Discussions underway for new Rhine Opera House
2 September 2009, Strasbourg
Opera Now has learnt that discussions have opened between the French and German governments concerning the building of a major new opera house on the banks of the River Rhine. The aim of the project would be to establish a symbol of cultural unity at the heart of the European Union.
The new house is likely to be located in or near Strasbourg, alongside the Rhine. The city is one of the homes of the European Parliament and is also capital of the French region of Alsace, which borders Germany and has historically capitulated between French and German rule.
Although no details have yet been released, Opera Now's source commented: 'There have been talks concerning a significant new opera building, which would serve as a symbol of Franco-German symbiosis, a true Rhine-Opera...'
La Scala forced to seal off 270 seats from auditorium
2 September 2009
The world-famous Teatro alla Scala yesterday closed the seating tiers in its upper gallery while work is carried out to remove asbestos, first discovered in December last year.
The theatre has closed off a section of 270 seats, and ticketholders will be offered upgrades when available, or refunds. The work is expected to be finished by the end of October, and thus will impact on the new production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, staged by Robert Wilson.
La Scala press officer Carlo Maria Cella said the asbestos was found in a ‘very limited’ section of the vaulted ceiling above the upper gallery, and the area was immediately sealed until the problem could be fixed during the theatre’s summer recess. No asbestos fibres have spread into the theatre, Cella said, adding that the gallery will be fully operational in good time for the traditional opening of the La Scala opera season on 7 December, which this year features a new production of Carmen conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Bolshoi music director resigns
21 July 2009, Moscow, Russia
Alexander Vedernikov: no compromises
After a week of rumours and rumblings, Alexander Vedernikov has officially announced his resignation as music director of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
The decision was made following a row with Bolshoi's management which is struggling to keep the once-revered institution alive. Vedernikov is said to be unhappy at the compromises imposed on his artistic planning at the Bolshoi, in the midst of a financial crisis exacerbated by the ongoing and ruinously expensive restauration of the company's historic theatre in Moscow.
Commenting on his decision which was announced as the Bolshoi is on tour to La Scala Milan, Vedernikov said: 'I have very good memories of the past eight years that I have devoted to Bolshoi Theatre. We made a great deal of effort to take the theatre out of creative crisis... Unfortunately now I find myself in disagreement with the Bolshoi’s management regarding its future. In this situation I decided that it is better to concentrate my efforts on developing my international career, and this will be more effective from all points of view.'
Meanwhile, there is no end in sight to works at the Bolshoi Theatre. The restoration process, begun in 2005, has already overrun by a year and, amid continuing recriminations, the current talk is of a possible 2011 reopening at best.
Rufus Wainwright opera
15 July 2009
Aix Festival announces future plans
7 July 2009, Aix en Provence, France
Sir Colin Davis
As the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's residency came to an end at this year's Aix-en-Provence Festival, it was announced that from next year, the London Symphony Orchestra under its music director Sir Colin Davis would be newly resident at the festival until 2013.
In its first year, the LSO will only be giving concerts over one weekend of the Aix-en-Provence festival; but in 2011 the orchestra will play for Natalie Dessay's first Traviata, with Frenchman Louis Langrée taking up the baton, while Sir Colin will conduct an as yet-to-be-announced Mozart opera.
Will the Berlin Phil be a hard act to follow? Read Francis Carlin's full report from the 2009 Aix-en-Provence festival in our forthcoming September/October issue of Opera Now
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