Keith Cerny, founder of the Hart Institute for Women Conductors at Dallas Opera, has published a sampling of the hopes, fears and prejudices he receives from candidates all over the world.


– In Europe as a woman, you very seldom get the chance to show your proper abilities and talents in conducting. (Germany)

– In the Czech Republic, has not been professionally involved any female conductor so far.

– I have only been subject to discrimination at two particular moments in my career, and this was more likely due to my pregnancies. (US)

– I was the only female conductor in my country for ten years.(Israel)

More here.

women dallas opera

The brilliant English playwright Peter Shaffer, author of Equus and Amadeus, has died in Ireland, aged 90.

His alternative life of Mozart, seen through the eyes of his bitter rival Antonio Salieri, completely overturned the public image of Mozart as a heaven-sent angel.


The romantic misfortunes of violinist David Garrett have now spilled over into the German tabloids.

Garrett is being sued for $12 million by his former girlfriend, a porn star. They were together for six months.

Some readers are wondering what they had in common. We don’t remember seeing her at the Wigmore Hall, judging by her recent twitter feed pictures.

kendall karson

UPDATE: David Garrett’s version.

The nefarious history of Bucharest National Opera continues.

Part XVII. Johann Kobborg, the Danish ballet director ousted by a xenophobic campaign and supposedly reinstated by the ‘neutral’ new boss, Beatrice Rancea, writes:

Just heard that instead of managing ONB with vision and courage, Mrs. Rancea seems to have asked her employees raise signatures against my presence in ONB. She probably wants to prove what she told me last week in a meeting –
that people don’t like me and don’t want me back.

It’s actually a contradiction here – instead of asking higher salaries, better work environment and other professional stuff, they work around backing up with papers what seems to be a personal vendetta. Could the fact that Dance
Europe Magazines nominated the “ONB Ballet Company” as ballet company of the year 2015, have stirred their rage and negative feelings so much? Maybe… I have to apologize for not being able to do things so that we don’t get such
praising headlines. Still wondering where my place really is – in this country or….

johan kobborg

Garsington has just announced its 2017 season – four new production, plus a world premiere.

That’s a tremendous effort for a self-supporting enterprise, surviving without public subsidy.


1 June – 30 July

The 2017 season will be the first time we stage four opera productions as well as the newly commissioned Silver Birch – more details outlined below. We also welcome the Philharmonia Orchestra who will join us for one opera production each year, and in 2017 this will be Pelléas et Mélisande.

George Frideric Handel
Conductor Jonathan Cohen
Director Annilese Miskimmon
Designer Nicky Shaw

The god Jupiter is captivated by Semele’s intoxicating beauty in a dramatic love story of the divine and the mortal. It cannot last, and Semele suffers the consequences. We welcome back Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Norwegian National Opera, with Jonathan Cohen making his Garsington Opera conducting debut.

1, 3, 9, 15, 24, 30 June & 4 July

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor Douglas Boyd
Director John Cox
Designer Robert Perdziola

It is the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna, servants of the Almaviva estate, but as events and the Count’s roving eye conspire to disrupt their marriage, all relationships are tested. A recreation of John Cox’s critically acclaimed 2005 Garsington production, Mozart’s sublime masterpiece is conducted by Artistic Director, Douglas Boyd.

2, 4, 8, 10, 17 June & 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 16 July

Claude Debussy
Conductor Jac van Steen
Director Michael Boyd
Designer Tom Piper

Prince Golaud finds a mysterious young woman in the forest and delights in making her his wife. A dangerous love triangle emerges as she grows perilously close to his brother, Pelléas. Michael Boyd and Tom Piper (Eugene Onegin, 2016) return with Jac van Steen (Intermezzo, 2015) conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in their Garsington debut; together they explore Debussy’s dreamworld of shadows and secrets.

