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Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Conductor Simon Rattle, who has reportedly told the Berlin Philharmonic he will leave his post there in 2018.
Thomas Rabsch
courtesy of the artist
Conductor Simon Rattle, who has reportedly told the Berlin Philharmonic he will leave his post there in 2018.
  • Simon Rattle announced yesterday to the Berlin Philharmonic that he will be leaving his position there as artistic director and chief conductor in the summer of 2018. Said Rattle, "In 2018 I will have been with the orchestra for 16 years. Before this I was chief conductor in Birmingham for 18 years. In 2018 I will be nearly 64 years old. As a Liverpool boy, it is impossible not to think of the Beatles' question, 'Will you still need me ... when I'm 64?'"
  • In the midst of the lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra and music director Osmo Vänskä are getting back together — at least for one night, reports the Star-Tribune. They'll be playing a concert on Feb. 1 to celebrate their Grammy nomination. (See? The Grammy Awards still matter to some people.) The performance was the brainchild of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Judy Dayton, a longtime benefactor of the ensemble.
  • Breaking news! The Los Angeles Times tells us that classical artists enjoy other kinds of music, too. (We can totally get with Richard Egarr's love of Prince and MTT's devotion to James Brown, but ... Celine Dion, Riccardo Muti? Really?)
  • Speaking of Muti: He's canceled two weeks of concerts in Chicago due to the flu, and flown home to Italy to recuperate. (Because there's nothing like long flights to make you feel better — and to spread that good feeling to everybody else on the plane.)
  • Over on WQXR's blog, Brian Wise checks out how New Amsterdam is faring eight weeks after Sandy, when the storm destroyed the label's home: "The cleanup process illustrates the challenges facing a nonprofit arts group with apparently limited reserve funds and a status as a tenant with no flood insurance."
  • Classical geek? Keep going...

  • Eminent mezzo Susanne Mentzer is on a mission to record songs by Carlisle Floyd — and she's raising the money for it on Kickstarter.
  • A Sunday the New York Times spends with Mark O'Connor reveals the fiddler's alternate personas: cave dweller and skateboarding champ.
  • Sotheby's has dropped its business in fine instruments, reports The Strad. Its specialists have set up an independent shop in London, called Ingles & Hayday. The famed auction house has been dropping several niche areas in a row, including sports memorabilia, stamps and coins in order to focus on its core business of art and antiques.
  • Here's an interesting assertion: One author — a newcomer to classical music — says that recordings of classical music are far preferable to live performances, which seem to him "insubstantial and elusive," as quoted by The Nation. Huh.
  • Last weekend's mashup between the Lyric Opera and Second City in Chicago was so successful that it's poised for an encore performance in June, with new material added.
  • Did you miss the day filmed backstage at the Royal Opera House last Monday? You can watch the whole thing — 10 1/2 hours! — on The Guardian's website.
  • C'est pas vachement chouette: tenor Marc Hervieux is refusing to sing rehearsals for the Opéra de Montréal production of Die Fledermaus that opens on Jan. 26 — because the posters promoting this season's shows feature models, not the performers. Hervieux told the CBC: "If you don't know a lot about opera, you see this poster of this beautiful girl or this beautiful guy. When you buy your ticket, suddenly, where is this beautiful guy?" And he added: "Call this guy on the poster to sing."
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    Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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