Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An Email Error You Don't Want to Make

I've gotten emails recently from two organizations that left me dismayed at the lack of thought that went into the email.

One is from an extremely famous contemporary music ensemble. Their name does not appear anywhere in the email. Oh, wait - actually, it's in 4 point type in the email footer,  next to their street address and below the email preferences and unsubscribe links. And if you're familiar with the group, you can probably guess from a couple of links in the body of the email which group it comes from.

The other came from an equally famous presenting organization. You have to open the email to see who it's from; nothing in the subject line or sender makes it clear.

Organizations, don't do this. The people you send email to should be able to tell from their inbox who the mail is from! You can't count on their knowing the name of the artistic director or director of marketing. PUT YOUR ORGANIZATION'S NAME IN THE FROM FIELD OR ON THE SUBJECT LINE. It's really not that hard.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Coming to San Francisco Opera

Apparently Erhard Rom's biography in the Glimmerglass Opera program this year says that he's designing a new Nozze di Figaro for San Francisco Opera. Rom has previously designed productions of Nixon in China, Susannah, and Lucia di Lammermoor that were seen here.

Me, I'll be so very happy to say goodbye to the ugly Zack Brown sets, which are about on par with his Don Carlo sets.

Museum Mondays

Still-Life Detail
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
August, 2015

Friday, July 27, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Harassment in the (Classical) News

Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone of the Washington Post have done some great reporting about sexual harassment in the classic world. They have surfaced, nationally, reports about Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil (these go back pretty far) and conductor Daniele Gatti. Take a look, and note that there's a pretty good chance that there is a problem person in your local orchestra or opera company in addition to those Midgette and McGlone write about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold, food / restaurant critic of the LA Times and formerly a prominent music critic, died yesterday at 57, just a couple of weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I'm so sad about this. I became acquainted with Gold last year through the wonderful documentary City of Gold, about his writing and his relationship with food and the city of Los Angeles. He was a marvelous writer and utterly omnivorous in his culinary taste. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2007, the first (and still only) restaurant reviewer to win the prize.

Here are various obituaries and other writing about Gold:
From Dana Goodyear's postscript:
Gold was the kind of father who woke at dawn to make his daughter snacks from a recipe by Apicius, in Latin, to take on a field trip to an exhibit about Pompeii, and was always home well before sundown during the week of Hanukkah to assuage his son.
From Pete Wells's obit:
In more than a thousand reviews published since the 1980s, Mr. Gold chronicled his city’s pupuserias, bistros, diners, nomadic taco trucks, soot-caked outdoor rib and brisket smokers, sweaty indoor xiao long bao steamers, postmodern pizzerias, vintage delicatessens, strictly omakase sushi-yas, Roman gelaterias, Korean porridge parlors, Lanzhou hand-pulled noodle vendors, Iranian tongue-sandwich shops, vegan hot dog griddles, cloistered French-leaning hyper-seasonal tasting counters and wood-paneled Hollywood grills with chicken potpie and martinis on every other table.

Updated 7/24, with links to Lambert and second Goodyear article and quotations from Goodyear and Wells.

Tristan und Isolde at Herbst Theater

Yes, you read that right: there will be a concert performance of Wagner's delirious Tristan und Isolde in tiny Herbst Theater, San Francisco, under the aegis of the Claude Heater Foundation. Here are the details:

Sunday, August 26, 2018, 2:00 PM
Herbst Theatre at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
Ticket price: $25-80 (discounts for students & seniors)


Tristan: Roy Cornelius Smith 
Isolde: Juyeon Song 
Brangäne: Tamara Gallo
Kurwenal: Geoffrey Di Giorgio
King Marke: Philip Skinner 
Melot: Alex Boyer 
Conductor: Jonathan Khuner 
Video artist: Naomie Kremer
Supertitles: Dmitry Murashev

Why not?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Don't Be This Small Non-Profit

[July 14: Pushing this to the top of the blog because of follow-ups.}

Stuff that happened to me when I tried to renew my membership in a small non-profit organization (SNP, hereafter); an object lesson in how not to treat your members.

