Even before he's to be officially sworn-in as La Scala's new intendant on October 1, Alexander Pereira's in hot water.
Milan's mayor Pisapia and the theater's board/administration are fuming, following news that broke in the Austrian papers that Pereira bought, on Scala's tabs, seven productions (and rumors indicate that the number is even higher) from the Salzburg Festival, which he's currently heading until the end of September.
A 'stupefied' Pisapia will oversee a meeting today with Scala board members, none of whom were pre-advised of the purchases. Pisapia only heard about the affair recently through newspaper clippings and he's asked for more info and documents from Camp Pereira this weekend before todays's big Scala summit, which will try to sort out this 'pasticcione' in addition to setting down new regulations for co-productions and relationships between other theaters.
Rumors abound that angry board members are calling for Pereira's resignation based on misconduct, stemming from the fact that he made the purchases before his official contract starts on October 1 (he doesn't actually have the power to sign or make official comments on buyout packagages of shows from other theaters.)
It's rumored that he brought the Salzburg Don Carlo by Peter Stein, Die Meistersinger by Stefan Herheim, Lucio Silla by Marshall Pynovski, Falstaff by Michieletto, Il Trovatore (Alvis Hermanis), Der Rosenkavalier (Robert Carsen) and Gyorgy Kurtag's Endgame. But the board's scratching its head over repeat productions such as Falstaff -- Scala had a great success with the Robert Carsen Falstaff, which premiered earlier this season, but Pereira's bought the Salzburg/Michieletto Falstaff for future seasons (scheduled for 2017). Another issue is that costs will balloon when Salzburg sets are modified to fit La Scala's stage dimensions.
La Scala's gone through this before -- during the Lissner/Barenboim years, Scala purchased a few co-producitons from Berlin, also criticized. This time, Chailly's stading behind Pereira. Lissner is not -- the current intendant does not play well with Pereira and will be absent from the press conference in May when Scala rolls out its 2014-15 season.
Pause the anti-elitist classical music marketing campaigns for un viaggio a Reims (or in this case, a trip to Shoreditch). Krug champagne, the Reims-based bubbly house founded in 1843, coattails culture with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra to bow its annual Grande Cuvée blend (made from 120 wines and curated by a Reims-based tasting committee).
The French champagne house will sponsor a live tasting event from April 8 to 11 at The Loading Bay in Shoreditch, London, scored to the Salonen/Philharmonia Stravinsky Rite of Spring (maybe this recording?), as a play on the 'tasting notes' that compose/comprise this year's vintage.
Admission runs between 60 - 200 sterling, which grants a 1.5 hours stroll through the pop-up Krug Grande Cuvée exhibition (photo above). The leanest package includes a half bottle of Grande Cuvée (two glasses) while the fatter package includes a full bottle. Come thirsty, leave angsty.
1.21 gigawhaaaat? Sinfini Music's raffling a two-night sponsorship (including festival tickets) during the Edinburgh International Festival, a three week celebration of classical music, theater, opera and dance that unfolds in the Scottish capital from August 8 to 31. Enter now -- the competition deadline is tonight, Wednesday 2 April 2014 at 23:59 GMT!
This year's performing arts festival gets a digital boost from Sinfini Music as its first digital media partner -- the London-based classical music org will roll-out online initiatives, including materials to support the festival's Young Musicians’ Passport. Sinfini's among other classical music orgs that throw muscle behind the festival such as production sponsors the BBC Music Magazine and Classic FM.
The 2014 festival program includes Bach, Britten, Bernstein, Shostakovitch and Mahler performed by orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Performers include soloists such as Ian Bostridge, Nicola Benedetti, Simon Keenlyside and Anne Sofie von Otter.
While gearing-up for a May 3rd Carnegie Hall concert, the singer-actress stopped by Conan recently for voice lessons. Watch the classically-trained soprano teach Conan how to go deep, low, and open up the voice with a Schicchi 'O mio babbino caro' (which comes out as 'O mia bambino cara')! Heat of the moment and all...
Chenoweth's back to Carnegie Hall for the first time in a decade with an early May, one-off concert, The Evolution of a Soprano, which spans Broadway, musical theater and opera, and promises 'works popularized by amateur soprano Florence Foster Jenkins'. The Oklahoma native has previously sung operatic fare in Bernstein’s Candide at Lincoln Center and at the Washington National Opera’s 50th Anniversary Gala, among other events.
About an hour ago, Andrea Bocelli tripped the matrimonial light fantastic with his longtime girlfriend-slash-manager Veronica Berti.
An intimate, religious affair at the Sanctuary of Montenero in Livorno, its date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of their daughter Virginia who turned two today. Also: Spring. Post-wedding festivities will be held in Versilia, on the Tuscan coast.
Bocelli has two sons, Amos and Matteo, from an annulled first marriage.
The bride's dress was designed by Italian fashion house Ermanno Scervino -- double ivory satin detailed in georgette crêpe and lace patchwork, topped with a georgette and china crêpe jacket -- sketch below.
