7 Slipped Disc predictions for 2019

1 Detroit will name a woman music director

2 Arts Council England fixes Brexit bailout for struggling London orchestras

3  The Met will depend on Yannick’s rich Canadian ladies

4 There will be turbulence in Paris as Philharmonie takes control of orchestra.

5 Seven more Nordic conductors will sign to the same London agency.

6 James Levine will attempt a comeback.

7 A US  university will ban the rape scene in Tosca.

 

 

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  • Happy New Year to everyone. Good fortune to musicians and music lovers everywhere.

    I expect a difficult year for orchestras and ensembles as the financial squeeze continues on arts and culture but we can all try to do something to help.

  • 7 “A US university will ban the rape scene in Tosca.”

    Well, they have changed the ending of Annie Get Your Gun.

    Oh, and after an excellent production of Street Scene at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a young female critics wrote, “The opera’s age also shows in scenes that are distasteful today. Colin Murray’s Weinstein-type Harry Easter is uncomfortable to watch, especially given how jovial his song Wouldn’t You Like to Be on Broadway? Is. It may have some attendees questioning calling whether a production featuring such a character should be performed during today’s sexual-political climate – particularly when the cast includes young children.”

  • Happy New Year. We eagerly await the Levine comeback (and, what the heck, throw in David Daniels too) if nothing for the sordid spectacle of moral and ethical disintegration. Surely he and his lawyers must be feeling empowered given the international rescue efforts of sinking rafts Dutoit and Gatti.

    • His great talents in the realm of music have nothing to do with his alleged moral failings. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to concerts or to the opera for moral guidance.

  • Concerning Point 4, “There will be turbulence in Paris as Philharmonie takes control of orchestra.” Well, that is a prediction that is very easy to make! Even if the Philharmonie wouldn’t take control of the Orchestra de Paris, there would still be “turbulence” there and in Paris and in France in general because the entire French system is plagued by French people who are, and actually have always been, a very unhappy and miserable nation. Psychological study after psychological study consistently ranks the French as the most dissatisfied and unhappy people on the planet, even ranking them as more miserable and dissatisfied with their lives than citizens in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan. There are also many scholarly articles speaking about this, just Google ‘France miserable’ or ‘French unhappiness’ or ‘French gloom’. Also check-out the French suicide rate, among the highest in the world and the French consumption of anti-depressants, which ranks either as number one or two in the world, depending on the study.

    So, nobody should be surprised by yet another French orchestra or other profession up in arms, angry and in turmoil, nor should we be surprised or astonished by the recent violence and destruction witnessed during the ‘yellow vest’ movement. They are all manifestations of a sad, miserable and depressed nation expressing their never-ending misery on a daily basis.

    I wish France and its people a happy New Year and hope that they will find joy and pleasure living in, what should be, one of the nicest and most beautiful countries in the world.

    • I wonder if your claims about French people being the most unhappy on the planet are backed by actual experience or are simply based on questionable statistics that may be bandied about in the media. Have you actually lived there? I have for several decades and can attest that nothing could be further from the truth — which is not to say that there aren’t problems such as depression and suicide, though I would imagine France is far from having a monopoly in that department. France actually has a quality of life that is in many ways unequalled compared to many developed countries.
      Googling certain buzzwords, as you suggest, might admittedly give one a different impression, and current events might not really support my argument, but in many ways what is happening right now in France is quite in keeping with the French spirit. Whereas, in certain parts of the world, people more passively accept their fate and tend go with the flow, often too afraid to rock the boat, French people actually have the courage to revolt in the face of what they deem unacceptable. They also don’t shy away from the tragic dimension of life — something which I feel is terrifying to certain cultures, notably English or American cultures where being constantly upbeat seems to be a tyrannical imperative and where the slightest expression of negativity is an absolute turn-off. This might admittedly be viewed by some as doom and gloom, whereas I rather see it as a sign of authenticity, self-awareness, and maturity. It also contributed to some of the most significant world achievements in music, literature, painting and philosophy — I doubt a Debussy, Ravel, Sartre, Camus, or Monet could have emerged from any other culture on earth. France is and will remain a vital and vibrant country, and its people are among the most real and authentic I have ever had an opportunity to know.

