so entirely differently although I have learned to draw parallels with each instrument.  It also gives my body a rest as the program progresses so that I can stay fresh and alert for any given period of time.  Therefore there is very little tension because I am not over exerting my energy either way.  It works out perfectly and gives my audience a very diverse program allowing a memorable listening and visual experience.


Anne-Sophie Mutter, you reading this?

brown tona

Two members of the Royal Ballet – so far unnamed – have opted out of a six-night residency at the Bolshoi, over Russia’s anti-gay laws.

A defensive Covent Garden statement said: ‘Out of the 96-strong dancers in The Royal Ballet, just two dancers have chosen not to go on tour to Moscow for political reasons.’

It added: ‘A handful of others are not going for family or other reasons.’

So how many altogether have refused?



Czech media are aflutter with discussion of the unusual encore played by Yeol Eum Son after her Prague concerto last week with the Czech Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev. Son sat down and played a piece by Nikolai Kapustin, a distiguished Ukrainian composer.

Many Czechs, sensitive to such things after 1968, think it was a political response to Gergiev’s support for Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. 

Here’s the pair in concert.


gergiev ukrainian

And here’s the piece she played as encore.

The Malaysian Philharmonic, which is under an international musicians boycott for unfairly sacking US and European players, has announced the Brazilian Fabio Mechetti as principal conductor from next season.

Mechetti is music director of the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, Brazil, and of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

The MPO put out feelers to several bigger names to fill the vacancy, but were rebuffed.

Mechetti may face questions from his US players.




The Metropolitan Opera’s showdown with its unions took a fresh terms yesterday when newly-released tax filings showed that the manager, Peter Gelb, earned 1.8 million in 2012 and has just taken a voluntary 10 percent pay cut. He wants the unions to trim 16 percent.

These discrepancies aroused a spate of shock-horror stories in New York’s newspapers, where Gelb has lost the war before a shot was fired. He has turned instead for soft treatment to the British media, but his comments are not encouraging.

When Gelb got the big job back in 2006, he promised to propel the Met into the 21st century by revitalising its repertoire, getting in movie directors, putting opera on the big screen and generally making it a place fit for entertainment and inspiration.

In the latest interviews, he makes it sound like a mausoleum.

Gelb’s pessimism about the survival of opera is the dominant tone emerging from the Met. There is no light at the end of his tunnel. It may be that Gelb has done all he can. Regardless of the outcome of the union talks, what the Met needs is a boss with vision, a positive outlook on the future. It may be that Gelb has to go.



We have been informed that Pierre D’Archambeau died yesterday at his home in Massachusetts, aged 87. He was a professor at the University of Oklamoma and a widely travelled recitalist who played Fritz Kreisler’s violin and once worked with Pau Casals.

Pierre’s father, Ywan, was cellist of the Flonzaley Quartet and a friend of the composer Georges Enescu.

pierre d'archambeau


 h/t: David Caines Burnett

The venerable Musikhaus Tonger, an institution in Cologne since 1822, has gone into insolvency.

The firm is one of the country’s largest retailers of scores, instruments and recordings, employing 40 staff across three locations.

The CEO, Lutz Wentscher, 78, is hopeful of rebuilding the company after bankruptcy. He is being advised by former Schott chief, Michael Petry.




The Finnish capital was yesterday ranked fifth in Monocle magazine’s annual table of the world’s best places to live. It came behind Copenhagen, Tokyo, Melbourne and Stockholm; and ahead of Vienna, Zurich and Munich.

Today, in the middle of June, it is snowing heavily in southern Finland (according to local reports).

Change those rankings?

helsinki snow


Only in America (you’ll be glad to hear, click here).


leonard bearstein orchestra