Dec 2000 Journal

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SB’s Column

Bayreuth. Preparations do not appear to be going smoothly for next year’s Wagner Festival. Mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier has cancelled her appearances and Placido Domingo is quoted as saying that he cannot agree on rehearsal dates with “Herr Wagner not being co-operative.” He will therefore not be at Bayreuth in 2001.

Honours and birthdays. Austrian-born Hollywood legend Billy Wilder (95) has been made an honorary citizen of Vienna; German actor Gert Westphal, who achieved popularity through his readings and recitals, has celebrated his 80th birthday; Vienna’s Burg actress Gusti Wolf, still active at 88, is now the oldest member of the ensemble.

Visions of fashion. Vienna-born Rudi Gernreich, who emigrated to the United States in 1938 and was a revolutionary fashion designer, staged a controversial show at the Künstlerhaus in Graz. It is described as a show of social trends with a glance into the future.

Vienna. A restaurant has been opened within the Burgtheater (corner of the Volksgarten side) which aims to combine elegance, comfort and tradition. This is the first time these historic rooms have catered for hungry theatre lovers.

Obituary. The death is announced of David Schallon, the Israeli conductor who was regular guest conductor of the Luxemburg Symphony Orchestra and who also conducted at San Francisco, Berlin and London. He lived in Germany.

Bass baritone Walter Berry, important in the opera world for nearly 50 years, has died aged 71. Apart from creating 20th century roles (including Wozzeck, and Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten), he was a welcome visitor to all major opera houses from Salzburg to San Francisco, visiting Covent Garden from 1976 onwards. His wife is the mezzo soprano Christa Ludwig.

This is SB’s final Column. He took over PEM’s Column in September 1974 and has since contributed regularly over the last 26 years. Now nearly ninety, he has decided to retire and to enjoy reading AJR Information rather than contributing to it. We would like to record our gratitude to him for his unfailing contributions on the British and continental cultural scene and to wish him well for the future. – Ed.

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