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Following a wonderful party at Fort Worth Zoo yesterday evening (including appearances from flamingos, baby racoons, and a skunk), first on the menu this morning was a fascinating symposium on Cultural Diplomacy.  After Stuart Isacoff’s introduction to arts diplomacy between America and Russia from the end of  World War Two up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, we heard from panellists Marc Thayer, Sarah Tanguy, and Patrick Castillo.

Images: Fort Worth Zoo

First we heard from Marc Thayer, former deputy director of American Voices, which takes musicians abroad to countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, to teach and perform music to locals.  Marc emphasised the good relations this forms with local musicians, leaving a favourable and lasting impression of American culture. Rather than just taking American music to these communities, they build on the practices already in place, using the music of the countries they visit together with American music.

Founded in 1953 and formalised by President Kennedy, Arts in Embassies takes American artists to participate abroad, engaging over 20,000 people to date in 189 countries.  Professional curators, such as Sarah Tanguy, create around 60 exhibitions per year, and since the turn of the century over 58 permanent collections have been installed in diplomatic facilities all over the world.

Patrick Castillo, a composer, performer, writer, and educator, has taken part at The Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Habana three times.  Having started as the only American participant, the most recent festival saw ten members of the American Composers Forum attend.  Patrick cited lack of equipment in Cuba as a major problem, and said that on subsequent visits, composers and musicians took across suitcases of reeds, strings, pencils, and manuscript paper.

Throughout the discussion it emerged that sadly these schemes are not something that the State Department likes to trumpet, fearing accusations of misspending of public money.  Thus reciprocal schemes giving opportunities for oversees artists to visit the States have not yet taken flight.  All three speakers were also nervous about funding cuts, with the future of their organisations not guaranteed.

Image: Cultural Exchange Symposium, The Cliburn

Concert 1 of the Final Round begins this evening at 7.30pm, and can be viewed on cliburn2017.medici.tv.

(Written on June 7, 2017 )

Classical News

In today’s news, the story behind the architectural battle of the Sydney Opera House is to become a movie, new composer-in-residence for Opera Philadelphia and the 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports released next week. Also, J. Reilly Lewis dies at 71 and philharmonie.tv Cologne awarded with Eco Internet Award.

pizzicato

Architectural Battle For The Sydney Opera House To Become A Movie

Today the Opera house in Sydney is considered as one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Yet, the project’s genesis was tough and dramatic, since Danish architect Jorn Utzon upset Australia’s conservative architectural scene after winning the competition to design the building.

philly.com

New composer-in-residence for Opera Philadelphia

A recent Curtis Institute of Music graduate is a new composer in residence for Opera Philadelphia and the Music-Theatre Group of New York. Rene Orth, 30, is the sixth composer to go through the program, starting her term June 1.

Classicalite

J. Reilly Lewis, Washington Metro Area Concertmaster & Organist, Dies at 71

Lewis, a prominent authority on Bach, founded the Washington Bach Consort and served as music leader at Clarendon United Methodist Church for over 40 years. Also music director of the Cathedral Choral Society, Reilly was a one of the most important musicians in the Washington classical music scene.

The Guardian

The rebuilt Snape Maltings: Britten’s artistic dream rises again

No one thinks they are going to sit the Queen on a packing-case when she opens the rebuilt Maltings Concert Hall less than a month from now, but completion of the work is touch and go.

Orpheus for the age of Trump: Anaïs Mitchell on her folk opera Hadestown

Mitchell’s hit off-Broadway show about a tyrannical billionaire building a wall to ‘keep out the enemy’ was written in 2006 but could hardly be more topical. The folk singer discusses retelling an ancient myth at a time of ‘political horror’

Adaptistration

Orchestra Compensation Reports Are Right Around The Corner

Next week is the beginning of the 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports, an annual series that examines the compensation trends among orchestra executives, music directors and concertmasters, at more than 65 professional U.S. orchestras.

The Telegraph

The return of Rossini: watch a live stream of Glyndebourne’s The Barber of Seville

Watch Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) by Rossini for free on the Telegraphwebsite, from next week. The opera will be streamed live from 6.30pm on Tuesday June 21, and is available on demand for the following seven days.

