The tug of war is over.

Earlier this week, Christopher Martin asked the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a year’s leave of absence to play with the New York Philharmonic.

Today the NY Phil press department (also known as the New York Times) has announced that he is their new principal trumpet.

Maestro Muti will not be pleased.

christopher martin

It looks like Mr Martin has been talking to New York’s incoming music director.

We hear that President Putin’s financier cellist Sergei Roldugin played a quadrille by Rodion Schchedrin in the Valery Gergiev concert tonight in Syria.


gergiev palmyra

Word is coming out of Russia that the Mariinsky orchestra musicians were not informed of the trip until this morning when President Putin sent them a video message:

‘I know that today’s action involves all participants in great inconvenience and danger, staying in a country at war, with close proximity to the ongoing hostilities… This requires great effort and definitely personal courage from you all.’

sergei roldugin palmyra

In addition to Putin’s cellist, Tchaikovsky Competition winner Pavel Milyukov played a Bach Chaconne.

The concert was shown on Russian television as an exercise in national pride and soft power.

Hostilities continued in Syria today despite the ceasefire.

You can watch the concert here:

For Valery Gergiev’s concert on recaptured Syrian territory, the Russian government has sent a delegation headed by the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, it is reported.

He is accompanied by the Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky and the St. Petersburg House of Music director, the cellist and conductor Sergei Roldugin.

Mr Roldugin is suspected of squirrelling away billions of dollars on behalf of President Vladimir Putin in bank accounts in Panama.

sergei roldugin_bio

We hear that women players have been left out of the Mariinsky orchestra that will play tonight at Palmyra.

The Russian forces that helped reconquer the historic town cannot guarantee their safety.

The concert will be broadcast on TV channel Russia 1 at 1800 Moscow time, and later on RT.

The music: Prokofiev Classical Symphony; J S Bach Chaconne from Partita in D Minor for solo violin; and a Rodion Shchedrin operatic interlude.


Aggressive recruiting continues at the San Francisco Conservatory.

The international soprano Deborah Voigt has been appointed to the full-time voice faculty, it has just been announced. Guess that’s where you go now to study Brünnhilde.

Five months ago, San Fran signed Leon Fleisher to the piano team.

Who’s next?

deborah voigt fat


The venerable American pianist has gone quiet of late.

That’s because he broke a wrist and two fingers in a Houston car crash earlier this year.

But a few pins and some good physio have put him back on the road to rehab.

He’s planning his next concert.

Read here.


The Italian crooner will perform before Saturday’s match in the home of England’s unlikely football champions.

It appears Andrea Bocelli is an admirer of the Leicester FC manager, Claudio Ranieri.

May Italians, including the prime minister, are claiming Leicester’s triumph as their own.


The Mariinsky theatre orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, will play a concert tonight in the historical Syrian town of Palmyra, recently ‘liberated’ with Russian help from IS tyranny and returned to the control of Russia’s ally, President Assad.

Gergiev has titled the concert, Pray for Palmyra. Music revives ancient remains.

He hopes to raise funds for the site’s restoration.


Apart from finding the money to increase its output of new shows, the best omen in English National Opera’s new season is a strategy to take the company out of the West End – and out of London altogether.

The idea is to divide the year into autumn and spring seasons at the London Coliseum, with a summer tour of venues around London and out into the rest of the country.

In Summer 2017, this company will present shows at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, the Hackney Empire and the Southbank Centre.

Blackpool breaches a long-standing Arts Council ban on ENO playing outside London. t’s a shrewd place to stage Mikado for the summer crowds and it fills a notable gap in an area the ACE has neglected for decades. ENO needs to get out more if it is to be a truly national company once again.

That’s the crumb of good news. Much of the rest is camouflage. Playing an oratorio the South Bank won’t change much, and most of the next season is – contrary to first perceptions – revivals. This is going to be a tread-water season while an inexperienced artistic director settles in and starts the search for a music director.

