Archive for January, 2010

More Internet Streaming

Posted in News on January 29, 2010 by figarosi

There is yet another effort to stream opera. The opera in Liege, Belgium will be broadcasting Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” on February 2 at 8pm CET
live. Cast includes Patrizia Ciofi and Laura Polverelli. Cristina Muti, wife of the conductor, directs. There is a small charge here.

MIDEM Classical Awards

Posted in News on January 29, 2010 by figarosi

The annual four day conference of the music industry, MIDEM, finished in Cannes, France on January 27. While the state of the economy sapped some of the festive feeling from the meeting, new ways to promote music of all genres was a hot topic.

The evening concert on Tuesday January 26, the MIDEM Classical Awards, handed out prizes to 16 CDs and 3 DVDs from some 111 international labels from twenty countries. A special tribute was paid to composer Frederic Chopin, the bicentenary of his birth being celebrated this year. Master of Ceremonies were jointly James Jolly, editor of Gramophone Magazine and the Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

At the Auditorium Debussy at the Palais des Festivals, the concert featured the Cracow Sinfonietta, conducted by John Axelrod, along with the young virtuoso pianist Jan Lisiecki. The concert concluded their reading of the Polish composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1. There were two special awards for this occasion, the “Best Ever” award was awarded to a recording of the Chopin Waltzes by Dinu Lipatti. In new recordings, pianist Nicolai Demidenko won the “Chopin Special Prize’ for his recording of the Preludes on the label Onyx.

Italian soprano Mirella Freni was the object of a moving tribute and a standing ovation after received her “Lifetime Achievement” Award. The young clarinetist, José Franch-Ballester was named “Outstanding Young Artist” and played the Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra by Debussy. The mezzo Elina Garanca and German baritone Christian Gerhaher were declared “Lyric Artists of the Year.” They performed, respectively, the Habanera from Bizet’s “Carmen” and Mahler’s song “Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer.” A high point of the evening was Marie-Nicole Lemieux’s moving singing of “Chanson Triste” by Henri Duparc.


EARLY MUSIC – Jérusalem, “La Ville des deux Paix” with Montserrat Figueras, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Al-Darwish, Hesperion XXI, Jordi Savall (Alia Vox).
BAROQUE MUSIC – Telemann, “Brockes-Passion” with Birgitte Christensen, Lydia Teuscher, Marie-Claude Chappuis, Daniel Behle, Donát Havár, Johannes Weisser, the RIAS Kammerchor, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs, conductor. (Harmonia Mundi).
VOCAL RECITALS – Handel – “Between Heaven & Earth” by soprano Sandrine Piau, Accademia Bizantina, Stefano Montanari (Naïve).
CHORAL WORKS – Zimmermann – “Requiem For A Young Poet” with Claudia Barainsky, David Pittman-Jennings, Lutz Lansemann, Michael Rotschopf, Jan Hage, João Rafael (Live Electronics), Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, Slovac Philharmonic Choir, EuropaChorAkademie, Eric Vloeimans Quintet, Holland Symfonia, Bernhard Kontarsky (Cybele).
OPERA – Shostakovich – “The Nose” with Vladislav Sulimsky, Alexei Tanovitski, Tatiana Kravtsova, Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur, the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus, Valery Gergiev, conductor (Mariinsky).
SOLO INSTRUMENT – Paganini – 24 Capricci by Thomas Zehetmair (ECM)
CHAMBER MUSIC – Ravel, Debussy, Fauré String Quartets by the Quatuor Ebène (Virgin Classics).
CONCERTOS – Beethoven – “Piano Concertos No. 4 & No.°2 ” by Ronald Brautigam, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Parrott (BIS).
SYMPHONIC WORKS – Mahler – Symphony No, 9 with the Bamberg Symphony, Jonathan Nott, conductor (Tudor).
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC – Messiaen, “The Works for Orchestra” by Roger Muraro, Yvonne Naef, EuropaChorAkademie, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Sylvain Cambreling (Hänssler Classic).
FIRST RECORDING – Rigel, “Symphonies” by Concerto Köln (Berlin Classics).
HISTORICAL – Friedrich Gulda, “The Early Recordings” with Friedrich Gulda, piano, and the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Igor Markevitch (Audite).
DVD: OPERA / BALLET – Tchaikovsky – Eugene Onegin par Mariusz Kwiecien, Tatiana Monogarova, Margarita Mamsirova, Andrey Dunaev, Anatolij Kotscherga, The Bolshoi Theatre Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, Dmitri Tcherniakov, Chloé Perlemutter, Alexander Vedernikov (Bel Air Classiques).
DVD: CONCERTS – The King’s Singers’ “Live at the BBC Proms” (Signum Records).
DVD: DOCUMENTARIES – “Sergiu Celibidache: You don’t do anything – You let it evolve.” by Jan Schmidt-Garre (Arthaus Musik).
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ARTIST (in cooperation with IAMA) – José Franch- Ballester.
JURY NOMINATION – Bach, “Six Solo Sonatas & Partitas” by violinist Viktoria Mullova (Onyx).
ARTIST OF THE YEAR – FEMALE VOCALIST – Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano).
ARTIST OF THE YEAR – MALE VOCALIST – Christian Gerhaher (baritone).
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Mirella Freni (soprano).
LABEL OF THE YEAR – Naïve Classique.
RECORDING OF THE YEAR Zimmermann, “Requiem for a Young Poet” by Claudia Barainsky, David Pittman-Jennings, Lutz Lansemann, Michael Rotschopf, Jan Hage, João Rafael (Live Electronics), Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, Slovac Philharmonic Choir, EuropaChorAkademie, Eric Vloeimans Quintet, Holland Symfonia, Bernhard Kontarsky (Cybele).

