The Inspiring Performance campaign, launched quietly in 2007 and publicly in 2012, raised $172.9 million to “fund world premieres, new productions of established operas and the company’s first staging of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung.”
“I don’t like the whole system, the way American symphonies are organized,” he said last week, speaking by Skype from Berlin, where he and his family (he has two young sons) are now largely based. He has made no secret of his views, telling interviewers that orchestras have to change or risk dying out. The rest of the world, increasingly, is hailing him as a visionary.
After a patron writes a letter (which you can read here) calling West Tennessee’s Jackson Symphony “random good musicians hired from all over” and lamenting a lack of local music teachers on stage at the concerts, the Symphony responds with a letter that involves donors, standards, and football.
“Sung in English and Spanish, which are intertwined to create clever rhymes, ‘¡Figaro! (90210)’ finds the titular hero working in Beverly Hills as an undocumented gardener. The basic plot remains the same–a lecherous boss tries to seduce his employee’s fiancée on the eve of her wedding–but Guerriero has reimagined the characters as distinct L.A. archetypes.”
“In one corner is Roy Niederhoffer, a former City Opera board member backing a plan to reboot the company under the direction of Michael Capasso, the head of a small Manhattan opera company in the process of being wound down. In the other is Gene Kaufman, an architect who has also expressed interest in restarting City Opera but whose prior proposals have failed to win favor with the defunct company’s board.”
“The reactions to the movie seem to occupy the extremes, and it sparks healthy debate among my peers. Where is the fine line between motivating someone and abusing them? Will this movie make young jazz musicians think that all you need to do to become the next Bird is work really hard, get yelled at, and practice till you bleed? Is this portrayal of the teacher-student dynamic helpful or harmful?”
Carlos Izcaray, a Venezuelan-born conductor, 37, “has been announced as the new music director of the 53-member orchestra, taking over the baton from previous director Justin Brown. Izcaray, who lives in Germany, will move to Alabama with his family later this year and begin his official tenure as maestro in September.”
Tom Service: “If the other 2,399 seats are as good as the one I was sitting in, I think that the Philharmonie could be one of the most dynamic and exciting places to hear orchestral music in the world – as well as the most fun simply to sit in, thanks to the combination of intimacy and imagination of the interior.”
“At a time when most orchestras are policing interruptive phones during concerts – in China, red lasers zap offending users – here smartphones were not only kept on but encouraged, though the specially designed darkened screens created by the app are theoretically not distracting to nearby patrons, and repeated messages appear on phone screens reminding everybody to turn down the ringtones.”
The Green Bay Symphony “has survived world wars, the Great Depression, financial troubles, years-long closures, the introduction of television and the rise of rock ‘n’ roll. It has performed under different names in various venues, and morphed from an amateur community group to a professional one. And now, amid donor fatigue and declining ticket sales, the farewell season is in full swing. Musicians, though, remain hopeful that they can drum up support to keep the symphony intact.”
“For years, the Metropolitan Opera has gently encroached on the symphonic terrain of its Lincoln Center neighbors with orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall. Now the shoe is on the other foot: Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic said on Wednesday that they would join forces to mount several fully staged opera productions” of acclaimed new works from Europe that the Met seems too risk-averse to touch.
The location and programming of the Philharmonie de Paris, perched right on the city line next to the ring road, are aimed to reach out toward the four million people living in the capital’s northern and eastern suburbs. But they – many of them immigrants or their French-born children – are wary, even as many in the city’s established classical music audiences object to the hall’s remote location.
In an editorial in Le Monde, Jean Nouvel alleges that he has been sidelined and ignored, and that key decisions about the hall, made with no input from him, have compromised the building. “The contempt these last two years for architecture, for the architect’s craft … prevents me from expressing my agreement and satisfaction with attending the opening ceremony.”
The birthday year of the founder of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra “has been a big deal in the world of classical music, where the conductor is widely regarded as one of the most prolific, rigorous and amiable musicians of his time.” (By the way, he says audiences are “much more sophisticated nowadays.”)
“Called “Shift: A Festival of American orchestras,” and initially scheduled for a three-year run starting in the spring of 2017, the festival is a continuation, or reimagining, of the Spring for Music festival that ran in New York from 2010 to 2014, which brought orchestras large and small to Carnegie Hall with innovative, unusual programs.”
“The technical problems of making a singable version of an Italian opera can be stated very simply: you have to make English sentences fit music written for Italian ones. However, this is like trying to fit a set of spanners into a velvet box made for a dinner-service. It also means you have to flip the polarity of the whole language.”