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In Brief: Labor Day Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • available at Amazon
    Roberto Alagna, French Arias
    The online listening queue is full of great choices: Massenet's Le Cid from the Opéra de Marseille; the concert by the finalists of the Metropolitan Opera competition; pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei and the English Chamber Orchestra playing Mozart and Haydn at the Festival International de Piano de La Roque d'Anthéron; pianist Yulianna Avdeeva and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from Warsaw; Patrizia Ciofi and Vivica Genaux in Rossini's Stabat Mater from the Festival de Saint-Denis; and contemporary music from the Festival Agora at the Centre Pompidou. [France Musique]

  • It's the last week of the Proms: a recital by Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt; the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Hélène Grimaud and again with Anne-Sophie Mutter; David Robertson leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with Christian Tetzlaff playing Harrison Birtwistle's violin concerto; Janine Jansen with the (bankrupt) Philadelphia Orchestra; John Eliot Gardiner leading the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in Weber's Der Freischütz; and the blockbuster closing concert. [BBC Proms]

  • Politics and culture should not mix, but they do all too often and from both sides, unfortunately. Artists regrettably inject their politics into their public performances. Some political activists target musicians of certain nationalities, to make a political statement by ruining an entire audience's evening. Both are to be deplored. This happens to Israeli musicians, as it did to the Jerusalem Quartet at the Library of Congress a few years ago, and to the Israel Philharmonic this week at the Proms. Even the reaction of critics to the event turns political. [Jessica Duchen]

  • Here is a Y-chromosome follow-up to the silly furor over the dress worn by Yuja Wang at the Hollywood Bowl. (The only ones upset were "a few Communist party officials," the violinist joked in response to the press tempest in a teacup.) Now violinist Charlie Siem ("in a Dior Homme sweater") is profiled in Vogue. We should be so lucky that classical music, at least a small fraction of the time, is sexy. I have heard Siem play only in online videos, none of which have converted me to his cult yet -- put your tongue back in your mouth, Jessica Duchen -- but best of luck to him. [Vogue]

  • Tenor Jonas Kaufmann canceled a run of performances in Japan, to have a node surgically removed -- scheduled for as soon as possible after a September 2 performance in Stockholm. We wish him a speedy recovery. [Jonas Kaufmann]

  • Another talented tenor, Salvatore Licitra, remains at a Sicilian hospital, in a coma following a crash while riding a scooter. He was reportedly not wearing a helmet. His condition remains very serious. [Opera Chic]

  • UPDATE: Norman Lebrecht is reporting that Salvatore Licitra has died. Our condolences to his family and friends. [Slipped Disc]

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