***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.
Not all 52 buses end up at Victoria Station.
Classic FM have gone behind the scenes at the photoshoot for the Musicians Benevolent Fund's recently released opera calendar.
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.