The Argentine-US composer Osvaldo Golijov, 55, who has missed several deadlines in recent years, will not submit a long-planned opera to the Met.

Golijov’s publisher ascribes the cancellation to a difference of artistic opinion. The Met, feeding the story to the New York Times, appears to have pulled the plug. No-one’s saying much.


Stephen Mulligan has been named assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra.

A prize-winner at Aspen (pic), Stephen studied at Peabody with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar and Marin Alsop.




Tom Watson stood up today at Labour Friends of Israel and, after denouncing antisemitism in the party, burst into song. The exhortation he chants – Am Yisrael Chai – means: The people of Israel are alive.


Now for a duet with Jeremy Corbyn.

We live in weird times.

Like Bob Dylan, the German tenor will not be appearing at the Nobel Ceremony on December 8, according to Swedish Radio.

He has informed the committee that the vocal injury which sidelined him for the past two months has not yet fully healed.

Kaufmann will be replaced as soloist at the Nobel Prize concert by the violinist Janine Jansen.


Kaufmann pulled out of a Japan tour three days ago. His next planned date is the opening of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on January 11-12.

He is also due to start rehearsals for a Paris Lohengrin at the onset of the New Year.

From tonight, the Vienna Opera will be streaming in ultra-high definition.

press release:

New dimension of WIENER STAATSOPER live at home:

La traviata in new HDR image mode for first time on 29 November

Today, Tuesday, 29 November 2016, the WIENER STAATSOPER’s live at home programme will be broadcasting Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata for the first time ever as a live stream in UHD quality using the new HDR image mode, making it possible to achieve an unprecedented picture quality. The opera features a star-studded cast, with Marina Rebeka in the title role, Charles Castronovo as Alfredo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Giorgio Germont, all under the musical direction of maestra Speranza Scappucci.

HDR stands for “high dynamic range” and represents the latest revolution in television, making for even brighter, high-contrast images with greater depth of colour and a sharper picture. The new technology enhances areas of the image that were previously either too dark or too light. “This new technology opens up a new dimension for us. Particularly in opera, we are very often faced with dark backgrounds and brightly illuminated singers and stage scenery in the foreground. The human eye has no problem with this, and can see as much of the detail in both bright and dark areas. HDR now makes it possible to broadcast operas and ballets with the original lighting envisaged by the stage director without compromising the TV pictures or using additional TV lighting disturbing to the audience. Thus HDR delivers a whole new, fantastic quality at several levels! And we are delighted that we have once again been able to introduce a cutting-edge innovation in co-operation with Samsung,” explains Dominique Meyer, Director of Vienna State Opera.

Samsung, technical partner to the Wiener Staatsoper, has integrated this new image standard in its complete current SUHD TV and UHD TV range. An HDR-enabled Samsung TV set is required in order to be able to receive La traviata in HDR. “We have established yet another milestone in the development of streaming technology with the new UHD live stream in HDR mode. Samsung not only offers terminal equipment for this new standard, but also high-quality content in collaboration with the Wiener Staatsoper. The opera experience is transmitted to TV screens around the world not only with high-fidelity sound, but also in optimal visual quality,” says Sunghan Kim, Managing Director of Samsung Electronics Austria.


vienna state opera imax

We hear that Gjorgi Dimchevski has won the audition for concertmaster of the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid (Orquesta Nacional de España).

He is presently concertmaster of the orchestra of the troubled Palau de Les Arts Opera in Valencia.


The auction house has issued a statement after a Beethoven manuscript failed to sell this morning, following a row on the BBC today programme over its authenticity.

Sotheby’s statement regarding Beethoven’s Allegretto in B minor:

‘We believe it was irresponsible for a third party to raise doubts about Beethoven’s “Allegretto” in B Minor manuscript when they had not inspected it first-hand or taken into account its provenance and the inscription by an English vicar confirming that it was composed and written by Beethoven. This unfortunately had a direct impact on the auction sale, but Sotheby’s stands by its description of the manuscript as an authentic and important piece of musical history and Sotheby’s view is shared by the majority of world-renowned Beethoven scholars who have inspected the manuscript personally.’

Sotheby’s categorically rejects the suggestion that the Beethoven manuscript is a contemporary copy:

– It has been suggested that the Rev John Abbiss of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, forged this copy of Beethoven’s “Allegretto” in B minor, transcribing it from a score given by Beethoven to Richard Ford in Vienna in November 1817.

