The David S Operaworld blog

A series of commentary on the world of opera and of serious music hopefully with links to items of broader cultural interest, correlation with the subject at hand. There is plenty of room here for a certain amount of clowning around and general irreverence - not exclusive to me - but of course no trollers or spam please. Blog for coverage of the BBC PROMS 2010 - with thoroughly proofread/upgraded coverage of the 2009 Proms and of much else.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

News of the week

This is the first such post here – just a pause to reflect on what is happening out there, make whatever pressing announcements there are worth making, and as with any other post here, this one welcomes your feedback as well.

The BBC Proms began two weeks ago, coverage of three events out of the first two weeks of it which shall appear here very shortly. In the mean time, if you are following the festival online or wherever you are, the several posted to the website worth special mention are:

Prom 18 – Bamberg SO, Jonathan Nott – Music of Mozart, Widmann and the Bruckner Third Symphony (original 1873 version), posted on the proms site on July 29th

Prom 24 - BBC SO and Susanna Malkki in Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and the Berlioz Te Deum – posted on August 2nd

Prom 25 - BBC Nat’l of Wales in music again mostly of Beethoven and Berlioz, as conducted by Thierry Fischer

All these stay up on the BBC website for about a week after they originally post, and some get extended onto the Afternoon on 3 program for an additional two to three days. and

Special mention should be made of delayed final broadcast of the season for DSO Berlin and Ingo Metzmacher – 2 PM EDT, Sunday August 9th – a program of Debussy, Wagner, Mahler, and Strauss featuring American soprano Deborah Voigt. Former DSO Berlin music director Riccardo Chailly, later on in the Proms, conducts the entire Deryck Cooke realization of the Mahler Tenth Symphony, just the Adagio of which is on this Metzmacher program, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. – DSO Im Radio – multiple (?) station listings as to where to from there. A Gatti conducted Aida from Bavarian State Opera comes up on Deutschland Radio Kultur – at 2 pm EDT this coming Saturday. Gatti later this year conducts Aida at Met in HD on October 24th.

Daniele Gatti has just been named as the next music director of Zurich Opera, a position at which Ingo Metzmacher and his agent(s) were looking to pick up recently. We can wait and see how Gatti will do in the new job, but this writer finds it discouraging that Metzmacher did not get picked instead for it.

I had grown curious over time what had happened with the career of Sichuanese pianist Yundi Li. He apparently has been dropped from Deutsche Grammophon, but nevertheless will continue having a career. Word has had it that he has felt envious of Lang Lang and how he is doing, but the message to Yundi Li is that he should not waste another moment of giving it any thought. What if Yundi Li emerges as just belonging, according to what record industry and other booking deals he picks up from now on? Playing of the first tier, such as I have almost always found his playing, at least for now, if so contractually relegated to the second tier, will still be first tier playing in the estimation of many of us and all of his fans. Wherever he stands, as for what matters now does not necessarily hold for the long run, he can keep the satisfaction of providing the quality of playing he has, at least while not feeling envious of a pianist giving us playing inferior to his.

What little I have heard of Yujia Wang, who DGG has just picked up, does not really hold a candle to Yundi Li’s playing. By the same token, no matter how much publicity in front of however many millions of people – unless some change comes about, Lang Lang’s front rank status may not last unless his playing one day can eventually come up to match what his status is nowadays.

While on China, special thanks is due neuroscience Ph.D student Cai Mingbo who stepped up to help me through one or two crucial steps to get this blog up and running as the information source it is, will be from now on. What seemed like, due to having been written not very well, insurmountable instructions on ‘expandable post summaries’ at the relevant blogging website Mr. Cai has now just helped me get past or overcome.


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