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High Notes and Low Tones for Classical Music in 2013
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High Notes and Low Tones for Classical Music in 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013 - 06:00 PM

Poll: What was the biggest story of 2013?

Every year brings us new concerts and recordings, scandals and obsessions. The year 2013 saw plenty of the latter: there were protests at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera, and a stagehand strike that thwarted Carnegie Hall's opening night. Wagner, Verdi and Britten each preoccupied many musicians, but at least one major orchestra – the Minnesota Orchestra – remained silent.

This week, WQXR's Operavore blog will look specifically at the year in opera. But for now, here are our arbitrarily granted citations for the classical music industry in 2013.

Biggest Financial Woe: The competition was intense (and when isn't it?). After some promising concerts in the spring, the Brooklyn Philharmonic fell silent. The Nashville and Toronto Symphonies both struggled. But New York City Opera's announcement on Oct. 3 that it was closing after a failed campaign to raise enough funds for its 2014 season was particularly tragic in its implications.

Most Complicated Anniversary: Richard Wagner’s 200th birth anniversary. Arts organizations twisted themselves in knots determining how best to observe the problematic composer’s bicentenary. The Cologne Opera in Germany took a confrontational approach with a Nazi-themed Tannhauser. Not to be outdone, Bayreuth staged a new avant-garde Ring Cycle production that was roundly booed over much of its run.

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