We tip our Philip Treacy hat to dear & loyal reader ~fignaz~ who had sent us this excellent documentary on legendary German tenor Max Lorenz, which features commentary from contemporaries Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and René Kollo, among others.
To the fashion industry, Charlie Siem's worth more than just his musicianship. Siem's been a familiar face among fashion's jet-setters since legendary photographer Mario Testino anointed him at a book launch to premiere his portraits of Kate Moss (which can be yours for $1,385.00 /lol/).
Whether he's first row at fashion week men's shows (like he was last month in Milan to check out Calvin Klein's RTW Fall 2012 luxury-sportswear inspired collection) or at a Cartier event in Rome, you mention his name to fashionable crowds and they know his face despite knowing much about classical music.
He's been stamped a Savile Row style icon, thanks to facing Dunhill's spring 2011 ad campaign and smug or shallow, we don't care. We admire him for making classical music cool by association and for growing our list of male violinists who bring the secks (fictional or not). The 25-year-old London-born violinist feels the same way:
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s only giving exposure to the violin to a different audience — a fashion audience — that might not otherwise read about it or know about it. So it’s only a positive thing.” <-- that's what he told WWD's David Lipke in a recent interview (print out here).
Former Royal Ballet etoile Sergei Polunin spoke to the press about his sudden departure from the London ballet company last week.
"It's a confusing time at the moment, I have made a big decision and the next one will be important so I don't want to rush it. [...] For the moment I'm concentrating on ballet and on rehearsing. I need a few days alone to think about what I'm doing as I haven't decided yet."
The meltdown came after a period that outlined a break-up, crappy tattoos and tweets about late-night clubbing and scoring heroin. We're pulling for Polunin.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Mr. Yu, 48, said he was walking with a friend after dinner on Columbus at about 70th Street around 10:30 p.m. on Monday when a man approached and asked for a cigarette. Mr. Yu said he did not want to be bothered and waved him off. The man suddenly swung a fist and struck him in the eye, Mr. Yu said, and started to run. The conductor said he chased the man, grabbed him and swung back.
Colleen Barry at the AP reports from the press conference that Lissner MC'd at Teatro alla Scala yesterday morning, where he stated that 2012 will be a tough year. Despite an increase in attendance, La Scala expects a dip in public and private funding this year while running on a budget of 110 million euro. Milan's opera house has been finishing mainly in the black since Lissner's been GM since 2005.
The Milan opera house hit its all-time record box office for a single performance: euro281,154 ($365,584) for "Death in Venice" on March 19, . The nightly box office usually runs around euro250,000, depending on the performance.
Maybe it's Gardner's ~RPattz Effect~ that brought the Twilight fans to La Scala.
Our biggest get well wishes to Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen at the news that the Finnish conductor has cancelled four Milan performances with Filarmonica della Scala in February for health reasons.
Marko Letonja (who excelled in Les contes d'Hoffmann that we wrote about here) jumps into Salonen's appointments from February 11-13 with Filarmonica in a concert of Bartók, Luca Lombardi (the world premiere of a new composition commissioned by La Scala to mark the 150 years of Italian Unification), Debussy and Skrjabin.
Daniel Harding will conduct the concert on February 6 with Filarmonica that substitutes violinist Leila Josefowicz with pianist Lars Vogt and a small change-up of the program (Brahms' Concerto no. 1).
Why do we rock the new new with Corriere della Sera's lux fashion supplement Style Magazine? It's got the Made-in-Italy edge on the NYTimes' T Magazine and it's less Mr. Peanut (spats, top hat & monocle) than the FT's How To Spend It. That.
And also: OC contributed to its January/February 2012 edition. Much appresh to the classical world's most desirable free agent Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose streamlined & pragmatic style in wardrobe, furniture and workspaces is admired by the city that created understated-elegance. (Answer: Milan).
In the spirit of recent youtube sensation, "ish white girls say to black girls", American mezzo soprano Jennifer Rivera (with American tenor Will Ferguson and opera's king of cool Michael Rice) made opera singers all sorts of cool with their own take on the meme. We've been there:musical tables & chairs at restaurants, stolen scarves and enough Rx stashes to bury a horse. We <3 our singers.
Opening tonight, Les contes is in Robert Carsen's Opéra National de Paris production. Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas stars as Hoffmann, Nicklausse is Ekaterina Gubanova, Olympia is Rachele Gilmore, Antonia is Genia Kühmeier, Giulietta is Veronica Simeoni and Dapertutto is Ildar Abdrazakov. Conducting is Marko Letonja.
So does it bother him when people objectify his hawt body?
"No, I'm conscious that the physical body has its own importance. A statuesque body has helped me in dance and has helped open me up to a more varied public. I'm sorry that some people, when they see something beautiful, whether it be a ballerina or an actor, don't understand that there's work behind it, a kind of personality."
And how exactly does he keep that magnificent shape (aside from healthy eating and dancing like seven hours a day?)
"Yoga, pilates, swim, training -- but I don't refuse once in a while some chocolate."
The German-Canadian cellist's new CD is of contrary cello concertos, both composed for Rostropovich -- Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 and Britten's Cello Symphony with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. It's a follow-up of a May 2011 solo CD of Martinů, Hindemith and Honegger.
We like his deconstructed street-style vibe. And he loves Terry Gilliam. So that's pretty cool.
(above and below credit Manfred Esser/hänsslerCLASSIC)
So it's Men's Fashion Week in Milan, apparent by the insane dinner parties (Alberta Ferretti's last night at Giacomo Bistrot) and the sulky, pale male models that crowd our cobblestone streets and don't eat in our delicious restaurants.
