Posts Tagged ‘stage’
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In today’s news: José Carreras to retire after half a century in the industry, violinist Gidon Kremer receives Federal Cross of Merit, and Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková has died. Behind the scenes at the ENO, myths about music streaming and new theme for Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’.

The Guardian

Radiohead and Hans Zimmer collaborate on new ‘Blue Planet’ theme

The band and the composer have released the track, which is a reworking of Radiohead’s Bloom and will be the theme to the forthcoming nature series.

Kwame Kwei-Armah named new Artistic Director of the Young Vic

Award-winning British playwright, who is currently director of Baltimore’s Center Stage, will take over role next year

Music Business Worldwide

3 myths about streaming, and 3 truths about the music industry today

How much of it is worth listening to – and how much is complete hogwash?

The Telegraph

Alfie Boe and Michael Ball to duet with West Side Story medley

The popular classical-crossover duo will record another LP after the success of previous collaborations.

Behind the Scenes at ENO’s new production of ‘Aida’

Exclusive pictures offer a backstage look at Verdi’s tale of love and betrayal in ancient Egypt.


Conductor Jean-Yves Ossonce charged with moral harassment

Conductor Jean-Yves Ossocne, the former director of the Opera in Tours, France, has been charged with moral harassment, La Nouvelle République reports.

Kultur Radio

Tenor José Carreras beendet Sängerkarriere

Der Tenor José Carreras wird seine Sängerkarriere beenden. Das gab Carreras in einem Interview mit der New York Times bekannt, wie das online-Magazin berichtet.

Bundesverdienstkreuz für Geiger Gidon Kremer

Der Geiger Gidon Kremer erhält den Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

Musik Heute

Tschechische Cembalistin Zuzana Růžičková gestorben

Die tschechische Cembalistin Zuzana Růžičková ist im Alter von 90 Jahren gestorben. Das berichtete die Agentur CTK am Mittwoch unter Berufung auf ihren Stiftungsfonds für Musiker.


@MusicMagazine: ‘We’re quite humbled and proud that Roland Rat is a subscriber to BBC Music Magazine.’

© Tristram Kenton/ENO


(Written on September 28, 2017 )

In today’s news: The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s classical music event is tomorrow, and Dean Aaron Dworkin named as the new leadership from the Michigan School of Music. Schauspielhaus Cologne’s Head Dramaturg Thomas Laue to be Artistic Director of Nibelungen-Festspiele Worms, and Dresden Symphony plans a trans-boundary concert at the wall between USA and Mexico. Changes in Heidelberger Frühling Festival are being planned, and to adjust for the Easter time – suit music.


Music for Holy Week and Easter

This week on the Gramophone website we will be exploring some of the finest music written for Holy Week and Easter with three special articles.

The Strad

Violinist Lisa Ji Eun Kim to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Kim, who is currently serving as a second violinist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, has previously performed as a BSO substitute player.
The Guardian

Globe director Dominic Dromgoole swaps stage for screen

After 10 years at the Globe, Dominic Dromgoole will direct and produce films, following in the footsteps of Stephen Daldry and Sam Mendes.

The Times

Florence has a new classical music festival

The New Generation Festival features performances from the world’s finest young musical talents in the spectacular gardens at the Palazzo Corsini Al Prato

The Violin Channel

Dean Aaron Dworkin Has Resigned from Michigan School of Music

Dean Aaron Dworkin is set to step down from the leadership role at the University of Michigan School of Music – effective from August 15th


Steinway setzt auf selbstspielende Flügel

Der amerikanische Hersteller von Klavieren und Flügeln, Steinway & Sons, verkauft nun auch selbspielende Flügel.


Thomas Laue wird neuer Künstlerischer Leiter der Nibelungen-Festspiele

Der derzeitige Chefdramaturg am Schauspielhaus Köln wird zur Spielzeit 2018 Künstlerischer Leiter der Nibelungen-Festspiele Worms


Der Heidelberger Frühling macht sich mit dem Schwerpunkt „Neuland.Lied“ für das Kunstlied stark

Das Festival Heidelberger Frühling will die Stadt nun wieder zu einem Zentrum der Liedkultur machen

The New York Times

Chuck Berry Is Hailed as a Rock Trailblazer and a St. Louis Hero at His Funeral

The four-hour funeral on Sunday afternoon honored a musician who helped forge rock ’n’ roll but never moved away from his hometown and continued faithfully playing gigs there until he was in his late 80s

20 Classical Music Selections to Enhance Your Cooking Experience

A stereotype that has been proven again and again is the belief that musicians love to cook

Herald Live

Feast of light classical music

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s music department will be taking guests on a classical music journey with its Opera Lights concert tomorrow at the South Campus Auditorium.


