9th December: Vienna Opera’s First Opera by Woman, HMV Christmas Crunch, Pereira’s last triumph at La Scala

Monday 9th December 2019

Vienna opera house stages first opera by woman

For the first time in its 150-year history, the Vienna State Opera is staging an opera by a woman.

Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth has written a new opera based on Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando which deals with themes of gender fluidity and duality.

The title role is played by the singer Kate Lindsey.

Orlando lives for centuries, beginning as a man in Elizabethan England and then changing into a woman.

Olga Neuwirth says androgyny and the rejection of gender stereotypes have inspired her ever since she first read Woolf’s novel as a teenager.

Read more here…

HMV faces the music in Christmas crunch test

Since Doug Putman rescued UK music retailer HMV in February, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into running a transatlantic retail empire.

The Canadian businessman has found himself jetting back and forth between his Ontario-based Sunrise Records chain and his newer acquisition.

On average, he spends one week a month in the UK. “I must do about 500,000 air miles a year,” he says.

Now he faces his latest challenge, the all-important Christmas period.

“That’s crunch time,” he says. “All the hard work you do for 10 months of the year, that period is when you see it come to fruition and you see how good a job you did.”

A lot is riding on the chain’s performance over the festive season. HMV has twice fallen into administration, in 2013 and 2018, and Mr Putman acknowledges that many people didn’t expect his relaunch to last six months.

After all, there have been plenty of casualties in the sector. At the start of the 21st Century, there were a number of other big retailers selling records and CDs, including Virgin, Our Price, Tower and Fopp.

Read more here…

La dernière triomphale d’Alexander Pereira à la Scala de Milan

Plus de 15 minutes d’ovations, des pétales de roses par milliers pour les interprètes et musiciens de Tosca, dirigés samedi par Riccardo Chailly, le président de la république italienne applaudi… Du jamais vu depuis 20 ans à Milan pour cette dernière « première » du directeur autrichien de la Scala qui partira dans une semaine diriger, l’Opéra de Florence. « Cela a une très forte émotion« , a déclaré le directeur artistique de la Scala. « Tosca est un « chef-d’œuvre, un opéra qui secoue », car l’héroïne est une femme extrêmement forte, capable de tuer par amour, avant que le désespoir amoureux ne la porte à se suicider« . L’opéra était retransmis en direct par la Rai, la télévision publique italienne (audience record, plus de 2,8 millions de téléspectateurs), et de nombreuses chaînes (Arte en France), radios et cinémas en Europe, tandis que 38 lieux de Milan, théâtres, musées, prison, résonnaient des airs de « Tosca », avec des projections sur grand écran.

Continuer à lire…

Alexander Pereira’s last triumph at La Scala in Milan

More than 15 minutes of applause, rose petals by the thousands for the performers and musicians of Tosca, conducted on Saturday by Riccardo Chailly, the President of the Italian Republic applauded… Never seen in 20 years in Milan for this latest “premiere” of the Austrian director of La Scala who will leave in a week to conduct the Florence Opera. “It has a very strong emotion,” said the artistic director of La Scala. “Tosca is a “masterpiece, a shaking opera”, because the heroine is an extremely strong woman, capable of killing for love, before love’s despair leads her to commit suicide”. The opera was broadcast live by Rai, Italian public television (record audience, more than 2.8 million viewers), and many channels (Arte in France), radios and cinemas in Europe, while 38 places in Milan, theatres, museums, prisons, resounded with tunes of “Tosca”, with projections on the big screen.

Read more here…