1. I received a renewal notice by email on February 2, 2018. I sent a check to SNP on or around February 8, because I had canceled my credit card owing to a fraudulent charge and I hadn’t received the new card yet. The check went to the post office box listed on SNP's web site and in the email I received.

2. February 16 - I received another emailed renewal notice. I replied to the email, which came from info@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

3. March 4 - I received another emailed renewal notice. This time, I forward that email and a reply to membership@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

4. March 7 - I received another emailed renewal noticed. This time, I forwarded that email and a reply to treasurer@SNP. I did not receive an answer.

5. March 23 - I sent a printed letter to the president of SNP at an address where I thought the president would receive it. I was confused about something and sent it to the wrong address, but it got to the president anyway. (Small world effect, here.)

6. April 3 - I hadn't heard anything, so I sent email to membership@SNP, president@SNP, vicepresident@SNP, and treasurer@SNP just saying I had a question and could anyone answer it.

7. April 9 - I heard from the president by email, who had gotten my printed letter. The president was very apologetic and promised to contact the treasurer on my behalf.

8. April 25. - The president checked back with me to see whether I had heard from the treasurer. I had not yet heard from the treasurer, who could not find 2 minutes before heading out of town a couple of weeks ago to send an email saying "I'm on this."

Apparently my case will be discussed at the Board meeting on April 29, nearly three months after I got the first renewal notice. My check hasn't cleared my bank yet, nor has the envelope containing the check come back to me.

Update: May 3 - The Board meeting was on April 29, and several days later, nobody has gotten back to me about the status of my membership renewal.

Things that went wrong:
  • Organization says it's okay to send a check to a physical mail box that nobody monitors.
  • Organization has multiple email addresses listed on its web site that nobody checks.
  • Officer of the organization is asked to get in touch with a member, doesn't do it in a timely fashion.
  • Renewal process, which should be simple, stretches out over three months even though member attempted to pay on a timely basis.
  • Update: Board meets, is supposed to talk about this, nobody gets back to member with status report even after she sends an email the day after the meeting.
As I said, don't be this organization. No, I'm not going to tell you which organization this is.

Update: July 14, 2018

  • On April 30, I followed up.
  • On May 3, having heard nothing, I sent another follow-up.
  • On May 8, the president of SNP asked me to tell her again where I had sent my check. Note: she had this in writing and I had sent it to the address on the org's web site.
  • I told her I'd just pay my dues on line.
  • On May 10, SNP finally told me they couldn't find my check and also that they were changing the PO Box address because the person who checks it does check regularly but doesn't communicate regularly with SNP. What. The. Fuck.
  • Today, I got an email transmitting links to the quarterly newsletter of SNP, and it starts "Normally, the newsletter is only delivered to members whose dues are current, but we want to make sure that everyone is included in the excitement leading up to [event]. Enjoy this issue and plan for [event, which conflicts with an event that it's more important for me to go to]." I honestly can't tell what the problem here is: their database still thinks I haven't paid, or their cover email is totally guilt-trippy and ham-handed. I'm still trying to decide whether to send outraged email, curious email, ignore, or what.
  • SNP did indeed switch the contact address, which is now in a different city and state.
While I'm not going to disclose the name of SNP, it has 137 members in it because it does nothing to increase membership....and there are a few obvious things it could do. 

Belated Friday Photo

Super Blood Moon
Oakland, CA
January, 2018

Monday, July 09, 2018

Compare & Contrast 35: Herheim Pelléas at Glyndbourne

Well, well, reports are not good about Stefan Herheim's production of Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndbourne. It's set at Glyndbourne, in the mansion's organ room, and, well, something has gone very wrong when the audience finds itself laughing during a performance of this particular opera.

Point of agreement: Berry and Baranello both disliked Robin Ticciati's approach to the score. On the other hand, Duchen thinks he has grown musically.

The production....sounds like a mistake. Lots of photos at the three links.

Oliver Knussen

British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has died following a short illness, much too young at 66. I don't think I've heard any of his music live; four years ago in London, he conducted one of the concerts I attended at the Birtwistle at 80 festival.

Lots of memories of Knussen, who was a mentor, inspiration, and friend to so many. He seems to have been a genuinely decent human as well as a great composer and musician.

