That female touch
A mere 138 years after it first raised its curtain, New York’s Metropolitan Opera has announced that it is to commission its first ever operas by female composers. The Met’s music director Yannick Nezet-seguin and general manager Peter Gelb say that the company will be staging works by Missy Mazzoli and Jeanine Tesori, the former based on George Saunders’s novel Lincoln in the Bardo. See Richard Morrison, p25.
In another first, Sir John Eliot Gardiner is to take on an assistant. Having flown his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras solo for 54 years, the revered conductor, now 75, has recruited Dinis Sousa to share the workload. Sousa will play a major role in all of the ensembles’ activities, including the ongoing Berlioz Series tour of Europe and the US.
Words of warning
Gardiner, fellow conductor Sir Simon Rattle and composer Howard Goodall are among a number of leading figures from across the British music world who have signed an open letter to Theresa May spelling out the dangers that Brexit may bring. The letter, penned by Sir Bob Geldof, warns that ‘Brexit will impact every aspect of the music industry. From touring, sales, copyright legislation, to royalty collation.’ Others to have signed it include pop musicians Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Queen’s Roger Taylor and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd.
With Vasily Petrenko set to pack up his batons and head to pastures new in 2020, the Oslo Philharmonic has named Klaus Mäkelä, 22, as the man to take over from him as chief conductor. Mäkelä, the latest of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of brilliant young Finns, is also an accomplished cellist and is currently principal guest conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Met commission: US composer Missy Mazzoli