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VPO in Musikverein New Year concert
© Terry Linke 2014
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© Gregory Downer 2014
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Karajan with former DG Executive Producer Günther Breest
© Susesch Bayat/DG 2014

1. On April 25, during a performance of La Cenerentola, conducted by Fabio Luisi, JAVIER CAMARENA became only the third singer in seventy years to sing an aria encore at the Met. The thirty-eight-year-old tenor from Mexico had returned to New York after singing the role of Elvino in the Met's Sonnambula to replace Juan Diego Flórez, who canceled the first several performances of the show's run, in the role of Don Ramiro. Camarena's most recent album, Recitales, is now available in the U.S.

2. The Birgit Nilsson Foundation announced on April 9 that the Birgit Nilsson Prize for 2014 will be awarded to the VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA on October 8 in Stockholm. The award will be accepted on behalf of the entire orchestra by VPO president Clemens Hellsberg. The orchestra will perform with Riccardo Muti, who won the Prize the last time it was given, in 2011. 

3. Tenor BRYAN HYMEL has signed an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics, announced April 29. He will partner with the Prague Philharmonia under the baton of French conductor Emmanuel Villaume for his debut recording, which is set for release in early 2015.

4. DALLAS OPERA artistic director JONATHAN PELL will step down from full-time work as of December 31, after thirty years with the company. He will remain as artistic advisor to music director Emmanuel Villaume and general director and CEO Keith Cerny.

5. Deutsche Grammophon has branded 2014 the "KARAJAN YEAR" in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conductor's death on July 16. The record label is launching numerous new issues between June and December, including a twelve-CD and Blu-ray-audio box set of the conductor leading the works of Richard Strauss, as well as Karajan's very first recording for the label from 1939, of the overture to Die Zauberflöte

On May 5, a concert entitled "PEACE THROUGH MUSIC 'IN OUR AGE'" was held at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in honor of the April 27 canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. The program included the Sanctus from Verdi's Requiem and Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and was performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and the Washington Choral Arts Society under the baton of Gilbert Levine.

6. Universal Music Classics released an LP-sized box set entitled "PAVAROTTI EDITION 1: THE FIRST DECADE" on May 19 in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Pavarotti's relationship with Decca. The twenty-seven-CD set includes everything the artist recorded during his first ten years with the label, as well as a reissue in vinyl of Pavarotti's first recording for Decca, originally released in May 1964. spacer

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