This Week in Classical Music 9/22/17

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Kiri Retires; Singers Fave opera; Liszt, Brahms increase dateability

 It’s “This Week in Classical Music”, an Update on what’s happening in the classical Music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.

Kiri Retires

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has told BBC radio that she will never sing in public again.  The 73 year old singer stopped performing a year ago, but had not announced her actual retirement until now.

Dame Kiri has appeared at all the world's major opera houses and concert halls in a career that spanned 50 years. She made her name in 1971 when she was cast as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at Covent Garden. Six hundred million people heard her sing Let the Bright Seraphim by Handel at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. And she was also the first singer to perform the Rugby World Cup anthem. Her focus now, she says is to train the future stars of opera through her own Foundation; and she was just honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards.

Singers pick favorite opera

The Marriage of Figaro has been voted the greatest opera ever written, in a BBC Music Magazinepoll of 172 of the world’s greatest opera singers, including tenor/baritone Plácido Domingo, sopranos Kiri Te Kanawa and Renée Fleming and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.

Mozart’s comic opera received twice the votes than the runner-up, Puccini’s La bohème. Written in 1786 in just six weeks, Figaro has gone on to become one of the most performed operas in history.

Singers said they chose the opera for its momentum, fine ensemble writing and rich portrayal of humanity. Renée Fleming said, ‘No matter how many times I sing this opera I am always completely stunned how little people have changed since Mozart’s time, in terms of relationships and the manoeuvring they do.’

Men:  Find Love with Liszt

Some newly published research finds that women perceive men as more attractive and desirable when their faces are paired with  classical music. In the study, published in the online journal PLoS One,  women looked at a series of 40 professionally photographed members of the opposite sex, and rated each face for attractiveness, and their level of interest in dating that person.  When the image was paired with a 25-second excerpts of romantic-era piano music by Brahms, Liszt, and Chopin, Women rated the men as more attractive and more dateable. "These results generally support the idea that…music may play a role in women's social behavior in a mating context,"  say researchers.


For more on these and other items and events, go to the website,; be listening each week at this time for another update; find us on Facebook and follow us on twitter; and join US every Weekday at noon with Linda Cassidy for “The Most Wanted Hour”, playing your top 100 picks in Classical Music…I’m Randy Kinkel, for This week in classical music.