36 s60th anniversary concert of on 15 May with

3Bislang unbekanntes Manuskript eines -Liedes entdeckt?

Image: The Violin Channel

(Written on April 11, 2017 )

The live streaming of operas has really taken off and this week Wigmore Hall  announced that it’s first online streamed event will take place on 28 January.  Opera Platform has partnerships with 15 theatres across Europe and Cultural broadcaster ARTE links the opera houses with the platform, offering subtitles in six languages. According to The Strad  up to one Wigmore Hall concert a month might be made available online and free of charge.

Wigmore Hall/ The Strad

Wigmore Hall/ The Strad

Streaming live operas and concerts is a great idea but is it the way forward for classical music and opera in terms of expanding audiences and benefiting the companies? The option of seeing opera at the cinema probably suits older audiences in many ways; in the cinema one faces the screen avoiding craning necks and the majority of people live closer to a cinema than to a theatre. Indeed, hotel and travel costs to a concert/opera (particularly in London) can amount to more than the price of the tickets themselves. Furthermore cinema and online audiences need not feel pressured to dress up.

Another advantage of concert/opera streaming is that we get to see the performers close up and focus on every detail including their facial expressions. Perhaps this makes it harder for the performers as they can be scrutinised more closely than they are in the theatre, forcing them to pay even greater attention to their acting (in the case of opera). Live streaming offers the audience many different views of the stage and backstage interviews during the interval are another bonus.

Berlin Philharmoniker's 'digital concert hall', offers 40 live-streams every year. A screenshot from their trailer

Berlin Philharmoniker‘s ‘digital concert hall’, offers 40 live-streams every year. A screenshot from their trailer

The New York Met’s Live in Schools programme brings opera productions to students through screenings at their local cinemas. Educator guides and classroom resources are also on offer, The Met aims to “make opera first accessible, then thrilling, to their students.” Might British opera companies and concert halls follow this lead? 

Whilst Wigmore Hall‘s online concert streams will be free, cinema screenings of opera certainly make financial sense for the companies, as tickets cost much the same as the cheapest seats at theatres.  The local cinema lacks the glamour and excitement of Royal Opera House but it’s probably more practical. One might ask whether the option of seeing an opera or concert at the cinema or online decreases the number attending the actual performance. However the two are completely different experiences and one cannot replace the other. The possibility of going to a cinema screening or streaming a concert online is an extra, yet very worthwhile experience. Certainly Wigmore Hall‘s ‘digital concert hall’ will make their concerts very accessible worldwide and no doubt performances from Berlin’s Armida Quartet, soprano Anna Lucia Richter with pianist Michael Gees, and baritone Andrè Schuen with pianist Daniel Heide on 28 January will attract large online audiences.




(Written on January 15, 2016 )

In early Italian Opera, from the 1600’s until about 1800, many operatic roles were written for castrati. Recently more men have been trained as countertenors to sing these roles, however it is often women who take on these ‘breeches roles’ in the place of castrati.

From the end of the eighteenth century, when composition for castrati had declined, male operatic roles continued to be written for high voices. Thus, it was intended that a woman should dress up as a man to play these characters. It is important to note, that the quality of the voices and music has always come before realism in opera.

Italian castrato Francesco Bernardi Senasino (1686- 1758) Senesino was closely associated with Handel & sung 17 of his lead roles an

Italian castrato Francesco Bernardi Senesino (1686- 1758). Senesino was closely associated with Handel and sung 17 of his lead roles.

Travesti in Italian means disguised and Travesty applies to roles sung by the opposite sex. This term can therefore also apply to ‘skirt roles’, whereby a man sings a female role.

A long list of lead figures in operas are known as ‘breeches roles’ (‘travesti’ or ‘hosenrolle’) .

Here are some of the most well known Travesty roles in opera.

Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss

Octavian, young lover of the Feldmarschallin Marie Thérèse, is written as a soprano/mezzo-soprano breeches part. Typical of a breeches role, Octavian must disguise as a woman to hide his identity and involvement with Marie Thérèse.

