No clowns in Detroit, no pops in Pasadena.

Michigan Opera Theater has canceled a production of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” because of the economy’s southward plunge. The Pasadena Symphony Orchestra has abandoned plans for three pops concerts.

As it has everywhere else these days, the economic crisis has hit classical music, a particularly fragile corner of the nonprofit world that depends as much on donations as on ticket sales.

You can read the whole thing here.

Things are looking tough for those of us in the arts. But of course I am still eating and still clothed and I have much to be thankful for (even if I can’t find a good reed).

“Times is hard. Times is hard.” (Name that musical … not too difficult, right?)

27. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

To a student today: Don’t do backflips with your oboe.

Yeah. I really said that. I’m witty that way. (He had told me he had a sore back from doing backflips.)

A new study found that elderly patients who listened to a 12-minute Mozart sonata three times a week significantly lowered their blood pressure and heart rate. If Mozart isn’t on your hit parade, don’t worry: You can get even better results by listening to a CD with the sounds of ocean waves, researchers found. The Mozart and ocean-sounds listeners reduced their blood pressure by about 5 percent.

So if you have low BP could you commit suicide by listening to too much Mozart or taking a holiday at the sea? Huh? Huh? ;-)

I read it here.

Sigh.

We can do the serious classical stuff when we are old, wrinkly and fat.

-Chantal of the group Escala

I read it here.

27. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Read Online

Kurt Weill’s Street Scene is a Broadway musical or, more precisely, an American opera, about working-class life in New York City in 1947.

Well, okay then.

27. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Dan and I took a trip to SoCal to visit our daughter and son-in-law, which is why this weekend wasn’t a bloggy one for me. We arrived home last night, and I’m guessing it’ll take me some time to recover from the drive, but I’m back.

But maybe you didn’t even know I was gone?

Since signing a deal with Simon Cowell, Escala have had a radical makeover

But Escala, the glamorous string quartet who were finalists on the ITV show Britain’s Got Talent, have cancelled the launch of their debut album, after admitting that the record was not good enough to release.

The band, whom Cowell described as having “star potential”, signed a multi-million pound deal with his SyCo record label earlier this year after finishing fifth in the television talent competition, for which Cowell was a judge.

But Escala have proven controversial with the classical establishment, some of whom have accused the band of “dumbing down” classical music and “patronising” their audience to sell more records.

Since signing a deal with Cowell, Escala – violinists Victoria Lyon, 25 and Izzy Johnston, 24; Chantal Leverton, a viola player, 25; and Tasya Hodges, 26, a cellist – have been the subject of a radical makeover.

Their website features the band posing in low-cut red dresses and heavy make-up without any of their instruments, while they also appear in Sky Sports television advertisements for the Premiership football season, playing their instruments wearing minidresses and stiletto heels. Their first video, a rendition of Karl Jenkins’s Palladio performed by the band on a beach in short sequinned dresses, has received more than 640,000 hits on the video website YouTube.

The last-minute decision not to release their album in time for the lucrative Christmas market will be a blow to Cowell, who hoped that Escala would emulate the success of his other classical act, Il Divo, whose pop ballads sung in a “classical style” have sold more than 22 million albums.

(Complete article here.)

I had blogged earlier about this group. (And even before that, but I’m too lazy to find the link). Looks like they want whatever they put out to be “good enough”.