When the Australian Ballet named Ross Stretton as their last artistic director, they went to great measures to make sure no one knew they had him slated for the job. They assigned a code name to him – “Sir Robert Helpmann.” Now that Stretton is leaving to take over as artistic director at London’s Royal Ballet, the secrecy behind “Operation Helpmann” is revealed. – The Age (Melbourne)


Franz Welser-Most, director designate of the venerable Cleveland Orchestra, on the difference between American and European orchestras: “American orchestras come prepared, which European orchestras mostly don’t. You must be a really great instrumentalist to play in an American orchestra. In Europe, there is a different angle: good musicianship first, and then the technical side hopefully will be there as well. This is one reason why a lot of marriages between American orchestras and European music directors have been very happy and successful.” – Los Angeles Times