Rattle is almost grounded by plane contact

Rattle is almost grounded by plane contact


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2021

From the Telegraph:

While flying in to the LSO…

The day before he was due to take up the baton on Sunday he was told via Test and Trace email to self-isolate due a Covid-19 contact on his flight, and his soprano Barbara Hannigan was poised to take on conducting duties despite also having to sing for the show.

But the conductor’s team managed to persuade Test and Trace officials that at the 11th hour that he was safe to lead the ensemble after testing negative, and Sir Simon returned to the podium for the Radio 3 recording.

More here.



  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Hmmm that sounds very dubious. Dominic Cummings and Johnson senior come to mind e.g. one rule for them and another for the rest.

  • Dennis says:

    Tyrannical “test and trace” orders because someone on a flight may have had the flu. What a sick joke the world has become.

  • RW2013 says:

    Knoxville as a “sing-conduct”.
    Ich lach mich tot.

  • Zandonai says:

    Barbara Hannigan is herself a fine conductor. She can sing and conduct at the same time!

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      What was the name of that south American tenor who came to the Barbican, sang and conducted with his back to the orchestra all the time? In the 90’s. Hilarious. Haven’t heard about him for ages, thank god.

    • RW2013 says:

      Singing fine, conducting like an unsuccessful mating dance.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      Ages ago I heard Peter Schreier conduct AND sing the Evangelist in the St. John’s at Leipzig. Orchestra and chorus were to his right, left, and front. It was unbelievable. He would conduct a smashing, agitated chorus and then, in a split second, he turned around, now facing the audience, and go straight into the next painful, sorrowful lyrics of the Evangelist’s comment. It was beyond this world, which is, of course, utterly appropriate for a Bach passion.

      • John Kelly says:

        I heard him conduct a full program with the Czech Phil in Prague a few years ago. The finest Schubert Unfinished I’ve ever heard and a darn good Poulenc “Organ Concerto” too. A really fine conductor!

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      Hannigan a good conductor? She is a good musician and definitely has great presence of the stage, but she can barely do anything useful for the orchestra. She is just another great soloist who one day bought herself a nice baton and called herself a conductor.

  • microview says:

    Hoped we’d be spared another SR mugshot for a while… No such luck.

  • Rob says:

    Should have gone by train, more romantic.

  • harpist says:

    Quite irresponsible. A negative test one day post contact doesn’t say anything. Too short of an incubation period.

  • JB says:

    But Barbara Hannigan did both conduct and sing in Knoxville 1915, the first item on the programme – at least in the video stream I watched. A bit disconcerting, but I suppose its the orchestral players who are best placed to judge how it worked.

  • Hornbill says:

    Did he have to do 10 days of home quarantine? If not, why not?

  • SVM says:

    “The LSO, calling the Test and Trace 119 number, managed to persuade officials that the conductor did not have Covid and was working in a Covid-safe environment developed by the orchestra for performances.”

    I wonder how long the LSO had to wait on the line before they got through to anybody… I have not yet had occasion to call 119 specifically, but I do know that getting a qualified human to answer the telephone when calling a big organisation or public service often requires herculean stores of patience and tenacity.

    “It is understood that the case was made anonymously, without Sir Simon’s name being mentioned.”

    So, does that mean that, in theory, anybody could appeal a direction to self-isolate, and have a reasonable opportunity to state their case (with the circumstances of the planned engagement taken into account)? Or was the particular direction to self-isolate received by Rattle purely advisory (rather than mandatory) in the first place? And when they say “anonymously”, does that mean that the LSO’s name was not mentioned either?