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Three Canadians Amongst Finalists at the 2000 Queen Elisabeth Competition by Wah Keung Chan / May 22, 2000 Three Canadians are amongst the twelve finalists of the The 2000 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Voice. The three Canadians are Karen Wierzba (Toronto), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Montreal) and Robert Pomakov (Toronto). A fourth finalist also has a Canadian connection: Korean counter-tenor David Dong Qyu Lee received training at the Vancouver Academy of Canada. Here is the complete list of contestants according to their order of appearance in the finals: Karen Wierzba Canada 25 soprano Marina Poplavskaya Russia 22 soprano Marius Brenciu…

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Glorious Goerne Recital brings end to Season – and Hall by Joseph So / May 21, 2000   For those mourning the demise of the Weston Recital Hall as a concert venue, the recital by German baritone Matthias Goerne underscores more clearly than ever the reason for its failure, and the importance to keep it alive. Here we have a liederabend by the greatest exponent of the genre today, the hall was far from full, even with a discreet “papering” of the house. Unfortunately, this was all too typical of what has happened at this venue ever since it opened…

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Antony Beaumont, Zemlinsky Faber & Faber, £30. 524pp Book Review by Norman Lebrecht / May 10, 2000 Probably the cruellest tribute ever offered by one composer to another was Arnold Schoenberg’s fiftieth-birthday greeting to his brother-in-law. ‘Zemlinsky,’ said Schoenberg, ‘can wait.’ What he meant, acolytes argued, was that a composer of Alexander von Zemlinsky’s quality could sleep soundly abed, confident that posterity would recognise his merit. However, even in the city of Sigmund Freud’s dreams where subtext overwhelmed context, the plain meaning of Schoenberg’s words was unmistakable. Zemlinsky, he reckoned, was not one of those artists who alter the destiny…

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SSUE 1818 Wednesday 17 May 2000 Friends in need?   BOC Covent Garden Festival – official site   Norman Lebrecht on the callous misnomer “arts community” THERE are one or two lessons about money that I have picked up during 20 years of unremitting arts crisis. The first is never to believe a public-funded company that says it is going broke. When the cash runs out, there is seldom enough time to sound the alarm. A funded institution that cries “bust!” is doing no more than playing the joker in a long-running game of brinkmanship. Another hard-learned tip is not…

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Bergonzi’s Otello a Bittersweet Affair by Joseph So / May 17, 2000   When the great Carlo Bergonzi announced his American Farewell Recital at Carnegie Hall on April 17th 1994, I couldn’t resist the occasion of hearing him for one last time. It was a supremely nostalgic evening, with almost as much applause as singing, and love flowed freely across the footlights from both directions. It was an artistic and box office triumph. Imagine my surprise when I read in the papers barely a year later that Signor Bergonzi would be in New York for an evening of Neapolitan Songs.…

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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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