Aug 28

Nikolaus Lehnhoff – German opera director – Obituary Photos from Lebrecht

Nikolaus Lehnhoff, one of Germany’s leading opera directors, has died at the age of 76. A former assistant to Richard Wagner’s grandson, Wieland Wagner, at the legendary Bayreuth Festival in Germany, Lehnhoff also worked at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in Austria and at the Glyndebourne opera festival in Britain. He was known for his elegant and thought provoking stagings, often using contrasting colours and bold, geometric lines. He died on 22 August in Berlin.

Nikolaus Lehnhoff at Royal Opera House, at time of

Nikolaus Lehnhoff at Royal Opera House at time

Nikolaus Lehnhoff at Royal Opera House at time of directing Henze’s ‘Boulevard Solitude’. German opera director.

© Laurie Lewis/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Nikolaus Lehnhoff on old-fashioned public

Nikolaus Lehnhoff on old-fashioned public telephone, holding a score of Henze’s opera ‘Boulevard Solitude’ which he directed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. German opera director.

© Laurie Lewis/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Aug 24

David Hare – The Blue Touch Paper

David Hare, British playwright, has written a book of his memoirs – The Blue Touch Paper – to be published by Faber next week. It covers his life and experiences up to 1979.

He writes: ‘All of us live lives where we are both large and small: large because of the intense focus of our self-attention – and small because, however fierce our concentration, the universe remains indifferent to us throughout. My life has been no different from anyone else’s: both everything and nothing.’

His early plays were produced at the Royal Court Theatre and also by the Joint Stock Theatre Company which he co-founded with David Aukin and Max Stafford-Clark in 1973. Lebrecht Music & Arts photographer John Haynes was the key photographer to photograph David Hare’s innovative work at the Royal Court. Unlike today’s photographers who only have access to a fifteen minute photo shoot, John Haynes would watch the whole play, make notes and then watch it a second time to shoot the scenes he had decided summed up the essence of the play. This is why his theatrical photographs are outstanding.

Lebrecht Music & Arts also carries scenes from David Hare’s later plays.

Joint Stock Theatre Company -Joint Stock Theatre Company -

Joint Stock Theatre Company’s adaptation of William Hinton’s book ‘Fanshen’, 1975. Play by David Hare

Joint Stock Theatre Company - Joint Stock Theatre Company -

Joint Stock Theatre Company’s adaptation of William Hinton’s book ‘Fanshen’, 1975. Play by David Hare

Hugh Fraser and Helen Mirren in Teeth 'N' Smiles Teeth n Smiles by David Hare

Hugh Fraser and Helen Mirren in Teeth ‘N’ Smiles, play by David Hare. Royal Court Theatre, London, 1975.

Edward Fox and Kate Nelligan in Knuckle

Edward Fox and Kate Nelligan in Knuckle, play by David Hare.

All images: John Haynes/Lebrecht Music & Arts



Aug 20

Horst Tappe 10th Death Anniversary


This Friday is the tenth anniversary of the death of German photographer Horst Tappe who was famous for his portraits of creative artists, writers, philosophers, scientists from around the world. I first met him face to face in Montreux in 2000 on the way back from the Verbier Festival. He met me and my ten year old daughter at the railway station and took us to the Montreux Palace Hotel for refreshing drinks. As we gazed at the magnificent blues of Lake Geneva against the backdrop of this truly splendid luxury hotel, he captivated us with tales of how he used to photograph Vladimir Nabokov, the Russian-American novelist, in this hotel both at rest and also when involved with his passion for butterflies. Nabokov took up residence in the hotel after the success of his best-selling novel Lolita. He signed a lease in summer 1961 and the hotel remained his home for the rest of his life.