The Strad

Cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch awarded OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

The musician, who survived the Holocaust, joins fellow performers Paul Lewis and Alison Balsom on the list.

Classical Music Magazine

Small and regional arts organisations testify to funding difficulties

Representatives of small and regional arts organisations have submitted evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about the funding difficulties which they face. Prompted by complaints that ‘London has long received a disproportionate share of arts funding’ at a previous investigation into the work of Arts Council England, the Countries of Culture inquiry is examining funding opportunities for cultural organisations in the regions.

The Times

Opera: The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne

Janácek takes just 90 minutes to tell the story of his Vixen, from cub years to marriage, motherhood to sudden death. At Glyndebourne that means the dinner interval is actually longer than the opera (chicken and rabbit, both scoffed by the leading lady, would make good hamper options).

klassik.com

SPD will Künstlersozialabgabe senken

Nach Plänen der Bundesministerin für Arbeit und Soziales, Andrea Nahles (SPD), soll die Künstlersozialabgabe sinken.

codex flores

Eco Internet Award für philharmonie.tv

Das Kölner Konzertportal philharmonie.tv ist mit dem eco Internet Award des eco Verbands der Internetwirtschaft e. V. ausgezeichnet worden.

nmz

Singpause – Das große Singen für Tausende Kinder

Mit der Düsseldorfer «Singpause» haben Zehntausende Grundschüler nebenbei in ihrer Schulzeit nicht nur singen, sondern auch Noten lesen gelernt. Das erfolgreiche Bildungsprojekt lässt andere Städte aufhorchen.

Twitter

neue musikzeitung @musikzeitung JazzZeitung: Dresdner Drum & Bass 2016 – 10th Anniversary

KlassikInfo.de @Klassikinfo Alessandro De Marchi verlängert bei Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik http://bit.ly/1tqatri

Limelight Magazine @LimelightEd Wagnerian tenor Alberto Remedios has passed away aged 81

Rene Orth, 30, is the new composer in residence for Opera Philadelphia and the Music-Theatre Group of New York. Photo credit: Andrew Bogard

Rene Orth, 30, is the new composer in residence for Opera Philadelphia and the Music-Theatre Group of New York. Photo credit: Andrew Bogard

(Written on June 15, 2016 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Dartington International Summer School & Festival has announced the full programme of courses and concerts for 2016, and Harold Budd explains why he’s not scared to sound pretty. Also, The Guardian lists classical music’s highlights of the year, and BBC Store offers an exclusive 25% discount

The Guardian

Harold Budd: the ambient music master floats again

Returning to New York for a rare concert, the composer, whose work with Brian Eno helped shape ambient music, explains he’s not scared to sound pretty

BBC Music Magazine

Enjoy an exclusive 25% discount at BBC Store

We present the best of the BBC Store (according to us…)

Classical Music Magazine

Dartington International Summer School & Festival 2016

Dartington International Summer School & Festival has announced the full programme of courses and concerts for 2016

Sinfini

Sinfini Music on TV

Sinfini Music’s acclaimed animation of Bach’s First Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier is now available to watch via a new TV app

The Guardian

The top 10 classical concerts and operas of 2015

Andris Nelsons and Simon Rattle led masterful surveys of Beethoven and Sibelius, the Proms made it great to stay up late, and opera brought moments both comic and surreal. Our combined critics list classical music’s highlights of the year

KlassikAkzente

Die Macht ist stark mit John Williams! – Diese Woche wird der Soundtrack zu “Star Wars: Das Erwachen der Macht” veröffentlicht

Einen Tag nach Kinostart des brandneuen Star Wars: Das Erwachen der Macht ist es soweit: Am 18. Dezember 2015 erscheint der originale Soundtrack zum Film aus der Feder der fünffach oscargekrönten Filmmusiklegende John Williams

NMZ

Fast eine Million Euro für zwei Kulturprojekte in Sachsen

Die Kulturstiftung des Bundes unterstützt zwei neue Projekte in Sachsen mit insgesamt rund 990 000 Euro

Klassik.com

Montserrat Caballé wegen Steuerbetrugs verurteilt

Die spanische Opernsängerin Montserrat Caballé (82) ist wegen Steuerhinterziehung zu einer Haftstrafe von sechs Monaten und einer Strafzahlung von 250.000 Euro verurteilt worden

