"Opera," said the Canadian tenor Jon Vickers once in an interview, "is not entertainment." For entertainment, he explained, he would far rather watch My Fair Lady. Opera had to go deeper. It was deeper, or it was nothing.
Licia Albanese, one of the great Italian sopranos of the 20th century, has died. There has been some discussion about her precise age, but general agreement is that she was 105 (older than had been previously thought). She was a rare kind of talent--which is meant not just in the conventional sense of payig a compliment, but the voice itself was an unusual combination of soft-edged delicacy and bursts of piercing power that sung 'through' rather than over the orchestra.
Of all the international protests in the West over the Gaza war, many of them controversial--in my opinion many of them ill-informed--one which has caused more heartache and uproar than almost any other has been the Tricycle Cinema (also a famous fringe theatre in London) dropping the Jewish Film Festival. "Dropping?" The venue, and its artistic director Indhu Rubasingham, says no. They only required the JFF to give up its nominal funding from the Israeli embassy, and her theatre even offered to make up the difference.
August marks the death, 95 years ago, of a flamboyant and famous impresario. Who just happened to have a grandson who became more famous still.
James Inverne remembers Carlo Bergonzi--the tenor who may have been, in some ways, the greatest of them all.
The International Concerts Series at Central Synagogue will feature world-class musicians in a historical venue noted for its excellent acoustics.
For no apparent reason, we've been perusing the list of winners of the Best Original Score Oscar since the prize was inaugurated in the 1930's. It makes for interesting reading.
Just for fun, we decided to test some anagram generators on the Web by typing in the names of our favorite composers. What hidden meanings might be lurking in these famous names?
My Facebook feed has been dotted in recent day with the latest social media craze. For a good cause, female friends have been posting photographs of themselves without makeup. Some actually look better that way, in my opinion (I know, nobody asked). One can surely do the same in music. Follow the popular trend--in music!
A Yiddish expression adopted by musicians worldwide.
But I wouldn't bet against Kirill Karabits being snapped up. Bournemouth has historically been a springboard for higher-profile appointments--and being from that town, myself, I yield to no one in my borderline fanatical admiration for its orchestra.
The Southbank Centre is seen as an arbiter of London cultural taste, especially latterly under the leadership of Jude Kelly. And after 2013-14's season, themed after the Alex Ross book The Rest Is Noise (a brilliant conceit), there is considerable interest in her follow-up.
Many happy returns to Marilyn Horne, who turns 80 years young this month! One of the truly iconic singers of the 20th century, the American mezzo may not grace our stages these days, but we have her dozens of recordings to remind us of that great, glorious voice and charismatic personality.
So, the news that Edward Gardner is stepping down after only seven years is almost as much of a shock as the simultaneous announcement that Mark Wigglesworth will follow him.
What's the fuss all about? The U.S. morning news bulletins are full of the news that, shock, horror, "Opera singer to sing national anthem at Superbowl." And? And yet the news teams (news!) are earnestly discussing the rights and wrongs of the decision to invite Renée Fleming to this august occasion, reading out (mostly hostile) tweets and reassuring viewers that, yes, she is actually pretty darn good.