Horst Tappe was fascinated by the creative personality. He travelled to London in the 1960s and, with his insightful camera, captured such figures as the James Bond writer Ian Fleming, sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, artist Oscar Kokoschka, and writer Salman Rushdie. Outside of England he photographed and captured the essence of major creative personalities such as Spanish artists Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, American writer Saul Bellow, Chilean writer Isabel Allende and American writer and film maker Susan Sontag, and many many more. Lebrecht Music & Arts carries over 1400 of his portraits.

Horst Tappe was born on 13 May 1938 in Gütersloh, Germany. He attended the School of Experimental Photography near Frankfurt and continued his training at the Vevey School of Photography in Switzerland. He exhibited his pictures in many cities of Europe and the United States and in 1979 became an honorary member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.He took up residence in the Swiss Riviera in 1963 and remained there until his death on 21 August 2005.

Elbie Lebrecht



Aug 20

Mencarini Film Quiz Winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Mencarini film quiz was Lorraine Beck, who has chosen a print of this image of Fellini’s directors’ chair on the set of E La Nave Va.

Scroll down to the bottom to view the correct answers.

On the set of the movie "E la nave va" (And the Ship Sails On)

In case you can’t remember the questions, here they are – answers at the bottom of the page:

1. Actor fond of driving a taxi
2. American actor, famous for his Mafia role (1990 Venice Film Festival)
3. American actor in Rome, married a Welsh actress
4. Smoking was still in fashion in 1984
5. In 1960 this Italian actress was directed by Vittorio de Sica in this film
6. American actor, famous for his role as Han Solo
7. American film director of ‘The Temptation…..’
8. French film director with ‘une femme’
9. American film director in 1991 – recent winner of the Gish Prize
10. Italian director fond of spaghetti
11. German actress known for her work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder
12. Italian director known for his films of opera and stunning opera productions
13. The word ‘Christmas’ appears in one of his films
14. Do you know this middle aged Swedish couple at the Venice Film Festival?
15. Italian film directors and brothers
16. French actor – or maybe he is Russian?


Answers1. Danny DeVito
2. Robert de Niro
3. Michael Douglas
4. Charlotte Rampling
5. Sophia Loren
6. Harrison Ford
7. Martin Scorsese
8. Claude Lelouche (with his wife Alessandra Martines)
9. Spike Lee
10. Sergio Leone
11. Hanna Schygulla (with Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
12. Franco Zeffirelli
13. Tim Burton
14. Ingmar Bergman (with his wife Ingrid von Rosen)
15. Vittorio and Paolo Taviani
16. Gerard Depardieu


Aug 18

A Photographer’s View from Lebrecht photographer Sallie Erichson

Gustav Leonhardt profile / silhouette at window

Gustav Leonhardt at a window during the Begijnhofkerk organ recording in Leuven. Dutch harpsichordist, organist and conductor b. 30 May 1928- specialist in both the theory and practice of early music. Harnoncourt connection.


I came to the realization, upon leaving New York City, that life was happening too fast to be captured in words. As I was leaving, and going in the direction of Europe, I desperately needed to freeze-frame the world I was leaving, and the one ahead of me.

I borrowed a camera and my upstairs neighbor, photographer and painter, Fred Bell, gave me a crash course in photography. It was a totally emotional decision.

My actual field was music, the piano. I studied piano, loved to teach, and was working for RCA Records, Red Seal, and I had the chance to move to Hamburg to work in the new Sony Classical venture in 1991.

There was a period of courtship – arrangements to be made on both sides – time was short. Photography became for me, a kind of short-hand, a log of the great changes that one experiences in going from one world to another. I was very conscious of the voyage that I was making from New World to the Old World. I wanted to record it.

After studying music, photos by contrast, immediate gratification. I could steal two words from Frank Lloyd Wright, and call it “frozen music”. The first camera that belonged to me was a Pentax K-1000, I still have it, and I will always keep it.

By coincidence, my office in Hamburg was close to “Leica bei Meister”, which was at the time a specialty camera shop in combination with a baby clothing shop. It was one of the many oddities of Hamburg, that caught my attention. You could call it a true hybrid!