16, 18, 22, 25, 27 Jne & 1, 7 July

Gioachino Rossini
Conductor David Parry
Director Martin Duncan
Designer Francis O’Connor

Prosdocimo, a toiling poet, finds his muse in the flirtatious Fiorilla and her husband, Geronio. When a dashing Turkish stranger arrives, a comedy of unrequted love and confused identity ensues. Rossini’s deliciously layered plot sees games go wrong and lessons learned. Martin Duncan’s joyous 2011 production is conducted by Rossini aficionado David Parry.

26, 29 June & 2, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15 July

Roxanna Panufnik
Conductor Douglas Boyd
Director Karen Gillingham

Garsington Opera’s Learning & Participation Programme presents Silver Birch: a new commission by composer Roxanna Panufnik and librettist Jessica Duchen, uniting professional artists with 170 members of the local community. Through music, dance and Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry people of all ages explore the extraordinary power of love in the devastating context of war.

28, 29, 30 July



From an interview today with the gushing editor of London’s freesheet:

Rattle was impressed that Mayor Sadiq Khan managed to see him conduct Pelléas et Mélisande  at the Barbican in the middle of the mayoral campaign. He is a big fan of the new mayor. “I mean, what a fantastic thing for London, and how wonderful on day two to have an enemy in Donald Trump. What a feather in the cap for London. I was thrilled that Sadiq Khan was so in support of the idea of culture being at the centre of a city and the idea that it is everyone’s right. It can’t be a matter of privilege or chance. It should be something everyone can have in their life, and that means knowing what it is.”

sadiq khan chief rabbi
Sadiq with Chief Rabbi

Earlier in the piece, the Barbican chief Nick Kenyon calls Rattle ‘the Benedict Cumberbatch of classical music’.


A $12 million lawsuit has come before the Manhattan court, alleging that the top-selling violinist David Garrett forced his former girlfriend, a porn star, to endure rough sex. He also allegedly required her to drink his urine.

The actress Ashley Youdan (also known as Kendall Karson) says he left her with broken ribs.

Sordid details here in the New York Post.

Garrett’s lawyers contest the claims. Youdan’s lawyers say they have audio and photographs.

David Garrett, 35, is immensely popular in Germany and central Europe. His recording of the Beethoven concerto has outsold Anne-Sophie Mutter and all other recent performances.


UPDATE: David Garrett’s version of the story.

Andrew Manze tells his German audience that the outcome of the referendum is uncertain. He calls the current campaign (not unreasonably) ‘a victory of demagoguery over reason’.

Andrew, 51, is music director of the NDR Philharmonic in Hannover.


Announcing his resignation today as music director in Graz, Austria’s second largest city, Dirk Kaftan said he was still not sure whether he had another job to go to.

He has been named music director in Bonn, starting next year, but the appointment requires parliamentary approval and that is taking forever.

The choice: Graz is bigger than Bonn. But Bonn has a Beethoven 250 bash coming up in 2020. Your call.


Dirk Kaftan

…according to the Louisville Symphony music director, Teddy Abrams….

“Muhammad Ali became a symbol of hope and love, and among other things he was also a musician,” said Teddy Abrams, conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. “He could sing. So we came out to bring some of that love and music to the people. Right now people could use a little hope.”

teddy abrams keyboard

He sure had a sweet voice.

Peter Konwitschny has put on a staging in Trier of two Bach cantatas,  Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (BWV199) and Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig (BWV 26).

Here’s how it looks.

bach cantata konwitschny

Anna Magdalena goes shopping in the sales?

The death has been reported of Phyllis Curtin, who sang major roles at the Met, Vienna, La Scala and Covent Garden from the 1950s to the 1960s and created the title role on Carlisle Floyd’s successful opera, Susannah.

No less incisively, she was an influential teacher at Tanglewood for half a century and was dean of the school of arts at Boston University and a professor of voice at Yale.

Launched at New York City Opera like so many American talents, she failed to gain Rudolf Bing’s confidence in romantic Italian roles but appeared nonetheless at the Met as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Eva in Meistersinger, Alice Ford in Falstaff and many other roles. Peter G Davis, in his masterful study of American singers, suggests she was schmoozed out of the Met by her uber-political rival, Beverly Sills, who went on to chair the company’s board.

phyllis curtin