Christa Ludwig as Octavian

Christa Ludwig as Octavian

Romeo I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donizetti

When assessing the singers for I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Bellini wasn’t particularly impressed with the tenor. However he admired the talents of mezzo-soprano Giuditta Grisi, so he decided to cast Grisi as Romeo in a breeches role.                                                                   

Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca as Romeo & Julliet, ROH 2009

Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca as Romeo & Julliet, ROH 2009

Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart

Cherubino is an adolescent boy and the counts page. As many breeches roles, Cherubino is played by a mezzo-soprano. Similarly to Der Rosenkavalier’s Octavian, Cherubino must disguise himself as a girl. He is a womaniser and woos both Susanna (engaged to Figaro) and Countess Almaviva (married to Count Almaviva).

Other breeches roles in Mozart’s operas, include Sesto and Annino in La clemenza di Tito,  Idamante in Idomeneo and Amintas in Il re pastore.

Joyce DiDonato as Cherubino at the Metropolitan Opera, New York

Joyce DiDonato as Cherubino at the Metropolitan Opera, New York

Composers chose for male characters to be played by women, due to the sound characteristics of their voices and their physique. Female figures are particularly suited to being cast as young boys, as these roles require narrow physiques and light, clear voices. Although today, it is of course perfectly acceptable for women to perform on stage, in the nineteenth century, woman who went on stage were dishonored and had a lower status. Thus, there were cases of women dressing up, pretending to be a castrati men in order to avoid this. Today’s interest and media focus on gender fluidity suggests that there is great scope for opera to flourish, as modern audiences continue to be fascinated by gender roles.

(Written on November 12, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Classic FM reports how heartbreak caused Tenor Stephen Costello to lose his voice just before going on stage, The Strad announces six finalists of the 2015 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition, and Graham Keeley discusses unborn babies’ remarkable response to music

The Strad 

2015 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover names six finalists

The violinists will each perform a substantial concerto on 8 and 9 October before the winner of the €50,000 first prize is announced

BBC Music Magazine

From Bach to Bakes 

Hilary Hahn and Alexandra Dariescu on the art of cake-making…

Classic FM

Heartbreak made this singer lose his voice moments before going on stage 

Tenor Stephen Costello found he was unable to sing moments before performing Verdi’s La Traviata in New York. It was a side-effect of his separation from his wife, Ailyn Perez

The Times

Foetuses can dance to music at 16 weeks

The soothing tones of Mozart or Bach and the operatic rock of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody make foetuses as young as 16 weeks “dance” in the womb, a study has found


New York Has A New Venue For Contemporary Music

The brand-new concert hall, a place for exploration and discovery has fulfilled the goal to be a place where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike


Er ist ein Mann des Understatements, der sympathischen Zurückhaltung. So gewaltig seine Gaben am Klavier auch sind und so sehr er das Publikum mitzureißen vermag, so still, besonnen und überlegt ist der Mensch Maurizio Pollini


Edita Gruberova als Anna Bolena an der Wiener Staatsoper

Kammersängerin Edita Gruberova, die im Februar ihr 45jähriges Bühnenjubiläum an der Wiener Staatsoper feierte, kehrt am Freitag, 9. Oktober 2015 in der Titelpartie von Donizettis Anna Bolena zurück auf die Bühne des Hauses am Ring

El Pais

Santiago inaugura el primer museo dedicado a la cantautora y artista, creadora de himnos como ‘Gracias a la vida


BBC Music Magazine: @MusicMagazine What is the best setting of poetry by a composer? #NationalPoetryDay

Arts Professional: @ArtsPro #APNews: New ‘Culture Zone’ to open at £22m conference centre in Cambridge

Arts Council England: @ace_national ICYMI: New Artsmark Award & website now open. Made by & for schools to deliver high quality arts & culture provision

Amalia Hall (New Zealand) The Strad

Amalia Hall (New Zealand)
The Strad

(Written on October 8, 2015 )

If you saw ‘Your Call…’ Part 1 in last year’s Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival you’re in for many surprises this year when you see the complete work. Clocking in at about 55 minutes, ‘Your Call…’ has undergone major transformations.

The biggest and most obvious change is the addition of a second Mezzo Soprano. American mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn joins the cast as a second iteration of ‘The Woman.’ Splitting one character between two performers is a reflection on the unreliability of online identity and the ways we can shape our online image, enhancing or subverting reality.

