Around The Classical Internet: May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011

The week in classical news:

  • As if things weren't getting bad enough at New York City Opera to be compared to the breakup of a doomed relationship, one of its unions is now suing to stop the company's move out of Lincoln Center.
  • Pop (culture) quiz: did you know a mezzo-soprano won the latest round of "The Biggest Loser"? (Cue the inevitable "fat lady sings" jokes.) A prime motivator to slim down was her desire to be taken more seriously at auditions.
  • Speaking of singers' tryouts, the New York Times ran an interesting set of photo portraits to accompany a long profile of contestestants in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
  • The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields just announced their new music director: Joshua Bell. The violinist is the first person to hold this title since Sir Neville Marriner founded the group in 1958.
  • The LA Opera held what sounds like a very nice memorial for composer Daniel Catán, led by Plácido Domingo.
  • Which leads us to news from the Washington National Opera, where Francesca Zambello is coming in as artistic adviser.
  • What kind of impact are the Met Opera HD broadcasts having abroad? Here's a snapshot from Mexico: "Opera is filled with something special, and there are so many ugly things happening in our country that you can take a Saturday afternoon and come here and disconnect with these performances."
  • Houstonians: Afraid your kids are soon going to grow bored during all those gloriously lazy summer days? Make them hit the high C's instead by signing them up for opera camp.
  • Samuel Jones is giving up his 14-year tenure as composer-in-residence at the Seattle Symphony: "Each year I've been here, I've told Jerry [Schwarz] I'll step down, and he says, 'Are you kidding? It's going well.'"
  • Upcoming North Carolina Symphony tour dates will be fundraisers for tornado victims.
  • Sadly, though, not all orchestral pleas for money are legit: there's a California scam that targets sympathetic symphony-goers.
  • Things had almost begun to settle back down in Detroit, but now concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert is leaving for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. She told the Detroit News, "I am heartbroken to leave Detroit. I have cried for days." On the other hand, she was quoted in a Dallas press release as saying that part of her desire to switch bands was "the intrinsic respect offered to musicians by the [Dallas] administration."
  • How many trumpet players does it take to overrun Minneapolis? (Insert your favorite brass punchline here.)
  • An ingenious scheme at the Britten Sinfonia offers Mark Padmore fans a very tempting deal: "a tenner for a tenor." Donate £10, and you'll be one of the commissioners of a new Jonathan Dove piece for Padmore.
  • The Memphis Opera is lobbying hard to convince Memphian Justin Timberlake to perform in Die Fledermaus. If by some miracle they manage to get this done, they have to promise us all that it will be a better performance than his unaired SNL turn as Mozart last weekend. (Though yes, he does indeed bring sexy ... Bach. Har, har.)
Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit