West End On Sunday?

London’s West End theatres are getting closer to opening for Sunday performances. “West End Union leaders representing theatre technicians voted for the move on Monday which includes a 5.5% pay rise and double time for working Sundays. The remaining workers will now vote on whether to accept the agreement.”

World’s Best Students Bypassing US

Foreign students contribute $13 billion to the American economy annually. But this year there was “a sharp plunge in the number of students from India and China who had taken the most recent administration of the Graduate Record Exam, a requirement for applying to most graduate schools; it had dropped by half. Foreign applications to American graduate schools declined 28 percent this year. Actual foreign graduate student enrollments dropped 6 percent. Enrollments of all foreign students, in undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral programs, fell for the first time in three decades in an annual census released this fall. Meanwhile, university enrollments have been surging in England, Germany and other countries.”

Publisher And Bookseller Get Into Spat

Barnes & Noble’s CEO has reacted angrily to a suggestion by publisher Random House that it might begin selling its books directly to readers online. “The announcement of the new plans comes as the book business is suffering through a second consecutive year of almost-flat sales. The average age of book consumers continues to climb, and except for children’s and religious books, few areas of the business seem to be picking up new readers.”

Ode To Tebaldi

Soprano Renata Tebaldi (who died last weekend) was a major influence on opera. “Tebaldi’s use of tone as a primary expressive device dictated much of what opera singing is about today. While Callas’ voice was the messenger of her character (often with a dark message, indeed), Tebaldi’s rich, sumptuous soprano was an end in itself. Kiri Te Kanawa and Kathleen Battle are her descendants, as are, to a lesser extent, Jessye Norman and Renée Fleming.”

Who Should Run SF Opera?

San Francisco Opera is getting close to naming a successor to general director Pamela Rosenberg. Who might that person be? “Ideally, the search committee will recognize the tremendous strides the company has taken under Rosenberg’s leadership and select a general director who won’t roll back those advances. The task, instead, is to retain the artistic and theatrical excitement of the curtailed Rosenberg era while expanding its appeal to a wider and more varied audience base.”