Around The Classical Internet: October 14, 2011

Nadja Michael as Medea at Belgium's La Monnaie Theater. i

Nadja Michael as Medea at Belgium's La Monnaie Theater.

courtesy of La Monnaie hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of La Monnaie
Nadja Michael as Medea at Belgium's La Monnaie Theater.

Nadja Michael as Medea at Belgium's La Monnaie Theater.

courtesy of La Monnaie
  • Didja catch our posts this week about how opera is for the 99%?
  • Well, here's yet another (sanctioned) route to free goodies: Belgium's La Monnaie theater, which was recently named Opera House of the Year by Opernwelt Magazine, is now offering video streaming of its productions for free online.
  • First up? Cherubini's Medea in a production by Krzysztof Warlikowski, whose version of the title character is an Amy Winehouse lookalike — beehive, tattoos and all.
  • Riccardo Muti has just been awarded the $1M Birgit Nilsson Prize, which was presented in Sweden by King Carl XVI Gustaf. It's the biggest monetary award in classical music, and Muti is only the second winner.
  • Speaking of Muti, his successor at the storied La Scala opera house in Milan will be Daniel Barenboim. Barenboim has held the honorary title of "Maestro of La Scala" – a position created for him – since Muti's 2005 departure, and as led at least two operas there every year since. Barenboim's new contract starts in December and runs through 2016.
  • The musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra have given a preliminary OK to a new contract. The plan calls for a 15% pay cut, a reduction in the number of players and a replacement of their pension scheme with a defined-contribution plan. The musicians say they accepted the plan reluctantly.
  • Representatives from the musicians' national pension fund say they will fight for up to $35 million if the orchestra actually withdraws.
  • The struggling Colorado Symphony Orchestra is bringing back its former chief exec, Jim Copenhaver, as its interim director in hopes of righting the ship. Copenhaver has been acting CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.
  • Maruisz Kwiecien, a Polish baritone who was primed to sing the title role in the new producon of Don Giovanni this week at the Met, injured his back at the final dress rehearsal Tuesday. Peter Mattei has stepped in as his replacement.
  • Venezuelan-American pianist Gabriela Montero will soon debut her first through-composed piece, Ex Patria. It's a manifesto against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez: "It is the immediate exposure," writes Montero, "of a tragedy which has accelerated beneath the thinnest veil of democracy with negligible and inconsequential international scrutiny."
  • Here's a fascinating essay on the evolution of the symphony and of the novel: "To read Molly Bloom's great gush of resigned affirmation with which Ulysses ends and then set it beside the equally self-actualizing fatalism in which the final adagio movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony (marked on the score 'very slowly and held back') culminates, is to feel yourself in the presence of artistic twins whose birth is separated by only a few years."

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