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Student Writing Contest ———————————————————————— La Scena Musicale announces the First Annual La Scena Musicale Canadian Classical Music Student Writing Contest. Prizes: Four prizes (two in English and two in French) will be awarded. The winning papers will be published in a future issue of La Scena Musicale. Furthermore, the best paper in each language will be awarded a cash prize of $250.00 . The prize for the best English paper is courtesy of Naxos Canada. The prize for the best French paper is courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon, a Universal Music company. Rules: * Eligibility: Entrants must be students registered during…

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Not resisting but gesturing by Norman Lebrecht / March 1, 2000 THE return of Gérard Mortier to the Salzburg Festival poses more problems than it resolves. Mortier, who announced three weeks ago that he was quitting a year early as artistic director in protest at the neo-nationalist Vienna coalition, has now changed his mind. In view of “the impressive stand taken by Austrian citizens” in recent anti-government demonstrations, Mortier has decided to lend his “fullest artistic support” to the “resistance” against Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party. He also pledged to make next year’s festival a melting pot of multiculturalism, and to…

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New contender in the battle of the upper shelves by Norman Lebrecht / February 23, 2000 MORE trouble between the sheets. Word leaks from New Grove, the once and future bible of musical lexicography, that its esteemed editor, Stanley Sadie, has left his desk. All perfectly amicable, it seems. Dr Sadie, who made such a fine job of the 1980 New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that Macmillan entrusted him with the next edition, was given a whole week to clear his drawers rather than the customary hour. “I’m 69, you know,” says Sadie, “and it’s a good thing…

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The Singing World’s Golden Couple# ##by Norman Lebrecht / February 16, 2000 THE Alagnas are splitting up, one hears. Word of their separation has been spreading like greenfly on the musical grapevine. My date to see the celebrated lovebirds gets changed at the last minute to separate interviews, two months apart. Angela Gheorghiu sits alone before Christmas on a sofa in Chelsea, Roberto Alagna confronts me in February across a Mayfair coffee table. A less prudent ornithologist might be tempted to give credence to the rumours of a rift. Totally false, of course. For the record, Angela Gheorghiu, 34, and…

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Why artists have a duty not to ostracise Austria by Norman Lebrecht / February 10, 2000 TO boycott or not to boycott? That is the burning question. Whether to ostracise Jörg Haider’s Austria until it returns a government we can approve of is one of those conflicts of conscience and self-interest that bring out the best and worst in cultural leadership. Gérard Mortier has led the exodus, resigning this week a year early as artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and precipitating instant withdrawals from a leading sponsor and conductor. More painful is the loss of Betty Freeman, who helped…

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ISSUE 1720 Wednesday 9 February 2000 Going…going…gone?  UK Public Libraries   Let’s act now before libraries stamp out the last of our books, says Norman Lebrecht THERE have been two periods in my life when I had intensive recourse to public libraries. In my early teens, there was no better place to meet a girl than behind the medical stacks of a high-street library. In my early twenties, there was no better place to acquire learning than in one of those grand Victorian mausolea that dignify the London Borough of Westminster. Bypassing the common loan stock, I would make for…

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Offenbach Les Contes D’Hoffman Metropolitan Opera James Levine, conductor New York Fri. Feb. 4, 2000. New York. Les Contes d’Hoffman is Offenbach’s attempt at grand opera, but like many grand operas, it is an uneven work. Only a great cast or a remarkable staging can rescue Hoffman from its status as an amusing but derivative divertissement – a second-rate Faust with a few ravishing tunes. The current Metropolitan Opera production at least boasts a stellar cast. The Met’s 1982 Otto Schenk production (with sets by Gunther Schneider Siemssen, costumes by Gaby Frey, and lighting by Gil Wechsler) remains problematic despite…

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Puccini : Madama Butterfly Metropolitan Opera Marcello Viotto, conductor New York. Jan. 29, 2000. The Metropolitan Opera presents seven shows per week. New productions usually get the glory, but revivals of standard repertory pay the rent – and can offer some unexpected surprises, both good and bad. The Met’s current revival of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly opened in January with several house debuts (Swiss-Italian conductor Marcello Viotti, French soprano Sylvie Valayre as Butterfly, American baritone Richard Hobson as Yamadori, American mezzo Maria Zifchak as Kate). The estimable critic Martin Bernnheimer raved in the Financial Times about the “revelations” provided by French…

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Domingo goes solo There could be a new lease of life for the aging tenor, says Norman Lebrecht ON Sunday afternoon, Placido Domingo did something different. In front of a packed Carnegie Hall, with Daniel Barenboim at the piano, Domingo sang a solo recital for only the third time in his life. The first was last spring in Berlin, the second last week in Chicago. Is this a trend, or just making amends? When Domingo started singing 40 years ago in Mexico City there were two-and-a-half career options for a good-looking tenor. He could sing opera; he could do recital…

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La Scena Musicale Online Selected 3rd Best Music Web site La Scena Musicale Online (http://www.scena.org) Selected 3rd Best Music Web site (Montreal – January 27, 2000) In its February 2000 issue, Chamber Music Magazine selected La Scena Musicale Online as the no. 3 music web site in the world. The article “50 Best Websites” called La Scena Musicale “a real discovery from Montreal … [that] is helping the Internet compensate for the dreadful decline and fall of music magazines.” LSM Online contains: • The electronic version of the printed magazine, La Scena Musicale, Canada’s Free Bilingual Classical Music Magazine, in…

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