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Thielemann goes for Broadway

thielemann broadway

Dresden has announced its New Year's Eve TV offering, designed to put Berlin in the shade. In the past few years, Thielemann has trounced Rattle in the ratings. This time round, instead of the usual Strauss confections, he is putting on the Broadway lights - and with a pair of great singers. Beat that, Berlin. ZDF will show the concert live on 31 Dezember from 17.30 Uhr, while Unitel will beam it to 27 other countries. … [Read more...]

Video: Netrebko, newly single, rehearses Trovatore in Berlin


'Its a damned difficult role,' says the diva, who has announced her separation from baritone Erwin Schrott. In a huge bustle, she's made to look a great deal larger than life. Watch a five-minute report here.   … [Read more...]

Goldberg Variations: the second half is about to commence

Listen to Alisdair Kitchen here.   Variation 16 Time for a fresh start. Bach begins the second part of his epic journey with a miniature overture in the French style. The first section is packed with festive dotted rhythms and roulades, scored for (imaginary) trumpets and drums. The contrasting second half is a fughetta in triple time, with an irrepressible bounce in its step. Follow @alisdairkitchen #twittergoldbergs … [Read more...]

The Wagner family soap opera is being filmed … as TV soap opera

iris berben

Film director Oliver Berben has confirmed that he is making a 110-minute film on the Wagner family for ZDF. Shooting starts next month. It's a big deal in Germany. Cosima is to be played by Iris Berben, making it even more of a family saga. A request to film at the Festpielhaus in Bayreuth has been coolly declined. I wonder who he gets to play the English son-in-law, Houston Stewart Chamberpot. … [Read more...]

Just in: Vienna Philharmonic will open World War One remembrance …. in Sarajevo


It was the shot that shocked the world. On June 28, 1914, the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion the diplomatic confrontations that led to the outbreak of the greatest war the world had ever seen. One hundred years on, the Vienna Philharmonic, representing old Austria, will perform with the opera chorus of the Sarajevo National Theatre near the site of the fateful event. Franz Welser-Möst will conduct and the event will be broadcast live in France … [Read more...]

140,000 Salzburg goers help pay for new roof

The final figures are in from the festival and the most impressive is the response to an appeal for a new roof on the Felsenreitschile. A matter of 140,729 passersby chipped in one Euro each. Less impressive are the attendance figures - at 90 percent, somewhat on the low side. Ticket revenue was 28.25 million Euros. The press release carefully avoids specifying whether this was under or over budget. Read for yourselves below: * August 31, 2012 (SF) “I am convinced that a festival … [Read more...]

‘This is dangerous,’ said Nikitin. ‘We must try to get out of here alive.’

A Russian journalist, Anastasia Butsko, followed the bass-baritone during the Bayreuth rehearsals for The Flying Dutchman, from which he was ultimately ejected for having a swastika tattoo. He was the first Russian ever to win a title role at Bayreuth. A month ago, he said to her:  'This is a dangerous adventure for me. We must do everything to get out of here alive.' We wonder what he meant by that. He also referred to the tattoos on his body as 'a second passport' and spoke of a … [Read more...]

Just in: Yevgeny Nikitin ‘I never wanted a swastika tattoo’

The bass-baritone who was fired from Bayreuth for his body art has issued a statement on the Mariinsky site. Заявляю категорически, татуировки, которые у кого-то вызвали ассоциации с нацистской символикой, никак с нею не связаны. На одной стороне груди изображены скандинавские руны, в пору занятий тяжелым роком я был увлечен скандинавским эпосом. Татуировка на другой стороне никогда не имела никакого отношения к свастике. Это должна была быть восьмиконечная звезда, а в центре – герб, который … [Read more...]

Watch: the broadcast that got swastika singer sacked from Bayreuth

This is the ZDF report that cost Yevgeny Nikitin his role as the Flying Dutchman in Bayreuth. It's worth watching to hear the actual words of his justification for having a swastika tattoos. As youngsters, he says in English, we did 'good, crazy things'. Hmmm. Watch here. … [Read more...]

Breaking: Singer quits Bayreuth over swastika tattoos

The Russian baritone Yevgeny Nikitin has been forced to leave Bayreuth, where he was to sing to titled role in Flying Dutchman, after TV cameras picked up a large tattoo of the Nazi emblem on his chest. Nikitin said he'd had it done when he was young and foolish, but after the symbol was shown on ZDF's Aspekte program he had nowhere to go today but out. See picture here. That leaves Bayreuth four days to find a new Dutchman for its only new production. The festival opens Wednesday. More … [Read more...]

Better ratings news: Berlin is wiped off the map

Depressed by the Vienna mass audience? The good news is that, for the second year running, the Berlin Philharmonic extravaganza on German ARD television has been overwhelmed in the ratings by the Dresden Staatskapelle on ZDF - and this despite a Netrebko no-show in the Meissen china showcase. Details on intermezzo. It's a big win for Christian Thielemann and an embarrassment for Simon Rattle, whose German media appeal is not what it was. Thiely has also taken over Rattle's slot at … [Read more...]

Classical business: return of the fraudster

Barrett Wissmann, disgraced owner of the talent agency IMG Artists, was forced to step down from his front-office role after he copped a state prosecutor's plea to securities fraud involving the state pension fund in upstate New York. But you can't keep a fixer down. Six months ago, Barrett secured a Russian investor to help save the classical business. This week, he's declared he's coming back as co-chairman after retiring his frontman Charles Hamlen and sharing the company 50-50 with his … [Read more...]

How this Tchaikovsky competition is being judged – a view from the jury room

It is abundantly clear that the 14th Tchaikovsky competition differs from its predecessors in one significant respect - its trasnparency. Every round can be watched live online, viewers are encouraged to cast their votes and several judges are using their cellphones and notebooks to tweet and email their emotions as the contest progresses. This is not just a necessary and healthy process: it is the perfect antidote to Russia's Got Talent. Here's a personal report from one of the piano … [Read more...]

The Napoleon conductor has died

Remember when Abba won Eurovision in 1974 with that ghastly song, Waterloo? The man who directed the orchestra had dressed up for the occasion as Napoleon. His name was Sven-Olof Walldoff and he's just passed away, aged 82. He's in here, somewhere. And Here's some video. … [Read more...]

The mass murderer who loved Mahler

In a recent review of Jens Malte Fischer's disappointing German best-seller of a Mahler biography, I deplored Fischer's unquestioning dependence on a man who is widely held to be the post-War champion of Mahler scholarship in western Germany. His name is Hans Henrich Eggebrecht and many of the leading musicologists at German universties are his worshipful apostles. I was never much convinced by Eggebrecht's Mahler convoluted analyses, which misread the composer's complex multicuturalism as an … [Read more...]

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