The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Glyndebourne Cancels - All remaining Glyndebourne Festival 2020 performances have been cancelled. This follows the earlier cancellation of Festival performances up to 14 July, as announced. Following Government advice, the Glyndebourne site remains closed.
Executive chairman Gus Christie states: “We maintained our optimism for as long as possible. Glyndebourne is a relatively small charity but with big ambitions, driven by the belief that opera can transform lives. The Festival receives no public subsidy and our financial independence means that we are reliant on ticket sales to be able to operate. With this source of income now gone, it’s not just our future that’s at risk – the immediate livelihood of over 400 seasonal staff and artists has vanished. We have started a COVID-19 Emergency Appeal to help us to help them, and to secure Glyndebourne’s long-term future for all.
“To help keep the spirit of Glyndebourne alive during the closure, please join us every Sunday from 24 May as Glyndebourne Open House brings world-class opera to you at home. Tune in on YouTube every week for free access to classic Glyndebourne productions and, together, let’s create a taste of the Festival experience.”
Under The Hammer - The guitar used by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's famous MTV Unplugged in New York concert is going under the hammer, with a starting estimate of $1m (£810,000). The 1959 Martin D-18E featured in the band's performance in November 1993, five months before his death at the age of 27.
The guitar is the headline item for Julien's Auctions' Music Icons event being held in Beverly Hills in June. Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions, said: "This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock 'n' roll history as the instrument played by one of rock's most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time."
In Administration - Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) has gone into administration as a result of the increasingly severe financial impact caused by coronavirus. NST, which has run for more than 50 years, comprises venues at the University of Southampton’s Highfield campus and at a new £32m hub in Guildhall Square in the city centre. The severe drop in ticket sales from its closure and uncertainty about its reopening date have proved devastating.
On 3 April, NST announced the cancellation of all performances until 31 May. The majority of its 80 staff have been furloughed. Buyers are being sought by joint administrators Greg Palfrey and Steve Adshead, from the south coast office of Smith & Williamson. Palfrey said it was “a sad day not only for Southampton, of which NST has been a venerable part of the city’s cultural fabric for more than half a century, but for the country’s theatreland in general”.
NST has become a major cultural force in the region and beyond, particularly with dramas based on local stories such as Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory, about the production of Spitfires, and SS Mendi, about the sinking of a South African ship in Southampton waters.
Palfrey stated: “We will do our best to sell the business and its assets, albeit in testing commercial conditions which have no parallel in modern British history … NST is a well-respected theatre company, with a range of assets, that could survive and thrive. A buyer would need to be patient because no one yet knows when theatres will reopen, or how social distancing measures would impact upon seating and stage and therefore revenues. However, for the right person or company, this presents a rare opportunity to acquire one of the leading and long-established theatre brands in southern England.”
Farewell - Chaka Khan, John Legend and Snoop Dogg have all paid tribute to R&B star Betty Wright, who has died aged 66. The Grammy-winning star, whose hits included Clean Up Woman and Tonight Is The Night, had been battling cancer.
A powerful, soulful vocalist, she was one of the first singers to use the "whistle register", later utilised by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. As a writer and producer, she also created hits for artists including Bob Marley, Gloria Estefan and Joss Stone. "We mourn the loss of this beautiful soul," wrote Khan on her Instagram page. "I will miss her so."
(Jim Evans)
12 May 2020

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