      • Your points concerning the French are interesting and I understand your argumentation. That said, there is truth in what was stated previously, namely that France is a depressive and sad place in many respects. I lived there for twelve years and, while I enjoyed many aspects of the culture, in the end I was annoyed and bored by the constant negativity, lack of enthusiasm, lack of encouragement and total lack of human warmth. In France there is far too often a wilful desire to constantly berate others, to humiliate others and to be nasty and mean spirited. Apart from that, I have never been to a country where people can be so rude and impolite with little provocation. Statistics bear that out, as France has consistently been voted the world’s rudest, most unfriendly and unwelcoming country. There is so much to confirm that statistic in exhaustive tourism studies, which is the field in which my own son works. Whether that is fact or perception, it is the impression that far too many visitors leave France with. Even the French Government has taken notice and created numerous campaigns to try to get its citizens to behave more politely towards visitors. Happy people generally don’t behave rudely to others, satisfied people don’t insult and berate others without good reason, people who are content with their lives generally smile and are welcoming to others. While Thailand is known as ‘The Land of a Thousand Smiles’, as my son says, France is ‘The Land of a Thousand Frowns’. So, while I respect your opinion, I must say that France is not what I would call a happy country and its people are amongst some of the rudest and impolite individuals that I have encountered in my many travels throughout the world.

      • David, you paint a rosy picture; there’s truth in what you say about the cultural and historic legacy of France, which is superb and unique. But this may be an important factor in the French “malaise,” a country with such a rich heritage, such a wide-ranging variety of landscape, (largest country in Western Europe), neccessarily has lots of the “baggage” which goes with being over-gifted; disdain for neighbours, vanity about its culture, inability to recognise qualities in others…..
        Only in recent decades have the French become “voyageurs” and even now, it’s more likely to be a guided trip, tailored to French taste. In my many years of travel, the French were the least likely to be encountered, compared to Germans, Austrians, Italians, Dutch….any Scandinavians, etc, cos their own country was “le meilleur!” No need to look further! This explains partly the celebrated inability of the French to speak other languages…..”tout le monde parle français….alors, pourquoi casser la tête?” They find themselves left behind by the modern world, in many fields where they were traditionally dominant, even cuisine and wine… so there is a lingering bitterness. Fortunately the younger French, at their best, show signs of evolution.
        Of course, one finds splendid individuals and groups in any nation or culture, so i respect your indignant repudiation, yet i can only agree with and reinforce the comments of Elizabeth Martin and Vivian, obviously wishing for the best possible future.

  • How’d last year go? Here were the 2018 predictions:
    1 Kaufmann will cancel. (Yes, I think he did)
    2 Gelb will go. (Nope, still there)
    3 Two new concert halls will shut for ‘essential maintenance’ (If so, I don’t know any)
    4 Yuja Wang will catch cold (who knows? But she did cancel the May performance in LA for illness)
    5 The CD will make a modest comeback (Not that I know of)
    6 Leonard Bernstein will have a bumpy centenary (Actually, it went great! Lots of performances, several new books – some not so nice – many new recordings and re-releases)
    7 A prominent critic will be unwillingly retired (he has already been told) (Yes, several)
    8 Brexit will bite British orchestras (Has them riled up certainly)
    9 Bavarian State Opera will hire the wrong manager and conductor (Couldn’t say)
    10 #metoo will claim more maestros (Indeed it did – and more to come probably)

    So not a bad set of predictions – about 50/50; better than a psychic.

    Happy New Year!

    • cds doing just fine – I shop in Japan, Korea, Austria etc… I get emails about cd releases every week from all over the world…

  • Who are Yannick’s rich Canadian ladies and in what way will the Met be depending upon them? I doubt there are enough to affect attendance figures, or donations, significantly.

    • There has been only one rich Canadian patroness at the Met (that is mega-rich and sufficiantly passionate about opera). She sadly died. Her gifts rivalled those of Ann Ziff. Mrs. Desmarais was a lovely person.

  • “2 Arts Council England fixes Brexit bailout for struggling London orchestras”

    On top of the ridiculously disproportionate amount of funding the London orchestras already receive compared to orchestras in other parts of the country?

