The Spanish musician went to hospital Tuesday night after experiencing extreme pain and vomiting after conducting Tosca in rehearsal. He will have his gallbladder removed next Tuesday and will miss the first four Toscas, the Met says.

It’s a routine keyhole operation, performed under general anaesthetic. Domingo, 74 may required prolonged rest.

We send him good wishes for a swift recovery.

domingo hospital

UPDATE: Marco Armiliato will lead Friday’s opening “Tosca,” and Paolo Carignani will conduct on Oct. 21, 24 and 29.

Very thoughtful piece on the Carnegie Hall board wars by Russell Platt in the New Yorker.


Questions of conflicts of interest are not unknown at Carnegie. The last big one occurred in 2007, when the hall awarded the son-in-law of Sanford I. Weill, the board chairman at the time, a multimillion-dollar contract to renovate Carnegie’s tower studios into rehearsal rooms and educational spaces. Weill’s involvement in the appointment of Perelman—who, upon becoming chair, pronounced that he wanted to bring more pop acts to Carnegie—was also pivotal. To calm the ensuing controversy, Weill told Bloomberg News that in naming Perelman, a notoriously aggressive and litigious corporate raider, to the chairman’s post, the public would “see a nicer, kinder, less litigious Ron than you’ve seen in the past.” Now we know how that worked out. 

Read the full article here. The only element missing is the personal animus between Perelman and Blavatnik – something both of them should have clarified before the chairmanship was settled.


carnegie hall interior


Chung Myung-keun, 73, elder brother of the Seoul Philharmonic music director Myung Whun Chung (pictured), has been ordered by a Seoul court to pay $3.1 million for embezzlement from an arts centre project. He was previously sentenced to five years in jail, reduced to three on appeal.

There is no commercial connection between the two brothers.

However, media supporters of the sacked Seoul Phil chief executive Hyun-jung Park are making strenuous efforts o link the older brother’s conviction to flase allegations made by Park against his famous sibling. Read this, then puke.



This will have knock-on effects on the NAC Orchestra.


Ottawa, October 14, 2015. The Board of Directors of Opera Lyra issued the following statement today.

It is with deep regret that we have decided to cease operations, effective today. There will be an immediate shutdown of the current performance season, the 31st in the company’s history. The Board will now review options on how it may adjust its future operations.

The challenge facing the company is that revenues are not sufficient to cover costs. All opera companies in Canada generate revenues from four sources: ticket sales, government grants, philanthropic donations and commercial sponsorships. In Opera Lyra’s situation, revenues from each of these streams have been consistently below expectations, resulting in cash shortages and an unsustainable deficit.

When the current Board of Directors and leading staff took on responsibility for Opera Lyra in 2011, following the previous financial crisis, it was clear that accumulated debt inherited from the past would be a difficult burden. But the company succeeded in reducing its operating costs, and it began the long process of rebuilding audiences, expanding fundraising and paying down some debt.

We are proud of Opera Lyra’s strong contributions over many years to musical culture, education and training across the National Capital Region. We have achieved tremendous artistic results. Our small company has produced so many fully staged operas, employing great Canadian and international artists, the wonderful singers of the Opera Lyra Chorus, and the crews and musicians of the National Arts Centre. Our Families and Schools Tour now delivers performances to as many as 32 schools each autumn.

Our core problem is that revenues have not grown to cover the costs of presenting high quality opera on the stage of the National Arts Centre. There are challenges in all revenue areas, including: major shortfalls in commercial sponsorships, modest shortfalls in private philanthropy, reductions in funding from the federal and provincial governments and, recently, weaker ticket sales.

The decline in paying audiences for Opera Lyra (a trend that is reportedly affecting other performing arts in Ottawa-Gatineau) is a key difficulty. Opera is an expensive musical genre. It combines orchestral music, vocal performance, and dramatic staging with sets, lighting and costumes. Other opera companies in North America have also had recent financial problems and several closures, notably in San Diego, New York and Hamilton, Ontario.

Members of the Opera Lyra Board want to express sincere appreciation to the staff, performers, donors and thousands of patrons who support high quality opera. We want to thank so many people who have helped as volunteers in all aspects of our activities, notably members of the hard-working Opera Lyra Guild .

The Board will look into options for the future of opera in Ottawa/Gatineau. The current program delivers two fully staged operas each year at the NAC, but our experience shows that this approach is too costly for an independent, professional company and ticket sales are unpredictable. Lower cost models, or wider partnerships, may be viable alternatives.


John Peter (Jeep) Jeffries

General Director



We regret to report the death yesterday of Duncan Druce, at the age of 76.

A key member of Harrison Birtwistle’s Pierrot Players, he explored both the outer reaches of modernism and of early music, working as a violinist and viola player with Christopher Hogwood and various period ensembles.

Among other arrangements, he created a completion of Mozart’s Requiem for Roger Norrington.

duncan druce

Peter Wollny, director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig, has announced that the libretto of the St John Passion, and other Bach works, appears to have been written by a student from Nuremburg.

Apparently the handwriting on the mss correlates to that of Christoph Birkmann (1703-1771), who has several papers lodged in the Nuremberg State Library. Birkmann studied theology and mathematics at the University of Leipzig from 1724-27 and took private lessons with the town cantor before becoming a full-time theologian.