Museum Mondays

Assyrian Figure
Met Museum, NYC
February, 2018

Saturday, July 07, 2018

More Berkeley Symphony

I'm putting this all after the cut, because it's a lot.

1. Berkeley Symphony 2018-19 schedule, including chamber & other concerts. As usual, they've got a higher percentage of 20th and 21st c. music than other, bigger-budget orchestras we could name, and twice as many works by female composers as the one across the bay.
2. Full press release about Joana Carneiro's resignation and replacements.

Friday, July 06, 2018

More BSO Pay Equity Links

aka Elizabeth Rowe's lawsuit against the BSO:
  • Drew McManus, Adaptistration. Watch for more very well-informed commentary from Drew.
  • Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe. Note principal oboist John Ferrillo's comments on Rowe. (May be paywalled.)
  • Jennifer Schuessler, NY Times. Michael Cooper is evidently in New Mexico, given his report on Santa Fe Opera's new production of Doctor Atomic

Friday Photo

Cactus Flower and Feverfew
Laurel District, Oakland
June, 2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Elizabeth Rowe Sues the Boston Symphony

What's notable about this is that Elizabeth Rowe has been principal flute of the BSO since 2004, and she is suing over an alleged $70,000 pay disparity between her and the principal oboist, a man, who has been with the orchestra only three years longer.

If her allegations are correct, the pay disparity is outrageous. Everybody expects an orchestra's concertmaster to be the highest-paid individual player; my guess is that associate & assistant concertmasters are also paid well over scale. But a $70,000/year differential between principal woodwinds? No.

Also notable, Rowe tried to negotiate with the orchestra over this before going to court...and she filed on the day a new equal pay law took effect in Massachusetts.

The Boston Herald has the story; watch for it to spread like crazy. I would expect reportage from...the usual suspects.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Noseda to Zurich

My blog post about Dallas Symphony hiring Fabio Luisi didn't mention that he's leaving the Zurich Opera House, thus leaving an opening there.

Gianandrea Noseda, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, will be taking the Zurich position as of 2021, and he'll begin conducting a Ring, directed by Andreas Homoki, the artistic director at Zurich.

More about this in Michael Cooper's NY Times article.

