Baritone Johánn Kristinsson has won the Stella Maris singing competition with a prize of 15,000 Euros.

Iceland’s starting to look like the new Finland.

Johánn is presently in the cast of the Hamburg State Opera.


A groundbreaking biography of Aino Sibelius suggests she was tough, inside and out.

Aino would give her husband the silent treatment for weeks on end and order him to write symphonies, not short pieces.

She would lock various of her six children in a cupboard if they misbehaved.

Her daughter Ruth Sibelius said: ‘She had a very strong character, and such people do not always fully understand others. The weak ones.’

Aino died in 1969, aged 97.


The Philadelphia Orchestra has named Tanya Derksen vice president of artistic production, starting next month.

She is  executive director of Regina Symphony Orchestra in Saskatchewan and president of Orchestras Canada.

All of her career has been north of the border.


The arrangements were clarified today.

Dominique Meyer, who takes over as Sovrintendente of La Scala on March 1, 2020, will run both Milan and Vienna in tandem for three months.

His contract at the Vienna State Opera will terminate on 30 June 2020, two months ahead of schedule.

His successor Bogdan Roščić will start work in Vienna two months earlier than intended on July 1, 2020.

Viennese swing-door solution.


The LA Phil’s chief executive, Simon Woods, resigned last night, with immediate effect.

LA Opera’s general director, Placido Domingo, is absent while a law firm investigates numerous, nameless claims of misconduct. Even if he is completely exonerated, Domingo at 78 needs to go.

That leaves the city’s two international performing companies simultaneously headless.

(UPDATE: The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is also seeking a CEO.)

The situation is no coincidence. The board of LA Opera has long been asleep on its watch. The board of the LA Phil has, by contrast, probably been hyper-awake.

They need to talk. The future of LA arts is at stake. The next-gen execs who are chosen must have some measure of strategic coordination, thinking beyond the narrow parameters of their institution to the wider question of what is best for the arts in LA.

They must be people who know and love LA, who can come up with a coherent vision.

Renee Fleming would be wrong. So would Deborah Rutter. Move down one gen.

Anyone in mind?

An American scholar who has spent eight years researching Scottish musical life at Glasgow University was given 14 days to leave the country in July after the Home Office refused to renew her visa.

Elizabeth Ford’s doctoral thesis on the flute in eighteenth-century Scotland won a National Flute Association award in 2017. Dr Ford, 38, is now working on the idea of Scottishness in flute playing.

Her edition of William McGibbon’s complete sonatas has been published by A-R Editions.



Edward Gardner rehearsing ‘pourquoi me reveiller’ this morning with Juan Diego Florez.

These days, does it get better?


The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has been chosen for Japan’s Premium Imperiale, worth 15 million yen ($138,000).

Press release:

September 17, 2019 – The Japan Art Association today announced the recipients of the 2019 Praemium Imperiale Awards:

Sculpture: Mona HATOUM (British/Palestine)
Music: Anne-Sophie MUTTER (Germany)
Painting: William KENTRIDGE (South Africa)
Theatre/Film: BANDO Tamasaburo (Japan)
Architecture: Tod WILLIAMS & Billie TSIEN (USA)

Each Laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million Yen (c. US$138,000). The awards will be presented by His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, Honorary Patron of the Japan Art Association and younger brother of the Emperor Emeritus of Japan, in a ceremony in Japan this October. In addition to the Praemium Imperiale Awards, the 5 million Yen (c. US$46,000) grant for Young Artists has been awarded to Démos, the musical education programme under Philharmonie de Paris that provides musical education to children between 7 to 12 in underserved localities or rural areas in France.


The Daily Mail reports that the force behind yesterday’s Luxebourg protests agaunst the British prime minister was a Canadian-born, formerly British resident baritone, David John Pike.

Arriving with a loud-speaker and several expat friends, Pike forced Boris to cancel a press conference with the Luxembourg PM.

Operabase has no forthcoming engagements listed for David John Pike.


This picture is from his July performance in Trier of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony.


The state news agency Tass has announced an October 17 concert with the singer, his son and the viola virtuoso Yuri Bashmet.

The faithful Eugene Kohn will conduct at Crocus City Hall. The repertoire will include arias from Domingo’s 60-year career.

Tass notes that Domingo has been suspended by several US organisations due to sexual misconduct allegations.

Read here.


Opera’s current go-to Australian director Simon Stone has told Munich’s Residenztheater he can’t open its season next month.

He’s shooting a Netflix drama in London with Ralph Fiennes.

More here.

Stone was named last week as a cornerstone of Bodgan Roscic’s new regime at the Vienna Opera. Well, that bodes well.