Mehr hier.


photo: Sammlung Bach-Archiv Leipzig

The unusual career of ‘classical’ former child singing star Jackie Evancho has taken a further twist with the publication in People magazine of the gender reassignment of her sister, Juliet. Both sisters talk exclusively to the celebrity publication.

If you need to know more, click here.

jackie-evancho- with juliet
photo (c) Mike Evancho/People magazine

It has been a long time coming (blame the lethargic agents), but Sony Classical have finally got a deal with the exuberant South African soprano, Pretty Yende.

Universal bowed out of the race several months ago.

pretty yende

press release:

Sony Classical is proud to announce an exclusive long-term agreement with Pretty Yende, the sensational young South African soprano whose career has risen to the top of the opera world with unparalleled speed within the past few years. She has already been engaged by every major opera house in the world and after her debut recital in London, The Telegraph commented: ‘Possessed of diamanté tone and a megawatt smile… a soprano of real musical intelligence.’ The New York Timeswrote: ‘Her voice has a luminous sheen combined with steely resolve… she delivered some of the most difficult coloratura passages with scintillating precision.’

In 2013 she stepped in at a month’s notice to sing in Rossini’s Le comte Ory opposite Juan Diego Flórez at New York’s Metropolitan Opera to rapturous acclaim. Later that year she also replaced an indisposed Cecilia Bartoli at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in the same opera.

Born in 1985 in the small town of Piet Retief, about two hundred miles from Johannesburg, Yende’s journey to become one of the world’s most sought-after singers is like a modern fairy-tale. She was initially introduced to singing in a manner familiar to many South Africans – in her church choir. Then at the age of sixteen, she heard the Flower Duet from Lakmé on a British Airways television advertisement, and was so enraptured by its beauty that she determined to find out what it was. On learning that it was opera, she decided at that moment to abandon her plans to become an accountant, and train to become an opera singer instead.

She started her vocal studies at South African College of Music (SACM UCT) with Virginia Davids and developed her musical and stage experience with Angelo Gobato and Kemal Khan of the Colleges’ Opera school. Yende’s extraordinary talent blossomed, and in 2009 she became the first singer to win first prize in every category in the Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. This led to an offer to join the prestigious young artists’ programme at La Scala in Milan. In 2011, she then won first prize in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition in Moscow, also winning the prizes of the Public and the Zarzuela prize, the first singer in history to win all three prizes.

Yende’s debut album on Sony Classical, scheduled for autumn 2016, will celebrate some of the milestones of her extraordinary musical journey. In addition to the much-loved Lakmé duet which first opened her heart to the world of opera, there will be arias from Le comte Ory in which she shot to international attention at the Met. She will also perform arias from other roles in which she continues to dazzle audiences and critics: Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Elvira (I puritani). She will perform the latter opera at Zurich opera in June 2016.

Yende has already appeared at opera houses in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Hamburg, and has frequently sung at La Scala. Forthcoming seasons will also see her appear at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Royal Opera House in London, and the Opéra National de Paris.

Apparently so, according to a Canadian producer, who has unearthed a 1950s short film promoting the attractions of Newfoundland…

john williams first film

From a contemporary report:

In March 1952 [John Williams] was reassigned to the 596th AF Band, Pepperrell Air Force Base, St. John’s, Newfoundland. During his stay at Pepperrell he was able to put his training to use with special arrangements penned for the 596th Dance band and Newfoundland folk songs re-arranged for the concert band sparking the many appearances of the Pepperrell Band. His greatest accomplishment during this period was the composing, arranging, directing and playing of a 22 minute film background score for a Newfoundland travelogue entitled “You Are Welcome.” The success of this accomplishment was reflected in the film being selected as “one of the outstanding travelogues for 1954” during a premier showing in New York City.

The London Symphony Orchestra has posted this photo of the Vienna Konzerthaus piano.

It was taken last night by first violinist Rhys Watkins during the concert interval, after Yefim Bronfman had performed the third Bartók concerto.

bloody steinway

The soloist gave his life’s blood…

bloody steinway

UPDATE: Bronfman told LSO violinist Maxine Kwok-Adams that there was also blood on the floor.

Blut und Boden….

2nd UPDATE from the LSO: Mr Bronfman cut his finger and received treatment earlier in the day. He insisted on going ahead with his performance rather than disappoint the audience. During the concerto his wound reopened but, undaunted, he gave a superb performance and also a sublime encore.

The Västerås Sinfonietta has served its community, west of Stockholm, for 130 years. The town has a beautiful 900-seat concert hall, built at public expense in 2002.

Now the hall’s board of directors and its chief executive, Dag Celsing, have decided to abolish the Sinfonietta and replace it with visiting ensembles to save on payroll and social costs.

Thirty-three musicians will lose their jobs before the year is out. The proposal has gone to the town council.

Västerås Sinfonietta

You can help the musicians (and the town) by signing this petition (for non-Swedish speakers – Namn: Name and Stad/Ort: Town – and don’t forget to fill in the captcha).


We hear from Shanghai that Xu Zhong is to be principal conductor at the Arena di Verona. The title given on the Chinese billboard is ‘principal director’ but we think this is a mistranslation from Italian via Chinese into English.

Xu Zhong1


Xu had a success in Verona in April 2014, directing a Beethoven concerto from the keyboard. In 2012, he was named artistic director of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily.

Here’s another announcement photo from Shanghai. We await confirmation from Verona.

Xu Zhong

h/t: Rudolph Tang