Friday, October 5, 2012 - 5:30am
(More) Lockouts, Lawsuits And Losses
- As we've been anticipating, the Minnesota Orchestra is now in lockout after contract negotiations failed. And the orchestra has now canceled all concerts until November 25. (That's right, November 25.) "Over the weekend, players unanimously rejected a proposal that would have cut salaries from a minimum of 30 percent to 50 percent. On Sunday, management rejected two union proposals: to submit the dispute to independent arbitration, or to proceed with the season while continuing to negotiate."
- Meanwhile, the Minnesota musicians have taken to YouTube to make their case: "We didn't build Target Field for a minor league team. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, they don't take a pay cut."
- Did you hear the two live concerts we webcast this week? Because you really should: from Sunday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in the Rite of Spring and a new Steven Stucky symphony (act now it will vanish from our site Oct. 8th!) and from Wednesday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti in Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall.
- Speaking of Chicago: the Tribune's John von Rhein reports that opening night at Orchestra Hall was a rather subdued affair: "The terse official greetings contained no mention of the strike that had silenced the CSO for 48 hours last week, or the ratification of a new labor contract that restored harmony to Orchestra Hall. The only flowers decorating the Armour Stage were the red boutonnieres worn by the orchestra members."
- Wendy White, the mezzo who fell from a platform during a Met Opera performance a year ago, says through a lawyer that she "has still not recovered from her injuries and feels abandoned by the company she once considered family," adding that her contract has been cut off.
- Barrett Wissman, the once-and-now-again co-chair of the influential classical management agency IMG Artists (which reps a huge roster of stars like Placido Domingo, Alan Gilbert, Joshua Bell and Renee Fleming), will serve no jail time for his activities in the huge pension fund scandal that rocked New York State and led to former Comptroller Alan Hevesi's resignation and eventual imprisonment. The New York Daily News calls it a "slap on the wrist."
- From elsewhere on the judicial beat: Alberto Vilar, once one of the world's premier opera funders (remember when his name graced the Met's Grand Tier?), is being released on bail along with his former business partner, Gary Tanaka, while they appeal their fraud convictions: "Before they were charged criminally, Vilar and Tanaka made and then lost billions of dollars for investors in computer, Internet and healthcare stocks."
- In case you're feeling nostalgic, here's a profile on Vilar written by the late Robert Hilferty from the good old days, when Vilar, whose only professed vice was hot coffee, asked, "What makes me less important than Plcido Domingo?"
- One answer to that question? TV. Following in the footsteps of such, uh, talents as crossover violinist David Garrett, Placido Domingo and Katherine Jenkins sang on "Dancing with the Stars" this week. Make of that what you will but Domingo has a new duets album to promote.
- New York City Opera's makeover is nearly complete: They are cleaning out their closets and getting rid of their old sets and costumes. "City Opera has asked the Gimmerglass Festival, which jointly produced about two dozen City Opera shows, to come and claim those production materials. The company also told the Portland Opera, which is renting its 2009 Don Giovanni, to dispose of it. And City Opera is in talks with a broker about selling other productions."
- This year's surprise MacArthur "genius" award winners include three classically related artists: 34-year-old flutist and ICE Ensemble founder Claire Chase; Benot Rolland, 58, a Boston-based bow maker; and 31-year-old mandolinist Chris Thile, the Punch Brothers member who has written a concerto he has performed with a number of orchestras.
- Remember the woeful tale of the violinist whose Guarneri was seized by customs agents in Frankfurt? She got hers back eventually, but FRA seems to be on quite a roll. They've done it again and this time with a far pricier fiddle. This time, they took away Yuki Manuela Janke's Strad, nicknamed "The Muntz" and valued at $7.6 million. According to Nippon Music Foundation, who owns the instrument and loaned it to Janke, authorities have demanded $1.5 million in customs duty.
- Noted French-Cypriot pianist Cyprien Katsaris reportedly suffered a serious medical incident--possibly a stroke--onstage in Berlin mid-recital. The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation repeats a concertgoer's report first published on Norman Lebrecht's blog Slipped Disc, but then adds this patriotic note: "Katsaris is reported to have said: 'This was one of my best concerts. Something special happened. I played with my entire soul for Greece and Cyprus.'" (Katsaris' recital was the Cypriot embassy in Berlin.)
- Why on earth are the Classical Brits awards divided by gender? At any rate, this year's winners include conductor Vasily Petrenko for Best Male Artist and Nicola Benedetti took home the best Best Female Artist. And album of the year went to ... Andre Rieu.
- London's Southbank Centre is about to launch a yearlong festival of contemporary music shaped around Alex Ross' excellent The Rest Is Noise. But, asks the Independent, will the public go? "Ross's book discusses Stravinsky via Bo Diddley, incorporates The Velvet Underground alongside Varese, and above all is willing to stray anecdotally from the musical path to engage with human relationships and encounters as well as philosophy and politics. It's a difficult and circuitous route to tread within the traditionally restricted world of the concert hall."
- So this is such news that the Christian Science Monitor has given him a profile: a 14-year-old who tweets and blogs about opera. When he grows up, young Harry Rose wants to follow in the footsteps of Rudolf Bing, Joe Volpe and Peter Gelb as the Met's general manager. Good luck, kid.
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