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Good Managers are Hard to Find by Norman Lebrecht / May 10, 2000 THE Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has lost its manager. What, again? I hear you cry. There is a well-established pattern in the life of London orchestras, and this one in particular, that when they return from an arduous tour to find the diary half-empty and a record company (BMG) gone cold, the players call an emergency meeting and the board, in a panic, offers up the manager as a human sacrifice. John Manger had done sterling work in the five years since Paul Findlay was ousted. He gave…

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Heard But No Longer Seen by Norman Lebrecht / May 3, 2000 WHICHEVER way you look at it, and many have given up watching, BBC Television has forsaken serious music. During the 1990s, concerts, opera and music-related programming fell by half. What remains is a clutch of six or eight summer Proms and a few Christmas specials. Whenever this column reported the decline, BBC executives demanded the right of denial, maintaining that any apparent reduction was but a temporary adjustment. Now the retreat is complete. The BBC director general, Greg Dyke, has relieved television of its responsibilities for classical music.…

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The Lebrecht Weekly   One More Knell for Classical Recording by Norman Lebrecht / April 26, 2000 ANOTHER torpedo has struck classical recording, inches below the waterline. BMG Classics, one of the last flagships of a shrinking fleet, is being wound down to the point of wipeout. Distraught executives broke the news to the Washington Post, warning that most of the 120 staff would be laid off. More serious is the fate of the artists. The King’s Singers and Evelyn Glennie have lost their contracts, James Galway’s is in the hands of a New York lawyer. Plea-bargain attempts are being…

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The Battle for Berlin’s Heart by Norman Lebrecht / April 19, 2000 THE battlefront has finally reached Berlin. After two decades in which London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rome and even Paris have witnessed hand-to-mouth combat over public subsidies, the role of the state in funding the arts is now being fought out in the would-be capital of European culture. Berlin has, for the second time in six months, lost its cultural senator. Christa Thoben had been hauled in from the Construction Ministry to run an iron sliderule over boom-town arts budgets. What she found to her horror was a black-hole deficit…

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The Lebrecht Weekly   Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht’s latest column. [Index] ———————————————————————— Punishment by Puccini by Norman Lebrecht / April 12, 2000 NEWS of a revolution in arts education reaches me from a little-known college on the eastern American seaboard. According to the Associated Press, students at East Connecticut State University who infringe campus rules are being forced to attend a classical concert or opera by way of punishment and absolution. More than 50 freshmen and sophomores have suffered the penalty so far, and faculty members who originally opposed the disciplinary procedure have come round to support…

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Half a Hankie for COC Bohème by Joseph So / April 10, 2000 This season marks the 50th anniversary of the COC and the company chose La Bohème, one of the three operas produced in its inaugural season, as the centerpiece for its festivities. On opening night, all the principals in its first season were invited to attend and an announcement was made in the theatre honouring these artists, followed by a lavish post-performance reception. Among those in attendance were Mary Morrison (Mimi), June Kowalchuk-Eggleton (Gilda), Joan Hall (Maddalena), Jan Rubes (Colline). Nicholas Goldschmidt, (conductor) and George Crum, (chorusmaster). La…

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The true humanity of Alma Rosé by Norman Lebrecht / April 5, 2000 THE morning they took my neighbour Eleanor away for cremation, there arrived in the post a 1928 recording of her uncle and cousin playing the Bach double-violin concerto. Her uncle was Arnold Ros*, concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for half a century and brother-in-law of Gustav Mahler. His daughter, Alma, named after Mahler’s wife, would end her days conducting the women’s orchestra in Auschwitz. Eleanor Ros* talked often about Alma, who had fled with her father to London in 1939, only to return to Europe. A…

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Susan Graham Makes Canadian Debut by Joseph So / April 4, 2000 Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano Malcolm Martineau, piano Roy Thomson Hall Sunday, April 2nd, 2000 One of the hot young mezzos gracing the opera and recital stages of the world, Susan Graham made her Canadian recital debut at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Sunday. Eschewing the more popular repertoire, she has assembled a challenging program of songs by French and American composers. The first half is made up of Trois melodies (Debussy), Melodies passageres (Barber) and six songs by Renaldo Hahn. These French art songs require exquisite taste and…

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Canadian Singers Sweep George London Opera Competition By Philip Anson / 2000-3-26 New York – Canadian singers swept five of the top twelve prizes at the 29th annual George London Foundation For Singers Competition in New York on Thursday. The talented Canadian quintet, all under 29 years of age, triumphed over a field of 100 North American applicants to pocket a total of $18,000 (U.S.) in prize money. The London Foundation was established in 1971 by the great Montreal-born bass-baritone George London, who passed away in 1985. Though the prize money is modest, the London Awards are considered the most…

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Playing with Propaganda by Norman Lebrecht / March 22, 2000 IT would be easy to imagine, amid the hoo-ha and the hype, that the man born in Montbrison (Loire) 75 years ago this weekend was some kind of musical saviour. The birthday of Pierre Boulez is being serenaded on a scale that even Richard Wagner might have found embarrassing. The London Symphony Orchestra have been trailing his vapour since January, from the Barbican Centre to Carnegie Hall. Through the spring, Boulez is accepting bouquets at the South Bank (this weekend), the Parisian Cité de la Musique, Brussels, Cologne and beyond.…

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