It’s anarchy at the Bucharest National Opera.

George Călin, reinstated yesterday as head of the opera company, was removed again today.

Falstaff has been cancelled and the opera is apparently on strike.

bucharest gheorghiu

We hear that Sebastian Weigle will replace James Levine in next season’s Der Rosenkavalier.

More here than meets the eye?

Weigle, 56, has been a diligent music director at Frankfurt Opera since 2008, and before that at the Liceu in Barcelona. He knows the opera house inside out and he has conducted at the Met before.

Given that the Met’s first-choice music director won’t be available before the end of the decade, might Weigle be a stop-gap?

sebastian weigle

press release:

New York, NY (April 21, 2016) – The League of American Orchestras has selected five exemplary orchestra musicians to receive The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service. A new program made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund, the awards celebrate orchestra musicians and the essential work they do in their communities.

The award recipients and their orchestras are:

Penny Anderson Brill, viola – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music and Wellness Program

Shannon Orme, bass clarinet – Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Neighborhood Residency Initiative

Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe – South Dakota Symphony Orchestra’s Lakota Music Project

Brian Prechtl, percussion – Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids

Beth Vandervennet, cello – Oakland Symphony’s Music for Excellence Program

pittsburgh heinz hall


The singer-songwriter Prince is reported to have been found dead at his Minnesota estate. He was 57.

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958, the son of a Minnesota jazz pianist.

He was signed by Warner Brothers Records while still a teen, releasing his debut album “For You” in 1978.


English National Opera have announced that the star is sick.

She’ll be replaced tonight by Ria Jones.


The national broadcaster YLE has come up with some record statistics for classical concertgoing in Finland.

In 2015 The Finnish Radio SO under Hannu Lintu – often programming avant-garde and contemporary music – sold 97% of all seats at the new (1704-seat) Helsinki Music Centre.

In the same hall, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra sold over 90 percent.

The Turku Philharmonic with Leif Segerstam hit an all-time high of 91% (1000 seats).

Jyväskylä Sinfonia with young conductor Ville Matvejeff, 29, sold 100 percent of all concert seats. Their Christmas concert was sold out by the end of June.

Lintu observes that in some smaller towns, one-third of the population turns out for a concert.

What the fff are the Finns doing right?

helsinki snow

The charming Floriane Cottet, administrator of the Verbier Festival orchestras, has been named director of the orchestra of Dijon-Bourgogne.

It’s not an unmixed blessing. The ODB went bust two years ago. Floriane will have to rebuild from scratch.

Here’s how she puts it:

Lors du concert du 12 septembre 2014, entouré de musiciens de la France entière et bénéficiant d’un soutien dépassant largement les frontières, l’ODB a démontré sa légitimité dans le paysage musical national. Un peu moins de deux ans plus tard, son Directeur Musical Gergely Madaras, son Président Daniel Exartier, les musiciens, le bureau et l’administration sont animés de cette même soif et énergie et c’est un honneur de les rejoindre dans la bonne poursuite de cette mission. Le rôle d’un orchestre s’étend bien au-delà de son activité artistique, il fait partie intégrante du tissu social, culturel et économique d’une ville et de sa région. C’est cette mission même que les pouvoirs publics nous confient et qu’il nous faut honorer.

De nouveaux défis se présentent aujourd’hui à l’ODB : affirmer une présence élargie dans la nouvelle région, irriguer l’ensemble du territoire, ses publics actuels et en devenir… Je souhaite mener l’orchestre vers un projet d’ancrage solide dans la communauté dijonnaise et dans la région Bourgogne-Franche-Comté en continuant à développer et diversifier les activités de l’ODB, notamment par des collaborations actives et renforcées avec les acteurs sociaux et culturels. La stabilité de ces liens de partenariats artistiques, économiques et institutionnels est capitale au bon développement d’un organisme culturel. La convention signée avec l’Opéra et la Ville de Dijon l’an dernier est l’exemple même de la nécessité de ce dialogue. Aujourd’hui, la fonction de tout orchestre réside au-delà de la barrière de la scène, dans sa capacité à être un vecteur de musique et des valeurs qu’elle incarne. 


floriane cottet



Floriane Cottet, Directrice de l’Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne

…. actually, the Leipzig Wagner prize … goes to the mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier who, at 60, is gradually retiring her roles. Last month in Berlin, she sang her last Kundry.

waltraud meier2

The 10,000-Euro award was given last year to Christian Thielemann.

The late Lord Menuhin, who would have been 100 years old on April 22, vacillated all his life between a Stradivarius and a Guarnerius del Gesu, acquiring or borrowing several exemplars of each maker.

The history of his violins is nicely traced in a centennial article here by Tully Potter.

Had he been alive, those who knew Yehudi would have greeted him today with Happy Passover.

Little known fact: Yehudi took care not to appear in concert on the Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur and Seder night, asking a family of observant Jews to advise him on diary clashes.

menuhin poster


If you’re bored by finance you may look away, but this is important.

Standard & Poor, the credit rating agency, has revised the Met’s outlook upward from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’.

‘The stable outlook reflects our view of the return to full-accrual surplus operating results in fiscal 2015, as expected,’ said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Charlene Butterfield.

The NY Times has put a positive spin on it, adding a booster to public confidence.

However, if you saw the movie The Big Short you will have a measure of scepticism about credit rating agencies.

And if you follow the Met more closely than just reading the numbers on its last set of accounts, you will know that Peter Gelb has to pull a $100 million rabbit out of somewhere in order to balance the books this July.

Good news for the Met? Not yet.


Wagners Das Rheingold Metropolitan Opera 2010


Czech-based Paul Mauffray made his debut this week in St Petersburg, conducting Dvorak’s Rusalka.

Paul, originally from New Orleans, has previously helped out at the Mariinsky, coaching singers for Valery Gergiev in the Janacek operas, his speciality study.

paul mauffrey

Fiona Stevens has nailed it:

I had a very pleasant conversation today with Frau Unger from Airberlin head office who has helped many of us violinists in the past. She allows me to post the following procedure for taking violins on board until the wording of Airberlin terms & conditions is changed.
Anyone wishing to take a violin/viola on board should write to stating their flight & booking number, and the dimensions & weight of their instrument case. They should then receive written confirmation that they will be able to take the instrument as handluggage at no extra cost.

For anyone wondering why, whilst top management has decided to change policy in favour of musicians, it is taking so long for the official wording to be changed: this is (much the same as my recent post re Eurowings) because changing the wording of general terms & conditions requires every department (including legal) to ok the new wording, and this simply takes time.

luggage airberlin

Thanks, Fiona!