    • Really? A quick look at the Arts Council website reveals the following (2018/22):

      LSO: £8,824,200
      Philharmonia: £8,168,888
      RPO: £3,785,576
      LPO: £8,168,888
      CBSO: £8,723,932
      Halle: £8,334,696
      RLPO: £8,926,584
      Bournemouth: £10,219,160

  • What about the hardy perennial……

    Arts Council England will continue to feed large amounts of money into the ENO mawe, to no appeciable effect.

  • There is no “rape scene” in Tosca: an attempted sexual assault perhaps, but that is not exactly the same as a rape. These are serious terms, so let’s use them accurately.

  • Levine’s health will prevent him from attempting to mount a comeback. Before he was fired he was still canceling appearances at the last minute for health reasons.

  • I have a friend who identifies as a world class pianist so I predict she will be hired by the Boston Symphony early on in 2019….

  • …. and , of course, many of us will see/listened to many wonderful classical music and “Mighty voicy” operas all around the Globe 😉 and the Golden Days of opera will be back
    Happy New 2019 to y’all 😉

  • Predictions:

    * We will NOT see any adequate replacement for now-retired basso Matti Salminen as the definitive portrayer of Hagen (Götterdämmerung) emerge in 2019.

    * Audience-interest in the heroic/romantic ballads and odes composed by Schubert’s contemporary Carl Loewe will have another mini-boom; it happens every so often and it’s about due.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPU8cGTykJQ

    * Contratenor Nicholas Tamagna will continue his progress toward super-star-dom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a33M6ghBQtI

  • Levine a comeback? I think it depends not only on his health but on the ruling about the defamation part of his lawsuit which the Met is trying to get dismissed.

    Under the original calendar for the case the depositions (questioning witnesses) were supposed to end in November and a settlement or decision to go to a jury trial was supposed to be reached by the end of this March. However, what I am seeing on those documents that the New York County Supreme Court is making public through the New York State Courts website seems to indicate that an agreement has not yet even been reached between the parties on whom to question, which under the original schedule for the case should have been decided by last August!

    Whatever the final decision it will probably be appealed anyway. This thing will drag on and on. It’s probably a good thing that it’s no longer considered newsworthy by major media.

  • Do tell – which London orchestras are currently struggling? All looking in reasonably good artistic and financial health, I’d have thought.

  • I would say it is inaccurate to call the aforementioned scene in Tosca a rape scene; it is absolutely a scene depicting great cruelty, extortion, bribery and blackmail; an assault to be sure. However, the point of the Libretto Is that a woman, loyal and in love, and also very pious, is driven to capital murder in self defence… Just before she is to be raped.
    By the way, the more I research the history and political background of the times in which the opera is set, the more fascinating – and more heart wrenching – I find the story of the opera. Far from being a tawdry little thriller, it is, in effect, a political statement on recent atrocities close to Verdi’s lifetime.

  • Personally, I sincerely doubt James Levine will resurface anywhere as a conductor. His health is not good, and his reputation is in tatters. I don’t see why any orchestra or opera house would want him at this point. He needs to just retire.
    His lawsuit against the Met has not been resolved, and continues to drag on and on, with no end in sight.
    The era of James Levine at the Met is finally over once and for all, so hopefully the lawsuit will end in the Met’s favor.
    At least the Met is now in the very capable hands of the very talented Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
    I am looking forward to seeing him conduct the Pelleas and the Carmelites in the coming months.
    What a joy it has been to be able to go to the Met recently and not have to endure Levine’s lousy conducting!
    Bravo to Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lousy conducting, really ? Most singers who performed with Levine and the majority of the Met audience would certainly disagree.
      I don’t see much enthusiasm for the Canadian Hotdog from the public, the Met’s PR assault notwithstanding. Now, I can’t say I’ve conducted any polls, but anecdotally I just don’t see it – as one very knowledgeable record collector told me, “he is very good, but not fantastic”
      His work in Traviata wasn’t terribly impresive, and his Parsifal and Electra last season were mediocre.

      • Levine’s health has meant he hasn’t really been able to conduct competently for sometime (e.g. several years). In any case, his reputation as an opera conductor is hardly in the same rank as Karajan or Kleiber. Or even Muti or Abbado. All, note, are his contemporaries.

  • It is nonsense to change Operas to suit present times. They are a reflection of the times in which they were written. The music is what matters, the rest is pantomime.

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