The formidable bass-baritone Mati Palm, soloist of the Estonian National Opera from 1969 to 2009, died today at the age of 76.

Many of the leading singers of the next two generations were his students at the Estonian Academy of Music.

The Russian state agency Tass has announced:

Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo and his Peruvian colleague Juan Diego Flores will take part in 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. The global stars will perform in Red Square in the center of Moscow on June 13, the event organizer’s press service informed.

‘As previously reported, pianist Denis Matsuev, global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eivazov, Ildar Abdrazakov, Aida Garifullina and Albina Shagimuratova will participate in the concert. Their performances will be accompanied by the Mariinsky Theatre symphony orchestra directed by Valery Gergiev.

However, Roberto Alagna has pulled out. No reason given.


Ludwig Van Toronto reports that the city has penalised Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for a perceived lack of minorities.

Toronto City Council has clawed back some of the funding promised to the Canadian Opera Company (COC) and Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for the 2018-19 season.

COC will lose $100,000 of its $1.6 million grant and TSO $50,000 of its $1.27 million.

‘We’re looking for evidence that they’re trying to reflect the city’s demographics,’ said one city boss.

Parlous times. More here.


Friends have reported the death this morning of Mary Ellyn Hutton, former critic of the Cincinnati Post for 23 years and respected far beyond her town.

The Cincinnati Symphony has posted:

‘We are deeply saddened to learn of Mary Ellyn Hutton‘s passing. She was the music critic at The Cincinnati Post and continued writing independently in more recent years. Mary Ellyn was a passionate champion for music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. RIP.’


This is the world premiere in Cologne of Andrew Webb-Mitchell’s violin concerto in memory of the female freedom fighter Arin Mirkan, who died in 2014 fighting against Islamic State.

Andrew is an English composer who lives in China, training choirs in Zhuhai and Nanjing.

The soloist Elizabeth Basoff-Darskaja is Russian, based in Singapore.

Musiciens sans frontières.


Kim Walker, one of the swing-door chiefs of the Sydney Conservatorium in the past decade, has been named director of Texas Tech University School of Music.

It’s in Lubbock, deep in the heart of.

Proof there is life after Oz.

Press release here.

It takes three to bring off this costly rarity.

The performers in tonight’s Hamburg performance are: Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, conductors Cornelius Meister, Duncan Ward and Dietger Holm.

Break a baton.

UPDATE: Here’s a Japanese version:

The Metropolitan Opera, responding to its former music director’s unfair dismissal suit, has revealed that James Levine was paid $27,000 for each performance, on top of a salary of $400,000 a year.

The numbers make some sense in respect of Levine’s failing health in recent years: the less he conducted, the less he cost.

But the base rate of 27 grand a night is out of all proportion to anything else in the opera economy. No maestro on earth makes that kind of money with a cast-iron guarantee. They might get $80k for a one-off in Japan, but that’s just cherry-blossom. There rest of the cake contains much less fat.

Likewise, the nightingales. The Met has always capped singers’ fees. A tiny handful of very big names are paid $20,000 per show. The rest get a lot less. If a singer turns up for every single rehearsal and then falls sick, he or she gets nothing at all.

The Met’s orchestra musicians who play their hearts out every night do not, however (apart from the concertmaster), earn $27,000 in a month.

For a conductor to earn more than the house’s biggest box-office draw, and more per night than any other musician in a month, is absurd. Worse, for him now to sue the company for $5.8 million in lost earnings when a full-scale legal investigation has exposed his sexual misconduct over many years is, quite literally, obscene.

Levine did wrong. Levine had to go. Levine is history.

But the Met lives on. Its management and board has shown itself, over many years, to have been irrational, myopic and incompetent in handling the company’s most important employee – its music director.

There have been no resignations, either from the management or the board. That suggests the ineptitude continues unchecked.

The Met needs to get clear of its Levine mentality.


The international concert singer Elisabeth Kulman, an Austrian campaigner for the rights of opera singers at major festivals, has issued an appeal on video for more victims of sexual harassment in her country to make themselves known.

The appeal is connected to a defamation trial around allegations made against a Tyrolean festival.

Voice it, says Elisabeth.

Welcome to Dublin, where the news travels slow.

Exactly half the contestants in the second round of the 11th Dublin International Piano Competition were students of jury members, according to our mole in the aisles.

In the semi-finals, it was 7 out of 12.

In the finals it is now two out of four.

The jury is chaired by John O’Conor.


We hope he will ensure fair play.




The only known manuscript of Étude en forme de Habanera is to be sold at auction on June 20 for an estimated 25-30,000 Euros.

Ravel’s admirers are trying to raise enough funds to ensure it is bought for the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Report here.