From Amy Adams:

An Open Letter to Jayanth Banavar, Provost and Senior Vice President, and Michael Schill, University of Oregon President –



Dear Sirs –

I am an alumna of the University of Oregon School of Music (1990) and a longtime part of the Oregon Bach Festival (as a musician in the chorus, and more recently as a patron and fan.) I am involved with several arts organizations in our beautiful city, including the Shedd Institute, Eugene Opera and Eugene Symphony.

What has happened to our beloved Oregon Bach Festival? How can the university stonewall the public’s very justifiable demand for explanation?

It’s incomprehensible – and a simple “Sorry, but it’s difficult and necessary and utterly confidential” accompanied by an administrative shrug and a repetition of that weak and banal press release is insufficient answer, considering the enormity of the university’s and festival’s action.

Matthew Halls’ personal reputation as a musician, a conductor, an artistic director is being sullied while the university sits by and does nothing. The community’s trust in the Oregon Bach Festival, and in the University of Oregon itself is eroding while the university does nothing.

If the underlying rationale for Halls’s firing was solid, then issue a statement. (A truth-filled one, it hardly needs to be said, that begins to undo the damage done by the weak and unconvincing OBF statement issued to the public.)

If the underlying rationale for Halls’ firing was poor – then the ONLY morally just thing to do would be walk it back and correct it. Otherwise, you personally are asking the OBF community to accept your decision on faith, while simultaneously undermining your own credibility.

Please, gentlemen, speak. Act.

“No matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.”


Amy Adams, Class of 1990

We reported earlier that Danielle Mattoon had left very quietly two weeks ago, after just four years in the job. Here’s what the bosses are telling the worker-bees, with their customary self-congratulation and economy of truth:



Dear Colleagues,

No corner of our newsroom has been more energetically, ambitiously and creatively managed than our Culture report, and no desk head has championed her writers, editors and her audience more enthusiastically than Danielle Mattoon, the Culture editor since 2013.

So it is with considerable sadness that we let you know of her decision to accept an offer to create and run a new foundation. She will leave The Times later this month.

Our Culture report has no peer in the industry. Under Danielle’s leadership, we’ve become a home for the most innovative digital storytelling. Culture has embraced visuals in compelling ways and led coverage of big news and events, from the Cosby trial to the Fyre Festival fiasco. She has also worked closely with our marquee critics,
and hired some of our highest impact writers, making The Times the most important destination for cultural conversation.

Danielle and her team also spent many months rethinking the sprawling Culture print report last year. The result is there for all to see: more beautiful and visual daily and weekend sections that better reflect our coverage priorities and underscore our commitment to remain a must-read on all platforms.

Whether pitching a review of a Broadway blockbuster or a profile of an up-and-coming artist, Danielle exudes enthusiasm both for the subject and the writer in a way that commands attention. We will have more to say shortly about how we plan to fill the role of Culture editor. For now, we’d just like say how much we will miss her.

Dean & Joe

Japan’s prestigious arts award has been given for the first time to an Iranian.

The  visual artist Shirin Neshat, who staged Aida in Salzburg this summer, is among five recipients announced today.


The others are the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, the world music performer Youssou N’Dour, the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui and the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.

The prize is worth $136,000 to each of them. The prestige is greater still.


The great director, whose death was announced today, talks about his work in opera: ‘I spent three and a half years learning the Ring… Wonderful to be in that place (Bayreuth) but it was a bit like going through a war.’

Watch here.

The International Literature Festival will get an extra quarter of a million Euros in public subsidy.

The August dance festival gets a 150,000 boost, Young Euro Classic is up by 85,000 Euro) and the poetry festival receives an extra 50,000 Euros.

It’s part of a strategy by culture minister Monika Grütters and Berlin’s Kultursenator Klaus Lederer to make the city an all-year round festival hub.

Eat your hearts out, English cities.


