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Criticising the critics 8: Going soft on Renee Fleming

I may have been a tad harsh on the new release by 'America's leading diva' (this seems to be the correct mode of address), but I'd rather err on the side of asperity than drown in mush like some of the first print reviewers. This is Andy Gill in the Independent: RenĂ©e Fleming claims that singing in French suits her voice naturally, which is clear on this album of poetic settings by Ravel, Messiaen and Dutilleux. So we take her at her own estimation - do we, Andy? He then affirms to … [Read more...]

How Italians greet a newly knighted maestro (video)

Tony Pappano went to Rome this weekend to conduct his Santa Cecilia orchestra. Since he last stood in front of them, he has become Sir Antonio in Britain's New Year's Honours. Well, Italian musicians know how to handle that.... right? Watch here … [Read more...]

Trebs scrubs four German gigs and London Traviata for urgent foot op

First Dresden, now the rest. Anna Netrebko's in pain. We wish her better. Here's her website announcement: It is with great regret that Anna Netrebko must cancel her performances over the next three weeks in order to undergo surgery to alleviate severe pain in her foot. The affected performances include concerts with Erwin Schrott in Baden-Baden (January 3), Hannover (January 6), and Mannheim (January 9), which will all be rescheduled for later in the year, as well as two performances … [Read more...]

Christmas drink warning from British Transport Police

No comment.   … [Read more...]

Leaked document: The Met giveth, the Met taketh away

It's good to read in the WSJ today that the Metropolitan Opera is about to present a balanced budget for the first time in seven years. Most companies that spent seven years in the red would no longer be with us, but the Met's a special case. At least that's what it tells its artists, expecting them to drop defences and blow their rights away. The contract that conductors are expected to sign, a copy of which was slipped into my hand on a Soho street pavement, is an absolute killer. It … [Read more...]

Lady Rattle yields to Plain Jane

On the way to Birmingham for a Why Mahler? talk, followed by Das Lied von der Erde, I hear that Magdalena Kozena, mother of the youngest Rattles, has cried off.   The Czech mezzo had difficulty with the voice, I'm told, at the first performance in Aldebuurgh on Friday and Jane Irwin had to drive 250 miles to get there as there as standby. Here, she's the main act. Madge is out, Jane in. Should be interesting. Will let you know. … [Read more...]

Slipped Disc

Taking the spin out of the classical record industry, and more … [Read more...]

Norman Lebrecht

Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator … [Read more...]

More Lebrecht Read NL's weekly column in the Evening Standard/ La Scena Musicale NL's latest book is published on April 5 Norman Lebrecht, novelist … [Read more...]

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