In the end, I succumbed and bought a Leica M6 from Martin Meister. By that time I had become a photo freak, and was shooting not only my own personal journey, but I had begun to catch some of the recording sessions at Sony. The ancient music producer, Wolf Erichson, liked to work in old churches rather than studio situations. He found that the acoustic properties of wooden beams, stone and space were perfect for his recordings.

These churches, abbeys, of all sizes, in Amsterdam, Dutch Haarlem, Bavaria, Belgium, and later Venice, were visual treasures, I became part of the team and I managed to interest Sony Classical into using my session photos in their booklets and marketing. For the listeners, and collectors, it was a point of interest to see the musicians working in these historical settings.

Many of the musicians in the Sony Vivarte Series were scholarly individuals with a deep interest in performance history, and did not have a large selection of photos on hand. I made many portraits for them which have been used in music magazines, the press, CD packaging, and later, for reissued materials. Many of those are also with Lebrecht in London.

The “Sony Villa” office space where we worked in Eppendorf, in Hamburg, experienced a rise and fall of sorts in its five year span. Just before the Hamburg center closed, my life changed again.

Wolf Erichson and I married, and moved to France in the summer of 1995.

It was a gradual move to France, because Wolf was still actively making new recordings, and my photos were part of that. The new Sony heads in New York, were very supportive of using the photos to make the mysterious world of early music accessible to the public. We were living in the agricultural, unspoiled atmosphere of SW France, with rolling landscape and ancient stone houses, but for a decade, were travelling back and forth for recordings, festivals, Sony events and concerts.

During these years, I contributed heavily to a biographical collection of photos and interviews about Wolf Erichson, his life and his artists, edited by Thomas Otto and Stephan Piendl, entitled “Erstmal Schön ins Horn Tuten – Erinnerungen eines Schallplattenproduzent” (“First Blow the Horn – Recollections of a Record Producer”) a book published by ConBrio in 2007.

South West France, or Gascogne, where we are living, is a landscape that cries out. One day I saw a woman who had stopped her car in the middle of one of the departmental roads, she was standing in the middle of the road on a hill with the engine running, taking pictures of the sunflower fields outside of Lectoure. As silly as it is, and as dangerous, it describes the feeling one has here. An ordinary trip to run an errand, can be visually explosive. The light is changing, the textures, and reflections all make it a seductive place to “practice our art”.

In the past century, the countryside has not become over-populated, the photographs are already there, they seem to be waiting for us.

I purchased a Hasselblad 501 cm during the time here. I have used it a great deal for portraits, and in the present period, have used it as a work horse in landscape photography.

In 2009 I presented a one-man show at a local gallery, called “The Rolling Stones of Gascogne” devoted to ancient stone artifices in the area, especially the ruins of chateaux, churches, abbeys and graveyards. It was quite successful and I sold half of the show during the opening. I framed and matted 30 color pieces, all shot with the Hasselblad, printed by Jan Kopp Foto Labor in Hamburg.

There are many good aspects to working in the faraway atmosphere of South West France. I say that every time we travel from here into (even) Toulouse, which is an ancient city itself, it is like travelling through three or four centuries! It is an incredible leap in time to the modern world from a place so untouched. To a great extent, I am working in my own way, in my own world.


Aug 11

Jonathan Ollivier – Obituary Photos from Lebrecht

Jonathan Ollivier died on Sunday in a tragic motorbike accident, hours before he was due to perform in the final show of Matthew Bournes’s Car Man. Hailed by Bourne as “one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation”, Ollivier danced as principal with the Northern Ballet Theatre from 1999 – 2007, where his roles included Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde (2001), Athos in The Three Musketeers (2006) and Armand in La Traviata (2005), in which he starred alongside his wife Desiré Samaai.