– However, the manuscript is so close in all respects to the other original, discovered by Sotheby’s in 1999, that it cannot be a contemporary transcript. Instead, Beethoven made this copy for John Abbiss himself, almost immediately after he wrote out Ford’s score.

– The manuscript carries an inscription by Abbiss in a completely different hand and ink from the music (cf numerous pages in contemporary notebooks in Abbiss’s hand from the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield). Unless he was a practised forger, it is very unlikely that he would master an imitation of hand so characteristic and difficult to achieve. Abbiss’s copy was not laboriously traced either: it is not an exact replica.



The composer’s finished manuscript of the second symphony sold this morning at Sotheby’s for £3.9 million ($4.5), to which the buyer will have to add a premium of around 15%. The total paid was £4,546,250.

This is by far the highest sum ever paid for a music manuscript. The previous record was held by a Schumann symphony, sold for £1.5 million in 1994.

The Mahler score was owned by Gilbert Kaplan, a New York publisher who conducted the symphony many times around the world.

It was sold to a phone bidder, presently unidentified.

mahler second ms

An 1817 score by Beethoven failed to sell at Sotheby’s this morning after a Manchester musicologist cast doubt on the handwriting. Professor Barry Cooper had gone public with his ‘hunch’ that the score was the work of a copyist.

On Radio 4’s Today programme Dr Simon Maguire of Sotheby’s fiercely defended the manuscript’s authenticity, accusing Cooper of misreading the score. Maguire said that Cooper had refused his invitation to come down from manuscript and inspect the score.

But when the hammer fell an hour ago the score failed to reach its reserve price and was withdrawn.

You can listen to the disputation here.


UPDATE: Sotheby’s attack ‘irresponsible’ musicologist

The Grawemeyer Award, worth $100,000, is the world’s richest prize for composers.

In its early years the recipients were Lutoslawski, Ligeti, Birtwistle, Chinary Ung, Joan Tower, John Corigliano.

The 2017 winner, announced last night, is Andrew Norman, 37.

A recording of his 2013 symphony Play was acclaimed in the New York Times as ‘the best orchestral work that the 21st century has seen thus far’.

Andrew Norman’s reaction to winning the Grawemeyer was this:

photo: Jessa Anderson

‘If I get more commissions, great, but maybe I can use this moment to talk about things that are important to me. Like to call attention to the fact that there are problems. For instance, this award has been given to three women out of its 30-year history. And to me that’s kind of an issue.

‘And in all honesty, I’m a white man and I get lots of commissions and there are systemic reasons for that, reasons we should all be talking about. There are so many talented composers out there. Rather than giving me another commission, why aren’t we giving those people a commission?

‘The canon is so overwhelmingly white and male, but we can use new music to fix that problem. There are so many voices who should be heard in the concert hall today, of people whose music reflects a wide variety of experiences. That, to me, is the most important issue right now for contemporary classical music and classical music generally — how to get what happens in the concert hall to reflect the diverse society that we are.

‘I think that orchestras have such an opportunity, especially now in this really conflicted, contentious moment, to say something powerful and meaningful about our own time, with the all of the voices of our own time.’

From Asahi Shimbun:

A young woman, new in town, is excited to be joining a local amateur symphony orchestra, but she soon discovers that all its members are elderly.

She’s kept on her toes by a seemingly endless array of problems, but she nevertheless begins to appreciate how the power of music can bring people together.

This is a summary of “Oke Rojin!” (Golden orchestra), a Japanese film that is now showing at theaters nationwide. Actress Anne Watanabe plays the young woman.


Has anyone seen it?

And did you just learn the Japanese word for ‘orchestra’?

From an interview with Russian state media:

A. N.: Say what you will, but all weight loss is complete nonsense! When Callas began to lose weight, she began to lose her voice….

RG: Do you follow diets?

A.N.: No! Never! I love all of my extra 30 pounds, since Giuditta, who danced barefoot in Baden-Baden.

I’ve been keeping my weight up for the past seven years, I love it. I will not give it to anyone. This is what keeps me going. This is my stamina, my strength, to have something to support my voice. Of course, I’m talking about dramatic parts, not an easy repertoire.

RG: Has the fact that you have dramatically changed your role, having gone from a light, almost soubrette repertoire to the most dramatic roles, changed your character?

A.N.: No. In general, I became calmer, childishness with antics and mimicry has gone. I am already 45 years old, how much can you? I’m tired of acting, of representing all what I am not anymore. I find it much more comforting and interesting to work with big, serious characters.