an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

In Venezuela the colour red has been stripped of beauty and power

The pianist Gabriela Montero has published a statement with her new recording of South American music, delicately explaining her opposition to the Hugo Chávez regime in terms of colour coding. A passionate and courageous performer, Montero regrets her country's decline under its showboating Castroist president. Here's her sleeve-note in full:   I make records because I want to share my own and others' creativity, emotional world and personal souvenirs through sound. I … [Read more...]

His opera launched the modern world

The last Lebrecht Interview of the summer features Patrice Chéreau whose bicentennial 1976 Ring in Bayreuth is arguably the most influental opera production of the past half-century and unquestionably the first to establish a contemporary aesthetic for Wagner. There had been modern-ist stagings before Chéreau, mostly in a Marxist dialectic. What Chéreau achieved with Pierre Boulez was a reinterpretation of the saga in images and metaphors that were vivid and comprehensible to live … [Read more...]

This month’s political pin-up

The new recording by Gabriela Montero has been decked out, at her request, in the national colours of Venezuela. Ms Montero is not a supporter of the Hugo Chavez regime. She chooses to live abroad. The record, of music by various Latin American composers including herself and the 19th century Venezuelan virtuosa Teresa Carreno, is a love letter to her country. In the booklet, which I haven't yet seen, she makes the point with greater precision. And she does not stand alone. EMI, … [Read more...]

Opera-tors of the world unite

A visit to Buenos Aires by the Scala company, with Daniel Barenboim conducting Aida, had the unintended by-product of some interesting discussions between backstage unions. After the talks, the opera workers called a joint press conference and issued a statement (below), condemning plans by the Berlusconi government and the Buenos Aires Mayor Maurico Macri to impose cuts on the two companies. Scala and Teatro Colon, they declared, will stand shoulder to shoulder to fight … [Read more...]

Sony ratchets up Lang Lang gadget war

No sooner did I reveal what Lang Lang is forbidden to talk about on live radio than Sony Corp launched a new music streaming system in Europe to challenge Apple on a new front. It's called Qriocity and, like most gimmicks with silly names, it is unlikely to last long. Bloomberg thought the timing and the marketing were both wrong. The main purpose of the European launch seems to be keeping the war with Apple alive until one side or other comes up with a killer … [Read more...]

The thing Lang Lang cannot mention

Some time during the long summer, I bumped into Lang Lang in a radio studio and took a moment to congratulate him on his techno-comm skills. Lang Lang and his works can be found on every medium of electronic transmission invented up to and including last Thursday. He is tweeted, facebooked, i-Googled, B&N-ded and, in all likelihood, apped on an abacus. He has a brilliant website, updated 24/7. There is one item, however, that he cannot touch. 'I can talk about all the new ways of … [Read more...]

Watch where the money’s moving

The opera singer who suffered agent abuse in last week's leaked email has left Universal Music to join Jack Maistroianni at IMG. Two more singers are talking of quitting Universal, leaving the corporation's agency wing in a parlous state ahead of an impending merger. When artists leave, finances take a big hit. 'That's £300,000 ($465,000) in commissions going out the door,' said one insider when Joyce DiDonato's agent, Simon Goldstone, took … [Read more...]

an ArtsJournal blog