The all-French tracklist of L’Amour is a romantic mix of rare and well-known arias penned by Donizetti, Gounod, Boiëldieu and Massenet, among others, under Roberto Abbado and the orchestra/chorus of Bologna's Teatro Comunale.
By the way, we can't mention Flórez without mentioning Philip Gossett, who recently dropped knowledge at The New York Review of Books with a review of Evan Baker's new book on dramaturge and stage direction, which traces stagecraft from the seventeenth century to the present.
Now here's a teaser of Flórez's Massenet & Offenbach L'Amour bijoux.
Werther: Toute mon âme est là! Pourquoi me réveiller, ô soufflé de printemps
The 49-year-old San Diego Opera will permanently curtain-down on April 13, following the final performance of Massenet’s Don Quichotte.
Yesterday, its board of directors voted 33:1 to cease operations at the end of the current season, citing 'increasingly higher ticket sale and fund-raising hurdles' along with dwindling patrons and donors as insurmountable hurdles. Hefty administrative costs include/d the annual compensation of General & Artistic Director and ceo Ian D. Campbell (who's been at the helm since 1983) listed on the theater's 990s, figures found here.
“After nearly 50 years as a San Diego cultural cornerstone providing world-class performances, we saw we faced an insurmountable financial hurdle going forward. We had a choice of winding down with dignity and grace, making every effort to fulfill our financial obligations, or inevitably entering bankruptcy, as have several other opera companies."
San Diego Opera -- which runs on a $15 million annual operating budget with ticket sales covering one-third of costs -- is ranked as the 10th largest American opera company and the third largest cultural institution in San Diego.
San Diego’s not alone. Opera misery loves opera company. Since the 2008 financial crisis, American opera houses risk collapse like the toppled New York City Opera, the Cleveland Opera and the Baltimore Opera, among others. Who's next? We’re watching through our fingers like Hitchcock flicks.
Despite solid artistic programming and singer star wattage -- Feruccio Furlanetto, Patricia Racette, Stephanie Blythe, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, Nino Surgurladze -- all we're saying is that a March 15th article on the San Diego Union Tribune about banning/breeding orcas from SeaWorld San Diego has twice as many comments as the closing of the city’s 49-year-old opera house. But we're not blaming the consumer -- Shamu's irresistible and opera's the dark horse. But throw that horse into an aquarium, paint his chin panda white and we're not convinced that he'd know how to turn tricks even for the tastiest anchovies or Fish McBites or penguins or whatever. That said -- Shamu's kind of an a$$hole.
Mix master, cut faster. In a scissors dual between Edward Scissorhands (OG Johnny Depp above in all of his whippet thin, achingly young, pouting glory) and Australian artist Stuart McLachlan, we'd put our euros on the latter. (Don't tell Johnny.)
The illustrator/paper styler scissor-handed five posters for the 2014 State Opera of South Australia season, simple and bold, for three Philip Glass works -- Akhnaten, Einstein On The Beach and Satyagraha (to be performed in three complete cycles over three weeks) -- and two Verdi -- Otello and Traviata.
Ahem. Excuse me. Can I have the attention of the class for one second?
Love is never having to say your sorry, so we're totally not sorry for the recent Opera Chic sabbatical. With Fashion Week and Carnivale at our backs, Milan spring means peeling back the cashmere scarves and swapping Hermès riding boots for Fratelli Rossetti loafers, shaking out wardrobes (in a country where closets are a premium) and giving a final hurrah before late spring opera houses curtain-down and Alto Adige treeline lodges shutter.
OC's been backstage the whole time, watching through the curtains (~creepy pasta~), and she's followed the most heartbreaking and illuminating stories of the last month. She's contributed to a bunch of industry and non-industry magazines and tripped over a few cobblestones, real and imaginary. Bruises yellowed, let the reboot commence with a shot of Lenny and family recently uncovered on the 'tubz, captured by Ken Regan in 1965 at a Beatles concert. Throw yo' fingers in yo' ears and hold 'em like you just don't care!
“When The Beatles returned to America in August, 1965, for their second tour and played the Sullivan show again, I got one of my favorites. Walking the aisles, one audience member caught my eye: an older man sitting with his fingers plugged in his ears to mute the high-pitched squeals. As I moved in for this terrific shot, I got a closer look and realized I was photographing the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.”
Like Lucchese cowboy boots and shotgun racks on Dodge Rams, what's Texas without the Fort Worth Opera?
Its general director Darren K. Woods -- who's been at the helm for 13 years and runs a tight ship that's solid on talent and loose on drama -- intends to keep it that way by shifting this year's 5.4 million budget to 4.5 million in 2015. The snip is in response to private donation downticks coupled with rising expenses.
Under the streamlined 2015 budget, the season playbill has been reduced to two operas. On the chopping black went the budget-busting 'A Wrinkle in Time', commissioned by the company and originally slated for a 2015 world premiere (after being dropped from the 2014 season). The opera, unable to lure a co-producer/partner to offset its 1.2 million dollar price-tag, has out-priced the FWO's wallet.
