From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Now here’s a surprise. A new release from the Opera Rara label usually consists of some bel canto work that has languished forgotten in a vault since its premiere 160 years ago, and usually for good reason (as becomes apparent when you’re halfway through the unreviewable second disc). This package, though, is different: a pair of debut releases by two fast-rising singers, soprano and tenor, mingling well-known arias with the fairly obscure.

Read on here.

And here.

And here.

Sample:

Interview here.

The contemporary music label Kairos has posted the following notice:

Peter Oswald, founder of our label KAIROS, died on 3 August 2017. His love for new music, his enthusiasm for young composers and his belief in the power of the arts will be an ongoing inspiration for our future work for KAIROS.

Ostwald died during the night. He founded KAIROS in 1999 with Barbara Fränzen, his wife. The produced recordings by living, modernist composers, among them Furrer, Scelsi, Lachenmann, Saariaho, Olga Neuwirth and Rebecca Saunders.

 

 

The pianist announced in April that he was taking three months off with an arm injury.

It appears his recovery is taking longer than expected.

We hear he has cancelled US dates in the second week of September, starting with the Charlotte Symphony.

St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London is known as the national musicians’ church.

It has a side-chapel with windows dedicated to various British musicians, the church holds Henry Wood’s ashes and it has a memorial book for musicians who die. It also has a terrific acoustic and is hired for concerts by many amateur and professional groups

That’s nice. What follows is not so nice.

The church has recently written to all the choirs and orchestras who hire it to say they are no longer welcome.

‘This has not been an easy decision,’ writes the Reverend David Ingall, not saying why. Apparently, there is an evangelical group which is prepared to pay more for hirings than musicians can afford.

‘Our ministry as the National Musicians Church continues to be a core part of our Church’s identity and vision,’ continues the Reverend. However: ‘I am aware that you do already have bookings in the calendar for 2018 and we would be very grateful if you were able to find an alternative venue.’

Basically, the musicians have been given the bum’s rush by St Sepulchre’s.

It should be known in future as the National Musicians Church-without-musicians.

UPDATE: There’s a petition going round to reverse the decision. Sign here.

 

There have been some drop-offs from the 2014 list – and some important add-ons.

Here’s our selection of the nicest, kindest, smartest, quickest press offices of 2017.

1 La Scala, Milan

All warm and cuddly since Chailly became music director

 

2 Chicago Symphony

A sleek, swift Muti machine

3 Salzburg Festival

The coffee’s on the counter before you’ve opened your mouth.

4 Berlin Philharmonic

Efficient as you’d expect, now with added Kirill smiles

5 Vienna State Opera

Fast, frank and fantastically professional

6 Boston Symphony

Busily proactive, literate and unfusty

7 Bavarian State Opera

Anything Vienna can do, we can…

8 Los Angeles Philharmonic

Still on the ball but less to do now Borda’s gone and Gustavo’s protecting his Caracas.

9 Garsington Festival

Model press operation, alert and good at follow-through

10 Dallas Opera

Feisty, fast and fearless

And the worst? Click here.

Smart move:

Hamburg, 11 August 2017: To mark the end of the Hamburg summer holidays, for one week only the Elbphilharmonie is screening live broadcasts from the Grand Hall on its forecourt on the banks of the River Elbe, offering free public screenings of five concerts. From Sunday to Thursday, 27–31 August, live performances by four international orchestras will be broadcast, bringing the three-week »Elbphilharmonie Summer« series to a close. The concerts feature the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yu Long and with star violinist Maxim Vengerov, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic under Kristjan Järvi, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Ingo Metzmacher and the Ensemble Anima Eterna Brugge. On 1 September, the »Opening Night« with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, its chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and the actor Klaus Maria Brandauer also takes place in the open air.

 

It has been a while since we last published a list of the least helpful music and opera press offices and, with some satisfaction we can report improvements in four major institutions. The Vienna State Opera has become a model of cooperation (that may change under the incoming management) and the Kennedy Center has received staff upgrades from Chicago. The Boston Symphony now knows a news story from a hole in the ground and the Berlin Phil are totally on the ball. These four have lost their coveted places in the 2017 list of worst press offices.

