The artist’s estate is in what the judge overseeing it calls a state of “personal and corporate mayhem.”
The industry (and music in general) needs more guitar heroes if it’s going to survive – or else technology, and the electronic music it produces, will take over.
Anne Midgette: “It’s important not to cling too tightly to tradition, but it remains unclear exactly what vision WNO, under Zambello, is offering to replace it.”
Roscoe Mitchell: “I’ve always believed in studying music across the board. I’ve never been fascinated with putting myself in certain categories. Especially now that there’s a lot of folks out there that want to know how this improvisational thing works. And the way that I would describe that, of course, is like composition in real time.”
The super-festival arena may be oversaturated now, considering the collapse of two recent supposed new fests. One promoter says: “We want to under-promise and over-deliver. I don’t feel like any promoter today should ever feel like ‘I’ve got this.'”
Well, let’s start with the good news: “In any given month an extraordinary 30% of the U.S. population listens to classical music on some device. That translates to 100 million people in our country alone! Another happy number … is that more than 40 million Americans sing in a chorus.”
“What the two orchestras had in common was a nationalistic ethos, a belief in the superiority of Austro-German musical culture that approached triumphalism. One of the darkest manifestations of this ethos was their shared reluctance to hire Jews. The Berlin Philharmonic employed only four Jewish players in 1933, while the Vienna Philharmonic contained only 11 Jews at the time of the Anschluss, none of whom was hired after 1920.”
“The London Symphony Orchestra teamed with techies from the University of Portsmouth and Vicon Motion Systems, who captured Rattle’s movements while conducting, appropriately, Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Digital artist Tobias Gremmler was then called in to convert the gestures into animated films.”
“He is leaving a fixer-upper on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for a sleek new home in Hamburg, Germany. Alan Gilbert, the departing music director of the New York Philharmonic, announced Friday that he would be the next chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, whose striking new $843 million concert hall overlooking Hamburg’s harbor opened earlier this year.”
Some observers question whether free or low-cost opera tickets really are reaching new audiences, as opposed to being giveaways to fans who’d come anyway. Here, the general director of Opera Holland Park in London describes the several different programs of the sort his company offers, explains the philosophy behind the schemes, and describes the experience OHP has had with them.
“Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, where teaching music and learning to play an instrument are the foundation of children’s schooling; it should be the model for us to follow. The principle is that a child is never too young to start a relationship with music; creative play is the key and it should never be a chore; musical exploration will feed into other disciplines; children should be allowed to develop at their own pace and go into music as deeply as they wish. It is fantastically successful, and Finland has produced a stream of extraordinary musicians over the past 30 years – making it surely per capita the most productive country for churning out great classical conductors and soloists.”
Philippe Auguin, 56, will have completed eight seasons with WNO by the time he steps down from his post. Having made his company debut in 2009 as an 11th-hour replacement for his ailing predecessor, Heinz Fricke, in a concert version of Wagner’s “Twilight of the Gods,” he has particularly excelled in Wagner, leading “Tristan and Isolde” in 2013 and Francesca Zambello’s “Ring” cycle in 2016, which counts as one of the company’s great triumphs.
“It was after seeing the sharp distinction in approach, methodology and effect between Rancid and the concert’s headliners, Green Day, that a theoretical superstructure for punk rock struck me – one which can be linked to the history of art.” Noah Charney – who grants that “normally you don’t find ‘punk rock,’ ‘theoretical superstructure’ and ‘history of art’ occupying the same sentence” – makes the case.
Vireo is the first opera designed for episodic release, both on television and online, and the culmination of an artist residency project at the Grand Central Arts Center at California State University, Fullerton. “My hopes for Vireo,” says center director John Spiak in a promotional film about Vireo’s making “is that 30 or 40 years down the line it will be seen as one of those groundbreaking things that made a difference in the artistic world. We’ve taken a live entertainment, opera,” adds the director, Charles Otte “and shot it as a piece of film, as opposed to finding an opera, staging it on a stage, and shooting it with three or four cameras.
The ornate Belle Epoque theatre had lost its luster, visually and artistically, by the end of the last century. But the house’s director, Olivier Mantei, is determined to bring excitement and audiences back. So he’s overseen a meticulous restoration of the building to its original splendor, reopened it with a spectacular revival of a grand opera not seen in Paris for 246 years, and even commissioned a patisserie to create a new cake for the occasion.