El Mundo 

Alberto Urretxo: ‘La música clásica es la cultura popular

Es desde 1998 Trombón solista de la BOS además de profesor de Repertorio de Orquesta y Música de Cámara en el Conservatorio Superior de Euskadi

The New York Times 

The Operatic Tenor Juan Diego Flórez Shifts His Tone, and His Persona

Two decades into a starry operatic career, Mr. Flórez, at 42, is entering a new vocal phase: He is now singing the role of Edgardo in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” more heroic than the bubbly coloratura characters that made him famous

Twitter

Arts Council EnglandGreat art & culture brings everyone together at . Even turkeys. Get colouring in!

Classic FM ‏Watch a horrible tuba selfie fail: (we know you want to)

PRS Foundation: Congrats to the latest round of artists funded by >>>

news16dec

Andris Nelsons with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Photograph: Andrew Fox/The Guardian

(Written on December 16, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, The Arts Council Ireland is suffering from ‘unnecessarily damaging’ cuts, Classic FM is to mark the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin with a 20-part series, and opera stars warn that cuts ‘threaten to destroy’ the English National Opera

The Guardian

Opera stars warn that cuts ‘threaten to destroy’ the English National Opera

In an open letter to the Times, Sir Antonio Pappano has called for the reinstatement of full seasons at the ENO, in the face of drastic cuts

Classical Music Magazine

Classic FM to mark Menuhin centenary with 20-part series

Classic FM is to mark the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin with a 20-part series presented by the conductor and violinist’s official biographer Humphrey Burton

Irish Times

Classical music: The Arts Council allows a crisis to go to waste

Times have been hard, but the decision to cut funding to three musical organisations is unnecessarily damaging

Classical Music Magazine

Liverpool Phil announces inaugural Christopher Brooks prize recipient

Bethan Morgan-Williams has been named as the winner of the inaugural Christopher Brooks Composition Prize

The Strad

Hadelich, Tetzlaff, Takács, Eighth Blackbird receive classical Grammy nominations

The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards were announced on 7 December

FAZ

Knödelfabrik wird Konzertsaal

Bayern hat entschieden: Der neue Münchner Konzertsaal entsteht nun doch nicht im Stadtzentrum, sondern auf einem Industriegelände an der Peripherie. Damit setzt das Kabinett einen Schlussstrich unter eine fast 15 Jahre währende Debatte

Klassik Akzente

Musikalisches Schlüsselerlebnis – die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft forscht in Sachen Klassik

Die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ist für ihre exzellenten Forschungseinrichtungen überall auf der Welt bekannt. Eine neue Studie widmet sich nun intensiv der klassischen Musik und den Hörgewohnheiten ihrer Fans

Pizzicato 

Dirigent Heinz Fricke gestorben

Der langjährige Generalmusikdirektor der Deutschen Staatsoper in Berlin, Heinz Fricke, ist tot. Fricke, der an der Musikhochschule in Weimar u.a. bei Hermann Abendroth studierte hatte, starb bereits am Montag im Alter von 88 Jahren in Berlin-Buch

El Pais

El embajador del tango

El pianista argentino Juan Esteban Cuacci, considerado desde niño como un músico prodigio, cuenta su experiencia durante siete años como director musical de Raphael

Hoy es arte

La locura musical de Nietzsche en cinco piezas

Detrás del gran bigotón de la filosofía moderna, del más arrebatado y original de los pensadores, había un melómano incurable que afirmó que “sin música la vida sería un error” y que quiso ser compositor y lo fue aunque con escaso éxito

Twitter

James MacMillanAwarded Knighthood in person this morning by HRH Prince William at Windsor Castle

Classic FMWe’ve teamed up with to find the Nation’s Favourite Christmas Carol – vote and win some gorgeous prizes:

BBC Music Magazine: Have a very Victorian Christmas.

news9dec

Sir Antonio Pappano has petitioned the ENO board to engage in a public examination of ways to protect the company. Photograph: David Rose/Rex/The Guardian