Updated list of openings, etc.:
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: currently looking owing to departure of Charles Dutoit
  • Orchestre National de Lyon: open now, with Leonard Slatkin's departure
  • Opera North: open now, with Aleksandr Markovic's departure
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis: 2017 is Stephen Lord's final season as MD
  • Teatro Regio Turin: Open now with departure of Gianandrea Noseda 
  • Minnesota Opera: Michael Christie leaves this year 
  • Sao Paulo Symphony: Marin Alsop leaves at some point
  • BBC Philharmonic when Juanjo Mena leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Berkeley Symphony, when Joana Carneiro leaves at the end of 2017-18
  • Washington National Opera, departure of Philippe Auguin at conclusion of 2017-18 
  • San Francisco Opera, departure of Nicola Luisotti at conclusion of 2017-18
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which Leonard Slatkin leaves at the close of the 2017-18 season.
  • MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony: 2018 departure for Kristian Jarvi
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra: 2018 departure for Robin Ticciati
  • Toronto SO: 2018 departure for Peter Oundjian
  • Winnipeg SO: 2018 departure for Alexander Mickelthwate
  • Orchestre de Paris, when Daniel Harding leaves at the end of 2018-19
  • Sarasota Orchestra after Anu Tali  leaves at the end of 2018-2019
  • Melbourne Symphony: Sir Andrew Davis leaves at the end of 2019 
  • Ulster Orchestra: Rafael Payare leaves in 2019
  • Richmond Symphony: Steven Smith leaves in 2019 
  • Singapore Symphony: 2019 departure for Lan Shui
  • Dresden Philharmonic: 2019 departure for Michael Sanderling
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra: David Robertson will be leaving the SSO at the end of 2019. So he really will be without an orchestral home as of 1/1/2020.
  • San Francisco Symphony! when MTT leaves at the end of 2019-20
  • Montreal Symphony Orchestra: Kent Nagano is leaving the OSM after 2019-2020. 
  • Fort Worth Symphony: Miguel Harth-Bedoya leaves in 2020 
  • Royal Opera, when Antonio Pappano leaves in 2020
  • Opera de Paris, when Philippe Jordan leaves in 2020
  • Atlanta Symphony, when Robert Spano leaves in 2020
  • Virginia Symphony: JoAnn Falletta leaves in 2020
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales when Thomas Søndergård leaves for his new job
  • Milwaukee Symphony
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
Conductors looking for jobs (that is, as of the near future, or now, they do not have a posting):
  • Lionel Bringuier
  • Robert Spano
  • Juanjo Mena
  • Antonio Pappano
  • Ludovic Morlot
  • Sian Edwards
  • Jun Markl
  • Ingo Metzmacher
  • Jac van Steen
  • Mark Wigglesworth
  • Simone Young 
  • David Robertson
  • Peter Oundjian as of the end of 2017-18
  • Philippe Auguin
  • Kwame Ryan
  • Ilan Volkov
  • Aleksandr Markovic
  • Lothar Koenigs
  • Henrik Nanasi
And closed:
  • Zurich Opera: Gianandrea Noseda becomes music director in 2021, following the departure of Fabio Luisi.
  • Dallas Symphony: Fabio Luisi assumes the position of Music Director in 2019-20. He has an initial five-year contract.
  • Orchestra of St. Luke's: Bernard Labadie starts with the 2018-2019 season 
  • Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra: Thomas Zehetmair starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • BBC Concert Orchestra: Bramwell Tovey started in 2018 
  • Toledo Symphony: Alain Trudel starts with the 2018-2019 season
  • Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich: Paavo Jarvi starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Netherlands Radio Philharmonic: Karina Canellakis starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Sylvain Cambreling has replaced the late Sir Jeffrey Tate at the Hamburg Symphony
  • San Diego Symphony: Rafael Payare starts in 2019 
  • Yomiuri Nippon Symphony: Sebastian Weigle starts in April 2019
  • Vienna RSO: Marin Alsop starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Elim Chan becomes chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony in 2019-20
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Jaime Martin starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège: Gergely Madaras starts with the 2019-2020 season 
  • Kent Nagano is now the Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper in Hamburg
  • WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne: Cristian Măcelaru starts with the 2019-2020 season
  • Israel Philharmonic: Lahav Shani starts with the 2020-2021 season 
  • Bayerische Staatsoper when Vladimir Jurowski joins in 2021.
  • Vienna Symphony: Andrés Orozco-Estrada starts with the 2021-2022 season
  • Clarinetist Martin Frøst becomes chief conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in 2019 when Thomas Dausgaard leaves for Seattle.Thomas Zehetmair is going to the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 2019
  • Matthias Bamert is going to the Sapporo Symphony in 2018 
  • Lorenzo Viotti was named music director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, as of 2018
  • Joana Mallwitz appointed GMD in Nuremberg, effective 2018
  • Philippe Jordan to the Vienna Staatsoper / VPO (Dominique Meyer not planning to appoint a WSO MD; his contract expires in 2020.)
  • Semyon! Bychkov! fills the vacancy at the Czech Philharmonic, following the death of Jiří Bělohlávek
  • Dennis Russell Davies becomes music director of the Brno Philharmonic, which had been open since 2015, as of the 2018-19 season.
  • Nicola Luisotti becoming an assistant music director at the Teatro Real, Madrid, 2018.
  • Seattle Symphony, where Thomas Dausgaard will succeed Ludovic Morlot in 2018-19; announced early October, 2016
  • Vancouver Symphony; Otto Tausk comes on in 2018

Monday, July 02, 2018

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Oakland Symphony Chorus Summer Sing-Ins

The OSC has a nice line-up of Big Works to Read:

Summer Sing-Ins 2018

Please note that Sing-Ins are on Wednesday nights from 7-9:30pm
Sing and learn about these choral masterworks at the 2018 Summer Sing-Ins, led by some of the Bay Area’s best conductors.
Price:  $15 per class or $75 for all six; tickets on sale starting June 11th.
Location: MOCHA, 1625 Clay Street, Suite 100 Oakland (Entrance on 17th Street)