Vulgamore, 59, said she will take some time to decide what to do next. She previously spent 16 years running the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and arrived in Philadelphia during a time of crisis. The Philadelphia Orchestra was running chronic deficits, had exhausted most of its unrestricted endowment, and had spent several months without a permanent president, board chairman, and music director before Worley took over as chairman.
“Musicians strive their whole lives to become like alchemists, healing the world with their music, turning the world’s pain to beauty. But we haven’t yet learned how to save ourselves. If we remain passive bystanders, I believe we will watch the music that we most value slowly silenced. Just ask the 80 percent of songwriters who have left the profession in Nashville.”
After many more glowing reviews, the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) has named Breaking the Waves winner of its first Award for Best New Opera in North America. The award, which recognizes musical and theatrical excellence, will be given annually to a fully staged work that received its world premiere in the preceding calendar year. “Of the new operas that I saw in 2016,” said Heidi Waleson, opera critic of the Wall Street Journal, “I would say that Breaking the Waves was the most original, the most harrowing, and the most moving.”
Catriona Morison, a Scottish mezzo who didn’t win any of the semi-final rounds and made it to the final in the wild-card slot. Morison, the first Briton ever to win this competition, also shared the Song Prize (the main prize is for operatic repertoire) with Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar.
Just a month after the CEO who led management through last fall’s bitter strike, Amy Adkins, resigned, the orchestra’s board has engaged David Hyslop, whom Michael Granberry describes as “the Mr. Fix-It of troubled arts organizations. He swoops in to clean up the mess and then goes back home to Minnesota.”
Lidiya Yankovskaya, an alumna of the first-ever class of The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors who currently leads two new-music institutions and a small opera company in metro Boston, starts in Chicago with the 2018-19 season.
“The [¥50 million] Kyoto Prize, given annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation, recognizes three winners in a rotating array of subcategories under the headings of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.” Taruskin is the first musicologist (as opposed to composer or performer) to win the award.
Why make sure every child has the opportunity to learn music and to play an instrument? “Learning to read and play music gives you access to a new language, other worlds. It is one of the greatest gifts, along with security and self-belief and simple love, that a child can be given.”
Soprano Kristine Opolais, who was supposed to play the title role, has now withdrawn, a few months after star tenor Jonas Kaufmann withdrew. The show “is being closely watched in the opera world. Early in his tenure Mr. Gelb replaced an opulent, beloved old production by Franco Zeffirelli with a starker, more sexually charged one by Luc Bondy, alienating large swaths of the audience. So there is a lot riding on the new staging.”
In ‘La Mère Coupable,’ a lot more secrets come to light. “It takes these people everybody knows and transplants them to a Raymond Carver story.”
Advanced sampling technology allows it to sound like any one of dozens of vintage electric or acoustic guitars at the touch of a button. A player can also quickly shift among any number of conventional and unconventional tuning setups at the touch of another button. And thanks to automatic tuning technology, one will never worry about it going out of tune. And that’s barely scratching the instrument’s high-gloss surface. “This has got more technology than you can shake a stick at.”
“During the machine’s heyday, the Hupfeld Company developed around 900 different music rolls for it. They sold thousands of the Phonoliszt-Violin, mostly to opulent hotels and restaurants that used them for background entertainment. But by the mid 1920s, the popularity of automatic instruments cratered as phonographs and radios spread throughout the world.”
“Many pundits say he did all the right things – modern music, standard repertoire, plus staged operas. In a world that’s being dazzled by high-personality Gustavo Dudamel and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the question is whether Gilbert did them right enough, with the personal magnetism to pull it off. Or with a fighting spirit, which, he suggested in exit interviews, was in shorter supply.” Or, asks David Patrick Stearns, “might the unanswered question be, at least in part, the New York Philharmonic?”
During the transition from Helmut Rilling to Matthew Halls, OBF attendance dropped by over 50 percent : 2011 had 44,148; 2014 had approximately 20,000. There are no figures for recent years.
“It’s to her as much as anyone that the Philharmonic owes its success. Now the L.A. Phil, as it calls itself with deliberate Californian informality, must decide who will succeed her — a member of the respected team she built, or an outsider? — and how to continue her legacy of innovation, outreach and prodigious fund-raising.”