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Kissin at Carnegie Hall: The Tenth Anniversary Concert October 14, 2000 by Philip Anson / October 25, 2000 On the Aisle Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin returned to Carnegie Hall on October 14, to mark the tenth anniversary of his momentous American debut there on Sept. 30, 1990. A decade ago, Kissin was a vastly promising prodigy. The intervening years have turned him into an international star, one of our few living piano legends, and arguably the hottest keyboard phenomenon since Horowitz. Kissin’s fame was achieved despite his stunning lack of public relations savvy. He avoids the media and is a…

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Thomas Quasthoff – gopera.com   Among the current crop of wonderful bass-baritones, none is more sought-after than Thomas Quasthoff. But that’s not all that makes him unique – he is also a thalidomide victim with wickedly outspoken views on art and disability. Norman Lebrecht reports WHATEVER else might ail the music industry, the market is booming in bass-baritones. While lyric tenors are near-extinct and the latest hot soprano turns out on close inspection to be just another jumped-up mezzo, there have never been so many middle-low men, so many white-tied crooners who can melt a stony-faced audience with the opening…

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Among the current crop of wonderful bass baritones, none is more sought-after than Thomas Quasthoff. But that’s not all that makes him unique – he is also a thalidomide victim with wickedly outspoken views on art and disability. WHATEVER else might ail the music industry, the market is booming in bass baritones. While lyric tenors are near-extinct and the latest hot soprano turns out on close inspection to be just another jumped-up mezzo, there have never been so many middle-low men, so many white-tied crooners who can melt a stony-faced audience with the opening phrase of Winterreise. Consummate performer: ‘I…

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Our greatest living composer has returned from self-imposed exile in France to turn his fierce intelligence on the parlous state of the arts in this country. As his latest work receives its UK premiere, he talks to Norman Lebrecht about Tony Blair, Melvyn Bragg and his other cultural enemies ONE evening at the Ivy, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, our foremost living composer, was dining with Lord Gowrie, the former Arts Council chairman, when the Blairs were ushered in to their usual table. ‘Would you like to meet them?’ offered Gowrie, an old-school Tory of cross-bench courtesies. ‘Only Harry, you must promise…

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Norman Lebrecht MY letter to the Luftwaffe came back stamped ‘no longer on active service’ – more’s the pity, since it offered the only holistic solution to London’s concert-hall woes. What I had proposed was that our German allies should mount a ceremonial fly-over in this Battle of Britain 60th-anniversary year, dropping precision bombs on the Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Centre, and thereby enabling us to build an acceptable symphonic environment. It was the Luftwaffe that, on May 10, 1941, knocked out London’s last acoustic marvel – the Queen’s Hall, on Upper Regent Street. Neither of its replacements is…

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Norman Lebrecht HERE are the latest additions to my forthcoming Dictionary of Musical Euphemisms and Factual Economies. A couple of weeks ago, a well-placed source in New York warned me that things were warming up at the Philharmonic. ‘You’ll know the foreplay’s over,’ he said, ‘when Kurt Masur cancels a bloc of concerts for some flimsy reason and the candidates to succeed him are lined up for audition.’ Barely had his words crossed cyberspace than it was announced that Masur was dropping out for a fortnight at the end of this month to undergo an unspecified minor surgical procedure (UMSP).…

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Norman Lebrecht HERE is a brief summary of the summer’s casualties. Two of America’s leading dance companies, the Martha Graham and the Cleveland Ballet, went belly-up as audiences slackened and funding ran dry. There is hope that the Cleveland troupe may survive by relocating to San José, in Silicon Valley. The authorities in the Netherlands have announced the abolition of three orchestras, two symphonic and one chamber. In Berlin, Daniel Barenboim has joined the exodus of top-flight conductors – Abbado, Thielemann, Kreizberg – as subsidy lakes freeze over and cuts appear inevitable. Canada’s orchestras are in chaos. Toronto is a…

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IT is just as well the fuel blockades have ended, because a new war is about to erupt under the awnings of our filling stations. A month from now, those neon-lit shops where you exchange a week’s wages for 10 litres of unleaded and a bunch of stale flowers are going to be swamped with classical CDs at an irresistible price. For the first time in motoring history, it is going to be cheaper to buy an opera than drive 30 miles in your car. Universal, the Hollywood group that for the moment controls the Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and down-winding…

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A FEW days after Michael Kaiser’s arrival as executive director in 1998, he and I had breakfast at the Waldorf Hotel. “This is a group of people that has gone through a war,” he said, “and I want to give them hope.” There was something admirable about his optimism, in view of the company’s rampant unpopularity. Kaiser was brisk and businesslike, courteous and attentive, yet he appeared self-effacing to the point that I could hardly identify a single personality trait. My mystification was widely shared. Casting around the American opera and orchestral sectors and their attendant media, I found that…

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Royal Opera House   In part two of The Daily Telegraph’s serialisation of his extraordinary book on the Royal Opera House, Norman Lebrecht recounts the explosive impact the young Rudolf Nureyev had on both the Royal Ballet and the flagging career of Margot Fonteyn Fonteyn’s secret pension Diana: the Royal Ballet’s biggest fan WHILE the Royal Ballet was dancing in Russia in June 1961, news broke that would change its destiny. A young soloist had broken free from the Kirov Ballet in Paris and requested political asylum. At the height of the Cold War, weeks before the Berlin Wall went…

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