The new shows – just four of them – are:



(Co-pro with Theater Basel) Sep 30, Oct 4, 7, 13, 15, 18, 21, 24, 26 at 19.00 & Oct 9 at 15.00

Director: Richard Jones, Conductor: Mark Wigglesworth, Set Designer: Paul Steinberg, Costume Designer: Nicky Gillibrand, Lighting Designer: Mimi Jordan Sherin, Movement Director: Sarah Fahie, Translator: Amanda Holden

Cast includes: Christopher Purves (Don Giovanni), Clive Bayley (Leporello), Caitlyn Lynch (Donna Anna), Allan Clayton (Don Ottavio), Christine Rice (Donna Elvira), James Creswell (Commendatore), Mary Bevan (Zerlina), Nicholas Crawley (Masetto)

Alban Berg – LULU

(In the Cerha completion. Co-pro with the Met and Dutch National Opera)

Nov 9, 14, 17 at 19.00 & Nov 12, 19 at 18.00

Director: William Kentridge, Co-Director: Luc De Wit, Conductor: Mark Wigglesworth, Designer: Sabine Theunissen, Costume Designer: Greta Goiris, Lighting Designer: Urs Schönebaum, Video Designer: Catherine Meyburgh, Video Operator: Kim Gunning, Translator: Richard Stokes

Cast includes: Brenda Rae (Lulu), Sarah Connolly (Countess Geschwitz), Michael Colvin (Painter), James Morris (Dr Schön/Jack the Ripper), Nicky Spence (Alwa), Willard White (Schigolch), David Soar (Animal Tamer/Athlete), Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (Prince/Manservant/Marquis), Clare Presland (Schoolboy/Dresser/Waiter), Graeme Danby (Theatre Director/Bank Director), Sarah Labiner (15 Year Old Girl), Rebecca de Pont Davies (Her Mother), Sarah Champion (Female Artist), Geoffrey Dolton (Journalist)



Lulu Cigar1 met


Ryan Wigglesworth – THE WINTER’S TALE

World Premiere

Libretto: Ryan Wigglesworth after William Shakespeare

Opens 27 February 2017 for 5 performances

Feb 27, Mar 3, 8, 10, 14 at 19.30

Director: Rory Kinnear, Conductor: Ryan Wigglesworth, Set Designer: Vicki Mortimer

Cast includes:  Iain Paterson (Leontes), Sophie Bevan (Hermione), Samantha Price (Perdita), Leigh Melrose (Polixenes), Anthony Gregory (Florizel), Susan Bickley (Paulina), Neal Davies (Antigonus/Shepherd), Timothy Robinson (Camillo)


European Premiere

Libretto: Bridgette A. Wimberly

Opens June 2017 at Hackney Empire Performance dates TBC

Director: Ron Daniels, Conductor: tbc, Set Designer: Riccardo Hernandez, Costume Designer: Emily Rebholz, Lighting Designer: Scott Zielinski

CAST INCLUDES: Lawrence Brownlee (Charlie Parker)

Commissioned by Opera Philadelphia. European Premiere presented in collaboration between Hackney Empire and ENO


The new English National Opera season, just announced, pulls a rabbit out of the hat. Instead of shrinking its output from 11 productions to six or eight as rumoured, it will boost them to 15 by 2018/19.

But not before. The coming season has just four new shows.

eno boheme

Season highlights (from press release):
– ENO’s Composer-in-Residence, Ryan Wigglesworth, conducts the World Premiere of his first opera The Winter’s Tale, with actor Rory Kinnear making his directorial debut.
– The European Premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, a jazz-infused chamber opera by Daniel Schnyder that tells the story of the great bebop pioneer, starring Lawrence Brownlee in the title role. Ron Daniels directs YARDBIRD at Hackney Empire – the first opera to be performed as part of a long-term collaboration with Hackney Empire and Opera Philadelphia.

– World-renowned artist and director William Kentridge directs a new production of Berg’s Lulu, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth

– Olivier Award-winning director Richard Jones returns to ENO to direct a new production of Don Giovanni, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, with Christopher Purves in the title role.

– ENO takes Jonathan Miller’s popular production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado to the Opera House at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool

– A new partnership with the Southbank Centre. In summer 2017, ENO will present a concert hall performance of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius

– ENO celebrates the work of director Jonathan Miller with a special evening marking well over 1,000 performances of his work over a 38-year period

– Revivals include Jonathan Miller’s Rigoletto, Mike Leigh’s The Pirates of Penzance, Christopher Alden’s Olivier Award-winning production of Handel’s Partenope, Catherine Malfitano’s Tosca and Penny Woolcock’s The Pearl Fishers

– ENO announces a new partnership with Silent Opera, supporting young British director Daisy Evans