OPERA singers, aspiring members of the cast for theatre production Madiba, The African Opera, turned up in their numbers to audition for the lead roles at the Pretoria State Theatre over the weekend, kickstarting the musical which gives a glimpse into the life of Nelson Mandela outside the political sphere.
The stage production will feature little-known stories from Madiba’s life, starting from just before he was born, and through his life as a young boy growing up in rural Transkei, into his political life, prison and thereafter.
It is the brainchild of his cousin, theatre artist Unathi Mtirara, who wrote the libretto based on the history garnered from Madiba himself, and from his home.
“There is so much of him out there, yet there are little-known aspects of his background, history and upbringing that influenced the person he became,” said Mtirara, who is from the Tembu royal house in which Mandela was raised.
A McDonald’s restaurant near Sydney, Australia, has been blasting opera and classical music in the late hours to deter teens from hanging out, according to video from geobeats.
Restaurant managers got the idea from nearby community who played Barry Manilow tunes to keep youths from hanging out at a car park.
“We’ve noticed a reduction in the number of young people hanging around, but we’ll have to reassess it properly in a couple of weeks,” one McDonald’s manager says.
Workers turn up the volume as the crowd gets bigger, geobeats says. One woman complained on social media that the loud music has woken her up as late as 1 a.m.
Thanks bunches, McDonald’s. Really.
When Wagner composed Die Meistersinger, the orchestra was playing a whole tone lower than today, so it was easier for a bass to sing.
Really? A whole tone?!
I read it here.
A RETIRED Army officer has become a cartoonist – in a bid to help people of all ages get to grips with the world of classical music.
Roger Chapman has created An Old Person’s Guide to the Orchestra as an easy and amusing introduction to orchestral instruments, to conductors and the history of classical music from the 17th to the 20th-centuries.
Singers and choirs also come in for his special treatment, with caricatures including Pavarotti. There is even advice about how to behave at a concert – arrive in time, don’t clap in the wrong place, don’t eat sweets.
A former major in the Green Howards, Mr Chapman was curator of the regiment’s museum in Richmond before his retirement.
He lives in Grewelthorpe near Ripon and since his retirement he has developed his skills as a caricaturist and cartoonist.
As well as An Old Person’s Guide to the Orchestra he has produced a book of cartoons on art, Art for Heaven’s Sake, which encourages retired people to pick up a pencil, brush or crayon and start a new hobby.
“It’s sometimes hard for older people to find a way in to something unfamiliar,” said Mr Chapman.
“My book of musical cartoons, with short accompanying text will help them – and raise a smile, too, I hope
“And in ‘Art for Heaven’s Sake’ they can see an older artist – a caricature of me – learning how to become an artist.”
Both books are on sale in The Little Ripon Bookshop, White Rose Books in Thirsk and in Ripon Cathedral shop; all profits from both books go towards music in the cathedral. An Old Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is £6.99 and Art for Heaven’s Sake is £5.
The books are also available on the website – chapmancaricatures.com
I went to the site but I am not seeing how to order the book. I’ll have to email him and ask. (He’s in the UK, so I don’t know if he can ship them our way, though.)
Michael Tilson Thomas found a novel way to deal with bronchial Chicago audiences last weekend.
Last Thursday night’s opening performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 with Tilson Thomas leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was plagued by audience coughs, which proved especially distracting in the hushed pages of the final movement.
On Saturday night, there was even more coughing throughout the first movement. The conductor went offstage and emerged with two large handfuls of loose cough lozenges, which he tossed underhanded into the main floor audience seats. He said he hoped that would solve the problem and encouraged audience members to pass them on to those that need them.
Celeste Wroblewski, the orchestra’s vice-president of public relations, confirmed the details Monday, adding, in an email, that “the audience responded in the same good-natured spirit, with laughter and applause.”
I read it here.
… and another write up.
(We already own a Prius and love it.)
Toyota Motor Corporation announces that it will hold a series of seven1 classical-music concerts in cities throughout Japan between April 11 and April 20, 2014. The concerts will be given by the Toyota Master Players, Wien, a special 31-musician strong orchestra including principal musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.
The concert series, held since 2000 as part of Toyota’s social contribution activities in support of arts and culture, will be held next year for the twelfth time, with special cooperation from the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. As part of Toyota’s award-winning Kokoro Hakobu Project, all proceeds from ticket sales for the Morioka and Sendai performances will again be donated toward the education of orphaned children in the Tohoku region, which was affected particularly badly by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Tickets will go on sale nationwide on December 7, 20132, with prices starting in the 3,000-yen range to give as many people as possible the opportunity to appreciate these world-class performances. To encourage broader musical appreciation, people up to 24 years of age are encouraged to apply for complimentary tickets to the concerts and rehearsals. Special concerts will also be held at elementary schools and child welfare facilities.
This season of Opera San Jose will be the last for retiring founder Irene Dalis, and now we find out it’ll also be the last for the person who probably has appeared in the most performances of anyone in the company’s 30-year history. At least, the back of his head made appearances.
That would be Music Director David Rohrbaugh, who has been in the orchestra pit conducting more than 70 productions and 600 performances for the company. Rohrbaugh has been with Opera San Jose since the beginning when he was a music professor at San Jose State, and he and Dalis codirected the opera workshop that blossomed into the company.
“My 30 years with Opera San Jose have presented both a challenge and a great sense of satisfaction,” he said. “It’s been a long ride, and we’ve accomplished so much. With Irene’s retirement, it seems that now is the right time to step down.”
So many changes all at once with Opera San José.
‘But it has been shown time and again that learning to play a classical instrument – or sing – makes you much cleaver, more confident and a better team player, as well as many other benefits.
Hmmm. Does “cleaver” mean something different in the UK? I’m guessing this is a typo ..?
Drive me nuts! A trio of musicians. Two listeners. And it’s a “study”?
A collaboration of researchers from Imperial College London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama examined the electrical signals in the brains of musicians and listeners.
Although improvisation is not commonly associated with classical music, the new study suggests that introducing elements of improvisation into classical concerts could increase audience engagement.
The team hope that this work will go some way to helping classical music fight against declining audiences. They suggest that by incorporating improvisation into classical musical concerts, musicians will create a unique event that will be both engaging and captivating.
Hmmm. Maybe if we make more mistakes that would also cause listeners to be more engaged.
Think about it.
Alex Ross has an article in the New Yorker that includes this:
Professional worriers in the classical business have portrayed the Minnesota and the City Opera situations as symptoms of a systemic disease. To be sure, many other institutions find themselves on shaky footing. The Brooklyn Philharmonic, which has been struggling for years, currently has no staff. More than a few opera companies have scaled back their schedules and ambitions. But other organizations are in surprisingly robust shape. The Chicago Symphony reported a record year of attendance and fund-raising. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is basking in wealth and thriving on innovation. The Cleveland Orchestra has increased revenue by attracting thousands of students to its concerts. And the Detroit Symphony is gradually rebounding from a fractious labor dispute a few seasons back, even as the city contemplates selling off some of its art collection. The Great Recession drew a clear line between soundly run groups and the rest.
I have always thought of “my” opera company as soundly run, but yesterday afternoon I was dismayed to learn, via a pre-opera lecture, that next year we will have only one cast for each opera, two fewer rehearsals and two fewer performances. This amounts, for the orchestra, to a loss of what would equal an entire opera run. I was so sad to hear it, and I was sadder still to realize that the audience was learning of our fate before we had been informed. Sad, sad stuff. I had always thought Opera San José would be the last job from which I would retire. I am going to have to rethink the plan I guess. Heartbreaking.