(Written on December 9, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation will award funding to two programmes supporting and developing young musicians, the Belfast Music Society has created a new classical album for babies and Xian Zhang is the first woman to have a titled role at a BBC orchestra. Also, the Ulster Orchestra hopes to break down class barriers to classical music

Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Orchestra hoping to break down class barriers to classical music

As an Assembly investigation into working-class ‘exclusion’ from the arts continues, the UO envisages ‘composing’ at least five or six education and outreach projects

Classical Music Magazine

Young musician projects gain Lloyd Webber grants

Two programmes supporting and developing young musicians are to receive substantial grants from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, it was announced today

The Irish News

Belfast musicians launch classical album for babies

It’s a well-established fact that listening to classic music has a soothing effect on babies and that introducing children to music at a young age is hugely beneficial

The Guardian

Xian Zhang makes conducting history as first woman to have titled role at a BBC orchestra

The Chinese-born artist is to be the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s new principal guest conductor

Pizzicato

Pariser Opernlogen weiter im Gespräch

Der Streit um die Entfernung von Zwischenwänden in den Logen der alten Pariser Oper Palais Garnier nimmt immer erstaunlichere Ausmaße an

Klassik.com

Thomas Quasthoff mit Martin Buber-Plakette ausgezeichnet

Thomas Quasthoff hat die diesjährige Martin Buber-Plakette erhalten. Sie wurde ihm im Rahmen des Kulturfestivals “Euriade” im niederländischen Kerkrade verliehen

Crescendo

Audi Jugendchorakademie sucht neue Stimmen

Im Dezember und Januar sucht die Audi Jugendchorakademie wieder nach Gesangstalenten, die gern in einem professionellem Umfeld singen wollen. Die neuen Chormitglieder haben die Möglichkeit, bei den Audi Sommerkonzerten 2016 und mit Star-Dirigent Kent Nagano aufzutreten

El Pais

Montserrat Caballé declarará desde su casa por fraude fiscal

La soprano participará en la vista a través de una videoconferencia por motivos de salud

Scherzo

Comienzan los Conciertos de Navidad y Año Nuevo en el Auditorio Sony

Auditorio Sony acoge el ciclo Conciertos de Navidad y Año Nuevo en el que participan los músicos que se forman en los distintos departamentos de instrumento, canto y música de cámara de la Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía

Twitter

Sinfini Music: @SinfiniMusic 1 Dec: time to open day 1 of our #AdventCalendar! Check back every day for prizes/goodies:  http://christmas.sinfinimusic.com/

The Journal of Music:@journalofmusic Paris Residences Offered for Irish Musicians and Composers. http://ow.ly/VjwL7  @cc_irlandais

Culture at King’s:@CultureatKings  #BigBangData opens 3 Dec @SomersetHouse. Artists & designers use data to explore how data is transforming society http://ow.ly/VjwA0

Xian Zhang/ NJO

Xian Zhang/ NJO

(Written on December 1, 2015 )

This week, the classical music news has been dominated by articles concerning arts funding. Here is a summary of the latest developments and who has been talking about the changes which could have such a great impact on the creative industries.

Earlier in the week….

The BBC reported George Osborne’s announcement, “Culture is one of the best investments we can make.”

The Department for Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) overall budget is to be cut by 5% – far less than some feared; the administration budget will be cut by 20% and entrance to national museums will remain free.

Arts Professional declared that Arts Council England’s grant is expected to rise by between 1-2% over the next five years.

The settlement will enable the Arts Council to invest in it’s 684 national museums, galleries, theatres, dance, opera and ballet companies at the same level until at least 2018.

Classical Music Magazine reports that the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, has announced the reinstatement of funding for arts and sports in Northern Ireland.

Today…..

Classical Music Magazine is concerned that the BBC’s funding will be cut again.

The BBC is the biggest employer of professional musicians and spends approximately £125m per year on music including musicians, composers, orchestras and collective management organisations. Isabelle Gutierrez writes that the licence fee remains the most effective way of maintaining funding. Many jobs in the creative industries are put at risk with each funding round, which does not increase the licence fee in line with inflation. The latest funding deal, agreed in July 2015, reduces BBC funding by making it responsible for the costs of free TV licences to the over-75s, cutting £750m a year from income by 2020.

On a positive note….