The runway shows kicked-off this morning with Corneliani, Zegna and Costume National, and after the lunch break, Dolce & Gabbana showed their Men's fall-winter 2012/12 collection at their Viale Piave labyrinth.
But earlier this afternoon, their fall-winter 2012/13 Men's collection catwalked to the sounds of an all-Verdi playist. As fashion editors, buyers, journalists and well-dressed guests took their seats, waiters in white tie lined the runway with trays of champagne flutes (seen above from the D&G twitter). The intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana played and the show began.
Opera's patron saint of rogues, Cecilia Bartoli, remind us that rules don't really exist. The Italian mezzo is all about transformation -- although with coffer-busting record deals, she's got the funds and clout (and five Grammys under her belt) to pick and choose. She spoke in today's La Repubblica and shared details about what's going down in the first half of 2012. And as with all things Ceci, it's awesome.
"I honor the assignment. Up until now it's been touched by great maestri like Karajan, Solti and Muti. To ask the advice from me is a trial of renovating the festival, and I had decided to focus more on the figure of Cleopatra."
And why Cleopatra?
"For her inexhaustible charm, and her ability to stimulate art and painters, composers, and playwrights. She had an aggressive temperament, was enthralling and had a tough core of Egyptian femininity. There's a Cleopatra-esque spirit of modern Egyptian women and not because the first catalyst of the recent revolution was a woman."
La Ceci makes a role debut at Zurich Opera House premiere on February 10 as Desdemona in Rossini's Otello ossia il Moro di Venezia, but she'd rather be singing the headline.
So is it true that she dreams about singing Otello?
"I'd love it so much! But I'd have to be reborn as a guy. More than Otello, tho, I'd love to play Don Giovanni, a marvelous Mozart role. Don't you think there's a little Don Giovanni in all of us? I'm a Gemini and I feel in me the "gemello" side of the "gemella".
Ceci wears the pants. We just iron them for her. We rarely see her in Italy, but she has a concert in Rome on Aril 5 to sing arias from her Sacrificium CD. Will she come back to Italy after that?
"Italy, Italy. To live there is difficult, but to live without it is impossible. I come back in vacation, there are my friends, my family. But how's it possible to work in the Italian opera houses when they such small amounts of money and they're always late programming their seasons? Regardless, Barenboim got in touch with me about La Scala and maybe ill sing in the 2013-14 season. I really hope so!"
We've been talking about his sartorial prowess for ages (since back when OC was writing for WMag's Editors' Blog) and last week British conductor Daniel Harding was back in one of Europe's fashion capitals to conduct Filarmonica della Scala in a Dvořák/Beethoven one-two punch.
Between throwing an open rehearsal the day prior to his January 9th concert and ducking into Tom Ford on via Verri for a personal fitting, Harding shared with OC a few thoughts on his Dvořák/Beethoven concert, Carlo Maria Giulini (who the concert was dedicated to) and Milan's winter sales.
Opera Chic was saddened by the news that broke earlier today from Camp Quasthoff that announced the 52-year-old German bass-baritone's retirement from the opera stage due to health reasons. One of the concerts wiped from the slate was an upcoming March 23 performance in Boston for its Celebrity Series. Thomas Quasthoff was to perform with tenor Michael Schade.
Quasthoff's statement to the press demonstrates why he's treasured for his elegance and professionalism.
“After almost 40 years, I have decided to retire from concert life. My health no longer allows me to live up to the high standard that I have always set for my art and myself. I owe a lot to this wonderful profession and leave without a trace of bitterness. On the contrary, I am looking forward to the new challenges that will now enter my life. I would like to thank all my fellow musicians and colleagues, with whom I stood together on stage, all the organizers, and my audience for their loyalty.”
OC's just proud she caught Quasthoff in December 2005 at La Scala for a Barenboim-conducted Beethoven's Ninth and in 2009 for Winterreise and knew the power of his voice and musical spirit. And the news is terrible for all music lovers because, very simply, Everything Is Illuminated In The Light Of Thomas Quasthoff's Genius, and the music world now is much darker.
I was sitting outside in the sun at AIR Lyndhurst studios in London when we first met: he strode up, motorbike gear on, helmet in hand. I lent him my spare violin and as he attached his leather belt to it and slung it over his shoulder, I realised that violins look much cooler when worn by bikers.
The Met reports that Roberto Alagna will step in for Joseph Calleja in tonight's Gounod Faust in the title role. Met audiences get a double-dose of the tenor as tomorrow night, he'll be singing Cavaradossi in the premiere of Tosca.
Earlier today he threw an open rehearsal at La Scala of Dvořák's 9th and Beethoven's Violin Concerto with soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann, the concert in honor of Carlo Maria Giulini's legacy.
The 37-year-old Oxford kid recalled the first time he performed in MIlan, prior to his Teatro alla Scala premiere in 2005 for the Sant'Ambrogio season opener of Mozart's Idomeneo. He was in Milan in 1998 with his Mahler Chamber Orchestra at il Piccolo Teatro doing a Peter Brook Don Giovanni. He had tried to go to a Gotterdammerung at La Scala with Muti but couldn't find a ticket.
He lives in Paris with his daugter Adele, 10 (who likes dance) and his son George, 6 (who likes music) and tries to take them everywhere, including the cinema, where they recently saw the Wim Wenders documentary on Pina Bausch.
What does he think of the European crisis affecting the fate of classical music? "There's no need to give up. It's the moment to show how much culture's really necessary, and how much it needs to be part of the life of the community. It's the time to fight and to propose new ideas with hard work."
He'll be at La Scala in 2013 to conduct a Robert Carsen version of Verdi's Falstaff, starring Ambrogio Maestri.