Grant Meyers designs sound effects for sex films. He seems like a nice person.

(There are no improper images on this short film. We share it as an example in sound recording and production.)


Sample quote: ‘When you’re watching an erotic film, you’re watching pixels. Pixels are not real. Sound is real.’

We hear from Russia that the Perm opera state budget has been slashed from $2 million this year to $1 million next, a sign of deteriorating economic conditions. Perm is where the conductor Theodor Currentzis is recording the Mozart-Da Ponte operas for Sony Classical.

Currentzis’s share of the concert calendar is also being reduced.


– See more at:

lady macbeth

Meistersinger? No.

Peter Grumps? Also not.

I give in.

It’s Norwegian Opera’s new production of Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which opened last night in Oslo.

Critic Erling E Gulbrandsen calls it: ‘An An extreme scene of devastating sex on top of a huge heap of slimy cod.’


We hear from Russia that the Perm opera state budget has been slashed from $2 million this year to $1 million next, a sign of deteriorating economic conditions. Perm is where the conductor Theodor Currentzis is recording the Mozart-Da Ponte operas for Sony Classical.

Currentzis’s share of the concert calendar is also being reduced.


The abrupt departure of Franz Welser-Möst leaves 34 nights to fill this season, plenty of opportunity to test out potential music directors.

The one who will spring to mind for Vienna’s intendant Dominique Meyer are, in order of availability:

Gianandrea Noseda, who has just quit Turin.

Daniele Gatti, who is being pursued for the Turin vacancy but would prefer Vienna.


Philippe Jordan, who is performing wonders at the Paris Opéra, where finances are getting tough. He beings this season as chief condcutor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

Antonio Pappano, who shows no sign of wanting to leave Covent Garden.

The young Frenchmen Alain Altinoglu and Philippe Auguin are frequent visitors, well liked by the musicians.

Simone Young, also well respected, is in her final season as general music director in Hamburg.

Anyone we’ve overlooked?


It’s a 1200-seater, designed by Spanish architects with EU funds in the Polish port town of Szceczin, near the German border.

The former Halle conductor Ewa Strusinska describes the hall (in English) here.

ewa strusinskaEwa-Strusinska

Both the ex-music director Franz Welser-Möst and the intendant Dominique Meyer have begun speaking guardedly about the breakdown at the top of the Vienna State Opera.

Franz told Die Presse: 


There are differences over the artistic direction which did not occur overnight. Dominique Meyer, as director, is the number one. He is a very decent human being with other opinions on artistic matters. That is his right. But then I must accept the consequences.

Es gibt Differenzen über die künstlerische Ausrichtung des Hauses, die nicht von heute auf morgen entstanden sind. Dominique Meyer ist als Direktor die Nummer eins. Er ist ein sehr netter Mensch und hat in künstlerischen Dingen andere Meinungen. Das steht ihm auch zu. Aber dann muss ich die Konsequenzen ziehen

Pressed about what these artistic differences might be, he added:

It is to do with singers and conductors, to do with the whole area that involves the artistic direction of the house… Believe me: This is a very painful decision for me. Especially after this singularly happy Rosenkavalier at Salzburg, It wont be easy for me to give up working with this orchestra (the Vienna Philharmonic).

Da geht es um Sänger und Dirigenten, da geht es um den ganzen Bereich, der die künstlerische Ausrichtung des Hauses ausmacht…. Glauben Sie mir: Das ist eine für mich sehr schmerzliche Entscheidung. Gerade nach diesem besonders glücklichen ‘Rosenkavalier’ in Salzburg fällt es mir nicht leicht, auf die weitere Zusammenarbeit mit diesem Orchester (die Wiener Philharmoniker stellen das Staatsopernorchester, Anm.) zu verzichten.

Dominique Meyer messaged:


I greatly admire Franz Welser-Möst as an artist and conductor.  My concern and my first task is to find as quickly as possible an adequate replacement for the performances he should be conducting at the Vienna State Opera in the 2014/2015 season: at least 34 performances, including two premieres, Rigoletto and Elektra .

Ich schätze Franz Welser-Möst als Künstler und Dirigenten sehr… Meine Sorge und erste Aufgabe ist es nun, so rasch wie möglich adäquaten Ersatz für die Aufführungen zu finden, die er 2014/2015 an der Wiener Staatsoper hätte dirigieren sollen: immerhin 34 Vorstellungen, darunter die zwei mit ihm geplanten Premieren von Rigoletto und Elektra.”

‘A very important date for Marta and me,’ he declares on Facebook.


domingo tel aviv


Natalia Sizikova writes: Placido made his debut as Vladimir Lensky in Eugene Onegin on 5th September 1964 in Tel Aviv, exactly 50 years ago. He sang this role in September/October in Tel Aviv with Marta as Tatiana and Franco Iglesias in the title role and in Hebrew. Here he’s with Breda Kalef.

Conductors take the job of music director at the Vienna Opera in the knowledge that they will have to resign some time. Usually in anger.

All the great directors departed early. Mahler, in 1907, after ten years. Karajan in 1964 after seven. Maazel in 1984 after two. Abbado in 1991 after five years.

When Franz Welser-Möst accepted the chalice in 2007, the first Austrian to do so since Karajan half a century before, he made jokes about longevity. When he started work in 2010, however, in harness with a new intendant Dominique Meyer, the prospects seemed bright. His relations with Meyer were mutually respectful and with the orchestra outstanding. The public and local media were supportive. Last season, ticket sales at the Vienna Opera reached a record 99.67 percent. It couldn’t get much better.

So what went wrong? And why so suddenly?



There had been, we hear, a dispute over a forthcoming production of Josephslegende, a Richard Strauss ballet, a work for which the conductor has strong feelings. The choreographer and ballet company felt differently. Tensions simmered.

But this was not the reason for the sudden breach.  A meeting was held yesterday in which the music director expressed his views for the company’s medium-term future. They diverged markedly from those of the administration. It was decided that both sides would go home and sleep on the matter.

First thing this morning, Franz came in and submitted his resignation to Meyer with immediate effect. Like Mahler, like Karajan, like Abbado, he will not set foot in the Vienna Opera again. An era is over. Too soon.


The American conductor Marin Alsop has been made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society ‘in recognition of her outstanding services to music’. The presentation was made by the composer Colin Matthews on during last night’s Prom concert in which Marin conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra in works by Adams and Mahler.

marin alsop royal

photo: Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts

The great and much loved baritone, forced into early retirement two years ago due to health issues, is going back on the road with a cabaret act.

His tour launches at the Vienna Opera on September 16.

Support acts: Christoph Eschenbach (piano), Michael Shade (tenor). Not bad for a cabaret beginner.

Details here.


Thomas Quasthoff

Two articles have now appeared in The Stage, journal of British theatre, calling for a UK ban on Israeli artists.

The magazine claims they do not represent its views.

Unless they balance the content, we shall have to assume that The Stage is now a BDS publication.