On the debit side, the New York Philharmonic press office draws the 2017 wooden spoon for offering a Trumpist half-lie to our straightforward question, Bayreuth remains magnificently obstructive and the Met’s press operation still runs via the back passage of the New York Times.

So, here’s the 2017 Slipped Disc list of the worst press offices:

1 New York Philharmonic

Gold standard bad

2 Bayreuth Festival

Rhinegold bad

3 Metropolitan Opera

Plain bad

4 Opéra de Paris

Quoi? Vous voulez quoi, Monsieur?

5 Van Cliburn Competition

Slow, dumb and sometimes downright rude

6  Aix-en-Provence Festival

Please leave a message

7 La Monnaie, Brussels

Great website, no media initiative

8 Dutch National Opera

We’re very busy. We’ll contact you once the production is over

9 Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Geneva

We have absolutely no comment about anything. 

10 Teatro Real, Madrid

Siesta.

Now check out the 2017 list of the best press offices.

The untrained musician Dennis Prager, who is due to conduct the Santa Monica Symphony in Haydn’s 51st symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall next week, has accused his critics of distorting the case.

‘I think there are 70 musicians (in the orchestra) and seven object to me conducting,’ Prager told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘The media has reported only the one-tenth of the orchestra that objects, while the other 90 percent is quite excited to play for me in Walt Disney Hall. But they’re never quoted. The New York Times didn’t quote one of the 90 percent. It’s a phenomenon. The entire focus is on the disgruntled and the angry, and it’s typical of the Times. There are people from the L.A. Philharmonic who have volunteered to play. Is that reported anywhere?’

(The NY Times and the LA Times picked up the story from Slipped Disc.)

Prager, however, deliberately misses the point: he’s a non-musician standing before an orchestra of professionals. Does he expect to be showered in love?

The jazz and cabaret singer Janet Seidel died on Tuesday. She received the diagnosis nine months ago, on returning from tour. She continued touring until her last weeks.

Janet was hugely popular in Japan. In London, she sold out Ronnie Scott’s three nights running.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (2006) called her ‘Australia’s first lady of jazz singing’. She released 18 records.

Our Berlin-based diarist Anthea Kreston has spent the summer with her family back in the USA.

Our vacation in the States is coming to an end, and it has been lovely. I have a bit of a reverse culture shock – there are so many things I miss about Berlin, and am looking forward to returning next week – settling back in, and returning to our new lives. But here are some of the funny things I missed about America. 

46 things I missed about America:

1 Stores open, always

2 Ridiculous breakfasts

3 Peanut butter

4 Air conditioning

5 Jaywalking

6 Mexican food

7 Trader Joe’s

8 Panera

9 Huge grocery stores

10 (That are always open)

11 (And have everything you could ever dream of, always)

12 Luxuriously spacious parking spaces

13 Being nerdy

14 People bagging my groceries at the supermarket 

15 Laughing loudly in public

16 County fairs

17 Laser tag

18 Bagels

19 Bowling

20 Wearing a “fanny pack”

21 Thrift stores

22 Peanut butter crackers

23 Peanut butter pretzels

24 Wall of peanut butter at the grocery stores (which are always open)

25 Kick-boxing

26 YMCA

27 Target

28 Fries with that

29 Smoothies

30 Drive-through everything

31 Over-the-counter medication

32 Maple syrup and brown sugar

33 Random people asking how I am doing

34 Very few rules

35 Out of season foods available always

36 Mohawks 

37 Epically large portions 

38 No cash

39 How big the country is 

40 Nature, lots of it

41 Relentless optimism 

42 Ice, in everything

43 Going to the grocery store in my pajamas and flip flops 

44 Bizarre appliances

45 To go coffee, to go everything

46 Public drinking fountains

47 Did I say peanut butter?

 

The Welsh baritone Karl Daymond collapsed just as he was about to speak in a heated debate over the future of the Drill Hall in his Chepstow, Monmouthshire. He died soon after, aged 52.

Karl sang roles with English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Opera North and Glyndebourne. He also guested at Minnesota Opera, Royal Flemish Opera, Dutch National Opera and Garsington.

UPDATE: National Opera Studio writes: In recent years, Karl embraced his passion for community singing, music education and helping people “find their voice”, directing several community choirs in the Chepstow area.

UPDATE: BBC Wales outlines Karl’s career, here.