Orchestrated by Woods, the budget cut is intended to secure FWO's finances while sourcing new outlets of sustainable revenue (Texas oil?!) in the run-up to its 70th anniversary in 2016.
Renée Fleming is Hanna and Nathan Gunn is Danilo in Lehár's The Merry Widow. Credit: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera
Live from New York, it's™ -- The Metropolitan Opera's 2014-15 season, announced yesterday. Sumptuous promo shots tease twenty-six operas, which includes three house premieres, six new productions and 18 revivals.
Gelb's hybridization of opera/broadway in NYC moves along with the outsourcing of Lehár's The Merry Widow to perennially-baseball-capped Broadway choreographer Susan Stroman (we obliterated our entertainment budget with The Producers tix, and Double Feature was good fun, but how much did Oklahoma suck?) starring Renée Fleming, sided by opera-outsider Kelli O'Hara as Valencienne, who's currently singing in The Bridges of Madison County on the Great White Way.
Other highlights? Tchaikovsky's Iolanta gets a new production by Mariusz Treliński starring Anna Netrebko, who also sings the lady in Verdi's Macbeth. A new Donna del Lago by Paul Curran stars bel canto dream-team Joyce DiDonato & Juan Diego Flórez. Plácido Domingo goes baritone as Don Carlo in Ernani. Vittorio Grigolo goes Grieux in Manon and stars in Les Contes d’Hoffmann vs. Thomas Hampson's Four Villains. Jonas Kaufmann splits Don José with Roberto Alagna against Elīna Garanča's Carmen. Sondra Radvanovsky does Amelia in Ballo. Danielle de Niese brings her Susanna to Nozze (in a new production by Richard Eyre), and Angela Gheorghiu owes it all to Mimì.
MD James Levine will lead six productions (Mozart Nozze, Offenbach Contes, Stravinsky Rake, Verdi Ernani and Ballo and Wagner Die Meistersinger) and René Pape gives a recital of Dvořák, Beethoven, Ravel, and Mussorgsky.
Anna Netrebko in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta. Credit: Baden-Baden Festival: Andrea Krempera
Renée Fleming is Hanna and Nathan Gunn is Danilo in Lehár's The Merry Widow. Credit: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera
To celebrate 30 years in the fashion industry, Camp Karan organized a retrospective collection that ignited a VIP conflagration of Hugh Jackman, Katie Holmes, Trudie Styler and Bernadette Peters, all longtime friends of the brand.
Luxury partnerships have been elusive for opera singers, but de Niese has been collaborating with Karan since 2003, modeling bespoke Karan gowns on album covers and in galas. She even wore a custom-made Karan gown to her 2009 wedding to Gus Christie. De Niese also rotates Vivienne Westwood gowns into her performance wardrobe and scored a Van Cleef & Arples ambassadorship in 2009.
In case you didn't know, Lars von Trier really likes sex. Last night, the Dutch tasty Danish filmmaker's latest film, Nymphomaniac, bowed at the Berlin Film Festival, and guess what it's about?
In a jokey t-shirt that read 'Persona Non Grata' over a Cannes Film Festival logo (referencing a 2011 Cannes-wielded ban-hammer after cracking Nazi jokes and outing himself as a Hitler sympathizer while promoting his then-new film, Melancholia), Trier released an additional NSFW trailer, Chapter Five, in the eight-chapter movie about protagonist Charlotte Gainsbourg's self-diagnosed nymphomania. It's sex and Baroque for a coveted cast that includes Stellan Skarsgard, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Christian Slater -- and Shia Labeouf.
Above is Chapter 5, The Little Organ School, described as: A chorale prelude by Bach: Three voices each with its own character, but in complete harmony. In other words: POLYPHONY. The nymphomaniac is easily inspired, and acts it out.
Before mounting an early production of “La Bohème,” for example, Luhrmann said, “Let’s go live the life of Puccini!” And they flew to Italy and set up in Torre del Lago, where Puccini wrote many of his operas.
They traveled to Milan and went over every inch of La Scala, the opera house. They lived “like total bohos,” Luhrmann said, content in the knowledge that “the work itself was only just as important as the adventure of actually living the work. Living the work has always been the thing that has enriched and sustained.”
After months of late hours and strange cuisine in timezone chasms, what better blessing for an opera singer than returning home? For American mezzo Nedda Casei, home was a blush-pink Midtown East seven-room penthouse with East River/Queensboro Bridge views -- until she listed it on the market .
After sitting for over three months without a serious buyer, Casei -- who sang at The Met Opera for 21 years -- has slashed the price of her 16 Sutton Place co-op by 500k USD, down to five million (and carries a $6,600.00 maintenance fee).
Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam. Now close your eyes and just pretend that buffalo roam in Madrid, because Medici TV streams a live webcast on Friday, February 7 at 8pm (Madrid local time) of Brokeback Mountain, the two-act opera based on the book of the same name by Annie Proulx and composed by Charles Wuorinen, which recently world premiered at Teatro Real.
The webcast will be available, on demand, for 90 days and stars Daniel Okulitch and Tom Randle as the crossed-in-love Wyoming cowboys.