Norman Lebrecht Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:09:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dis-ease: Guardian teams up with tobacco firm to present classical concerts Mon, 18 Jun 2012 11:49:13 +0000 norman Continue reading ]]> You have to get down to the small print in this press release to find that JTI – with whom the Guardian is proudly presenting classical concerts at the Royal Academy – is ‘a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies’.

Why is a public-funded orchestra in bed with these dealers of early death? And why has the Guardian become a fellow-traveller of an industry it denounces?

Answers, please. Here’s the press release:

MEDIA RELEASE 18 June 2012




The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Academy of Arts have joined forces to present Music in the Courtyard¸ a unique outdoor concert on the evening of Saturday 1 September, with kind support from JTI, and in partnership with the Guardian.


Taking place during the time of the Royal Academy’s From Paris: A Taste for Impressionism exhibition, the concert programme has been carefully chosen to reflect this creative period, with impressionist music by Ravel, Chausson, Duparc and Dukas. Danielle de Niese, described as ‘Opera’s coolest soprano’ by the New York Times Magazine, takes centre stage to sing Duparc’s Mélodies and violinist Simone Lamsma, regarded as one of the leading artists of her generation, joins the Orchestra on stage to perform Chausson’s Poème, both under the baton of French conductor Fabien Gabel.


All tickets are priced at £12 and will be available exclusively via a ballot system through the Guardian website ( from Monday 18 June. Tickets can be applied for until Friday 6 July, after which successful applicants will be informed. All applicants will also be offered an incentive to attend a future London Philharmonic Orchestra concert.


Music in the Courtyard celebrates JTI’s long-term cultural partnerships with both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Academy of Arts, allowing both organisations to develop new audiences that they might not otherwise reach, and giving a wide range of people an opportunity to hear a world renowned orchestra in the Annenberg Courtyard of Piccadilly’s historic Burlington House.


Live concert stream

The concert can also be enjoyed live online, free of charge, courtesy of the Guardian (, and an on-demand streaming service will be available for 14 days after the initial broadcast, thus widening the potential audience reach further, both in the UK and internationally.


Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra commented, ‘We are delighted to be collaborating with an institution as prestigious as the Royal Academy of Arts on this exciting project, and are extremely grateful to JTI for enabling us to bring our live music-making to new audiences. Alongside this, the Guardian partnership helps us to embrace digital technology to give the unique courtyard concert experience an even wider reach.’
MaryAnne Stevens, Director of Academic Affairs and co-curator of the exhibition, warmly welcomed this initiative, stating ‘The period in which the masterpieces in the exhibition and the music presented in the concert were created was one of intense innovation and creative richness in France.  Francine Clark, wife of the collector Sterling Clark, whose aesthetic acumen assembled the paintings shown in the exhibition, was a gifted musician; they would both have felt very much at home with the programme being presented by the LPO through the generous support of JTI.’



For further information, contact Victoria Bevan, Albion Media; 020 3077 4947

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Cecilia Bartoli makes La Scala return after 20-year huff Mon, 18 Jun 2012 11:42:07 +0000 norman Continue reading ]]> Nobody could get her to return to the notorious bearpit, but Daniel Barenboim has done it. She last appeared as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in 1993 but has refused to take their calls since Riccardo Muti walked the gangplank later that year.

Now, she has agreed to open the La Scala Philharmonic season with Daniel Barenboim this December, in Milan and on tour to Paris.

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