Arts professional discussed the UK Cities Culture Report 2015, which demonstrates that cities view culture as key to high quality of life; it also boosts tourism.

The report notes that cities are increasingly committed to using culture as a catalyst for regeneration, either because culture is “an engine for skill enhancement” or because it can “create a ‘sense of place’ which will encourage companies to relocate and enable a city to attract talent”. They are also recognising the value of culture in promoting “tolerance, equality and diversity”. As we head towards devolution, cities are collaborating with their cultural sectors in order to source funding.

Sign the #LetItBe campaign to protect the wonderful music services provided by the BBC!

(Written on November 27, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, St. John’s Smith Square joins REMA, a report finds that cities are recognising the benefits of culture and the Vienna Philharmonic is funding a home for asylum seekers. Also, Classical Music Magazine discusses concerns that the BBC’s funding will be cut again

Classical Music Magazine

St John’s Smith Square joins REMA

St John’s Smith Square is now a member of REMA (the European Early Music Network)

Arts Professional

Cities recognise benefits of culture, report finds

Local authorities envisage a shift away from direct provision of cultural services, but are preparing to lead by articulating a vision, brokering partnerships, and sourcing new funding

Classic FM

One of the world’s greatest orchestras is funding a home for asylum seekers

The Vienna Philharmonic is one of the world’s oldest orchestras, best known for its performances of great classical music. But now it’s announced a project to create a home for refugees in Austria

Classical Music Magazine

All who love music should campaign to save the BBC

The Conservative government is preparing its policy on the BBC’s future. The Green Paper published by government raises concerns that the BBC’s funding will be cut again, or that it will be significantly downsized. The effect that this might have on employment opportunities for musicians could be catastrophic

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Avantgardist der Klänge

Der Komponist Helmut Lachenmann wird 80 Jahre alt. Er hat verschiedene Geräusche in seine Arbeiten integriert. Seine Oper “Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern” gilt als eines der Hauptwerke unserer Zeit

Klassik.com

Drei Musikprojekte mit Junge Ohren Preis ausgezeichnet

Drei Musikproduktionen und -projekte sind am Donnerstagabend in der Villa Elisabeth in Berlin mit dem Junge Ohren Preis ausgezeichnet worden

NMZ

Hontvári Gábor gewinnt 7. Dirigierwettbewerb der Mitteldeutschen Musikhochschulen

Der Weimarer Musikstudent Gábor Hontvári hat den 7. Dirigierwettbewerb der Mitteldeutschen Musikhochschulen gewonnen. Damit habe bereits zum siebten Mal infolge ein Student der «Weimarer Dirigentenschmiede» den Wettbewerb der drei Hochschulen für sich entscheiden können

The New York Times

Andrew Norman on Loving ‘Star Wars’ and Pushing Musical Boundaries

When Andrew Norman was growing up, “Star Wars” was the only film his family owned on video. Fascinated by John Williams’s classic score, Mr. Norman decided when he was young that he wanted to be a composer

Scherzo

El Centro de Investigación y Documentación Musical de la UCLM se asocia al CSIC

La Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) cuenta con la primera Unidad Asociada al Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) en el ámbito de la Música y la Musicología

Twitter

Top Classical News:  ‏@topcmnews Soprano Hannigan shatters classical music’s glass ceiling – Malay Mail Online http://bit.ly/1IlKtOT  #ClassicalMusic

BBC Radio 3:@BBCRadio3  Music in Time: JS Bach never wrote an opera, but the St. Matthew Passion comes pretty close #EssentialClassics

Classical Orchestras:@OrchestrasToday  BBC Radio Christmas highlights 2015 http://bbc.in/1Q25wwq

Cities recognise benefits of culture

Cities recognise benefits of culture

(Written on November 27, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Chancellor George Osborne has promised to increase funding to Arts Council England in his Spending Review and PRS for Music Foundation has announced the the latest recipients of its Beyond Borders funding programme. Also, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure has announced the reinstatement of funding for arts and sports in Northern Ireland

BBC

Spending Review: Arts Council protected despite DCMS cuts

Chancellor George Osborne has promised to increase funding to Arts Council England and national museums and galleries in his Spending Review