Address for Werther

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 by figarosi

I have not seen it yet. It will be available in France February 7.

David Bowie’s IPod

Posted in Random Comment on January 25, 2010 by figarosi

In the Guardian newspaper David Bowie listed the music he has been listening to recently. Here are selections (i. e. things I never heard of edited out.) The comments are his.
“I’ve chosen the songs that I’ve been playing the most over the last month. Here they are in no particular order.
El Ninõ – For with God No Thing Shall Be Impossible by John Adams; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Willard White, Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt
Lieberson, conducted by Kent Nagano
Just over a minute long and propulsive like a storm. I want to crush furniture. The emotional in search of the divine.
Nixon in China: Act I, Scene 1; ‘Soldiers of Heaven Hold the Sky’ by John Adams; Orchestra of St Luke’s, Edo de Waart
Adams’s minimalism disguises the rich romanticism of his melodies. Ever ascending, rising through the clouds.
Dinner at Eight by Rufus Wainwright
There aren’t that many son/father songs but this is the best of them as far as I know. Rufus is just simply one of the great writers.
Different Trains I: America-Before the War by Steve Reich; Kronos Quartet
One of the late 20th century’s most affecting works. I love the use of speech as a source for melody. But it’s so much more than a concept, it’s also impossibly moving.
Blue Skies by Josephine Baker
I’m not a big Baker fan but there’s something about this performance that touches me. I think it’s the break in her voice among all this gaiety and
Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet: Tramp with Orchestra by Gavin Bryars; Hampton String Quartet, Michael Riesman and Orchestra”

America’s Arts in Decline?

Posted in News on January 21, 2010 by figarosi

The report by Americans for the Arts yesterday has only confirmed what many in the field have noted for the past few years. Activity in all the arts is down in American and started even before the economic crisis.
To read and download the full report, visit

Werther in Paris

Posted in News on January 21, 2010 by figarosi

The splendid Werther, with Jonas Kaufmann as the tortured lover and Sophie Koch as the object of his affections, will be available on the internet for international audiences.
It will be streamed live on Tuesday, January 26 at 8:35 and will be available as Video on Demand for 60 days at the website of the opera, It will also be broadcast at the same time and available later on the site. Recommended

The “A” Word

Posted in Random Comment on January 15, 2010 by figarosi

Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette comments on a few American opera companies that have not forgotten that they are doing art, not show business. Paste in your browser.