DSCF9417You’ll hear a lot of new music in the complete ‘Your Call…’ Having the second voice much more than doubles the musical possibilities. The second voice enriches and deepens the musical texture in a very dramatic way. Both in speaking and singing they share lines, even splitting individual sentences between them as well as singing together.

The character of ‘The Woman’ has a relationship to technology that is very intense. Her reliance on technology and fear of human-social interactions overwhelm her existence. And we get the sense that she wouldn’t have it any other way. Over and over again she answers a phone, listens and replies, “Oh no, no, no. You’re confusing this one with the other one.” This becomes a real issue for The Woman. Her only interaction with another human always seems to go wrong. She repeatedly retreats to the safety of her phone, even singing, “A friend you can mute is a friend forever.”

Fundamental elements of communication are getting a deeper look as well. The set and props are made of circles, squares and triangles – fundamental elements of visual communication. Made of Boxes, along with many many megaphones, you’ll see circles (end of a megaphone), squares (boxes), and triangles (megaphones on end). The vowels, a, e, i, o, u, fundamental elements of aural communication, are both spoken and sung as well as being presented in sign language and semaphore signals. And then there are the phones, old and new, big and small, everywhere


S-O-S, the universal signal of distress is a recurring refrain, woven throughout ‘Your Call…’ in Morse code, semaphore signals, sign language and within the score itself. Is this an unconscious cry for help? On the surface she doesn’t appear to want any help. Is this a manifestation of concern from the synthetic voices who see how her over-reliance on technology has taken over her external life? Only The Woman knows for sure.

There is a darkness in ‘Your Call…’ that is juxtaposed with broad physical comedy. We hope that you’ll find it as funny as it is disturbing. The character of The Woman makes everyday gestures into a language of their own. She is clearly unaware that she is expressing herself with her body. She doesn’t need to since her only meaningful relationships are online.


The difference between the internal and external is accentuated throughout the new version of ‘Your Call…’ Spoken text is external, an increasingly desperate attempt to understand and be understood. Sung text is internal, fragmented, jumping randomly from thought to thought. The theatrical ‘fourth wall’ is repeatedly shattered in the performance, always with spoken text. What’s said needs to be heard. What’s sung is bouncing around inside her head.

Overall the new ‘Your Call…’ is bigger, funnier, darker, and more thought provoking. It’s a wild ride across a theatrical landscape that starts inside ‘The Woman’s’ head, weaves its way through the internet and lands on the floor of King’s Place, Hall 2.

Oh, and we’ll ask you to please mute your phones (we’ll be friends forever) but please do Tweet with the hashtag #ycopera during the show. We’ll be doing that from the stage and we want you all to be in on the fun. Hope to see you there, 8 – 9 August!

Lisa J. Coates & Kevin Jones


(Written on July 29, 2015 )

Classic FM Online

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to retire from opera stage?

New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has suggested that she will retire from the opera stage, on the eve of her 70th birthday.

Leonard Slatkin encourages concert audience to use mobile phone cameras

Conductor Leonard Slatkin surprised attendees at a Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert by encouraging them to take photos and videos of the performance with their phones, and to post them on the internet via social media.


Founder of Lyrita Richard Itter has died

Richard Itter was the founder of Lyrita Recorded Edition as a mail-order subscription label in 1959 (with the first LPs issued the following year) and over the next 32 years created a superb catalogue of largely orchestral British music.

Daily Mail

CHRIS DEERIN: I adore classical music. How can I pass the baton to a new generation?

Chris Deerin on Classical Music

Rafael Bonachela: From Madonna to JS Bach

Sydney Dance Co’s AD used to chose Madonna over flamenco, but nowadays it’s classical that sets his toes tapping.

The Telegraph

iTunes Festival may force imminent iOS 7.1 update

A well-connected Apple blogger claims that iOS 7.1 will be released within days as it is needed to support new features to allow the upcoming iTunes Festival in Texas to be live-streamed to devices around the world

Die Welt

Wanderhuren aus dem finsteren Zeitalter der Oper

Lange waren Barockopern etwas für Nerds. Heute gibt es eine ganze Industrie, die sie als gefühlige Events vermarktet. Wie die Alte Musik die Klassikbranche und die Seelen retten soll.
Classic FM Online

Classic FM Online

(Written on March 5, 2014 )

Classic FM Online

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine to be guest soloist with San Diego Symphony

The guitarist with heavy metal band Megadeth, Dave Mustaine, will take centre stage in a concert with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra

Eric Whitacre reveals sketches for Nine Inch Nails a capella cover

The choral composer uploaded initial sketches of his version of Trent Reznor’s ‘Hurt’ on YouTube yesterday, performed on piano

The Washington Post

Classical music: dead or alive?

