The pianist Jon Kimura Parker reminds us that today is his mother-in-law’s 100th birthday.

She is the celebrated Laila Storch, first woman oboe student of Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute, and subsequently principal oboe at the Houston Symphony, Marloboro and the Casals Festivals.

She wrote a biography of Tabuteau and taught at Washington, Bloomington and Beijing.

She is in fine form. This pic below was taken just a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: And this pic was taken today.

The bass-baritone Antoine Hodge, whose death from Covid we reported a week ago, was just 38 years old according to a New York Times obituary which appeares today. Both his age and his vitality make his passing doubly shocking, even amid half a million US Covid deaths.

Hodge was a member of the chorus for just one season before closure and was deemed a fast rising talent. He also sang regularly at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The Met say they will dedicate the opening performance of their Porgy and Bess revival in his memory.


This is the US national anthem that opened Conservative Political Action Conference 2021.

Just before Donald Trump turns up for his first major event since leaving the Whote House.

Check your dental insurance.

UPDATE: The singer’s name is Sailor Sabol. She’s a GOP member from Orlando, Florida, and she’s available for weddings, christenings and executions.

SIDESHOW: Top contenders for the Star Mangled Banner

And check out the key changes below.

The Brazil Flute Association has announced the death in Manaus from Covid of Professor Josimara Alves de Souza.

Manau is a hot-spot of Covid infections.

The Singapore conductor Chiya Amos had a bright start to his career in St Petersburg.

Now he’s doing food deliveries back home. Amos, 30, explains where it all went belly-up.

I returned in December, and despite applying for more than 40 jobs, including sales, management, and academic positions, I received rejections from every single one of them. 

As I have been overseas for many years, I was also ineligible for any government relief schemes in Singapore.

Facing financial instability, I found myself feeling depressed and anxious. I was constantly feeling frustrated and dejected.

Wanting to do something more useful, I applied to deliver food for Foodpanda, and have been doing so since January.

Working eight to 10 hour shifts four to five times a week is extremely tiring and can be dangerous as we rush between deliveries, especially during the rainy days as we work rain or shine.

It has been only two months, but I have sprained both ankles and a wrist in a couple of small accidents on my second-hand kick scooter, as I did not have a budget for a bicycle….

Read more here.

The death has been announced of the busy Russian-Israeli violinist Yuval Waldman. His son said the cause was heart disease, allied to Covid-19.

Born to Holocaust survivors in Ukraine, he was discovered in Israel by Isaac Stern and brought to the US to study with Josef Gingold at  Indiana University.

In between playing concertmaster in various orchestras and leading a string quartet, he created, directed, and conducted the New American Chamber Orchestra, an orchestra for Russian refugees, and was professor of strings at the State University of New York (Purchase?.

He was music director for the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Orchestra.

His stints as concertmaster included Kansas City, Greater Bridgeport Symphony and Brooklyn Philharmonic.

Yuval was widely loved and esteemed.


The Baltimore oboist Leslie Starr has died of a sudden heart attack at 70. Leslie was principal oboe of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra nad played with varous other ensembles.

She lived a healthy outdoors life as an avid ornithologist.


The Mariinsky has cancelled performances in Irkutsk this weekend after its leader Valery Gergiev suffered an unspecified injury.

Gergiev’s pal, the pianist Denis Matsuev, writes on his social media:

Unfortunately, the last two concerts of our festival will be held without Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre orchestra. Maestro called me today and told me he has a leg injury that caused doctors to categorically forbid him to take a flight. …

Valery Abisalovich was really waiting for this trip: we carefully prepared it, enthusiastically discussed the concert program. He had not been to Irkutsk for so many years and was determined to plunge into the waters after the banya… the main thing is that everyone is alive and well. I will allow Irkutsk residents to say that we wish the maestro a speedy recovery and always look forward to our dear Valery Abisalovich in our hospitable city. Keep your fingers crossed, maestro!

Our medical correspondent writes: A leg injury that prevents a person from flying sounds like deep-vein thrombosis. If that is what the injury is, it could keep Gergiev grounded until medication takes effect. Gergiev is 67 years old and vulnerable to a stroke.


