Bernard Lurie, who led the Hartford Symphony, the Hartford Ballet and the Hartford Opera for almost half a century, has died after a long illness at 82.

He first played in the Hartford Symphony at 18 years old and never looked elsewhere.

Obit here.

bernard lurie



The Mozarteum had plenty of time to find  chief conductor to succeed Ivor Bolton, who is leaving after 12 years. But it seems they can’t.


ivor bolton


They’ll muddle through next year with Giovanni Antonini as principal guest conductor, splitting himself three ways with his own ensemble Il Giardino Armonico and the Basle chamber orchestra.

Ivor, for his part, has been given the title of Honorary Conductor for Life and plans to work with the group several times a year.

She featured twice on Slipped Disc last week, but we accept there may be other reasons that Rachel Barton Pine is now top of the Nielsen Soundscan charts with the complete Bach partitas and sonatas on the Avie label.

On the down side, her top-selling record sold fewer than 250 copies in the US, and the next-best album sold 150.

This week’s classical sales may be the lowest we have ever seen.

rachel barton pine

Contrary to its previous message, ENO has just tweeted:

UPDATE: Glenn Close WILL sing the role of Norma Desmond in tonight’s performance of Sunset Boulevard. (Mon 25 April)

We’re delighted to announce Glenn’s return but also want to send HUGE thanks to for stepping in the role

She must have been under a lot of pressure.


The Hollywood star is still* unwell, ENO have announced.

Ria Jones will sing the lead role in Sunset Boulevard, amid rising demands for refunds from disappointed ticketholders.

ria jones

See comments here.

*One readers has pointed out it’s the fifth show she has missed; there should have been two on Saturday.

The tenor is to be awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz, Germany’s highest civil honour on Wednesday.

The award will be made in Munich by the Bavarian premier, Horst Seehofer.

kaufmann bbc

Graham Spicer has been to visit the Casa Lucia Valentini Terrani in Padua, a subsidised hotel where cancer patients can stay while receiving daily therapies at the nearby hospital. It is a profoundly moving memorial to a much-loved singer, who died of leukaemia, aged 51.

Casa Lucia Valentini Terrani

Alberto Terrani, Valentini’s husband, says: ‘While Lucia Valentini was in America for treatment she was shocked by the fact that relatives of patients who were with her in the hospital, were spending the nights in their cars as they couldn’t afford the cost of renting a room.’ So she asked her husband to pay for a hotel for those who were sleeping in their cars…

Read on here.

Lucia Valentini Terrani

The semi-finalists have been announced for the Kathleen Ferrier Award at the Wigmore Hall on Wednesday.

First to sing among the last 12 will be Grace Durham, 27, a mezzo-soprano member of the Glyndebourne Opera chorus, and daughter of the much-lamented comedian Victoria Wood, who died last week.

Line-up here.

grace durham

The Latvian tenor Aleks­andrs Antonenko has been singing a terrific run of Otellos at the Met but something went awry on Saturday night and by the final act he was running out of voice.

Panic calls to the understudy.

Francesco Anile, 54, was in his dressing room, texting, never expecting to make a Met debut. He was cover. Not much longer before he could go home.

Then the call came. He had five minutes to get on stage. Throwing a cape over his t-shirt and blue jeans, he vocally strangled Desdemona and sang through to the end, earning a rapturous personal ovation.

francesco anile

AP report here.

A twist on The Philadelphia Story, sent to us by Clinton F. Nieweg.

philadelphia hall



From Carol Westfall, Orchestra Librarian Volunteer:


At the morning rehearsal on Tuesday, December 3, 2002, The Philadelphia Orchestra was rehearsing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with Maestro Eschenbach. They were using Clinton F. Nieweg’s 2000 corrected edition. Clinton suggested I go listen to the rehearsal since I had worked for almost two years with him on the project. No one was at the rehearsal except the musicians on stage, so I stayed out of sight on the Second Tier. This was the final rehearsal so there weren’t very many stops and starts.


All of a sudden the lights near the stage started to flash and before anyone could react to why that was happening, the sprinkler system turned on and flooded the stage. Musicians scurried everywhere to get their instruments to dry ground. Some jumped off the front of the stage. Others ran to the side of the stage. Still others dashed to the back of the stage which had remained drier than the front. I don’t recall anyone rescuing their music at that point. The obvious concern was for the instruments.


After watching all this in disbelief, I hurried back to The PO Library to see what was being done to save Clinton’s edition. The library staff and stage crew had collected the soggy, dripping parts and delivered them to the Library. We spread them out on the carpet outside the library door and took inventory and did a quick assessment of what could be saved.


A few minutes later, Maestro Eschenbach came by to see what we were doing and to add his support. That is the first time I heard the phrase Rite of Sprinklers uttered by the Maestro himself.


We got some hair dryers from somewhere, perhaps the guest artists’ dressing room and many sheets of music were hung on lines draped around the library. Every effort was made to salvage each piece of music we could. Some sheets were even ironed to get the wrinkles out. I remember we were not able to save them all. The string parts were the most affected since they were closest to the sprinklers.


Fourteen years later, I attended another Philadelphia Orchestra concert to hear The Rite of Spring performed. The Orchestra played a beautiful Symphony #1 by Prokofiev. Then they began Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes. The lovely cello and harp section was just concluding when the lights started to flash just as they had done in 2002.


Sirens blared and an insistent and very loud recorded voice told us to evacuate immediately due to threat of fire. Thankfully, no sprinklers this time! It was a false alarm and the concert continued about forty minutes later. The Rite of Spring was performed without incident this time. But those flashing lights certainly brought back some vivid memories of the Deluge of 2002.

rite mss