The Bavarian State Opera has reacted angrily and ingeniously to Facebook’s takedown of its Tannhäuser video, apparently because it showed female nipples.

The video had been online for almost a year before Facebook removed it, shutting down the company’s account for 24 hours.

Facebook finds bare breasts offensive (but takes millions from Russian fixers).

Bavarian State Opera has responded by creating a nipple-free video for Facebook while keeping the original intact on its own site.


Read more about it here.



The LA Phil rolled out its new season today.

The music director will conduct Sunday in the Park with George. Who’d have thought?

Also in the mix:

Salonen and the Weimar Republic, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Exploration of a Fabled Era’s Revolutionary Musical Culture
· A Viennese New Year’s Celebration with Zubin Mehta
· Collaborative Programs by Principal Guest Conductor Susanna Mälkki with Star Violinist Leila Josefowicz
– And a Season-Climax Performance by Dudamel of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.


He conducts the MÁV Symphony Orchestra  in Budapest this Thursday in a centennial performance of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. See here.

No irony suspected.


Just in from the Scotsman:

Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that a leading French orchestra has been invited to perform at the first Edinburgh International Festival to be staged after Brexit.

The announcement was made with festival director Fergus Linehan during a visit to French capital Paris by the First Minister.

She said the visit of the orchestra, its first to the EIF in more than 30 years, would be “the perfect example of the strong cultural links that exist between Scotland and France.”

Read on here.

Apparently, the rehearsal she attended was the Berlioz Grande Messe des morts.

We are shocked to learn of the death of Ida Heinrich, the most successful classical singer ever to emerge from Greenland.

A film collaborator with the Icelandic singer-composer Bjork, she was diagnosed three years ago with cancer and died on February 15.


Berlin, apparently.

Each of the German capital’s opera houses has a signature production of the Mozart crowd-pleaser. Barenboim’s Staatsoper unter den Linden has just launched another version, to run in tandem with August Everding’s classic production in Schinkel’s original stage design.

First reviews slate Yuval Sharon’s new show as an unmitigated disaster, but it could have a good outcome. Questions are being asked – finally – about the degree of duplication and the lack of coordination between Berlin’s manifold musical institutions. It’s chaos out there.

They need to instal something like London’s clash system.

UPDATE: Shirley Apthorp in the FT:

Sharon’s idea is that the whole thing is a marionette show presented by children. The singers hang on strings, move jerkily, fly through the air; the dialogue is spoken by pre-recorded offstage children’s voices. It is technically complex, utterly incoherent and musically fatal. Even if the singers were not obviously terrified, suspended in mid-air, exhausted and apparently able to hear neither the orchestra nor each other, the conducting would have scuppered them….

There are a great many conductors out there with both experience and Mozart expertise who could have taken over for the ailing Franz Welser-Möst. De la Parra floundered from the very first chord. She has no ability to bring shape and tension to a phrase, no sense of which tempi might work for the singers, and no idea what to do when things fall apart — which they do, with appalling frequency.

Read on here.

The role of Festival Intendant – artistic director – is being readvertised.

The incumbent, Markus Hinterhäuser, has a five-year contract that runs to September 2021. He has let it be known that he would like a renewal.

But the board, in its wisdom, has decided that nothing must be allowed to overshadow the Great Beethoven Summer of 2020. Everything else, therefore, is being out on hold.

The Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler, who is due to retire in September 2020, has been given a three-month extension in order to allow her to mop up the Beethoven mess.