Our chers amis at resmusica.com warn of trouble ahead for the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL).

The orch, which covers an 80km span from Nantes to Angers, has just been stripped of half a million Euros by the regional authority. They say the artistic plan of music director Pascal Rophé is now in jeopardy.

Read here.

rain in nantes

angela gheorgiu

She’s in Paris, rehearsing at the Bastille and vamping it up for the June issue of Elle Romania.

We’re not sure what the new look is meant to be. Our style editor says Premium Economy, but that’s far to harsh.

Angela is always first-class. There’s a video of the shoot on her page here.

It looks like they are giving up in Vancouver.

After 55 years, the year-round opera company is being cut back to a three-wekk festival.

All the usual excuses: aging audience, declining funds.

‘The leadership came to the conclusion that anything using the old model simply wasn’t working and was not getting the numbers we needed,’ said general director James Wright. ‘There is not an opera company in North America that is not concerned about sales. We are being as forward thinking as possible.’

Wright is retiring next year. Some think he should have got out sooner, before sinking the ship.

Vancouver Symphony music director Bramwell Tovey is spitting tacks. He tweets: It is not cynical to criticize nor a failure to accept change. But, it is myopic to think loss of regular season inevitable.

And: Distressing to see news spun as visionary. It’s terrible news. Vancouver to be only major Cdn city without an opera season.

bramwell tovey2

Hang in there, Bram. There has to be another way.


Joseph Cullen, a former director of the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, pleaded guilty today to offences against two boys, one aged eight and the other eleven.

On trial at the High Court in Glasgow today, Cullen, 55, was warned that he faces jail. He was granted bail.

The offences took place between 1976 and 1982. They came to light when a victim went to the police in 2013. Cullen was then suspended as chorusmaster of the Huddersfield Choral Society.

Court report here.

joseph cullen

It’s reported that Margaret Thatcher’s children have donated some of her papers to the Arts Council in order to reduce their death duties liability.

Maggie must think they’re having a laugh.

The Arts Council represented for her all that was wrong with the nanny state – a bunch of worthies deciding what is ‘good’ and ‘improving’ for a nation that once revelled in free choice.

One of her close circle once told me she never mentioned the Arts Council without curling her lip.

On the other hand, she loved going to concerts and opera when she had the time, always paying for her own tickets.

Unlike the Arts Council crowd who live off endless freebies.


margaret thatcher copland

Sarah Bardwell, director of the Handel House Museum, has been announced as the new general director of the Britten-Pears Foundation at Aldeburgh.

Ms Bardwell is married to the conductor Rumon Gamba, music director of NorrlandsOperan and chief conductor at Aalborg Symfoniorkester.

press release:

sarah bardwell


Sarah Bardwell appointed to key role at The Red House
The BrittenPears Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Sarah Bardwell as its new General Director. Sarah is currently Director of Handel House Museum, where she has been since 2004. Welcoming the news BPF Chairman Nicholas Prettejohn said: “Sarah will bring a strong combination of music and heritage experience to the Foundation, having developed the Museum’s role in education and supported new music through its Composer in Residence scheme.”
Responding, Sarah said: “Following the highly successful celebrations of Britten’s centenary in 2013 it is an enormous honour to be joining the BrittenPears Foundation and to have the opportunity to work in such a distinguished and creative environment.”

She will take up her new role in October, following the retirement this summer of Richard Jarman. “On behalf of everyone at The Red House,” added Nick Prettejohn, “I would like to thank Richard for transforming BPF over the past thirteen years, particularly through the worldwide Britten 100 celebrations. We all look forward to working with Sarah to build on these great achievements.”

The French operatic baritone Franck Ferrari has died after a long illness. His death was announced this morning by the mayor of his home town, Nice.

Franck enjoyed a bustling international career, most overwhelmingly as Escamillo in Carmen.

He had notable triumphs as La Scala, the Met and the Paris Opéra. Born in 1963, he was 52 or 53 when he died.

He was due to sing Hercule in Alceste at the Paris Opéra tonight.


Just in from the Teatro Real, Madrid:


domingo 2014


Madrid, June 17, 2015. – The tenor Plácido Domingo will not participate in the performances of the opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini, scheduled for June 30th and 3, 6, 9 and 12 of July, as it was announced.


The recent death of his sister, whom he was very close, prevents him play a comic role and delivered to the public with the intensity and dedication that he has always characterized.


Instead, the role of Gianni Schicchi will be played by the baritone Nicola Alaimo, on June 30th; 3 and 6 of July, 2015, and by the baritone Lucio Gallo in the performances of 9 and 12 of July, 2015.

The Venezuelan composer Hugo Blanco has died, aged 74.

He is best known for the song ‘Moliendo Café’, which has been adopted by football fans around the world.

football dale cavese

h/t: The obit patrol

The tenor Vitaly Ishutin, a soloist of the Mariinsky Opera for the past five years, has been killed by a speeding car in Vladivostok as he waited to cross the road.

Ishutin, 40, had been acting as director of the Primorsky Opera and Ballet, which Valery Gergiev is converting into the Pacific wing of the Mariinsky.

Ukrainian born, he leaves a wife and two children. He was widely known and respected across the opera world from repeated tours with the Mariinsky. Flowers are being laid today by well-wishers in the lobby of the Primorsky Opera.