Questioning the statement: “Classical music is dead”


Mozart museum seeks to debunk evil Salieri poison myth

It’s one of the great mysteries of music – did composer Antonio Salieri poison his onetime protege Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with arsenic?

The Telegraph

Lorde fed up with ‘lecherous gaze’ of music industry

Grammy-winning teenage pop star Lorde says that ‘the price tag of fame sucks’ and bemoans the ‘lecherous gaze’ of music industry

PR Week

Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam fall out over controversial SodaStream work

Global charity Oxfam has accepted the resignation of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson after a spat over her commercial work for SodaStream, which has a controversial factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank

Der Tagesspiegel

Peer Gynt als Oper

Werner Egks Opernversion von Henrik Ibsens Drama “Peer Gynt” war bis in die sechziger Jahre ein viel gespieltes Stück. Dann geriet der Komponist in Verruf – wegen der Rolle, die er im “Dritten Reich” gespielt hatte. Das Staatstheater Cottbus stellt die Oper nun erneut zur Diskussion.


Classic FM Online

Classic FM Online

(Written on January 31, 2014 )

The Washington Post

Opera singer Renee Fleming chosen to sing anthem at Super Bowl

Renée Fleming has hit some important pop-culture markers in the past few months. In September, she went on David Letterman’s show to sing the Top Ten list. Now, she’s going to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl


i(ce)-Tunes: Sweden’s incredible ice orchestra

They’re among the rarest instruments in the world, but they’ll be discarded come spring. They’re so fragile even the players’ breath risks nudging them out of tune.

The Guardian

English National Opera’s Edward Gardner to leave

Highly regarded conductor to take up new role at Bergen Philharmonic from 2015, and be replaced by Mark Wigglesworth

BBC News

Iran: Rule banning musical instruments on TV is broken

Iran’s Channel One television has caused a sensation by showing musical instruments on screen for the first time in 30 years, it’s reported.

West End stars downplay theatre safety issue

Theatre audiences are “a hardy lot” who will not be put off by recent incidents at London venues where patrons have been injured, according to the stars of a newly opened West End show.

Marie Claire

The Women Who Are Ruling The Music Industry, Right Now

The ladies who’ve bagged the best jobs backstage, from inside music magazines and record labels, to studio techs and bloggers

Daily Herald

Teen entrepeneur takes on music industry

Breje Whitt was only 15 years old when he began performing onstage with a nationally renowned Christian rock band. Two years later, the Elgin teen is running his own DJ, sound and lighting company.




(Written on January 23, 2014 )

New York Times

Detroit Symphony Agrees to New Contract With Musicians

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which endured a bitter six-month strike a few years ago, settled its latest contract eight months early, orchestra officials announced Wednesday

BBC Music Magazine

HMV closes flagship Oxford Street store

HMV’s flagship store in Oxford Street has been shut down this week. Covering over 60,000 square-feet and set over three floors, the iconic HMV store at 150 Oxford Street has been at the forefront of the company’s UK presence since it was opened in 1986

NPR Music

A Gramophone And Mozart, Or How I Fell For Opera

British conductor Nicholas McGegan celebrates his ‘Beatle’ birthday today (64, that is). To mark the occasion, he recalls how he first fell in love with opera.

The ‘Ode To Joy’ As A Call To Action

Candaele has turned his obsession with Beethoven’s Ninth into a documentary film called Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony. He follows the Ninth around the world, to Chile and China, where it became an empowering anthem of solidarity, and to Japan, where performances of daiku — the Great Nine — are a cherished annual tradition.

The New York Times

The Echoes of War, From One Century to the Next

‘Shostakovich for the Children of Syria,’ a Benefit Concert “to promote the awareness of significant international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues”

The Metro

A real-life fairytale: Peter Pan performer proposes to his Wendy on stage

A Peter Pan performer surprised his very own Wendy when he got down on one knee near the end of a packed show in Glasgow

The Metro

The Metro


(Written on January 17, 2014 )