The 65-year-old was shocked when a lump he discovered on his neck in 2014 was cancerous, but now he’s in full remission and resuming his career with a vengeance (and hoping to premiere an opera in 2019).
It is, as a matter of fact, already affected: The pound has fallen, and Apple Music is considering raising the cost of a subscription. Then there’s the little issue of touring, and who’s allowed where.
He bought the starling and, when it died, wrote an elegy for it. Yes, really. “He paid a few kreuzers for a starling in that notebook. And he called the bird Vogelstar.”
“The paradox in Canadian music is that we have so many superstars and very few developmental channels to build future superstars. We cannot expect to continue to have globally relevant Canadian pop stars without examining (or creating) the mechanisms needed to sustain pop chart ascension.”
VO moved to a festival model to ensure the future viability of the company as it deals with universal challenges facing the opera world. Kim Gaynor says tickets are selling, but she concedes the buzz has been slow to build.
“The sounds frequently referred to as elevator music are, at least officially, no more; over five years ago the company folded in a deal with its new owner, Mood Music. Muzak often amounted to the sonic equivalent of a Pan-Am smile, inspiring the listener to a bland, blinkered contentedness. In part, its reputation has obscured much of what made the company viable, and the extent to which its style fed others in its wake.”
Overall, “Music of the 1940s was preferred to music of its neighboring decades, and the same was true for music of the 1960s. The music of the 1980s also showed a peak, but … only for the younger participants.”
We should raise a cheer to the woman who contributed so much, with so little fanfare, to the history of 20th and 21st Century music. Don’t take my word for it. “Nadia Boulanger,” says Quincy Jones, “was the most astounding woman I ever met in my life.” And he’s met a few.
“We [conductors] are the ears of the singer. But if we tell singers to please fit into a little box that I’m trying to create … then the conductor is like a teacher, and that is not what it should be.” David Patrick Stearns does a Q&A with YNS as he prepares for the opening of The Flying Dutchman, his first production at the Metropolitan Opera since becoming music director-designate.
Lindsay Kemp visits Kobe to talk with the founder/director of the Bach Collegium Japan about the extraordinary (and excellent) 55-CD, 18-year project that Suzuki didn’t expect he’d be undertaking when he started it.
America’s favorite orchestra CEO talks about arts funding, what she achieved in her 17 years in L.A., and what she hopes to achieve in New York. And Tavis (based in L.A.) literally gets on his knees and begs her not to go. (video)
“The opera, Harry Somers’s Louis Riel, tells the story of Riel, who led two 19th-century uprisings against the young nation of Canada, helped found Manitoba and was hanged for treason.” Missing from the score, and from its early stagings around Canada’s centennial, were the voices of the country’s First Nations. The Canadian Opera Company’s new production (for Canada’s 150th anniversary) has found a poetic way to address that absence.
Reporter Peter Dobrin follows Hannibal Lokumbe as he takes four of the orchestra’s musicians to the Philadelphia Detention Center to perform a new piece about Anne Frank.
“The instrument sports a number of unusual features, like a banked fingerboard that fights strain by reducing supination in a player’s left arm. But what truly draws the eye—and drops the jaw—is the viola’s off-kilter layout: It has been stretched on the diagonal to some 20 inches to maximize the vibrating surface area. Because it has also been shortened from top to bottom, it feels like a ¾-size viola to the player’s left hand.”
Zachary Woolfe: “As it prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2019, the Philharmonic puts more energy into new work than any other orchestra. It presents a greater sense of the diversity of today’s music and its creators than any other orchestra. It ties its mission to education and social justice in its city more than any other orchestra. And, yes, more than any other orchestra, it combines a commitment to the future with a fresh eye on the past.”
According to a statement on the company’s website, Aleksandar Marković “is currently on extended leave and it has been mutually agreed that he will not return to the Company for the remainder of the season.” He was to conduct a production of Turandot that opens in ten days.
The 28-year-old Florida native was the youngest winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition. Among her predecessors as Tucker Award winners are Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Fabiano, and Jamie Barton. (includes video)
“[It was] a challenge akin to a top pitching prospect’s deciding to become an outfielder. … She struggled through lean years without much work as she reinvented herself, taking on credit card debt for the first time as she and her husband raised a family in suburban New Jersey.”
“The green idyll of the village of Snape and its environs is under threat, menaced by the prospect of a giant car park to serve the increasing number of visitors to the area. As battle lines are drawn, a coalition of local people and music lovers has formed to see off the threat and tempers are becoming frayed.”
And that’s partly because of money: “The runaway success of the Elbphilharmonie — every event this season is sold out, largely because of fascination with the architecture — gives Mr. Lieben-Seutter a rare degree of freedom. ‘The public is generally skeptical when it comes to contemporary music,’ he said. ‘But from a building like this people expect new experiences. Whenever we have played contemporary music we have had a very positive, focused public.'”
Fanny Mendelssohn died at the age of 41, having written 500 pieces. That’s … a lot. And more keep being discovered: “In only March of this year, it was discovered that her Easter Sonata, once credited to her brother, was actually hers, and it was played live under her name for the very first time this year.”
Yes, it’s about Machiavelli. “Drawing from disparate political histories involving the Medicis, Hitler, Alexander Hamilton, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Osama bin Laden, the Machiavelli of the future, with Henry Kissinger as his sidekick, delivers a warning about abuses of power and lapses of political judgment. There is one ‘new prince’ that everyone in the audience was probably thinking of during the production, but he is conspicuously absent from this political soup.”
Seriously, why? “The ‘St. John’ problem has become ever more troubling in the decades since World War II and the Holocaust. With the horrible potential latent in anti-Semitism ever more apparent, any performance or hearing of this work must be cause for sober reflection, not mere mindless pleasure.”
Ukraine banned Russia’s entry from competing because the singer had once visited Crimea, the part of Ukraine that Russia “annexed” in 2014. That comes after Ukraine’s singer won the 2016 competition with a song that appeared to explicitly discuss some of Stalin’s misdeeds in Crimea during WWII. That’s a lot of meaning for a pop song contest to carry.
“Combined takings from streaming, downloads, physical sales and licensing for use in films, TV and computer games rose 5.1% to £926m. The main contributor to growth was streaming, but vinyl revenues rose by more than two thirds.”
“The inertia of state funding, allied to the lack of imagination of arts centres, has sapped the fizz from London’s halls, like champagne bottles left uncorked for too long. Where once we were cocks of the concert walk, audiences in Munich and Milan cannot tell one London orchestra from the next. That’s how low we have sunk in five short years. So what’s to be done?”
“Dr. David DiChiera, founder and artistic director of Michigan Opera Theatre and the man responsible for saving and restoring the Detroit Opera House, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”
Steven Osborne: “The only thing I’ve played in the last 20 years by Chopin is the Cello Sonata. I enjoyed doing it, but it was hard work finding my way into the style: I worked out what gestures were going to work and did my best to make it organic. With the music I love playing I don’t have to think in those terms because the gestures come immediately from the feeling I have about the piece. Some day I might suddenly fall in love with Chopin – but the world doesn’t really need another Chopin pianist.” (He doesn’t have much use for Haydn, either.)
“Following the Pulitzer news this week, some wondered whether the all-female lineup might signal a permanent shift in the stodgily male profession.”
“Whatever numbers you look at, women are underrepresented at the top levels of the orchestral world. When asked about this, women refer over and over again to the same issues that face women in leadership positions in business and other fields: it is more difficult for women to be taken seriously as strong leaders.”