Rossini to romcoms and Feldman to football: the best classical music and opera of 2021 – The Guardian

A group of thousands collectively held our breath

I was a big fan of Pavel Kolesnikov’s recording of the Goldberg Variations, and it was a pleasure to be once again part of a reasonably big, focused Proms audience to hear him play the work, the same yet different, in the Royal Albert Hall. I had missed the feeling of being part of a group of thousands collectively holding our breath. Yet what’s been more striking than seeing big events return is the way in which some smaller ones have seized their chance: events such as the Oxford Lieder festival, which kept going with a huge programme including some exciting new commissions, efficiently delivered to online audiences and those in the hall. Facing the double whammy of Covid and Brexit, the resilience of the music business even in the face of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s cancelled meetings, cack-handed press releases and general indifference has been quite something. Erica Jeal

Operatic comedies felt like balm for the soul

Italian operatic comedies, understandably perhaps, felt like balm for the soul as we emerged from lockdown. Rossini was prominent, with Glyndebourne offering a dazzling new production of Il Turco in Italia by Mariame Clément, while Garsington gave us Cal McCrystal’s deliriously camp take on the wonderfully ribald Le Comte Ory. A beautiful staging by Julia Burbach of L’Amico Fritz, Mascagni’s sweet, gentle romcom was Opera Holland Park’s choice, a perfect summer night’s entertainment from a company that found a well-nigh ideal solution to social distancing, with their open-sided auditorium and movable seating. Once full audiences returned, however, the absence of clear Covid guidelines resulted in confusion, with venues operating different policies with regard to issuing paper tickets or e-tickets, printed or downloadable programmes, and – until recently – whether the wearing of masks should be mandatory or optional. We really could do with greater consistency. Tim Ashley

Wonderfully ribald … Le Comte Ory at Garsington Opera. Photograph: Robbie Jack/Corbis/Getty Images

Nicola Benedetti made a dynamic advocate for music education

In a year that has seen both misery and exhilaration on a sometimes epic scale, it would be too easy to overlook the heroes of classical music’s day-to-day running. Alongside the administrators who’ve made performances possible in a world of ever-changing legislation and you-be-the-judge guidelines, we should celebrate the teachers who continued to enthuse musicians of all ages through masks and isolation, across dodgy wifi connections and multiple time zones. Few high-profile artists have shown more practical commitment to the cause than Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti: during lockdown her Benedetti Foundation “virtual sessions” involved more than 7,000 participants and she remains a dynamic advocate for the vital importance of music education. Is it a coincidence that in July the Scottish government announced free musical instrument tuition for all school pupils in 2021-22? Perhaps. But Westminster could certainly …….


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Blac Youngsta Raps Next to Tomb with Young Dolph’s Name in Music Video – TMZ

Blac Youngsta is either clueless or he’s gonna have a wave of hate coming his way from Young Dolph fans after posing next to a tomb with the late rapper’s name on it in a new music video.

Youngsta — who was a known enemy of Dolph — released the video for his song “Im Assuming” Monday, filmed almost entirely in a cemetery. While it’s very brief, around the 1-minute-mark of the video, you see the last n…….


Music Box Cookie Tin is Truly ‘Note-Able’ – Packaging Digest

Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when packaging surprises you in a good way?

My packaging-induced wonder came upon a recent night-time visit to a nearby Aldi’s. As I perused the shelves, there it was: Benton’s “Music Tin with Sugar Cookies”, which captures exactly what it’s about.

It was so unexpected to find such a premium-looking, interactive item at the discount grocer that I was beaming like a kid on Christmas morning. Then I became self-conscious and looked around to see if my fellow shoppers noticed my reaction. If so, they may have thought I’d enjoyed some liquid holiday cheer beforehand.