So that's how you play Consequences on Photoshop. This random jumble of ill-assorted imagery is the ROH's regrettably accurate depiction of their ragbag spring season, which opens for booking on 5 December (Friends) and 15 January (public).
Semyon Bychkov confirms to Die Presse that he's returning to Covent Garden to conduct Die Frau ohne Schatten(October 2013), Parsifal (Nov 2013) and Eugene Onegin.
***UPDATE*** Performers are notoriously fallible when it comes to remembering the contents of their own diaries, as Maestro Bychkov's agent has kindly pointed out to me. Sadly, he is not booked for the ROH Parsifal, whatever Die Presse say. But we will still be able to hear him in Die Frau ohne Schatten in March 2014 and Eugene Onegin some time in 2015.
£500 might sound like a lot to fork out in one go. But look at what you get from the Southbank Centre's 'The Rest And More' package, introduced to tie in with next year's 20th century music series.
The biggest draw is a free ticket for each of the 70-ish concerts in the series (normally up to £65) - which include all the LPO's 2013 Southbank shows plus visitors like the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics. Also included are free entrance to 12 special weekend events (normally £25 each), free Southbank membership (£45) and a copy of Alex Ross's book (£10). That's potentially well over £2,000 worth of benefits for a £500 outlay.
So is it worth the investment? If you were planning to buy 20+ top price tickets anyway, then definitely. But most of us aren't, and the regular multibuy discounts of up to 30% bring down the cost of multiple purchases anyway.
So what about the educational perspective? Is it worth going to concerts you normally wouldn't bother with in the interests of extending your horizons? After all, the Southbank's marketing claims they're embracing contemporary music.
But that falls somewhat short of the mark when you look at what's actually been programmed. The concerts announced so far (covering the first half of the year) major on the usual Strauss, Shostakovich, Sibelius, with morsels of Vaughan Williams, Copland, and so on tossed in. In other words, the same old stuff, minus the 19th century bits. There's a possibility of some genuinely contemporary music in the latter half of the year, but given that Ross's book more or less grinds to a halt with Boulez, I don't expect more than a cursory rush through.
A bargain for some - but check what you're getting carefully before you buy.
The audience at yesterday's Opéra d'Avignon rehearsal of La traviata were not at all pleased when Patrizia Ciofi started to walk through the part of Violetta without singing it.
Feeling unwell, as she explained on her Facebook page, she preferred to save her voice for the first show. The hissing of the audience was so loud it forced the orchestra to stop, and the curtain had to be dropped.
Forumopera were quick to berate their fellow-Frenchies' disruption of a performance for which the artists were unpaid and the tickets were free. As they rightly point out, it's rather like booing a footballer for missing a penalty in a training session.
underpants aplenty in ENO’s ‘new’ (actually 13 year old) Carmen, but,
contrary to reputation, director Calixto Bieito seems unwilling to drop them. When
it gets down to the real meat and potatoes, only one todger is served up. To the
orchestral opening of the third act, a wafty, homoerotic dance solo suggests
the soldier in question can only be at peace in his fantasies. Well, if you've got
to stick a willy in Carmen, I suppose that's not a bad place to do
David Hockney used his now-favourite creative tool - the iPad - to design this new 176m2 safety curtain for the Vienna State Opera. Echoing the current fetish for stage-within-a-stage productions, it features a giant prompter's box flanked by a proscenium and curtains.
The commission, unveiled yesterday, will greet visitors for a year, after which time it will be replaced by another artist's work.
It's not clear which of the several photos available reflect the true colours of the work, so I've included both extremes.
The offer, which also covers dress circle and upper circle seats, is bookable via SeeTickets. You don't get to pick where you sit, but you are told exactly what seat numbers you've been allocated once you select the quantity.
For only £40.99 (RRP £78.25) , this 37 - yes, 37 - CD box set has to be the bargain of the Britten centenary season. EMI's Benjamin Britten - The Collector's Edition is just that. Apart from a few Britten/Pears 1940s recordings, most of the set is compiled from '80s and '90s material from the likes of Simon Rattle and the CBSO, Robert Tear and Stephen Hough. Sarah Brightman (yes that one) also pops up briefly.
Plenty of rarities are included but it isn't a complete account of Britten's work - notable operatic omissions include Billy Budd and Death in Venice. Outstanding versions of Peter Grimes (Haitink) and The Turn of the Screw (Harding) might compensate opera fans.
Next April, Michel van der Aa's new opera Sunken Garden receives its world premiere via ENO at the Barbican.
No doubt, as usual, pairs of free tickets will be distributed to press, ENO employees, friends, patrons, theatre workers, mates of the chorus, Damon Albarn, etc.
But how many free tickets does the composer - who let us not forget has slaved away for months actually writing the thing - receive? Just two, apparently. He's even been forced to fork out £50 just so his mother can attend one of the most important events (perhaps THE most important) in his professional career.
Let me make it 100% clear that Michel van der Aa himself has NOT complained or even commented about his miserable allocation.
But isn't there something odd about an organisation that hands out tickets willy-nilly to any Tom, Dick or blogger (exception - Yours Truly) but can't/won't extend the hand of generosity to someone who deserves it more than anyone?
Maître des frocks Christian Lacroix returns to the operatic scene with his spectacular costume designs for Madama Butterfly at Hamburg Opera, combining a flamboyant palette with respect for classic Japanese forms.
In Lacroix's own words, Vincent Boussard's production subscribes to the "tradition
of Italian opera, but also incorporates elements of contemporary
theatre to be accessible to younger people."
Before founding his own couture house in Paris, the designer spent several years in Tokyo working for the Japanese royal dressmaker Jun Ashida. Asked why he loved designing for theatre, the designer replied "Because I don't like normal life. When I was younger, life began only when I was in a theatre. That was my element.I liked this world because it was larger than life, full of colour, full of music!"
By employing Lacroix, Hamburg Opera have gained not just gorgeous frocks, but also those all-important column inches in non-music areas. Something for other opera companies to think about?
Lady Gaga has one. So does Taylor Swift. Beyonce has two. Jennifer Lopez has six, and Britney Spears a whopping eleven.
Anna Nicole Smith had one - the ironically-titled Live - but seeing as it came out before she was immortalised in operatic form, I think we can safely say that no modern opera character has ever inspired the creation of a perfume.