Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This and that...

First of all, important news is that the 2008 Glyndebourne Festival production of Hänsel und Gretel directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Kazushi Ono, with Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (!)Jennifer Holloway, Adriana Kučerová, Irmgard Vilsmaier, is available for free viewing on The Guardian website (c.f. here).
Videos will be available during the week of Christmas holidays only, so try not to miss it because the show is terrific.
If you cannot see it this week, the only alternative is DVD of the same production.

Other important and less important news worth sharing -- below...

  • Big news in France is that for the first time a manager of one big opera house, or of any large cultural institution for that matter, speaks about the finances. General public opinion in France is that the opera houses are too costly & over-subsidized, and then --afraid not to induce too much ess-stirring from the media-- the authorities never talk about money in Opera openly.
    Serge Dorny --brilliant manager of the Opéra National de Lyon [ONL]-- decided to break the taboo, called the press conference a week ago, and came up with numbers, i.e. results of the study carried by Nova Consulting on a sample of 5,000 randomly polled visitors to ONL.

    Surprisingly, the results suggest that every euro of public subsidies to ONL generates: (1) 0.8€ of benefits to local hotels and restaurants, through visits by the ONL spectators, and (2) 2€ that via various contracts between ONL and local businesses, workshops... return to the local economy.

    We also learn that the total budget of ONL amounts to 38 million euros (to be compared with 196 millions of the Paris Opera - sic!), of which 28 million comes from subsidies [17 mil from the municipal authorities, 5.5 mil from the regional government, and the remaining 5.5 mil from the State] More numbers here

  • New Opera House for Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence was inaugurated last week, with the big concert that included the Beethoven's 9th [Iréne Theorin, Stella Grigorian, Michael Schade, Juha Uusitalo] with Zubin Mehta conducting. See video promotion of their beautiful new house.

  • Lucy Crowe has new CD [Il caro Sassone], a well as Christine Schäfer [Arias], while the first solo CD by Klaus Florian Vogt [Helden] will appear later in January 2012.

  • Silly, yet irresistible, GOAT rankings continue and the Italian Magazine Classic Voice conducted a poll among 100 conductors worldwide to come up with the following Top-10 Greatest Conductors of All Time:

    1. Carlos Kleiber
    2. Leonard Bernstein
    3. Herbert von Karajan
    4. Arturo Toscanini
    5. Wilhelm Furtwängler
    6. Claudio Abbado
    7. Dimitri Mitropoulos
    8. Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    9. Bruno Walter
    10. Gustav Mahler

    which made my lower jaw feel particularly heavy for a minute or two...

  • Mariss Jansons could not resist the temptation and he too will conduct the Neujahrskonzerts mit cheese-balls from Vienna.

  • In his recent interview to La Stampa Roberto Alagna said he will sing his first Otello in 2013, and later (after 2013) he will make his role debuts in Les Troyens and L’Africaine. In the same interview he says he feels betrayed by the Italian press [following his walkout at La Scala a few years back] and so he will never sing in Italy again [no less!]

  • Bad news from the East Coast of the US: Opera Boston is closing its doors because of... of the total of $0.5 million of budget deficit

  • Wagner Museum in Bayreuth will not be opened for the composer's 200th birthday in 2013, as initially planned, but in 2014.

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