The Russian choreographer Sergei Vikharev suffered a fatal stroke today.

After a successful career as dancer and ballet master, he reconstructed Sleeping Beauty for the Mariinsky from Petipa’s original notes and designs, following up with two more ballets.

Read Ismene Brown on his achievement.

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Never forget that Maurice Ravel was more Basque than French. His rhythms and harmonies belong to the borderlands. He is happiest with the smell of Rioja in his nostrils.

There must be other pianists who have paired Ravel’s two piano concertos on record with De Falla’s Nights in the Garden of Spain, but I can’t call any recent releases to mind. Or maybe Steven Osborne’s account is just so thrilling that it has erased them from memory. There is never a moment in this performance when you doubt the absolute rightness of his choices….

Read on here.

And here.

And here.


Don Giovanni will be preceded tomorrow by a minute’s silence for the fondly remembered British conductor, who died today in Italy, at the age of 74.


The French baritone Ludovic Tézier has pulled out of what would have been his ROH debut in the upcoming Verdi Otello. He is replaced by the Italian Marco Vratogna

Tézier said: ‘Due to health reasons, I was unfortunately unable to attend the first week of rehearsals … When it became apparent that I would be further delayed by two days for a doctor’s appointment, the Royal Opera made the difficult decision to re-cast the pivotal role of Iago. Obviously I am hugely disappointed…but I look forward to returning to The Royal Opera next season to sing King Ferdinand in L’Ange de Nisida’.


The title role in Otello is due to be sung by Jonas Kaufmann.

The management agency for Sir Jeffrey Tate has confirmed his death, this afternoon, at the age of 74. The eminent British conductor suffered a heart attack while visiting the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Italy, and could not be revived.

Sir Jeffrey Tate, who was 74, was knighted six weeks ago for services to music.

Born with spina bifida and suffering disability all his life, he has been principal conductor at Covent Garden, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Sao Carlo theatre in Naples.

At the time of his death he was chief conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.

His disability did not prevent him from working at most of the great opera houses, including the Met. At one point, in the 1980s, he was in line to become music director at Covent Garden. Amiable and sensitive, especially when rehearsing singers, Jeffrey was unfailingly well liked and respected.

He recorded extensively, most notably the Mozart piano concertos with Mitsuko Uchida.

He shared his life with Klaus Kuhlemann, a German scientist.



NB: (The Academia is an art gallery; first reports that he died in an orchestral rehearsal were misplaced.)

UPDATE: Jeffrey Tate: How Britten changed my life.

The local newspaper in Bergamo, Italy, has reported the death, this afternoon, of Jeffrey Tate, the eminent British conductor. He suffered an apparent heart attack while visiting the Accademia Carrara and could not be revived.

Sir Jeffrey Tate, who was 74, was knighted six weeks ago for services to music.

Born with spina bifida and suffering disability all his life, he has been principal conductor at Covent Garden, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Sao Carlo theatre in Naples.

News of his death is circulating among Italian musicians.

UPDATE: His death has been confirmed by his management agency.

No-one has ever satisfactorily explained the point of the Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis, but the winners aren’t complaining.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, 59, will collect his quarter-million in Munich tonight.

We understand that last night’s Bridgewater Hall concerts by three orchestras to raise funds for victims of the Arena terror attack raised something in the region of £100,000.

Half of the money came from sponsors. The other half, which went straight to relief charities, came in public donations.

The Halle, the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata came together for the event. Sir Mark Elder and Stephen Bell conducted. Soloists were Alice Coote, Clare Teal and Guy Garvey.


Our weekly diary from violinist Anthea Kreston:

It’s one A.M. and I have just gotten back to my room in the River Countess, a sumptuous river boat which is transporting the Performance Today (American Public Media with host Fred Child) Italy tour, for which I am the guest soloist. I can hear the water of the Guidecca canal lapping below my windows. My room has gold-lined fabric wallpaper, slippers and bathrobe, a seating area with a cafe table and vintage chairs, a desk, and a gorgeous bathroom. There are three levels of cabins, housekeeping service every time I leave my room, four-course dinners, a library, chandeliers, waitstaff in white gloves, a sun-deck with a huge chess set, a variety of cafes, bars, exercise rooms and a full service spa. And, it is full to the brim with classical music fans. Heaven on earth. 

I first met Fred Child, the witty and inclusively knowledgeable host of Performance Today, in 2013, when my piano trio (Amelia) was invited to be Young Artists in Residence at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. What followed was a series of live performances interwoven with interviews. It was simultaneously frightening and comfortable – Fred remains the best interviewer I have ever had. 

Fred and I had a plan to wake early today and go to San Michele, the cemetery island, to find Stravinsky’s grave.  We picked up some fresh flowers, and got on the vaporetto heading to Murano, the glass island.  It was crowded – surprising for so early in the morning – and we noticed several widows in all black, clutching bouquets and walking sticks. Stravinsky is buried next to his wife, Vera, along a tall brick wall which offers shade. Their stones are not flashy – simple slabs – but the lettering of their names is Picasso-like -hand-laid in vibrant blue stone. We came back to Venice, had a gondola experience, and were back on the boat for lunch. 

Tonight I had the pleasure of performing the Four Seasons with the Interpreti Veneziani in the Chiesa San Vidal in Venice, which dates back to the 16th century.  The Interpreti is a baroque orchestra which tours internationally, and because of complex scheduling, we had only one hour to put the Seasons together before the concert. When I arrived (of course after getting lost), I was struck by the sight of an orchestra made up entirely of men. I was unsure of how the group dynamic would play out – not only do I play about as un-baroque as a person can, but I was going to be conducting as well as playing. 

I could feel a bit of resistance when we started to rehearse, but by the end all was well and we were all game for a spontaneous, if lightly rehearsed, energetic and colorful evening. Fred Child was going to read the sonnets before each season, and we were ready to go. 

The back stage area was one room – and I was surprised, but very happy, when the whole orchestra began to change. They were treating me as one of their own – I stared intently at my phone, trying to avert my eyes to an entire orchestra of Italian men in their underpants.  Kind-of fun, truth be told.

Next up on the docket is an unaccompanied recital (Bach Chaconne, Ysaye Second Sonata and Biber Passacaglia) in Vicenza (tomorrow), two more recitals, interviews, lots of social activities, and I even get to go to La Fenice and see the Barber of Seville!

This time next week I will be back in Quartet swing, as we have several concerts and a new piece to learn. So far, it has been quite an eventful quartet  “Sabbatical”.  Ciao!

The German pianist Alice Sara Ott has announced a signature line of travel bags with the German accessories label, JOST.

Next Thursday at the Royal Festival Hall, Samantha Cameron will play the Rachmaninov D minor concerto.

Georg Stump, long-serving  bass clarinet of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, was knocked off his bike at a junction in Mönchengladbach on Tuesday and died later in hospital.

Stump, 59, had been a member of the orchestra for 34 years.

His shocked colleagues have dedicated their next concert to his memory.

photo: Susanne Diesner

The veteran Christoph von Dohnanyi has pulled out of next week’s concert with the Philharmonia.

His replacement is Enrique Mazzola. No announcement has been made.

Dohnanyi, 87, has been unwell since the start of 2017.

We wish him better.