Highlights | Canadians in Vienna; iPhone concert debate rages on

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Welcome to La Scena Musicale’s weekly Highlights, a roundup of classical music news from Canada and beyond. Canadians in Vienna State Opera’s 24-25 season; tenor Ian Bostridge stops his concert over City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra iPhone policy; La Scala and Opera Philadelphia name new men to top post and allegations of sexual misconduct and racism at New York City Philharmonic and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Highlights Philippe Sly

Bass-baritone Philippe Sly. Photo: Adam Scotti

Vienna State Opera’s 24-25 includes these Canadian stars

Vienna State Opera announced their 24-25 season on April 27, including some of Canada’s top opera stars. A new production of Verdi’s Don Carlo by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov includes baritone Etienne Dupuis as Rodrigo. The Quebec baritone also sings the title role in a revival of Barrie Kosky’s staging of Don Giovanni. The Vienna premiere of Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s Fin de partie based on Beckett’s play, Endgame, features bass-baritone Philippe Sly who also sings Figaro in a revival of Kosky’s Le nozze di Figaro.

Mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo has a strong presence at the fabled Viennese house next season. She’ll join Dupuis as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, as well as singing Dorabella in yet another Kosky staging, this time, Mozart’s Così fan tutte. The Toronto mezzo graces an iconic Vienna State Opera production as Octavian in Otto Schenk’s vintage staging of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.

Other Canadian highlights include bass-baritone Gerald Finley in the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth in yet another Kosky concept.

Full details of the Vienna State Opera’s 24-25 season can be found here.

Ian Bostridge Highlights

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge stops the show over iPhone policy

Following City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s (CBSO) recent policy announcement that “We are very happy for you to take photographs and short video clips at our concerts”, tenor Ian Bostridge briefly stopped a performance of Britten’s “Les illuminations” complaining that patrons’ phones were distracting him.

The incident has sparked considerable online commentary including a piece by opera musicologist Alexandra Wilson which questions new CBSO CEO Emma Stenning’s controversial policy. Have things gone too far, in an effort to make classical music concerts more accessible and friendly for today’s audiences?

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Highlights

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Allegations of sexual misconduct and racism at New York Philharmonic and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Following a recent expose in New York magazine, The New York Philharmonic has hired Katya Jestin, a managing partner of the law firm Jenner & Block, to “launch an independent investigation into the culture of the New York Philharmonic in recent years.” In the New York piece, Cara Kizer, former horn player with the Philharmonic, came forward with the details of an event which occurred in 2010 while on tour, when she was sexually assaulted after being given a drink she came to believe was drugged.

Accusations of racism and sexism have been made against a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra which recently posted on its Facebook page “We have been made aware of deeply troubling comments posted online that do not represent the views of the Calgary Philharmonic. We are urgently investigating these allegations as per our code of conduct and are working alongside the musician’s union.” Similar allegations had been made against the same orchestra member in 2020.

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Photo: Matthew Placek

New heads announced at La Scala and Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia has announced American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as its new General Director and President effective June 1, 2024. He will succeed Canadian David Devan whose 13 years at the helm of the company finishes this May. Costanzo’s vivid presence on the international opera scene seems entirely suited to Opera Philadelphia’s prioritization of new, innovative productions staged in unusual spaces. The countertenor sings at the world’s leading houses including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and The Metropolitan Opera, is a Grammy award winner and teaches at his alma mater, Princeton University.

Italy’s legendary Teatro all Scala in Milan has named Fortunato Ortombina, currently general director of Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, as its new leader. He will succeed French impresario Dominique Meyer beginning this September. Much of the controversy over the posting has centred around accusations that Meyer was being pushed out due to legislation passed by Italy’s conservative government, preventing general directors of the country’s 13 state-run opera theaters to serve beyond the age of 70. Some critics believed the rule was instituted to purge theaters of foreign general directors.

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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