It’s the final in Moscow tonight of Operalia, billed as Placido Domingo: The World Opera Competition.
An orchestra of the finest musicians in the Russian capital is being assembled to accompany the hopeful contenders for the grand prize. Past winners include Erwin Schrott and Rolando Villazon.
A professor at the state university, an acquaintance of mine, was approached to play cor anglais in the orchestra. He has just told me the pay he was offered for a day’s rehearsal, plus concert.
It was 1,000 rubles. That’s 25 Euros (£20, $30). Apparently most of the orchestra of the Stanislavsky theatre are working for less.
Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world. A coffee costs $10. A whole concert fee can be drunk in rehearsal breaks.
I am publishing the miserable fee scale in order to bring it to Domingo’s attention, assuming he is unaware. Placido is a generous man who often shows solidarity with less fortunate musicians lower down the order, most recently with the locked-out musicians at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. This might be a good occasion once again to demonstrate that humanity.
The final concert will be broadcast online tonight here at 1945 Moscow time.