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Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra. Photo by Tom Wallace.
The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and countless of its patrons have repeatedly stressed that they want Osmo Vänskä back as their leader. Vänskä himself has said via Facebook he woud like to be asked back. Common sentiment among those in the know is that for Vänskä to return, MOA president Michael Henson must go. Now Vänskä has made at least an indirect statement to the same effect by publicly endorsing -- again on Facebook -- a blogger's "open letter" to new MOA board chair Gordon Sprenger listing reasons why, in his view, Henson must be dismissed, among them lack of outside support and musician hostility.
Scott Chamberlain, who blogs about the orchestra at Mask of the Flower Prince, posted the letter yesterday. Vänskä "liked" a link to the post on Chamberlain's Facebook page, and on another page linking to the blog, he wrote "Well said, again and again! Thanks Scott!"
Sprenger's comments in a recent interview on Minnesota Public Radio seem to indicate where he is throwing his support. He praised Henson, calling him a "very, very good leader for the orchestra," and noted that Vänskä "did resign during this time."
Soprano Renee Fleming and Piotr Beczała in "Rusalka," which is broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House in HD on Saturday. Photo by Ken Howard for the Met.
More than 100 million saw her sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl recently. Now you can catch soprano Renee Fleming in Dvorak's "Rusalka," the opera that helped launch Fleming 25 years ago. That was when she won the Met's National Council Auditions singing the "Rusalka" aria "Song to the Moon."
The Met's HD livecast of "Rusalka" begins at 11:55 a.m. Sat., Feb. 8,at various Twin Cities movie theaters. Tickets and theater details are at the Fathom Events website.
The Met's revival of "Rusalka" with conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin received a mixed review in the New York Times. The story revolves around a water nymph who falls for a human. Uh-oh.
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will bring violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja on board for the 2014-15 season as an artistic partner. The SPCO will be the first American orchestra to present the Moldova native in concert.
In a statement Thursday, SPCO president Bruce Coppock called Kopatchinskaja "the most ravishingly intense and virtuosic musician I have heard in a very long time."
Coppock said the violinist draws from her Eastern European roots, a rigorous traditional training and "a seemingly limitless imagination to create performances that are completely convincing, utterly compelling and downright spectacular."
Kopatchinskaja is now based in Bern, Switzerland, and regularly collaborates with the London Philharmonic. She was recently nominated for a Grammy for solo work of Bartok, Eotvos and Ligeti.
"I am thrilled and eager to make music with the SPCO and look forward to exploring new worlds and frontiers with these wonderful musicians," Kopatchinskaja said in a statement. Her first major project with the SPCO will focus on weaving traditional folk music and classic works that come from Eastern European influences.
You can catch a glimpse of her work here.
Osmo Vanska announced his joy at being part of the Minnesota Orchestra's Grammy win for classical recording. Vanska issued a statement through his London-based manager early Monday morning.
"I am absolutely thrilled that this recording of Sibelius Symphonies 1 and 4 -- works so close to my heart -- has been honored with a Grammy Award. I am immensely happy and proud to have been able to achieve this in partnership with my dear and devoted friends at BIS record label and with the remarkable musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. it is the greatest honor to be presented with such a distinctive award by our peers -- and I convey my genuine thanks to The Recording Academy for this wonderful recognition."
Vanska has been busy lately with guest conducting gigs in Europe and in San Francisco. He quit the Minnesota Orchestra on Oct. 1, to protest the inability to forge a new collective bargaining agreement.
He has not said publicly what his plans are in regards a possible return to Minnesota. A Facebook post was reported to have said he'd like to return but he needs to be asked.
The Grammy-winning disc was the second in what had been intended as a full Sibelius symphony cycle. The first disc was nominated for a Grammy last year.
All doubt that the returning Minnesota Orchestra would generate much interest has been dashed. The organization's web site has been overwhelmed by demand for the Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 14-15 homecoming concerts.
Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 612-371-5656. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski will conduct Beethoven's Third on the 7th and 8th. Yan Pascal Tortelier will lead Holst's The Planets and the Elgar Cello Concerto the following weekend.
Spokeswoman Gwen Pappas said the greatest demand is for the Feb. 7 concert. There are still several hundred tickets available for that night. The remaining concerts are about half sold, Pappas said shortly before 11 a.m.
The orchestra is expected to announce its classical subscription season for the remainder of the year on Friday morning.
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