Gallery View p16 » Interview p19 » Diary p22 » Richard Eyre p23 » Philip Kennicott p24
The Trial p26 » Biography of an Instrument p28 » Quiz p29 » One to Watch p31
LPO extends Vladimir Jurowski’s contract
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has extended the contracts of both its principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski and principal guest conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The positive feeling among London concert-goers towards the Jurowski/LPO relationship, which began in the 2007/08 season, is reflected by the Russian conductor himself, who said: “My first three seasons as principal conductor of the LPO have been a very happy and mutually enhancing relationship. I therefore look forward, more than ever, to the seasons ahead in which the LPO and I can continue to develop our artistic collaboration further.” His extended contract runs until the end of the 2014/15 season.
Nézet-Séguin, who took up his role in September 2008, will now stay with the LPO until the 2013/14 season. He described the “dynamic orchestra” as “a reflection of the city itself, full of character, vigour and a sense of adventure, whilst deeply rooted in a great tradition”. He continued: “I am really looking forward to my future seasons with the LPO and it means a lot to me to be able to continue building on my relationship with these exceptional musicians.”
Jurowski has been music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera since 2001 and was principal guest conductor of the Russian National Orchestra from 2005 to 2009. Nézet-Séguin succeeded Valery Gergiev as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic in 2008 and has been artistic director of the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra since 2000.
Covent Garden to broadcast 3D opera
In recent years opera has witnessed a number of innovations designed to attract new audiences – among them the high-definition cinema showings led by Glyndebourne and the Metropolitan Opera. So it was only a matter of time before the 3D revolution would catch on. Now the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has announced that it will be the first to pick up where Avatar et al have left off.
In fact RealD, the same 3D technology company to work on Avatar, will join the Royal Opera House in this venture. As for which operas will be given the 3D treatment, the possibilities are tantalising – be they the talons of a louring Fafner reaching out to the viewer in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the flamboyant choreography of Andrei Serban’s famous Turandot production or even the repeatedly swinging guillotine of the last scene of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites!
It will be Francesca Zambello’s staging of Bizet’s Carmen, however, that makes opera’s 3D debut, due for broadcast in cinemas in the autumn. The cast will include Christine Rice, Bryan Hymel and Aris Argiris. With multimedia label Opus Arte owned by the Royal Opera House, the company is well equipped for rolling out 3D if it catches on. And where opera has led, no doubt ballet will follow.
The Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, Rome, and La Scala, Milan, are among a number of organisations across Italy to strike following government reform of state-supported opera houses and orchestras. The emergency measures, announced at the start of May, are aimed at cutting costs but would have the effect of reducing the salaries of 5500 employees by between 10 and 20 per cent, musicians and staff have claimed.
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For two nights in May, Berlin’s renowned Berghain techno club was the stage for an innovative production of Gustav Holst’s rarely seen opera Sāvitri. The production by Lars Schiebner featured the Rundfunkchor Berlin directed by Simon Halsey as part of its “Broadening the Scope of Choral Music” series, which attempts to expand the appeal of choral music beyond traditional audiences.
www.gramophone.co.uk Esa-Pekka Salonen honoured by RPS
This year’s Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, which focus on excellence in live UK classical music, took place during May. Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen won the Audience Development and Creative Communication awards for the same initiative – the Philharmonia Orchestra’s multimedia “re-rite” Stravinsky installation. Oliver Knussen won the Conductor award, while Kaija Saariaho collected a prize for Large-Scale Composition for her Notes on Light.
The Singer award went posthumously to tenor Philip Langridge, with tributes from Sir John Tomlinson, Sir Simon Rattle via video, and Langridge’s widow, mezzo-soprano Dame Ann Murray. The prize had been presented to Langridge in hospital just days before he died.
Salonen won two
FOR THE RECORD SOUNDBITES
G R A M O P H O N E T A L K S T O . . .
Alina Ibragimova The violinist on her new live disc of Beethoven sonatas
How did you come to record Beethoven’s violin sonatas? In October 2009 Cédric Tiberghien and I decided to do a residency at Aldeburgh. Although we had already played several Beethoven sonatas together, this was a chance to tackle the entire cycle, rehearsing intensively for a whole week and then playing them over the course of a weekend. So when we came to perform the cycle at Wigmore Hall we knew them very well. The four sonatas on this disc represent the journey from a young Beethoven to a more mature composer. In many ways the music speaks for itself – as long as you convey each sonata’s musical language directly and find the right balance between violin and piano the music works on its own terms. We have now recorded all of the sonatas and will release two more discs after this one.
This is an album for Wigmore Hall Live. Do you prefer recording live to being in a studio? The two are completely different. Of course live recording has a very special energy to it but in a studio you tend to experiment more, so they are very separate but valid processes. Wigmore Hall is one of my favourite places to give concerts because the atmosphere is always great, the acoustics are incredible and the piano is excellent. It is just the perfect performance space for me.
You have collaborated with Cédric Tiberghien for a number of years. How has your partnership developed with time? We met on the BBC New Generation Artists scheme and performed for the first time together in Ravel’s Piano Trio at the City of London Festival. The more we work together, the more we feel we can completely trust each other. It’s very special to be able trust someone so much that you can do whatever you like in the music and you know that they will do whatever they like and that it will all come together. Ibragimova’s disc is reviewed on page 67
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TAKING NOTE WHAT THE PAPERS SAY…
The Times Plácido Domingo’s Ring cycle with LA Opera suffered a PR setback when British tenor John Treleaven, due to appear as Siegfried, criticised the production. The singer, who “denounced the make-up as clownish and the staging as physically risky”, claimed he would not “‘pull his punches’ about the £22m production and was no longer on speaking terms with Achim Freyer, 76, the German artistic director”. Members of the board countered that Treleaven “knew what he was taking on for $15,000 (£10,400) a night…Where is his
The title of BBC Young Musician 2010 has been awarded to pianist Lara Ömeroğlu, a student at London’s Purcell School. The 16-year-old triumphed over lautist Emma Halnan and violinist Callum Smart, performing with Vasily Petrenko and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In the past the competition has launched the careers of Nicola Benedetti, Natalie Clein, Freddy Kempf and Emma Johnson.
British stiff upper lip?” asked one. entertainment.timesonline.co.uk
Daily Telegraph, Australia After 10 years of lobbying, the New South Wales government is to come to the rescue of Sydney Opera House with an A$130m package. The funding comes after an engineering report threatened closure of the house with revelations of “risks of ‘multiple fatalities’ because of ageing stage machinery”. Although less than the A$800m the Opera House requested, the grant will pay to replace stage machinery and thus allow the venue to remain open. www.dailytelegraph.com.au the A$800m the Opera House
The Polar Music Prize has named Italian composer Ennio Morricone and Icelandic singer Björk as 2010 laureates. The artists will receive their SEK1m awards from King Carl XVI Gustaf on August 30. Founded in 1989 by ABBA manager Stig Anderson, the Prize recognises two musicians annually. Previous recipients include Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
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