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Music Industry: April 2008 Archives

I Puritani at the Met

A Big-Screen Test for Opera

Simulcasting Has Put A Song in the Hearts of Met Execs. Others Are Holding Their Applause.

By Anne Midgette
Washington Post

When "The Daughter of the Regiment," one of the Metropolitan Opera's most-anticipated premieres this season, comes live to a movie house near you on Saturday, it's a good bet that the theater will be mobbed. Met General Manager Peter Gelb's vision for high-definition cinema transmissions of operas has proved so successful after two seasons that the company is adding more of them every year: 11 have just been announced for 2008-09. And other opera companies are scrambling to catch up.

This spring, productions from the San Francisco Opera, La Scala in Milan and London's Royal Opera House began appearing in North American movie theaters. But the response has not been quite the same. On April 5, 170,000 people around the world saw the Met's "La Bohème." A week later, however, when a taped performance of the San Francisco Opera's "Don Giovanni" played in selected theaters around the country, the Pavilion Park Slope movie house in Brooklyn had all of 13 people in the audience.

Read more about this at the Washington Post website:

   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/23/AR2008042303689.html

The Demise of the Brick and Mortar

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Tower - Everything music go...

Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing

By Ben Sisario
New York Times

Now added to the endangered species list in New York City, along with independent booksellers and shoe repair: the neighborhood record store.

The hole-in-the-wall specialty shops that have long made Lower Manhattan a destination for a particular kind of shopper have never made a great deal of money. But in recent years they have been hit hard by the usual music-industry woes – piracy, downloading – as well as rising real estate prices, leading to the sad but familiar scene of the emptied store with a note taped to the door.

Some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. And that's not just the big boxes like the 89 Tower Records outlets that closed at the end of 2006; nearly half were independent shops. In Manhattan and Brooklyn at least 80 stores have shut down in the last five years.

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/arts/music/18reco.html

The Sexy Side of Classical Music

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Violinist Janine Jansen by Mitch Jenkins

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra: A Sex Appeal

By Eddie Silva
Playbill Arts

Let's talk about sex – and classical music.

A couple of years ago the writer Greg Sandow, who discusses the state and fate of classical music on artsjournal.com, alerted his readers to the emergence of an audacious new feature in MUSO, a magazine based in the UK that writes about the classical music world the way Spin writes about rock & roll. In MUSO's online version, Sandow heralded, is a section called "G Spot," which features a list of fans picks for sexiest soloists, with pictures and commentary.

For example, violinist Joshua Bell is described to be "As American as apple pie and just as tasty." Pianist Hélène Grimaud is praised for her "gamine gaze." Room is left for praise of the artists' musicianship, "supreme skills across an extraordinary range of repertoire" and "steely pianistic strength," but the message MUSO spreads is that having one gift does not belie the other. And, more importantly, classical can be hot.

Classical music is declared dead, usually with deep regret, by some astute and erudite critic on a regular basis. And just as it is declared dead, it is passionately declared alive and well by another astute and erudite critic – usually the next day. Death and resurrection is a great theme of religion and literature, but a steady dose of it can be emotionally depleting, especially if it happens to be your art form being compared to Lazarus. Within the chronicling of the death-life continuum of classical music, at least one fact is inarguable: classical music's presence near the center of popular culture has diminished considerably over (at least) the last two decades.

Read more about this at the Playbill Arts website:

   http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/7621.html

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