Beethoven's not here to round up the news, so we're doing it for him.
Beethoven's not here to round up the news, so we're doing it for him. iStock
It's not just the Detroit Symphony that's in dire straits — orchestras everywhere are tightening their belts. And some interesting new operas are premiering this week. The latest from around the web:
- Taking The Cuts: The Fort Worth Symphony managed to avoid the stalemate that plagues Detroit — but at a high price for the musicians.
- Bankruptcy Threatened: The Louisville Orchestra says their players’ next paycheck may be their last if they don’t agree to massive cuts.
- Lively Discussion: The Lincoln Center's White Light Festival has all the critics talking, even though visa issues have postponed a few performances.
- Visual Stimulation: The blog On An Overgrown Path looks at how some projects are adding a visual element to classical music — very successfully.
- Drama In The Boardroom: Virginia Opera has fired longtime director Peter Mark after weeks of debate. Mark's supporters claim that board members have been plotting against him.
- Wagner In Israel: It's not an oxymoron anymore. A Wagner society is starting up in Israel — the latest of several challenges to the tacit boycott against the anti-Semitic composer's music.
- Refused Entry: Carrying an instrument (especially a large one) could bar you from entering Great Britain these days.
- Glory Denied:A new opera from Chelsea Opera deals with the sobering real-life story of a Vietnam war veteran held prisoner for nine years — and the wife who gave him up for dead.
- A Dog's Heart: The English National Opera premieres an operatic satire on authoritarian power — with a talking dog as the main character.
- Opera Unearthed: Next year, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the L.A. Philharmonic will perform a long-lost opera prologue by Shostakovich.
- The Forthright Tenor: David Mermelstein of the Wall Street Journal profiles singer Roberto Alagna, who's preparing for his title role in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Don Carlo.
- You Must Meet My Knife: Over on Parterre Box, La Cieca reviews a new play about Alessandro Moreschi, the last castrato.
- Brave New Professionals: Maria Goodavage looks at ways some musicians are taking their classical careers outside the box.
- "It was almost like a sex change": At the famed Merola Opera Program, South African singer Elza van den Heever was told that she was actually a soprano, not a mezzo. That discovery has given her career a jump-start.
- Child Critics: Read the (sometimes endearing) winning essays from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music criticism contest.
- Composer Glenn Branca unleashes his new symphony this weekend. It's called Running Through the World Like an Open Razor (Music for Strange Orchestra). "I think this piece is going to be more entertaining than other things I've written," he tells Steve Dollar of the Wall Street Journal.
- Proper Manners: Greg Sandow highlights something musicians maybe should do, but don't: saying thank you.
- For Your Viewing Pleasure: Jessica Duchen has dug up a 1928 performance of violinist Jelly D'Aranyi performing the Vitali Chaconne.