Hot on the heels of the Met’s wretched Wagner returns comes news from Amsterdam that their recent Ring cycle sold out – and more. Presumably some tickets were sold twice over or some of the skimpier Dutch agreed to share their seat to achieve a 101% records.

Statistics for Dutch National Opera 2013-14 season: 92% capacity attendance, 1o5,000 tickets sold, highest revenue. And this in a city of 750,000 population.

Are you reading, Peter Gelb?


dutch national opera

Click the word ‘post’.

sexy dance


h/t: Yuliya Barsky
From Brazil, needless to say.

She was to have sung Carmina Burana in Orange in a fortnight, but the Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva has informed the organisers she is ‘awaiting a happy event’.

sonya yoncheva2

They’re advertising auditions for next season, if there is one. Click here.


metropolitan-opera exterior

In tough economic times, the Casa da Musica in Porto has landed an outstanding interpreter of modern works, Baldur Brönnimann.

baldur bronniman


The weekly Nielsen numbers are in and they are even worse than usual.

The top-selling album, with 1,789 sales, is Casey Cresczendo of The Dear (sic) Hunter with a release called Amour and Attrition. It is described as a symphony – and may even be one (we have not yet received a copy) – but its USP is rock musician doing his thing. It’s not classical.

The next two items, selling 253 copies and 173 respectively, are singing nuns.

Below that, peanuts.

A statistician would say that last week, measured by the usual minimal criteria, no classical music was sold in the United States of America.


First Vienna, then Chicago, now Berlin.

Barenboim’s State Opera has announced that it achieved 88 percent capacity across the season, attracting 183,000 visitors.

Still gloomy, Peter Gelb?

barenboim german cross

Nearly eighty years ago, in 1937, the Nazis confiscated Peters Edition in Leipzig from its Jewish owners, the Hinrichsen family, and handed it to one of their own, a man called Johannes Petschull.

Sixty-five years ago, the Communists confiscated what was left of the company’s property in East Germany.

The Hinrichsen family re-established Peters in London and New York, while Petschull carried on his dubious business from Frankfurt (you can read about some of the dodgy dealings in my book, When the Music Stops).

Now, after negotiating a minefield of legal and logistical tripwires, the three branches of the firm have been unified.

Yesterday, Edition Peters returned to Leipzig.


It’s Justin Way, a Covent Garden staffer with a mass of experience.


Other Proms changes:

Prom 12 (Saturday 26 July)
Andrew Kennedy has had to withdraw from this Prom. Benjamin Hulett will now sing the tenor role in J. S. Bach’s St John Passion
Proms Plus (Sunday 3 August, Royal College of Music)
Michael Murpurgo will take part in a Proms Plus talk which will precede the War Horse Prom that afternoon, reading extracts from Only Remembered, a collection of writing, prose, poetry and songs to mark the commemoration of the First World War
Prom 25 (Monday 4 August)
Carolyn Sampson will perform in the world premiere of the late John Tavener’s BBC commission, Requiem Fragments
Prom 30 (Friday 8 August)
Jazz singer Gregory Porter will perform at the Battle of the Bands Late Night Prom
Prom 45 (Tuesday 19 August)
ElectricVocals will perform in Laura Mvula’s Late Night Prom

Brigitte Fassbaender, the Octavian and Orlofsky of our times, is still hard at work as a stage director and coach.

Here’s her birthday interview with Sebastian Scotney.

brigitte fassbaender

photo (c) Lebrecht Music&Arts

Need a second viola for the afternoon session at Abbey Road? Extra bass for a wedding?

Georgia Meyers has launched a connection service for musicians who live and work in the north London borough of Brent. Cool idea.

Contact here.

The Wall Street Journal has been analysing the Met’s box-office take on recent productions. The widely-scorned and technically faulty Wagner Ring cycle, staged by Robert LePage, bombed on its return run, achieving just 48 percent of sales potential for Siegfried and 58% across the entire cycle, according to the WSJ.

‘We were up against Ring cycles all over the world that season,’ bleated the Met, a feeble excuse.

Full story and more stats here. UPDATE comparison here.

Wagners Das Rheingold Metropolitan Opera 2010