Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More bad news.

This is a companion-piece, of sorts, to the bad news discussed by ACD last week.

The Times reports that EMI has been approached by a potential buyer.

EMI holds one of the world's great catalogues of recorded notational music - not that they have necessarily always been good stewards of it - and how likely is it that new owners, especially if consisting of a couple of American investment banks, would take good care of that catalogue?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Met On Screen

Several Metropolitan Opera productions are going to be broadcast over the next few months to movie theaters around the country. In the Bay Area, that means the Regal Hacienda Crossing in Dublin: this is about a 25 minute drive for me and is very close to where I used to work. From San Francisco, alas, I assume it is a much longer drive. On the other hand, admission is $18, and unless you're traveling to NYC, well....let's just say, I'm springing for a few of the telecasts. They are:
  • The Magic Flute, a short version of Julie Taymoor's production, on December 30

  • I Puritani, January 6

  • The First Emperor, Tan Dun's new opera, starring Placido Domingo, on January 13

  • Eugene Onegin, February 24

  • The Barber of Seville, March 24

  • Il Trittico, April 28
I'm sorry the series doesn't include Jenufa, with Karita, or Simon Boccanegra (still the great unknown Verdi opera), or that tasty-looking Don Carlo, but you can't have everything, and this is definitely a good start.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pinchgut Opera

I got some entertaining email the other day from the intrepid Ken Nielsen, who tells me that he and his wife had "accidentally" set up an opera company. This would be Pinchgut Opera of Sydney, Australia. They're currently working on their fifth production, Idomeneo, and they're blogging the rehearsal process. Take a look! Lots of excellent photos and discussion of what goes into putting on opera - fascinating stuff, all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bums thrown out.

My political leanings are not a secret; I spent a couple of years compiling reasons to vote George Bush out of office, after all. You can imagine how I'm feeling today; the sparkling wine at friends' around 11:15 last night could not have tasted better.

We have the Democrats taking back the house and, it looks like, evening up the Senate. Hello, Speaker of the House Pelosi; good-bye, Senators Rick Santorum, Mike DeWine, Conrad Burns, and Lincoln Chafee*. This morning, Donald Rumsfeld resigns. I only wish he'd done it long ago when his incompetence first became obvious.

I love the smell of Schadenfreude in the morning, don't you?

* Chafee is one of the few remaining moderate Republicans, along with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe; as such, I'm half-sorry to see him go, since he is one of the last vestigates of principle in the party. Still, it's not like they did much to hold back the politicization of everything in the last few years.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Steve Said.

I'm off to do my civic duty momentarily. Go vote!

And before you do so, read the New York Times on the subject of ballot initiatives. Yes, yes, yes!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Volti: Baltic Traditions Now

A couple of weeks ago in SFCV, I wrote a Listening Ahead recommendation for Volti's program of music from countries bordering the Baltic Sea. I went to the first performance last night, at St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco (one of my favorite venues for both singing and listening).

In a word: stunning. There are just a few pieces on the program, by Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Pekka Kostianen, Olli Kortekangas, Veljo Tormis, and Per Nørgård. These works are all dense, chewy, and extremely beautiful, with texts from sources such as the Kalavela and from 20th century literature (Rilke, Lorca, Lawrence).

I loved the singing - what a great collection of musicians and voices, and what a performance they gave. Great music, great programming, great conducting. Composer Veljo Tormis himself was present; after his piece was performed, he hugged Robert Geary and kissed the soprano soloist's hand. It was a wonderful piece - so were they all. I would happily have heard the whole program through again.

And I might, because it's being given twice more. You should go!

Sunday, Nov. 5, 4:00 p.m., St. Mark's, Berkeley, 2300 Bancroft Way (Note: FOUR, not four-thirty; I goofed in my original posting.)

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m., Acalanes H.S., Lafayette, 1200 Pleasant Hill Road.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Matthew Guerrieri and a note about the blogroll

I've added the charminginly-named Soho the Dog, where composer/pianist/conductor Matthew Guerrieri is blogging rather entertainingly. (It was the posting about multi-fingered pianists that got me over there, via, um, Mr. Noise, I think.)

About that blogroll. It seems unlikely that anyone can keep up with either reading or linking to all of the many worthwhile classical music blogs out there. I know I'm missing a ton of good opera blogs, and I hesitate to even try to keep up. And if you look at everyone else's blogrolls, you'll see that we don't overlap. So I suggest cruising every blogroll you can, because there are soooo many goood music blogs, and so little time.

Kenneth Woods

I'm (finally) linking to conductor Kenneth Woods, whose blog, a view from the podium, will give you a fantastic look inside the world of conducting. He writes insightfully about the organizational, musical, and technical issues conductors deal with; give him a look!