Around The Classical Internet: August 5, 2011

Nigel Kennedy: Read between the lines. i i

Nigel Kennedy: Read between the lines. JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images
Nigel Kennedy: Read between the lines.

Nigel Kennedy: Read between the lines.

JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images
  • British MP Louise Mensch has admitted that she "probably" took drugs as a publicist at EMI — with Nigel Kennedy. The violinist's response: "I am a socialist myself but do remember having some great times with my beautiful and very clever right-wing friend."
  • Conductor and Mostly Mozart Festival music director Louis Langree is a good sport for answering the same query over and over again: What are his five favorite pieces by Mozart? (During the August news slump, everyone loves the listicles!)
  • In a tell-all interview, crossover star Hayley Westenra says that she turned to MacDonald's for solace when the pressures of success got to be just too much for her.
  • Deborah Voigt's autobiography is on the way (in two years) from HarperCollins. In the meantime, she's just premiered a song-and-story stage show, "Voigt Lessons," with playwright Terrence McNally. In the piece, she speaks of suicidal feelings and her struggles with alcoholism, including chronicling an episode during which she "jumped into a bottle and went into a 35-hour blackout."
  • Over at the New York Times, Jim Oestreich has a reflective piece on the etiquette of having medical hardware — in his case, a mechanical heart valve — that might be too loud during a concert.
  • At this point, Peter Dobrin is writing near-daily updates in his coverage of the Philadelphia Orchestra tumult. He says that Peter Nero, the music director of the Philly Pops, is trying to pull the Annenberg Foundation into the Pops' separation from the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. (The foundation doesn't want any part of it.) And the American Federation of Musicians is suggesting suing orchestra board members and others in order to secure the musicians' pension fund.
  • In an article discussing Wolf Trap's 40th anniversary, Anne Midgette points to comments from industry insiders claiming that there are now only five star soloists who can still draw sell-out crowds: Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang and Renee Fleming.
  • There will be no more permanent music director at New York City Opera. George Manahan has lost his job – and "there may be other changes afoot in the administration."
  • The dissolution of Manahan's job is in direct repudation of what NYCO general manager George Steel asserted at a press conference last month: "George Manahan is absolutely still our [music] director. I haven't looked at his contract recently, but I believe that it has at least another year on it, thank goodness."
  • Meanwhile, another longtime NYCO staffer, vocal coach Kevin Murphy, is leaving as well. He and his wife, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, are joining the faculty of Indiana University.
  • Agnes Varis, the self-made pharmaceutical baroness who built the Met Opera rush tickets program and underwrote the productions of both Philip Glass' Satyagraha and John Adams' Doctor Atomic, has died at age 81 of cancer.
  • Says one of the businessmen tasked with bringing the Detroit Symphony Orchestra out of its crisis: "The product has to evolve. It's a bit like the folks at GM when they had a Buick whose average customer age was 65 — it's not a path to success."
  • Better news from California: The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering 10,000 tickets for $10 apiece – but you won't know what show it will be for.

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