Music Articles

Around The Classical Internet: November 11, 2011

The Show Must Go On, even if your thumbs get tired.

The Show Must Go On, even if your thumbs get tired. Royal Opera House hide caption

toggle caption Royal Opera House
  • Your time-waster of the day: the Royal Opera House's new slate of games for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch called The Show Must Go On: manage lighting and props, build sets, dress the chorus and gather lost sheet music. (You're welcome.)
  • Also: Jeopardy's Alex Trebek dressed up in Juan Diego Florez' nun outfit from Le Comte Ory. (You're welcome again.)
  • To that point, did you know this: "The hardest ['Jeopardy'] category for contestants is 'Classical Music,' at least among categories that have appeared a minimum of 50 times. Just 72 percent of its clues are solved."
  • Kate Middleton is making "secret" visits to the opera with her father-in-law. What?
  • As a fundraiser for his Castleton Festival, Lorin Maazel auctioned off his 1783 Guadagnini — which sold for a new auction record, $1.08 million.
  • New York City Opera chorus members and orchestral players have offered to perform for free this season – if their health care is preserved and as long as they would be included in the repertoire and venue decisions for the next two seasons. "Performing for free is an anathema," said the executive director of one of their unions, "but it's a last-ditch alternative to a management plan that would drive City Opera out of existence."
  • The Cleveland Orchestra's new home base: Paris? "Between an increasingly active panel of supporters in Europe and the growing likelihood of a residency at a new venue under construction in Paris, the orchestra appears to be staking ever larger portions of its future on touring and moving toward becoming a global institution."
  • The Louisville Orchestra musicians are enmeshed in another round of talks with their management.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra Association is asking the federal bankruptcy court to tell the musicians' pension fund to stop harassing donors.
  • And the Dallas Symphony will be insolvent by late January, according to its board chairman.
  • A new movie-inspired opera goes up in Minnesota, just in time for the holidays: Silent Night, a retelling of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 that was prompted by the 2005 French flick Joyeux Noel. This is composer Kevin Puts' first opera; the librettist is Mark Campbell.
  • In The Independent, Jessica Duchen argues that contemporary classical composers have been slow and unsuccessful in writing pieces that really respond to the warfare and anxiety of our past decade. Most piercingly, she asks: "Unlike pop music, which is financially independent by comparison, would an orchestra, opera house or promoter avoid the risk of commissioning or presenting such a work, given their dependence on funding and sponsorship and pleasing those who provide both?"
  • This was news to Norwegian, Scandinavia's second-biggest air carrier: A cello isn't a security risk. But it took a threat from cellist Truls Mørk to move out of Norway to convince them.
  • David Patrick Stearns on his own road to Liszt:"I was feeling personally betrayed whenever one of my favorite musicians came out with a Liszt anniversary-year recording. I nearly wept upon seeing Pierre Boulez's granite-chiseled face appear on the cover of a Liszt piano concerto album with Daniel Barenboim (Deutsche Grammophon). Yes, Boulez — the high-minded composer/conductor who has no time for Brahms and once thought Verdi was stupid. And now ... Liszt?"
  • The Washington Post's lifestyle section has dubbed the super-preppy violinist/model Charlie Siem a musician "gone wild." By "wild," the author apparently means attractive and appealing, which of course classical musicians can't be. Oh yeah, and David Garrett and 2Cellos and blah blah blah crossover. (And Yuja's dress. Again.)

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