Meurig Bowen has stepped down from the Cheltenham Music Festival after ten years to work for the BBC in Cardiff as artistic planning manager at the National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales.

He will also help out with planning at St George’s, Bristol.

press photo  ©


UPDATE: Message from Meurig:

So my news today is that I’m heading out of festival-land at the end of year, and starting in January a new artistic planning job at the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales. As it’s not quite a full-time role, I’ll also be doing some programming for the equally wonderful St George’s in Bristol – which reopens early next year with a fab new glass and steel extension.

While I’ll be sad to leave Cheltenham Festivals, it’s very exciting to have fresh challenges and possibilities ahead of me with an orchestra and a venue. And being 50% Welsh, I’m so glad I’ll be working in and for the Principality for the first time. It was New South Wales once, with the ACO. Old South Wales beckons.

This will not please Warner, which owns the diva’s audio recordings.

Press release:

NEW YORK (September 12, 2017) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America, Australia and New Zealand to the Maria Callas documentary MARIA BY CALLAS: IN HER OWN WORDS. 

From first time director Tom Volf, MARIA BY CALLAS: IN HER OWN WORDS is the definitive doc on the life and work of the Greek-American opera singer.  Volf has spent nearly five years working on the film, which features never before seen or heard footage and performances of Callas.  
The film is co-produced by Emma Lepers of Petit Dragon and Gaël Leiblang and Emmanuel Chain of ELEPHANT Doc. “Maria Callas, her voice and story are illustrious. We’re thrilled to be able to help expand this icon’s prodigious following with MARIA BY CALLAS: IN HER OWN WORDS,” said Sony Pictures Classics. 
Said Volf, “I’m thrilled and honored to present my film with Sony Pictures Classics. I couldn’t dream of a better partner to bring MARIA BY CALLAS to audiences. I’m sure that thanks to Sony Pictures Classics many people will get to discover, or rediscover, the great artist, and the woman behind the legend, as she has never been seen or heard before.” The deal was negotiated between MK2 Films and SPC.



Danielle Mattoon, appointed to the senior position with great fanfare in March 2013, left the newspaper very quietly two weeks ago.

Ask not the reasons why. The Times is notoriously non-transparent when it comes to its internal affairs.

Under Mattoon, the Arts and Leisure sector grew buzzier, less PR-driven, less old boys club.

Nine months ago, she introduced a long overdue redesign.

We’ll update when we hear more.

UPDATE: Here’s why she left.

Recognise him?

This is Vladmir Spivakov, filmed on his 70th birthday three years ago by fellow-Putin insider, Denis Matsuev.

If the video does not automatically show, please click here.

Matsuev, sober, reposted it today.

We have been informed of the death of Siegfried Köhler, music director at Cologne (1957) Saarbrücken (1964), Wiesbaden (1973) and the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm (1989).

He revived defunct operas by Siegfried Wagner and premiered new ones by Volker David Kirchner, among others. A modest man of conservative tastes, he had a high reputation among connoisseurs.


The death has been announced of the great theatre and opera director, Sir Peter Hall. Peter was 86 and had been suffering for several years from dementia.

He was Britain’s greatest theatre engine of the 20th century.

He founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, took over the faltering National Theatre in 1973 and turned it into a powerhouse. When he left in 1988 he started the Peter Hall Company, created the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames and directed operas each summer at Glyndebourne, where he held the title of artistic director and formed a close partnership with Bernard Haitink. His Ring cycle with Georg Solti at Bayreuth was relatively inauspicious, but Wagner was never really his thing. Peter was a theatre man through and through.

At our last lunch, beside the shell of the Rose Theatre a dozen years ago, he was full of wisdom and inspiration.

No man did more for theatre in my lifetime. And so much for opera.

The stage is packed with his disciples.

Fond memories, Peter.


This is a promo by Stockholm’s Folkoperan (Volksoper) for its upcoming production of Turandot.

The company is trying to rebrand itself as the Stockholm F**koperan.

Seen first on Forumopera.