English National Opera falls into red after losing £1.3m funding and filling only 71% of seats
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The Georgian-born composer Giya Kancheli is part of a generation that includes Arvo Pärt and John Tavener, whose musical voice embraces simplicity and stillness in search of the spiritual. His music is frequently slow moving, often austere, and exhibits a haunting beauty.
Exil, a cycle of five songs beginning with a setting of The Lord is my shepherd (in German) followed by three poems by Paul Celan and ending with the Hans Sahl poem that gives the work its title, is a perfect example of Kancheli’s art and craft.
I was invited by Heather Ducote, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Virginia Tech’s new Center for the Arts, to co-host what they call a “Tweet seat” event at a performance given by the Sphinx Organization’s “Virtuosi” touring group, a remarkable ensemble made up of alumni from the Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino string players. Performing without a conductor, they brilliantly carry out the Sphinx Organization’s mission which, according to their program notes, is “to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through performances of varied repertoire.”
One of my favorite aspects of this experiment was having the chance to meet with the musicians afterward and sharing the twitter stream with them. Heather Ducote and the staff at the Center for the Arts had set up a special reception for us where they had a large monitor set up to show our tweets. The musicians eagerly read them and seemed to enjoy getting instant, and sometimes colorful feedback. They too could pick up on the excitement and enthusiasm we all had for their performance. Several of them mentioned how unusual it is for them to have any real contact or discussion afterwards with audience members and we enjoyed having the opportunity to ask them questions that had come up during the performance that only they could answer. It was a wonderful experience – one that was tweeted about later that evening by some of the orchestra members themselves.
Christian Lacroix doesn't look like an haute couturier. He never has.
"Last week I was in Austria, at Graz Opera, working on the costumes for Lohengrin. And I have 200 'customers'! Each different!" Two hundred outfits equates to four collections, or a year in fashion. "Costume is my favourite thing," confesses the man who put women back into corsets and crinolines in the 1980s, somewhat unsurprisingly. "Not fashion".
Best Orchestral Performance
Atterberg: Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Neeme Järvi, conductor (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra)
Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 1 - Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Schumann: Symphony No. 2; Overtures Manfred & Genoveva - Claudio Abbado, conductor (Orchestra Mozart)
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 - Osmo Vänskä, conductor (Minnesota Orchestra)
Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps - Simon Rattle, conductor (Berliner Philharmoniker)
Best Opera Recording
Adès: The Tempest - Thomas Adès, conductor; Simon Keenlyside, Isabel Leonard, Audrey Luna & Alan Oke; Luisa Bricetti & Victoria Warivonchick, producers (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Britten: The Rape Of Lucretia - Oliver Knussen, conductor; Ian Bostridge, Peter Coleman-Wright, Susan Gritton & Angelika Kirchschlager; John Fraser, producer (Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble)
Kleiberg: David & Bathsheba - Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor; Anna Einarsson & Johannes Weisser; Morten Lindberg, producer (Trondheim Symphony Orchestra; Trondheim Symphony Orchestra Vocal Ensemble)
Vinci: Artaserse - Diego Fasolis, conductor; Valer Barna-Sabadus, Daniel Behle, Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli & Philippe Jaroussky; Ulrich Ruscher, producer (Concerto Köln; Coro Della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano)
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Christian Thielemann, conductor; Katarina Dalayman, Albert Dohmen, Stephen Gould, Eric Halfvarson & Linda Watson; Othmar Eichinger, producer (Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper; Chor Der Wiener Staatsoper)
Best Choral Performance
Berlioz: Grande Messe Des Morts - Colin Davis, conductor (Barry Banks; London Symphony Orchestra; London Philharmonic Choir & London Symphony Chorus)
Palestrina: Volume 3 - Harry Christophers, conductor (The Sixteen)
Parry: Works For Chorus & Orchestra - Neeme Järvi, conductor; Adrian Partington, chorus master (Amanda Roocroft; BBC National Orchestra Of Wales; BBC National Chorus Of Wales)
Pärt: Adam's Lament - Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (Tui Hirv & Rainer Vilu; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Sinfonietta Riga & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Latvian Radio Choir & Vox Clamantis)
Whitbourn: Annelies - James Jordan, conductor (Ariana Zukerman; The Lincoln Trio; Westminster Williamson Voices)
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Beethoven: Violin Sonatas - Leonidas Kavakos & Enrico Pace
Cage: The 10,000 Things - Vicki Ray, William Winant, Aron Kallay & Tom Peters
Duo - Hélène Grimaud & Sol Gabetta
Roomful Of Teeth - Brad Wells & Roomful Of Teeth
Times Go By Turns - New York Polyphony
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
Bartók, Eötvös & Ligeti - Patricia Kopatchinskaja; Peter Eötvös, conductor (Ensemble Modern & Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Corigliano: Conjurer - Concerto For Percussionist & String Orchestra - Evelyn Glennie; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)
The Edge Of Light - Gloria Cheng (Calder Quartet)
Lindberg: Piano Concerto No. 2 - Yefim Bronfman; Alan Gilbert, conductor (New York Philharmonic)
Salonen: Violin Concerto; Nyx - Leila Josefowicz; Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Schubert: Piano Sonatas D. 845 & D. 960 - Maria João Pires
Best Classical Vocal Solo
Drama Queens - Joyce DiDonato (Alan Curtis; Il Complesso Barocco)
Mission - Cecilia Bartoli (Diego Fasolis; Philippe Jaroussky; I Barocchisti)
Schubert: Winterreise - Christoph Prégardien (Michael Gees)
Wagner - Jonas Kaufmann (Donald Runnicles; Markus Brück; Chor Der Deutschen Oper Berlin; Orchester Der Deutschen Oper Berlin)
Winter Morning Walks - Dawn Upshaw (Maria Schneider; Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough & Scott Robinson; Australian Chamber Orchestra & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)
Best Classical Compendium
Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik - Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Holmboe: Concertos - Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor; Preben Iwan, producer
Tabakova: String Paths - Maxim Rysanov; Manfred Eicher, producer
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
Lindberg, Magnus: Piano Concerto No. 2 - Magnus Lindberg, composer (Yefim Bronfman, Alan Gilbert & New York Philharmonic)
Pärt, Arvo: Adam's Lament - Arvo Pärt, composer (Tõnu Kaljuste, Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis & Sinfonietta Riga)
Salonen, Esa-Pekka: Violin Concerto - Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer (Leila Josefowicz, Esa-Pekka Salonen & Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Schneider, Maria: Winter Morning Walks - Maria Schneider, composer (Dawn Upshaw, Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough, Scott Robinson & Australian Chamber Orchestra)
Shaw, Caroline: Partita For 8 Voices - Caroline Shaw, composer (Brad Wells & Roomful Of Teeth)
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera host and renowned tenor Ben Heppner has sat down and listed his top five picks for the 2013-2014 season, and the Saturday Afternoon at the Opera team has rounded out the list with five more selections. These are operas that you won't want to miss.