Monday, June 20, 2011

"Mitsuko Uchida played for this milk"

 In this weekend's news:

Valentina Nafornita from Moldova won BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, though there was much stronger support on Twitter for Olesya Petrova and Andrei Bondarenko ("the name's Bond...arenko, Andrei Bondarenko...") for the performances yesterday. Valentina may have excelled in earlier rounds, and scooped the audience prize as well. But in the final she showed a lack of stamina and uncertain intonation. Nevertheless, she is thin, pretty, young and saleable. We wonder why anyone bothered with the singing.

'Max', aka Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, has called for fines to be imposed on audience members whose phones go off during performances. As I can report that the LPO fines its players £5 a pop if a phone rings in rehearsal and £20 in a concert, we don't see why the audience should be exempt. It works. In 15 years I've only heard one orchestral phone jangle during full flood. Go get 'em, Max!

In Moscow, the Tchaikovsky Competition is in full swing. Barry Douglas, piano supremo and jury boss - himself a former winner - is tweeting updates. Follow him at @wbarrydouglas.

Here, I'm off for my first visit to Garsington Opera's new home at Wormsley near High Wycombe this afternoon. Yes, dear reader, I am attending a real, live baroque opera - a little-known job by good old Vivaldi. More of that anon.

And finally... welcome to Konzertmilch Dortmund. Perhaps this could only happen in Germany, where classical music is still daily bread...