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The savviest move the Metropolitan Opera's Peter Gelb has made in a while: The New York Observer reports that he's hired his predecessor, Joe Volpe, to represent the Met in upcoming labor negotiations. Volpe is great with the unions; Gelb, not so much, and he doubtless wanted to avoid the kinds of problems that neophyte George Steel initially ran into when he tried to work with the unions at New York City Opera. [via MusicalAmerica.com]

Other new opera heads can be clueless: The incoming Intendant of Dresden's Semper Oper, Ulrike Hessler, probably thought she'd landed a major coup when she arranged for the Staatskapelle's New Year's concert to be broadcast on German television. Unfortunately, the company forgot to let its lame-duck music director, Fabio Luisi, know that the deal was moving ahead, with the concert to be conducted by his successor, Christian Thielemann. Luisi promptly resigned, effective immediately, leaving Dresden with no conductor for the two "Ring" cycles scheduled to start on February 21. The New York Times reports in full.
(more news after the jump)

Voting with their instruments: Having asked people to vote on which contemporary composers are most likely to withstand the test of time, Norman Lebrecht decided to find out from music publishers which composers are actually most performed. The answers: the top three works at three leading publishers are by Arvo Pärt, Howard Goodall, and Karl Jenkins. As Norman observes, John Adams and Steve Reich don't do as well as you might think.

But these statistics don't tell us all that much. Norman's original question was about who we'd be listening to in the concert halls in 50 years; and even today -- as these answers show -- the most-performed composers are likely to write for chorus or band, or small ensemble, or intermediate players. (I remember one composer talking about writing a piece for a flute competition, and disdaining it until she realized that her work was now being played by thousands of people.) So these responses aren't indicative of our listening habits in the future -- or of our listening habits today.

By Anne Midgette  |  February 5, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  news  
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