The New York Times has majored on the Met staging its first opera by a woman composer since 1903. The opera is Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin and its has been doing the rounds in Europe since its Salzburg premiere in 2000. Fellow-Finn Susanna Mälkki with conduct. Nice.
Less encouraging is the realisation that only five other productions will be new.
They are: Tristan und Isolde to open the season on September 26, with Nina Stemme, Stuart Skelton and René Pape, Simon Rattle conducting.
Rossini’s Guillaume Tell follows with Gerald Finley is in the title role, Marina Rebeka as Mathilde, Fabio Luisi conducting. It hasn’t been done at the Met since 1931.
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette features Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo.
Dvorak’s Rusalka will parade Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich and Eric Owens, conducted by Mark Elder.
And finally, on April 13, 2017, Der Rosenkavalier with Elina Garanca and Renée Fleming, under the baton of James Levine.
The casting throughout is superb, but you do wonder whether six new shows are enough to stir a sluggish box-office.
With support from three Danish funds, the Danish National Chamber Orchestra launches an extensive series of recordings and concerts, playing Beethoven’s nine symphonies, with its chief conductor, Adam Fischer. The project that continues through 2018, also marks the reality of the orchestra’s fight to become a privately funded orchestra.
35 of the original musicians of the DNCO are the core of the current orchestra. When the orchestra was part of DR, it had 42 permanent positions. Five of these were vacant when the orchestra left DR in September 2014. The musicians in the current DNCO are not permanently employed, but are hired on a freelance basis. Many of the musicians hold permanent positions in other orchestras. Their work with DNCO is possible due to exceptional willingness from themselves and their current employers.
According to The Stage:
In a significant divergence from its historic focus on directly funding the arts itself, ACE has also offered to open its funding streams to artistic or cultural games and “digital content about arts and culture”. This could include blogs and websites about theatre, educational content or documentaries.
Oh, really? We have four things to say about that:
1 Slipped Disc will never apply for public handouts. We don’t need them, and wouldn’t accept them even if we did.
2 Slipped Disc will campaign to its last breath to prevent public money being wasted on ‘digital content about arts and culture’. It would give the ACE editorial influence over online arts expression and stultify further the arena for public debate that has been shrunken by the collapse of print coverage.
4 This may be the stupidest, most pernicious idea to emerge from the Arts Council in decades. It needs to be killed stone dead before it flies. We call on other websites to denounce it.
Pierre Roy was fired twice from the Buffalo Philharmonic for disruptive behaviour. He was allowed back the first time after promising to take an anger management course. But his appeal against the second dismissal has just failed.
The judge said that Roy, 51, had received a fair hearing. Witnesses testified that Roy ‘defiantly questioned the maestro’s direction … and made off-color remarks to his colleagues that were perceived as insensitive or offensive.’ His attorney said: ‘The bottom line is that Pierre Roy is a brilliant and incredibly accomplished oboist, a world-class musician. To say that because an artist might be temperamental that he’s unfit to play with an ensemble just contradicts the truth.’
The pianist Alberto Portugheis has informed us of the death of his longterm recital partner: ‘It is with great sadness that I relay the news of the the death of my old and dear friend and colleague, the distinguished Welsh cellist Gwyneth George, occurred this morning at 9 am at London’s Charing Cross Hospital. In three months time she would have reached her 96th birthday.’
Gwyneth George in 2001. Photo: Keith Bramich
The Welsh cellist Gwyneth George, born in Swansea, won an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music where she studied under Ivor James, later studying in Rome with Enrico Mainardi and in Paris with Paul Tortelier. From 1967 to 1972 Gwyneth George collaborated with the pianist Alberto Portugheis in a series of recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, as well as in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. In 1980 Gwyneth George gave the London and New York premières of five ” Five Nocturnes and cadences” written for her by the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott.
Gwyenth George spent several years as Cello Professor at London’s Trinity College of Music. Since 1998, the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe awards the “Gwyneth George Prize” to the most successful team in the Society’s annual Beethoven Masterclasses and Competition.
The ebullient Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, has responded to media pressure over forthcoming cuts at English National Opera by telling the company, in effect, to slash or vanish.
His article is extraordinary for its egocentricity and political correctness. Henley, a former head of Classic FM, has spent much of his career bashing the BBC for using public money to steal his potential audience. Now he seems to be accusing London of living of the fat of the regions when it was an Arts Council order that confined ENO to London, forbidding it to travel. Throughout the turmoil of the past 20 years, the ACE’s impatience with ENO has alternated with outright malice. There has been no sympathy for the company or its members. Most of the ENO crisis is of the Arts Council’s making. If any org needs to shrink or die it is the ACE.
Here are Darren’s last two pars:
At the Arts Council we must keep the whole nation’s arts ecology in sight. We are concerned with the quality and relevance of all art forms, and we want everyone in England to benefit from our investment, beyond opera audiences in central London. There are places where local authority funding of arts and culture is being cut savagely and where it’s very difficult to fundraise.
Those who know me understand that I have a personal commitment to classical music of all types, but they also know I will squeeze every ounce of value out of taxpayer’s cash. Let’s worry and care for the talented members of the ENO chorus. But amid the media furore, let’s also remember that cultural institutions across England are facing immense challenges, and the best ones are rising to them.
The Moscow Metro is putting on a production of Cavalleria Rusticana on 13 to 14 May at the Kropotkinskaya metro station.
A former cellist in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has been arrested in Oregon after state police found a large quantity of marijuana in his car.
David Roy Huckaby, 33, joined the SPCO in 2009 and left in July 2014. He has since played in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and now lives in California. Police say there was 113 lbs worth of pot in his car, valued at quarter of a million dollars.
Regrettably, Robin Ticciati had to cancel his engagement with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks due to health reasons. We would like to thank Joseph Bastian for stepping in as the conductor of the three concerts next week (February 18, 19 and 20, Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich).
Bastian is the orchestra’s bass trombone player. Toi-toi!