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Sony’s prize maestro becomes a Russian citizen

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Theodore Currentzis, the Greek conductor who is recording the Mozart Da Ponte operas for Sony in Perm where is is music director, became a Russian citizen this week, by presidential decree (below).   It is not clear whether he has given up Greek and EU citizenship. It seems to be a dangerous time to put all one's eggs in a straw basket.     … [Read more...]

The operas of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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The Colombian Nobel Prize winner, who has died at 87, inspired two works of music theatre - Love and Other Demons by Peter Eötvös, premiered at Glyndebourne in 2008, and Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catan, presented in 1996 by the opera companies of Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle. First staged in 1996, Florencia was the first Spanish-language opera to be premiered in the US. It has received 16 productions, the most recent two months ago at Boston University.         … [Read more...]

The other José Feliciano is killed in car crash

Not the blind singer whose torch song was Light My Fire. This is José 'Cheo' Feliciano, the Puerto Rican salsa star. He was 78. The other, younger José Feliciano has tweeted condolences to his family. … [Read more...]

Mass walkout on San Diego Opera board

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The president, Karen Cohn, walked out of yesterday's crisis meeting. She appears to have quit. Around 20 others on the 50-strong board failed to show. The chief executive and artistic director Ian Campbell also made an exit, though he still holds his two jobs. The new acting president is Carol Lazier, who recently gave $1 million to keep the company alive. She has called a meeting on Monday to assess the company's future - slimmed down by as much as 60 percent but still alive, according to … [Read more...]

Vienna Philharmonic attacked by opera chief for ‘reluctant’ denazification

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Ioan Holender, former head of the Vienna Opera, has launched an extraordinary assault on the orchestra for dealing with its Nazi past only when it is absolutely forced to do so. Holender said he had never felt any positive desire on the part of the orchestra, and particularly its chairman and official historian Clemens Hellsberg, to bring the past to light, 'unless there was external coercion'.   Holender was particularly savage on the orchestra's 'discovery' this week that it … [Read more...]

Munich’s Rosenkavalier – tasteful?

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This is the cover of the Munich Philharmonic's new season brochure. What do you think? … [Read more...]

A ballet conductor has died

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Akira Endo, recommended  by Leonard Bernstein to American Ballet Theater and later long-serving conductor at Pittsburgh Ballet, has died, aged 75. Japanese born, he migrated to the US as a student in 1954 and twice came third in the Dmitri Mitropoulos Competition, where he caught Bernstein's eye. … [Read more...]

Ousted Conservatoire chief lands new post

Mary Ellen Poole, eased out as Dean of the San Francisco Conservatoire in January, has not idled long. She's the new Dean at Butler. Release below.     April 15, 2014Mary Ellen Poole, dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has been appointed director of the Butler School of Music and holder of the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music at The University of Texas at Austin, effective Sept. 1. Dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for … [Read more...]

Another senior maestro graciously cashes in

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra, announcing a replacement for Lorin Maazel, uses the obsequious language of three generations back to welcome the expensive Charles Dutoit on bended knee. Will Boston never wake up? And should we now start referring to cheerful Charlie as Maazel's Maazel? press release below   Eminent Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit has graciously offered to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's final programs, April 17-26, stepping in … [Read more...]

Two key questions for San Diego

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There's a crisis board meeting today at wound-down San Diego Opera. This is what its president, Karen Cohn, is putting to her colleagues: I believe we should all be thinking about these two fundamental questions: If an alternative San Diego opera organization is financially viable, does it make sense for that organization to start fresh? Or should the new alternative San Diego opera organization that emerges from these efforts assume at the start all of the debt, contracts, and other … [Read more...]

Breaking: Milan puts new Scala chief on hold

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The Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia,  has been alarmed by reports that Alexander Pereira balanced his last budget as director of the Salzburg Festival by selling his less successful productions on  to his next post, at La Scala. The mayor has, with remarkable urgency for Italy, called two board meetings in the next fortnight to discuss the issue. Insiders say Pereira's chair is starting to wobble. Read on here (in Italian). … [Read more...]

Why Michael Kaiser and IMG are a marriage made in hell

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The announcement (via the NY Times PR agency) that Turnaround King Michael Kaiser is joining the ever-turbulent IMG Artists has been greeted across the classical world with varying degrees of incredulity. Kaiser, having lectured the world to death about how to run a classical ship, is leaving the Kennedy Center on a vertical downturn. His last act was to renew his out-of-touch pal Christoph Eschenbach as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra amid cries of cronyism and institutional … [Read more...]

An Afro-American pioneer at the Met turns 80

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George Shirley's lists of firsts is near-inexhaustible. He was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he appeared for eleven years. He turns 80 on Good Friday. Many happy returns, George. … [Read more...]

Warsaw 1947: An American architect’s photos

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Henry N. Cobb was part of a group of architects called in to explore the war-wasted city. Watch his riveting images. Read more here. … [Read more...]

You sang it wrong at the Seder

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These are some of the earliest known notations. h/t Joel Cohen. All together now: Chad gad-ya...   Read more here. … [Read more...]

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