On the assumption that Beethoven’s Fifth might be too heavy for the US President, the Filarmonica della Scala has changed next Friday’s programme to scoops of gelato .

Andrew Powell has sent us this rundown:

Puccini – Madama Butterfly: Act III Sunrise
Rossini – Overture to L’italiana in Algeri
Rossini – Overture to Guillaume Tell
Verdi – La traviata: Act I Prelude
Verdi – Overture to La forza del destino

UPDATE: We have received this clarification from the Filarmonica della Scala:

No modifications to the program have been made by Filarmonica della Scala. Even if we have a tour with Dvorák/Bruch – Beethoven program, from the beginning we decided to play in Taormina a full italian program. Italy host the summit and the concert is a “welcome” to all the other country with the most known Italian Opera Masterpieces.

Francoise Nyssen, named today by President Macron as his minister of culture, is the head of Actes Sud, a publishing house founded by her father in Arles.

Nyssen, 66, has a PhD in Molecular Biology and has founded a school for special-needs children.

Not your ordinary politician. And definitely not a luvvie or insider.

Barely is the ink dry on Ivan Ilic’s contract than the UK boutique label has snapped up another interesting artist.

The Italian Federico Colli, winner of the 2012 Leeds competition, has signed a multi-album deal, starting with Scarlatti sonatas and followed by Bach-Busoni.

During next week’s G7 summit, the US President will attend a 7pm concert on Friday, May 26, at the Teatro Antico in Taormina, Sicily.

Myung-Whun Chung will conduct the Filarmonica della Scala in Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Andrew Powell tells us that Dvorak’s cello concerto was also planned, but may be omitted amid fears the concert may tax the president’s limited patience.

No tweeting during the concert, please.

UPDATE: Trump’s concert is dumbed down.

It is reported that the Chinese pianist has signed with CAA, the Los Angeles talent and sports agency, ‘in all areas’.

This will include ‘his touring, soundtracks, digital content, endorsements, personal appearances and philanthropy.’

That’s a huge move for a classical artist.

Subject to confirmation, it means that Lang Lang has parted company with Cami Music and its boss, Jean-Jacques Cesbron, who has directed his career from the outset. Earlier this year, Cesbron lost the influential Chinese conductor Long Yu, who is Lang Lang’s close collaborator.

The move will also mean that Lang Lang is hungry for an even bigger slice of the celebrity lifestyle.

Lang Lang with Cesbron (r.)


UPDATE: Lang Lang – I’m with CAMI.

Oliver Sohngen, founder and owner of the Long Island City Academy of Music, has been arrested and charged with procuring children for sex, one as young as eight years old.

Sohngen, 52, has been charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking of minors, attempted sex trafficking of minors and attempted inducement of minors to engage in sexual activity. He is being held without bail.

A would-be opera singer from Konstanz in Germany, Sohngen came to the US to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music. When his opera career failed to take off, he opened the music school.

More here.


His Baden-Baden house has been on sale since the start of the year for 2.8 million Euros.

There have been no takers as yet.

Now local activists are trying to get the two national governments to buy the house and turn it into a model of progressive Franco-German cooperation.

Read here.

From Jane Hargraft:

I attended a recital tonight (at the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw) with baritone Christopher Maltman and accompanist Julius Drake singing Eisler’s Hollywood Songbook. It was a very fine concert – but Mr. Maltman stopped mid-concert in the second half to address three young ladies in the back of the hall.

‘You are directly in my sightline, and it’s clear that you do not want to be here. I can see you chatting and using your phone. If you do not want to be here, leave.’ The audience applauded warmly.

This appears to be a trend. Actors on the London stage have complained recently of audience members talking and eating during their performance. Have other readers noticed the same thing? 

Jovanka Trbojevic, a Finnish composer of Serbian origin, has died after a protracted illness.

Raised in Belgrade, she began her studies in Prague and moved on to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

She received several orchestral commissions and won the 2008 Prix Italia for a large radiophonic work, CreationGame. She was lately engaged in writing an opera for Helsinki Chamber Choir.