We have been informed of the death of Roberta Knie, an American soprano who made a fine career in Europe before she was finally called to the Met in 1976.

Oklahoma born, Roberta Knie studied in London and was a member of the Vienna State Opera in the early 1970s.

She made her debut in Bayreuth as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre in 1974 and sang her first Isolde in a Wieland Wagner production in Ravenna the following year.

It became her signature role.

Knie (l.) with Jon Vickers and Maureen Forrester in a 1975 Montrea Tristan (Photo: Richard Bocking).

Christophe Ghristi (l.), 48, is to be artistic director of the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse.

He was previously chief dramaturg of the Paris Opéra.

The Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker has been named artistic director of the Honens International Piano Competition, starting in January 2018.

Parker says: ‘The triennial Competition and annual Festival have become focal points of artistic and musical expression for the city of Calgary and, indeed, for all of Canada. Having performed in Calgary for more than 30 years, I have always been met with the warmest possible welcome and a sense of joy in discovering the artistic possibilities of great piano music. I am absolutely thrilled to become the Artistic Director of Honens. This is a beautifully-run organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the vast riches of piano music and to identifying young musicians who have artistic vision.’


Daniel R. Lewis, founder of the Cleveland Orchestra residency in Miami, has written to Slipped Disc, detailing how his successors let it all fall apart.



I have been an outsider since September 2014, so I don’t know what has happened to attendance or earned revenue. Contributed revenue has dropped dramatically, including all contributors at $100,000 & more a year, and MMA lost its #1 fundraiser, me. The behavior of Board President, the past and current Executive Directors, and other TCO managers, caused the relationship with MMA and the Arsht Center to further deteriorate to the point that in December 2016, the MMA board, with TCO Executive Director present and making the case for MMA support, voted 17 to 2 to not support Cleveland Orchestra Miami after this season.

Read his account of the full debacle here.



Unlike remote and rainswept Bergen, where a star replacement was conjugally found for an unwell soprano, things went awry for the couples at Los Angeles Opera this weekend.

The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.

Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.

The conductor was the company’s director Placido Domingo, the production was by his wife, Marta.

Judging by Mark Swed’s review, it was all a bit home-made.


Thinking of Slava.

27 March 1927 – 27 April 2007

William Petter, director of several London choirs and a rising composer, was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma in 2013. He died in October last year, aged 34, leaving a wife and young daughter.

Throughout his stays in hospital he continued to compose. An album of his works will be released this week, in time for Easter. You can listen to samples here.


From the sleeve notes:

William Petter, born in 1982, was a chorister in New College Choir under Edward Higginbottom. He sang with The Sixteen, the Choir of the Enlightenment, London Voices, Philharmonia Voices, Westminster Abbey Choir and Westminster Cathedral Choir, and directed the choir of St Magnus the Martyr, where he worked for 10 years as Director of Music .

The body of sacred choral works left at his death reveals a distinctive personal idiom influenced by a deep connection with the European choral tradition and his natural tendency towards romantic intensity and a deeply expressive performance style. The St. Magnus Mass for six unaccompanied voices calls to mind stylistic traits of Frank Martin and Durufle, via Walton and, in its rhythmic vitality, Leonard Bernstein; while the Vigil Mass places the plainsong Missa de Angelis alongside a richly-varied organ texture. The three motets show further aspects of Petter’s aesthetic in writing both for exuberantly large-scale choral forces (The Good Shepherd is Risen; Come Down O Love Divine) and for a more intimate dynamic (The Lord’s Prayer). The disc is particularly appropriate for Eastertide, setting texts that follow the Easter story from the Resurrection to Pentecost.

This is the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester playing ‘The Robots are Coming!’ by Steve Pickett at a young people’s concert.

A sign of the times? The percussion of the future?

At Bergen National Opera on Saturday, Sylvia Schwartz sang the opening performance as Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia to reat acclaim. However, she has since fallen sick. What to do when the next performance is just two days off?

Just so happens that the baritone singing the role of Selim, Guido Loconsolo, brought his wife to the show.

She is Nino Machaidze, coloratura superstar. She not only knows the role – she’s even the right size for the costumes.

Bergen is in for a big night tonight.

We also hear that the conductor of Il Turco, Domingo Hindoyan, had brought his wife, Sonya Yoncheva. Just in case.

We may have to update our latest power couples list.


photo: Uli Weber/Sony

The French soprano does not believe that opera can relate to modern times – despite her husband earning rave reviews this month in a world premiere.

Interview with Forum Opéra here.

Je me suis souvent sentie en décalage, à part, car je ne me suis jamais considérée comme chanteuse mais comme une comédienne qui chantait. Dans le monde de l’opéra, j’ai toujours été mal à l’aise, une étrangère en fait. J’ai pourtant beaucoup aimé faire ce métier mais sans jamais perdre conscience que  c’était un art du passé, un monde clos, et je pensais : mais quelle raison peut-on avoir aujourd’hui de chanter sans micro ?!  Sauf de faire vivre un répertoire en étant écartelé entre le musée et la nouvelle lecture.

Q. Pourtant Laurent Naouri fait un succès dans Trompe-la-mort, la création de Francesconi à Garnier. Comme quoi, il y a quand même du renouvellement à l’Opéra.

C’est vrai, certaines œuvres modernes pourront passer à la postérité, comme celles de Thomas Adès ou John Adams, mais elles sont extrêmement rares et ne viennent pas infirmer l’idée que l’opéra est un art qui n’a pas su se renouveler.

Read on here.