Browsing: La Scena Online

Not All Is Lost – the Decline of Serious Music Criticism by Norman Lebrecht / June 28, 2000 THE world is going to the dogs was the theme of the Prince of Hesse Memorial Lecture delivered at Aldeburgh last week by the veteran music critic Andrew Porter. “Serious, scholarly music criticism,” sighed Porter, has “disappeared” from our daily press. Most concerts pass unreviewed; few debut recitals are ever reported. Critical authority has been usurped by powerful “arts editors”, usually women and often, in Porter’s view, acting “in connivance with publicity ladies” to subvert cultural priorities. “The celebrity interview,” said Porter,…

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Sitting alone in a box at the opera can give rise to mild delusions. The Duke of Wellington used to imagine he was in his sitting room at home and would greet the singers on stage as arriving guests. ‘Good evening, Miss Lind,’ he’d call out to the Swedish Nightingale. ‘How are you tonight? All right, I hope.’ He was not at all bothered when she proceeded to go mad and die before his eyes as Donizetti’s Lucia. Myself, I like to kick off shoes and sip coffee, receiving a performance at two levels of immersion, wet and dry. In…

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Ida Haendel – The one they don’t want you to hear by Norman Lebrecht / June 22, 2000 WITH its pristine acoustics and sexy ceiling friezes, Wigmore Hall has served London splendidly for almost 100 years as its premier venue for debutants. Most of the 20th century’s great performers took their first UK bow beneath its Pre-Raphaelite cupola, along with innumerable hopefuls never to be heard again. No compromise: ‘I am not there to please the audience,’ declares Ida Haendel. ‘I am not an entertainer, I am there to serve the composer. I want people to listen’ A debut at…

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Six-Women Show Pushes the Envelope by Joseph So / June 20, 2000 Leaving the theatre after the premiere of Sirens/Sirenes on Thursday evening, I overheard a woman whispering to her companion: “this sure isn’t your typical opera!” She is right, but then the show doesn’t pretend to be opera. Billed as “a bilingual, a cappella, choreographed music theatre spectacle”, it has the same power as its more classical cousin. Depending on your mindset, Sirens may bedazzle, amuse, intrigue, or move you, or it may leave you befuddled and bewildered. What it is not capable of is to leave you indifferent.…

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Noxious Crossover by Norman Lebrecht / June 14, 2000 ONE night last week, having despaired of finding anything more cultural on British television than saggy-bottomed naturists on Channel 5, I was zapping around the cable map when Italy, for once, came up trumps. Rai-Uno, the premier state channel, had cleared its schedules of sappy game shows and was relaying a live event entitled Luciano and Friends. The mighty Pavarotti was making music in his hometown of Modena for the benefit of Tibetan charities. The Dalai Lama, no less, was sitting in the front row of the arena and beside him…

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On donations to the arts in Europe and America TIS the season to be giving. Something close to £12 million poured in last weekend to the BBC’s Children in Need appeal. Another record total is confidently expected for the annual Telegraph charity fund-raiser next Sunday. Manning the phones for The Telegraph, I never fail to be moved and humbled at the generosity of thousands of people who want to give others the chance of a better life. Never in human history has so much been freely given by so many in good causes – and I have the figures to…

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Le Monde Awards La Scena Musicale Online 4 Stars ———————————————————————— Press Release Le Monde Awards La Scena Musicale Online 4 Stars Montreal / June 12, 2000 – In its special “Best of the Net” issue in May, Le Monde awarded 4 stars out of 4 to La Scena Musicale Online. Only two of the seven classical music websites listed received 4 stars. Every day, news and articles on classical music are published world-wide on the internet. Finding that particular interview of Renee Fleming is not always easy. A new feature at La Scena Musicale Online (scena.org), called ClassicalMusicNews.org links classical…

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How Smith Has Crippled Culture by Norman Lebrecht / June 7, 2000 IN THE bleary fourth year of New Labour, few members of the Cabinet have enhanced their career prospects. Beyond the big guns of Blair and Brown, the further you look down the table the bigger the pile of fumbles and foul-ups – until you reach the lowliest seat of all, where the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport wears a broad smile and an almost unsoiled record. Whispers in the political wind suggest that Chris Smith is due for a move in this summer’s reshuffle. He…

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———————————————————————— Love and Nature take Center Stage in New Oratorio by Joseph So / June 3, 2000 When Nicholas Goldschmidt, the peripatetic champion of classical music commissioned Derek Holman for a new work as part of the Music Canada 2000 festivities, he specified that it be in some way connected with the new Millennium and Canadian in flavour. Composer Derek Holman gladly complied and on June 1st, we heard the result – a fifty minute oratorio scored for a mammoth orchestra, two choirs, and three soloists. The text of Invisible Reality is drawn from eight poems by P.K. Page, and…

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Mariss Jansons – High Drama on the Podium by Norman Lebrecht / May 31, 2000 FORTY minutes before a concert, Mariss Jansons mounts the stage and checks the musicians’ seating. The second clarinet’s chair is moved half an inch to the right, the tuba’s turned 15 degrees towards centre. Like a brain surgeon, Jansons needs to be assured that all his instruments are correctly aligned before he can start to operate. More than any conductor I have known, Jansons is preoccupied with his precision tools. Among friends, he compares the vagaries of orchestras. If he has a spare hour on…

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