The incoming intendant of Oper Leipzig, Tobias Wolff, wants nothing to do with the ancien regime.

He has named the undervalued Kapellmeister Christoph Gedschold as music director and is bringing in Cornelia Preissinger as opera director and deputy artistic director and Marlene Hahn as head dramaturg.

The new team does not start work until August 2022.

Until them Wolff is head of the Handel festival in Göttingen.

Opera de Monte-Carlo has named the Italian mezzo as its new artistic director from 2023.

Jean-Louis Grinda, director of Opera de Monte-Carlo, says he is ‘appointing a woman who is extraordinarily skilled, an artist who has left her mark on the history of the opera.’

More than any singer in her generation, Cecilia is making a painless transition from performer to manager.


This week’s streamed operas from Vienna:

Montag, 1. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Georges Bizet
CARMEN (Vorstellung vom 21. Februar 2021)
Opéra comique in vier Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Inszenierung: Calixto Bieito
Mit u.a.: Anita Rachvelishvili (pictured), Piotr Beczala, Erwin Schrott, Vera-Lotte Boecker

Dienstag, 2. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Giuseppe Verdi
OTELLO (Vorstellung vom 18. März 2018)
Dramma lirico in vier Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Graeme Jenkins
Inszenierung: Christine Mielitz
Mit u.a.: Roberto Alagna, Aleksandra Kurzak, Dalibor Jenis, Antonio Poli

Mittwoch, 3. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Richard Strauss
ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (Vorstellung vom 23. Oktober 2014)
Oper in einem Akt nebst einem Vorspiel
Musikalische Leitung: Christian Thielemann
Inszenierung: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
Mit u.a.: Johan Botha, Soile Isokoski, Sophie Koch, Daniela Fally, Jochen Schmeckenbecher

Donnerstag, 4. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Jules Massenet
MANON (Vorstellung vom 9. Juni 2019)
Opéra comique in fünf Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Frédéric Chaslin
Inszenierung: Andrei Serban
Mit u.a.: Nino Machaidze, Juan Diego Flórez, Adrian Eröd

Freitag, 5. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Leoš Janácek
KÁTJA KABANOVÁ (Vorstellung vom 27. April 2017)
Oper in drei Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Tomáš Netopil
Inszenierung: André Engel
Mit u.a.: Angela Denoke, Misha Didyk, Jane Henschel, Dan Paul Dumitrscu

Samstag, 6. März 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Giuseppe Verdi
AIDA (Vorstellung vom 29. Juni 2019)
Oper in vier Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Marco Armiliato
Inszenierung: Nicolas Joel
Mit u.a.: Elena Guseva, Gregory Kunde, Ekaterina Gubanova, Simone Piazzola

Sonntag, 7. März 2021, 18.00 Uhr (LIVE)
Giuseppe Verdi
Melodramma in drei Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Giacomo Sagripanti
Inszenierung: Simon Stone
Mit u.a.: Pretty Yende, Juan Diego Flórez, Igor Golovatenko, Margaret Plummer


The soprano Chelsea Miller, who reached the finals of the Met auditions in 2014 and became a star of Opera Memphis, has died tragically young of cancer.

Opera Memphis writes:

Anyone who has been a part of Opera Memphis in the past several years knows Chelsea Miller. She has been our Queen of the Night, our Mabel, our Zerllina, our Soldier in The Falling and the Rising. She sang dozens of performances across eight years as a part of 30 Days of Opera. She has been at the heart and soul of all we’ve done. She was, as we often introduced her, “Memphis’ own Chelsea Miller”.

We are devastated by the news that yesterday she succumbed to cancer. The loss of her talent, her generosity, her wit, and everything about her are beyond description. As an opera company, we present tragedy on an annual basis. We ritualize loss and grief, in the hopes that somehow that communal experience will help ease our pain and grief when we experience loss ourselves. And in the face of a loss like this, it seems all for naught.

Chelsea brought joy and beauty into the lives of thousands upon thousands of us here in Memphis. It is near impossible to focus on that instead of the performances she will never have a chance to give, the roles she will never have the chance to play, but it is almost certainly what she would want us to do.

photo: Ziggy Mack for Memphis Opera