Parodies, comedy and wry comment; classical music as object of fun.
“Since the Philadelphia Orchestra exited bankruptcy more than two years ago, several key financial indicators have brightened. Obligations associated with the orchestra’s Chapter 11 settlement have been paid off, income from concerts is growing nicely, and annual fund-raising is improving more than nicely.”
“I often find myself sitting in a concert thinking I would never be here were it not for professional interest. This is a real shame, because to sit down in a concert hall and not do anything else other than listen for two hours is a great and quite radical experience in our lives. But there are many unspoken ‘rules’ and conventions at classical concerts that we often accept quietly and which make the experience of classical concert worse than it should be.”
“More than 200 Peking Opera performers, musicians and artisans live in the New York metropolitan area, according to officials at several local cultural organizations. Like Mr. Fang, the vast majority trained and performed in China. And also like him, they now labor in virtual anonymity—many in nail salons.”
Responding to the players’ complaints that Woodruff’s negotiators have been wasting time because they had neither a ready proposal nor authority from the board to reach an agreement, the Woodruff team’s leader said, “In the words of the mediators, it was time to put some of the shared ideas ‘on paper’. This was precisely what [the musicians] had asked us to do – make new proposals to show our good faith.”
“Yet after only two days of participating in the mediated negotiation process (October 7-8), the WAC’S representatives … left the table to await further guidance and instruction from the WAC Governing Board [and have not returned] … Clearly, once again, they arrived at the table with neither proposals nor the ability to authorize a deal.”
“Before Cuba’s 1959 revolution, many students played violins, violas, cellos and bass from European workshops. After it, the Soviet Union provided violins and cellos, along with many other goods. Now, as Cuba struggles to revive its stagnant centrally planned economy, students must make do with violins from China that too easily pop strings and lose their tone.”
“It isn’t every day that a street criminal – a high-school dropout with two felony convictions – is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical.”
Says the composer, now artistic director of the reborn company: “I would like to do a range of repertoire from Monteverdi to the present day. … American repertoire is extremely important. We’re living in a golden age of American opera. There’s a tremendous amount of opera being written today. … [I'd like] to get to the point where we can commission a new opera [every year].”
“To the anger of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a group established in 1985 which moved from strumming in folk clubs to packing out the Royal Albert Hall with unlikely cover versions of songs such as Wuthering Heights and Smells Like Teen Spirit, the similarly named UK Ukulele Orchestra will perform its first UK show at Lincoln’s Theatre Royal on Wednesday.”
A member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly has said that, in just a few more weeks, the orchestra “will not have enough income to meet their outgoings. It’s a very bleak picture for them.” The province’s arts minister acknowledged that the ensemble’s finances have gone “from scary to scarier”.
Last week the West Australian Opera revealed that it had removed the Bizet opera from its repertory because a sponsorship deal with a state-funded health organization forbids staging performances which “glamourise” smoking. After several days of worldwide scorn, Western Australia’s deputy premier has stepped in to snuff out the controversy.