15. January 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Links

So this article says. Yikes.

Just as it was riding high in the opera world, the Metropolitan Opera has been bludgeoned by the recession and now faces a “disaster scenario” unless the company finds major cost cuts, including concessions from its powerful unions, the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, said on Thursday.

Its once-mighty endowment of more than $300 million has dropped by a third, to a point where it cannot be drawn from; donations are down by $10 million this season; and ticket sales are expected to be off by several million dollars from what was expected, Mr. Gelb said in an interview.

Mr. Gelb said that he and senior staff members have taken a 10 percent pay cut and that the rest of the staff would do so at the end of the fiscal year, which concludes after the season. He said at least four expensive productions have been canceled or replaced next season as well.

The article goes on to talk a bit about New York City Opera and its woes as well.

We are in rough times, and it appears it’s going to continue for a while.

I’m having a difficult time with creativity these days. My blog posts are rather bland or mere links to other sites. What’s up with that, you ask?

I don’t know.

So whatever. I’m hoping I’ll get my blog back soon. (It’s like getting one’s groove back, right?)

Meanwhile I do see that I’m losing the small audience I’ve had. My stats this past month really took a nosedive. I shouldn’t really care; if I did this for stats I’d probably blog more about nude oboists or brawling English hornists or maybe find a picture of Paris Hilton playing the bassoon or some such thing. Hmm. She doesn’t seem like a bassoonist. What instrument should that girl play?

Meanwhile, I’m home from the first of three concerts. I thought it went well. I was happy with all of my solos, although not ecstatic. I wasn’t happy with one other thing I played, but I’m not sure how it came across in the hall. The audience seemed less than enthusiastic, but maybe I’m reading them wrong. Not that I would ever read anything or anyone incorrectly in a negative way, right? I really enjoy the Amram Piano Concerto. He’s calling it #1, so does that mean he’ll be writing another?

Now it’s time to pack everything up for the trip over the hill tomorrow. I have to do it tonight. If I wait until morning I always manage to forget something. I’ll probably forget something anyway, but at least I’m trying ….

15. January 2009 · Comments Off on More Struggles · Categories: News

Amato Opera is closing its doors.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has laid off five staff members, and Baltimore Chamber Orchestra has canceled two performances.

Florida Grand Opera has canceled one of their operas for next season.

I’m waiting here. And wondering. But I’m not going to worry.

Okay. Not much, anyway.

15. January 2009 · Comments Off on Must One Applaud? · Categories: Reviews

Itzhak Perlman was part raconteur, teacher and etiquette scold Monday night at his recital before a sold-out hall at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, but in the middle of all that the Israeli-born violinist managed to be a good advocate for an early work of Messiaen.

Perlman played the French composer’s Theme and Variations, written in 1932, not once but twice in the second half of his program. “I’m telling you, it’s a terrific piece,” he said, and then suggested that he and pianist Rohan de Silva might repeat it.

But first he had to gently upbraid the audience for its initial lukewarm response to the relatively brief work, which ends with a long diminuendo that expires at the bottom of the violin and piano registers. “Tell me something: Was it really that bad that half of you didn’t want to clap?” Perlman said, then advised them on good concert manners, which involves applause even after you hear something you don’t like.

Hmmm. I wonder about this. Do we clap to be polite no matter what?

I’m not saying this performance didn’t deserve applause; I don’t know the work. I do know Mr. Perlman’s playing, and I certainly can’t imagine not applauding him.

But, according to the review, Mr. Perlman is saying one should always applaud.

I’m just not sure about that.

15. January 2009 · Comments Off on Charles Schultz · Categories: Links

In a strip from 1953 Schroeder embarks on an intensive workout. He does push-ups, jumps rope, lifts weights, touches his toes, does sit-ups (“Puff, Puff”), boxes, runs (“Pant, Pant”) and finally eats (“Chomp! Chomp!”). In the last two panels he walks to his piano with determination and begins playing furiously, sweat springing from his brow.

The eighth notes above Schroeder’s head are from the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata (Op. 106), a piece so long, artistically complex and technically difficult that it is referred to as the “Giant” Sonata. When Beethoven delivered it to the publisher in 1819, he is believed to have said, “Now you will have a sonata that will keep the pianists busy when it is played 50 years from now.”

I read this at the New York Times. Unfortunately I can’t get to the article now. I’m not sure why I could access it earlier, but I could.