Will play for low-e lightbulbs
Famed conductor Claudio Abbado will happily lead your opera company--just include a new forest in the contract and you're golden.
La Scala in Milan just announced that Claudio Abbado, the famous conductor who made a very unhappy departure from the company more than 20 years ago, will return to lead the orchestra and chorus now that they've fulfilled his biggest stipulation: more trees.
Abbado leans to the left politically, and the right-wing leaders of Milan had to agree to "plant 90,000 trees" (Abbado's own words) in order to lure him back onto the podium of the revered Opera House. Plant they did, and the Maestro will return, with Mahler concerts already scheduled!
This got me thinking about what other requests conductors could make. We've all heard about brandy glasses with 1,000 brown M and Ms or fruit trays arranged with the fruit going alphabetically left to right and depicting the flag of Iceland, but what wonders could be wrought if Michael Tilson Thomas or Esa-Pekka Salonen or Lorin Mazel really put their minds to it?
"Tilson Thomas guests with Chicago Symphony after governor gives him Obama's Senate seat. Promises 'golden' concert that one 'can't just let go to waste.'"
"Salonen leads Boston Symphony in all-Disney Princess program with promise of Boston Garden parquee floor installed in his hotel suite. Talk of undigging Big Dig undone by local teamsters, but Celtics legend Larry Bird will deliver chocolate-covered strawberries and provide turndown service during rehearsals"
"With an entire city now clad in organic cotton and using only low-e bulbs for no more than 2 hours a day, Levine finally agrees to lead Sarasota Opera. Music will be composted after performances and used to grow trees from which to carve cellos and violins for underpriviledged ex-trombonists now seeking employment. Ticket proceeds go towards job training programs to help 'those poor guys learn how to play something useful.'"
"Bills sign Mazel to one-game contract at running back in exchange for complete Mahler cycle with Buffalo Philharmonic. Promises no Lynch-like tomfoolery off the field, stage"
The possibilities are endless. And I hope they all come true.