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.
Well, this might be the least surprising news story of the week. As Italian newspapers report, variously, that Riccardo Chailly or Fabio Luisi will be taking over at La Scala, Daniel Barenboim has announced that he will be leaving Italy's preeminent opera house early. He will now be stepping down at the start of 2015.
UPDATE: Now, Italy's La Reppublica is reporting that Genoese maestro Fabio Luisi--principal conductor of the Met since September 2011 (i.e. from whence James Levine withdrew)--may very well be the preferred candidate. Call it "commedia dell'errori."
If the mounties are known for always getting their man, the same is often decidedly untrue in the murky world of opera house politics. But at La Scala, Italy's premiere house, they have pulled one heck of a triumph out of the hat and, reports Italy's influential Corriere della Sera (no official announcement from Milan yet), persuaded Riccardo Chailly to take up the mantle when Daniel Barenboim leaves.