Music

This Year’s Opera Olympics

1426990d Opera singer Placido Domingo

“From over 1,000 applications, 40 singers from 17 nations, including the United States, Russia and China, made it through to the main competition, which began on August 25. Following two days of preliminary rounds, 20 singers enter the semi-finals. Ten singers will reach the final round on August 30, which is presented as a Gala Finals Concert with an orchestra conducted by Domingo.”

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Julian Lloyd Webber: Here’s How To Make It As A Young Musician

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“To succeed in today’s music business the aspiring musician needs to give almost as much time and thought to business-related matters as they give to practising their art. They need to find their unique space in the market place. They need to find out what they have to offer that is different to everybody else.”

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New Trend: The Office That Sings Together Works Better Together

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“London, long a choral capital, is setting the tone with law firms, banks, accountancy firms, tech firms, even cosmetics giant L’Oréal now featuring company-supported choirs. A number have set up Google-style music rooms, and some even offer music lessons during the workday.”

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Paavo Järvi Won’t Renew Contract With Orchestre De Paris

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The conductor announced on his Facebook page that, “with a heavy heart”, he has decided to step down from the orchestra’s music directorship after the 2015-16 season. He gave no reason other than his desire to devote time to his new post at Tokyo’s NHK Symphony (beginning in fall 2015) as well as his ongoing work with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. (in French)

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Atlanta Symphony Contract Talks Down To The Wire

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“After a fractious 2012 labor dispute that saw musicians locked out of symphony facilities without pay, the ASO Players’ Association has less than two weeks to reach consensus with management on the 2014 contract. Amid the ongoing uncertainty — negotiations have been going on for more than eight months now — several musicians have retired, and some have taken positions with other orchestras.”

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It’s Either Him Or Me: Gianandrea Noseda Says He’ll Quit Turin’s Opera Unless General Manager Is Replaced

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As most Italian opera houses seem to careen from disaster to disaster, Turin’s Teatro Regio has seemed a rare bright spot, with quality and reputation both soaring even as state funding shrivels – and Noseda’s work as music director gets most of the credit. But now his long-simmering tensions with the house’s boss have boiled over.

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Musicians Fight Back For Conductor Fired By Board, Warn Of Mass Departures

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Several players in the Vallejo (Cal.) Symphony have publicly chastised the orchestra’s board for its unanimous vote not to renew the contract of David Ramadanoff, who has served as music director for 33 years. The concertmaster says that “maybe more than half” of the musicians will quit after Ramadanoff’s final concert.

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The Classical Music World Is Rife With Drink And Drugs! (Says Yet Another Tattletale)

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“Addiction problems are widespread among classical musicians, for many reasons,” she says. “There is the lifestyle, the odd hours, working weekends, post-concert socialising. Many players use alcohol and beta-blockers to control their performance anxiety and then, after the ‘high’ of a performance, musicians can struggle to ‘come down’ and therefore drink to relax.”

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SoundCloud To Introduce Ads So It Can Pay Musicians

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“With 175 million monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the second biggest streaming music service in the world behind YouTube. Yet it hasn’t paid royalties to the creators and rightsholders of that music … Today, SoundCloud is taking its first step [to change that], albeit in a carefully-controlled way with a select group of invited partners in the US for its new ‘On SoundCloud’ initiative.”

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14 Artists Who Are Transforming The Future Of Opera

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“The artists below are some of our favorite opera innovators, toying with non-linear narratives, unusual instruments and new media, to name a few. Some take inspiration from subject matter we’d never expect to see on an opera stage, from gentrification to bad shroom trips to Milli Vanilli.” Some you may know of – composer David T. Little (Dog Days, the upcoming JFK), “electrodiva” Pamela Z – others, you will. (includes video clips)

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Met Opera: The Labor Crisis Is Over, The Spiritual Crisis Goes On

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Justin Davidson: “Can an opera company indefinitely support thousands of practitioners of arcane crafts? Must a costly large-scale art form inevitably be a luxury product, or can technology help it reach a wider public than ever? Do the new rich even have any interest? More immediately, can the company put on good-enough shows to fill its yawning house?”

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Utah Symphony Barnstorms The State’s National Parks

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This orchestra had lost the high profile and wide admiration it had during its glory days under the late Maurice Abravanel. Now music director Thierry Fischer is determined to get them back, both nationally and within the state – so he and his players are touring beyond Salt Lake City to five of Utah’s most scenic locales.

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Is Weird Al So Popular Because He’s Reassuring?

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Sasha Frere-Jones: “With his parodic versions of hit songs, this somehow ageless fifty-four-year-old has become popular not because he is immensely clever – though he can be – but because he embodies how many people feel when confronted with pop music: slightly too old and slightly too square. That feeling never goes away, and neither has Al, who has sold more than twelve million albums since 1979.”

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Why Watching Classical Music Through A Performer’s Google Glass Is A Waste Of Time

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“Seeing a musical or operatic performance from only one performer’s point of view actually destroys the experience. It confuses ordinary reality with the artificial reality that art creates. … If you see [an opera] though the eyes of one participant, the performance is revealed for what it actually is; a bunch of people in fancy dress shouting in a foreign language.”

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