We have been notified of the death of Elizabeth Christie, last survivor of the 1947 Powell-Pressburger ballet film, The Red Shoes.

She also appeared in their other hit, Tales of Hoffman.

A Londoner, Elizabeth was recruited by Ninette de Valois into the Sadlers Wells Company, which she hated, saying it was like the army.

She had a much happier time on the film set and with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo.


UPDATE: We are informed that Paula Dunning, another cast member, is alive and well in Montreal, aged 92.

The music director will be in charge of 14 out of 26 BSO subscription concerts next season, it was announced tonight.

Andris Nelsons will mark his fifth season as BSO Music Director with programming that spans a wide spectrum of musical styles, offering audiences singular interpretations of works from the orchestral canon, alongside music by fascinating figures of the 20 th and 21 st centuries, unique and innovative projects, and an extraordinary lineup of guest artists, including beloved favorites and talented newcomers bringing their own singular insights, inspirations, and discoveries to their performances with the orchestra. The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 138 th season will see Andris Nelsons leading fourteen of the year’s twenty-six subscription programs, including a world premiere by Sebastian Currier, US premieres by Latvian composer Andris Dzenītis and English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, a new chapter of the Boston Symphony/Gewandhaus Orchestra Alliance, highlighted by a performance of Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio, a concert-opera presentation of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, a continuation of the Grammy Award-winning Shostakovich recording and performance cycle with Symphonies Nos. 1 and 15, a rare performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, orchestral works by Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Copland, and compelling collaborations with such highly acclaimed musicians as Bernarda Fink, Renée Fleming, Håkan Hardenberger, Erin Morley, Kristine Opolais, Daniil Trifonov, Violeta Urmana, and Yuja Wang.


Cordula Merks, concertmaster of San Francisco Ballet, played the Prokofiev first violin concerto last night for the Ballet’s Jerome Robbins Program.

Three hours later, she gave birth to Emmie Sophia Gamburg, weighing in at 7 lbs.

Congratulations to the happy family.

The New York Philharmonic president is to become chair of the Avery Fisher Artist Program, succeeding Juilliard’s Joseph Polisi, who is retiring.

The program awards annual $25,000 career grants to rising performers.

The latest, to be announced tonight, go to double-bassist Xavier Foley, violinist Francisco Fullana, pianist Drew Petersen and the Calidore String Quartet.


The dean of New Zealand’s Auckland University has told members of the music department that jobs will have to go because they are being ‘subsidised by architecture.’

Five posts are to be abolished.

Grim details here.

This is a global issue: universities are increasingly run by bureaucrats with no feel for the humanities.

The veteran Austrian director was in Munich last night to see the final performance of a classic Rosenkavalier, first seen in 1972. It was filmed with Carlos Kleiber conducting, with Gwyneth Jones, Lucia Popp and Brigitte Fassbaender.

Kleiber’s opening tempi are worth the admission price all on their own.

Many regard it as the perfect Rosenkavalier.

Never to be seen again.

Catherine Foster has given a rare Uk interview, recounting how she transitioned from being  a midwife in the Midlands to one of the most sought-after sopranos on the Wagner stage.

Basically, she had to do it all herself.

After sending 100 letters and CDs to German agents, she scored three interviews. She sang Tannhäuser’s Dich, theure Halle because “most soprano arias just go on and on and I needed a one for a young singer that didn’t.” 

On her last audition, she found success in front of George Alexander Albrecht, who cast her in Wagner’s Tannhäuser as Elizabeth. She moved to Weimar “with a bed and a few bits of crockery and that was it”, having just married just six months earlier to husband Robert, who stayed back for work. The couple didn’t have the money for the long distance calls, but they stuck it out.

Read on here.


The death has been announced of Ariel Bybee, a mezzo-soprano who sang 460 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, appearing there every season from 1977 to 1995. Ariel died on Tuesday after a long illness.

A devout Mormon who graduated in Salt Lake City, she was spotted by Maurice Abravanel and recruited by Kurt Herbert Adler for the San Francisco Opera. She made her Met debut in 1977 jumping in at the last minute for Teresa Stratas in Weill’s Mahagonny.

She was an outstanding Carmen (though not at the Met) and a dazzling Hansel, always a friendly, generous colleague.

In retirement, she taught at the University of Nebraska. She as married to an English professor, James Ford.



This is the grave of Karel Ancerl, artistic director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1950 to 1968, when he fled the country after the Russian-led invasion.


Ancerl (1908-1973) was brought back for reburial in the exclusive Vysehrad cemetery, near Prague castle. But the headstone on his grave is, as you can see, broken and the surroundings are untended.

Someone needs to raise an outcry.