Thursday, October 30, 2003


Though accused in the media of deliberately trying to undercut English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, impresario Raymond Gubbay (known for his brassy and loud mega-opera 'spectaculars' at Earls Court) was suitably modest on BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday.

His company, in legion with the Royal Philharmonic, has taken over the Savoy Theatre in London's West End and will offer an eight-performance weekly schedule of the most popular operatic works (Mozart, Puccini et al) between February and April next year.

Gubbay avered that he wants to work with rather than against the established Houses. But Today, which revels in dumbing-down when it comes to music (though not other art forms) made the underlying message clear by holding up an excerpt of Schoenberg's 'Moses Und Aaron' for implied ridicule... Just to show their ignorance, they chose a moment of exquisite melody: "though not as we know it, Jim" (or John, in this case).

Interesting additional fact: Today's John Humphries also hosts the TV show, Mastermind. But his own masterful mind had never heard of Fairport Convention, he confessed, when the folkie coruncopians were chosen as a specialist subject a few weeks back. So he's obviously never come across their instrumental of Berg's ditty 'Liege and Lief', then... ;-)

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