Unless you were hiding under a rock this week, you’ve probably heard the news about Bob Dylan‘s Nobel (and the fact that they can’t get in touch with him). You may even have heard about what Mozart can do for a good grape. But here are a few other stories you may have missed in the last week or so:
Opera rising above the din
Two posts this week use music to distract and refocus in the midst of a truly frustrating election season:
“Sex and violets” — Parterre Box, 10/11/16
La Cieca distracts us from both Met and Trump drama with a visit to a rarified performance of Adriana Lecouvreur by the unforgettable Montserrat Caballé. The post brings with it a lively comment thread, with shared memories of opera on a very stormy night, and perhaps one of the diva’s most focused performances.
“In Chaotic Times, a Singer’s Plea for Freedom” — NPR, 10/17/16
Joyce DiDonato’s new album puts Baroque gems to work in the modern age, complete with accompanying website to encourage discussion.
“A Universal Music” — NewMusicBox, 10/11/16
Can music bridge the gaps between us? One composer explores its power to embrace his own multiethnic heritage, and perhaps even “to move beyond ethnic stylizations”.
Performers and industry
“What is the Philadelphia Orchestra’s future after the strike?” — Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/7/16
Peter Dobrin offers some analysis and insight into the recent strike in Philly.
“Audition season, or the Annual Festival of Shattered Dreams” — Schmopera, 10/11/16
An anonymous author identified as “a current figure in the operatic industry” slams the system for a time-honored ritual that has become something else.
“Peter Allen, a Voice on the Radio for the Met Opera, Dies at 96” — New York Times, 10/10/16
After many decades, an iconic voice among iconic voices has been silenced.
“Father of Concerthall Acoustics has Died, Aged 102“, Slipped Disc, 10/14/16
Leo L. Beranek, the American scientist who turned acoustics into an international business, has died in a retirement home in Westwood, Mass.
“When Pavarotti Reigned as the Classical Crossover Duet King” — WQXR Blog, 10/17/16
Luciano Pavarotti was the undisputed king of classical crossover. The duets from his Pavarotti and Friends benefit concerts raised money for victims of war and violence in the 1990s.
“Money and maestros: How one company is defying Italy’s opera curse” — The Economist, 10/10/16
The orchestra and choir from Turin’s Teatro Regio is defying expectations and beating financial odds… with a different approach to fundraising.
“Classic music’s social media conundrum” — On an Overgrown Path, 10/13/16
So we can talk about ourselves, but how come we have such a hard time talking up worthy musical projects?
“Orchestras Raise Curtain On Opera Sans Its Trappings” — Classical Voice North America, 10/14/16
American symphony orchestras are on the hunt for ways to diversify their offerings and attract new audiences without sacrificing artistic integrity in the process. Full-length concert performances of opera check all those boxes, so it’s not surprising they have proliferated rapidly in the last decade or two.
“The Prodigy Complex: On Children in Classical Music” — VAN Magazine, 10/15/16
Why are we so fascinated with child prodigies in the classical world? Hartmut Welscher looks at many decades of fixation on young talent, including reasons why young musicians are different from young actors: “…no one pays to watch a six-year-old playing Hamlet.”
“Perception is Persuasion” — Unchoir Your Choir, 10/16/16
Can a choir director “brand” their choir so participants see the value in their investment?
“Paramusical ensemble – Music of the mind: a stunning string quartet created through brainwaves” — Aeon Magazine, 10/11/16
By directly accessing the brainwaves of four severely motor-impaired people, a string quartet emerges of surprising beauty.
“Visualify Shows Off Your Spotify Listening Habits, Tracks Top Songs and Artists” — Lifehacker, 10/14/16
New tool illustrates what you listen to on one of the most popular streaming sites.
About “Arts Catch-up”
This is a new weekly feature, designed to keep our readers informed and knowledgable about the arts sector, including a few of our best newsy tweets. If you have an article to submit, please Contact us with the link.