Classical Music Magazine

PRS for Music Foundation announces latest Beyond Borders funding recipients

PRS for Music Foundation has announced the latest organisations and music groups to receive funding through its co-commissioning and touring programme Beyond Borders

Gramophone

Hans Abrahamsen wins the 2016 Grawemeyer Award

Abrahamsen’s ‘let me tell you’ earns the composer $100,000 in prize money

Classical Source

Leif Ove Andsnes launches the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, West Norway [11-14 August]

This summer, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes looks forward to launching a new chamber music festival in his homeland

Classical Music Magazine

Northern Ireland arts organisations to have funding restored

The Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, has announced the reinstatement of funding for arts and sports

NMZ

Keine Angst vor Klassik – ARD lädt Schulen zu Vivaldi-Experiment ein

Nach Dvorák und Gershwin stellt sich der Komponist Antonio Vivaldi bundesweit an Schulen vor. Das Musikvermittlungsprojekt der Hörfunkwellen der ARD geht 2016 in die nächste Runde

Pizzicato

Scala: Pereira macht Zugeständnisse an Gewerkschaften

Die Mailänder Scala hat sich mit den Gewerkschaften über Personalanstellung geeinigt und konnte so einen drohenden Streik verhindern

Klassik.com

Geschenkt: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra erhält 10 Millionen US-Dollar

Das Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra erhält eine Spende von 10 Millionen US-Dollar von der Lilly Endowment Stiftung, eine der größten privaten Stiftungen der USA. Nach Angaben der Stiftung werden insgesamt 14 Institutionen mit einer Gesamtsumme von 100 Millionen US-Dollar gefördert

Scherzo

La Fundación Scherzo celebra 20 años de su Ciclo de Grandes Intérpretes

Un total de 11 conciertos – nueve recitales de piano y dos extraordinarios con Lang Lang o el contratenor Philippe Jaroussky-, además de 3 clases maestras a cargo, por ahora, de Paul Lewis y Till Fellner para los alumnos del Real Conservatorio Superior de Música, celebran los 20 años del ciclo Grandes Intérpretes de la Fundación Scherzo, patrocinado por El País

El Mundo

Theremin, el instrumento invisible

Se cumplen justo 95 años del invento del Theremin, el sonido que Alfred Hitchcock utilizó por sorpresa en ‘Recuerda’, un diabólico instrumento inventado por un ruso genial llamado Leon Theremin

Twitter

The StradLongtime concertmaster John Ferrell has died at the age of 90

ArtsProfessional: Fears of cuts dispelled in

Classic FM: Is this a rare portrait of the Baroque maestro?

news26nov
Photo: XtraxArts/Arts Professional

(Written on November 26, 2015 )

Italy, the country where opera was born around 1600, is home to more than 800 opera houses, many of which have been neglected. A combination of bad management and budget cuts under the Berlusconi government meant that opera houses were severely underfunded, resulting in musicians’ salaries being cut. In some cases, musicians weren’t paid for months on end; many protested and went on strike. By 2013, spending on Italy’s cultural heritage had dropped from €165 million in 2008 to €75 million.

Protests against cuts in Italy's culture budget outside La Scala, Milan in December 2010

Protests against cuts in Italy’s culture budget outside La Scala, Milan in December 2010

Italian opera houses have always relied on state and regional grants, making them more dependent on the state than their counterparts in the UK, which benefit from more private investment. This is however not the case for La Scala in Milan, or Il Teatro Lirico in Turin, as in larger Italian cities, opera houses tend to receive more corporate sponsorship. Opera in smaller cities, such as Florence, has therefore been affected most severely by the cuts in government funding.

The 2013 Italian opera crisis was exasberated by the  financial crisis, and only Milan’s La Scala, Teatro Regio, Turin and La Fenice, Venice were able to pay their bills on time. As a result opera became even less mainstream in the country of it’s birth.

So, how has Italy attempted to solve this crisis? Opera houses are now putting on more modern productions and technology, and social media is being used to show behind the scenes production, via live blogs. La Scala leads the way with translation screens in seats for non Italian speakers, in an attempt to make the art form more accessible.

In May, La Scala premiered ‘CO2’, a contemporary opera which aims to make us acknowledge our responsibility for the planet. It nicely coincided with Expo- Milan 2015, the theme of which was ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’. The opera featured quick scene changes and videos. It was well reviewed.