Jonathan Ollivier as Mr Hyde

© Laurie Lewis/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Jonathan Ollivier in Jekyll and Hyde, 2001 Northern Ballet Theatre

Northern Ballet Theatre in 'La Traviata'

'La Traviata' - Northern Ballet Theatre

'La Traviata' - Northern Ballet Theatre'La Traviata' - Northern Ballet Theatre

© Dee Conway/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Jonathan Ollivier dancing with his wife and favourite dance partner Desiré Samaai in La Traviata

Aug 11

Soviet Composer Anniversaries

There are three major Russian and Georgian composer anniversaries in August 2015: Shostakovich, Glazunov, Kanchelli. All three composers’ lives have been affected by the political times they were born in.

Russian composers


Dmitri Shostakovich (40th death anniversary), who had a prolific output of 15 symphonies and six concerti despite the difficulties of working under the harsh and repressive Soviet regime in the early and middle of the twentieth century. His Seventh Symphony was composed and performed in Leningrad during the relentless Siege by the Germans which became a turning point in World War II, known to Soviet Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

Alexander Glazunov (150th birth anniversary), who was active in the second half of the 19th century, composing in the late Russian Romantic period. He was director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory from 1905 until 1928. After the Bolshevik Revolution he reorganised the Conservatory into the Petrograd Conservatory and the Leningrad Conservatory. He finally left the Soviet Union in 1928. Shostakovich studied at the Conservatory while he was the director.

80th birthday of Georgian composer Giya Kancheli. He left the Soviet Union for Europe in 1991.

Aug 07

Cilla Black and the Beatles

Cilla Black photographed by David Farrell at the beginning of her career, with the Beatles on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’, 1960s.

Cilla Black 27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015

British entertainer who began her career as a singer in the 1960s, championed by the Beatles. Alongside her recording career, including 11 top ten hits in the 60s and 70s, she went on to work as a comedy actress and a prominent television personality, presenting her own variety show Cilla between 1968 and 1976, as well as Surprise, Surprise and Blind Date from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Cilla Black and the Beatles


Aug 04

Ludmila Dvorakova, Czech opera singer, obituary photos

Ludmila Dvorakova, Czech soprano, worked at many of the famous European and American opera houses. She began her career in 1954 with the Prague National Theatre, later with the Vienna State Opera, and in 1960 with the Berlin State Opera, the Bayreuth Festival and in 1966 with the New York Metropolitan Opera and performed until 1985. She was famous for her Wagner arias. She died tragically in a fire in her house in Prague.

11 July 1923 – 30 July 2015.

DVORAKOVA Ludmilla as Ortrud

As Ortrud in Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’. Bavarian State Opera 1971.

© Sabine Toepffer/Deutsches Theater Museum/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila Dvorakova

In the role of Ortrud in Lohengrin, opera by Richard Wagner

© Metropolitan Opera Archives/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila Dvorakova

In the role of Senta in The Flying Dutchman

© Metropolitan Opera Archives/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila Dvorakova

In the role of Leonore in Fidelio, opera by Ludwig van Beethoven

© Metropolitan Opera Archives/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila DvorakovaLudmila Dvorakova


In the role of Leonore in Fidelio, opera by Ludwig van Beethoven

© Foto Fayer, Vienna/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila Dvorakova

© Foto Fayer, Vienna/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Ludmila Dvorakova


© Foto Fayer, Vienna/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Jul 31

Prokofiev Piano Concerto Marathon at the Royal Albert Hall

Valery Gergiev conducted all five of Prokofiev piano concertos in one concert on 28 July at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Three outstanding Russian pianists were involved in this Prokofiev feast.

Pianist Sergei Babayan performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor; pianist Daniil Trifonov performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.1 in D flat major and No. 3 in C major; pianist Alexei Volodin performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in B flat major
Sergei Babayan

Sergei Babayan playing Prokofiev
Daniil Trifonov
Daniil Trifonov  playing Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 1
Alexei Volodin
Alexei Volodin performing Prokofiev
Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra
All images © Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music & Arts