Wheel of Fortune

Update: The New York Times has eliminated five full-time jobs in the culture department. One name stands out -- that of long-serving and much-beleaguered classical critic Bernard Holland. He's taken a buyout and is on his way out. His last day will be May 23rd. Read more.

Full-time classical music critic Melinda Bargreen is leaving the Seattle Times after 31 years. She accepted a buyout in the wake of some extensive staff reductions. In her final article, Bargreen reviews a career affected by changes that affect everyone involved in the arts; shifting technology, evolving performance standards, and an influx of funds that promoted an incredibly sustained arts boom.

The Honolulu Symphony is facing dissolution. Valeria Wenderoth of the Star-Bulletin reports that, “For 10 weeks, orchestra musicians have performed without pay, relying on management assurances that retroactive payroll adjustments are to come. Finally, on Friday the musicians received checks for a portion of what they are owed, but they are still behind -- while facing the three-month summer layoff after the last concert of the season.” It’s not a pretty picture for this regional orchestra. Read Wenderoth’s full article here.

In Rochester, a member of the Oratorio Society has dropped out of next week’s highly-anticipated performance of Carmina Burana for religious reasons. The singer says the secular medieval text expresses a level of hopelessness inconsistent with her theology. The opening section is indeed bleak. Here’s the translation.

O Fortuna (Chorus)

O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning; hateful life first oppresses
and then soothes as fancy takes it; poverty and power it melts them like ice. Fate - monstrous
and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent, well-being is vain and always fades to nothing, shadowed and veiled you plague me, too. Now through the game I bring my bare back to your villainy.
Fate is against me in health and virtue, driven on and weighted down, always enslaved. So at this hour
without delay, pluck the vibrating strings, since Fate strikes down the strong man. Everyone weep with me!

The Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Carmina Burana in Eastman Theatre on Thursday, May 22 and Saturday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m. with soprano Barbara Shirvis, countertenor John Gaston, and baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson.

The concert will be broadcast on Classical 91.5 and FM 90.3 on Monday, September 1 at 8:00 p.m.