On a smaller scale, a crowd-funding campaign called ‘adopt a theatre’ has been established by a group of  European singers, to raise money to help bring Italy’s opera houses back to life. So far, the campaign has has resulted in residents of Bevagna, Perugia donating 8,000 to relaunch the Francesco Torti opera theatre. The campaign is now being exported around the country.

The stunning Teatro Francesco Torti in Perugia, saved by the 'adopt a theatre' campaign is launching three new operas.

The stunning Teatro Francesco Torti in Perugia, saved by the ‘adopt a theatre’ campaign is launching three new operas.

Further measures being taken to increase revenues involve opera houses sharing their stages with cinemas and dancers. La Fenice in Venice is adapting its programme to suit the tastes of the huge numbers of tourists who visit the city.

With minimal government support, opera houses in Italy have taken steps to save themselves from collapse, management is being reorganised and as in the UK, modern audiences are being targeted. Opera in Italy may well flourish again, thanks to innovative ideas and initiatives being taken, however these are only first steps, and funding is still short. Perhaps the future of opera houses, particularly those in smaller cities, is not secure just yet.

 

(Written on November 4, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Classical Music Magazine discusses why the women in music debate is more important than ever and ABRSM launches an initiative to get more primary school children interested in classical music. Also, The Statesman reports that the Delhi Classical Music Festival is drawing a large audience

Classical Music Magazine

The women in music debate is more vital than ever

In the late 1980s, my generation emerged from college believing we could have it all. We imagined the battle for ‘Women’s Lib’ had been won and we would be its beneficiaries

Arts Desk

10 Questions for Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis

He’s a jazz composer, she’s a classical violinist: put them together, what have you got?

BBC Music Magazine

ABRSM launches ‘Classical 100’ initiative

New scheme to interest primary school children in classical music launched

The Statesman

Delhi classical music fest draws large audience

A music festival featuring maestros like Begum Parveen Sultana and Pandit Bhajan Sopori began here on Monday with the promise of enthralling Delhi’s classical music connoisseurs

Pizzicato

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski zum Ehrendirigenten der Deutschen Radio Philharmonie ernannt

Der polnisch-amerikanische Dirigent und Komponist Stanislaw Skrowaczewski wird auf Vorschlag des Orchesters zum Ehrendirigenten der Deutschen Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern ernannt

nmz

Gärtnerplatz-Intendant: Sanierung als „Damoklesschwert“

Zum 150-jährigen Bestehen des Münchner Gärtnerplatztheaters plagen dessen Intendanten Josef Köpplinger Sanierungssorgen. Es sei noch nicht klar, wann genau der Spielbetrieb im Stammhaus in der Münchner Innenstadt nach der millionenschweren Sanierung wieder aufgenommen werden kann

Klassik.com

Sujin Bae gewinnt Giulio-Perotti-Gesangswettbewerb

Die südkoreanische Sopranistin Sujin Bae hat den 4. Giulio-Perotti-Gesangswettbewerb in Ueckermünde gewonnen

Classicalite

Martin Scorsese Confirms Leonard Bernstein Biopic, Renews Paramount Deal

Martin Scorsese, a household name in filmmaking, has announced that he will renew his development deal with Paramount. On the list of upcoming projects is a biopic about the West Side Story composer, Leonard Bernstein

Pizzicato

Martin Fröst Suffers From Inner Disease

Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst, 44, has cancelled his upcoming appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra due to Meniere’s disease, an inner-ear disorder

Twitter

Youth Music:@youthmusic  Our friends at @DRGUK are supporting Youth Music with a donation for every guitar sold!  http://ow.ly/TLFk7

Brighton Early Music:@BREMF Coming up this week – the earliest opera by a female composer. Watch our #FreeRuggiero preview film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGhrQ_91E10 #Brighton #Hove

British Council Arts: @BritishArts Read this @GdnCulturePros article on the importance of nurturing smaller #arts organisations http://ow.ly/UbaN1

BBC Music Magazine 'Classical 100' Initiative

BBC Music Magazine
‘Classical 100’ Initiative

(Written on November 3, 2015 )