Mostly virtual Menuhin Competition beginning in Richmond this week

The Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for young violinists, delayed since last spring and now staged mostly virtually due to the pandemic, will begin in Richmond in the coming week. With the exception of the competition’s Celebration Concert program, all competition rounds and concerts may be accessed online at no charge.

The Celebration Concert, with the Richmond Symphony conducted by Jahja Ling, will feature violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, winner of the senior first prize in the 2010 competition in Oslo and a juror in this year’s competition, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, and the premiere of “Bound Away” by Richmond-bred composer Mason Bates. The program also includes Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” Overture, Jessie Montgomery’s “Starburst” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major. Performances are at 7 p.m. May 14 and 8 p.m. May 15 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets. Ticket and online access prices will be announced later.

The schedule of free events, accessible via and on the competition’s YouTube channel:

April 26 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) – Junior rounds, day 1.
April 27 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) – Junior rounds, day 2.
April 28 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) – Senior rounds, day 1.
April 29 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) – Senior rounds, day 2.
May 15 (10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) – Junior semi-finals.
May 16 (10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) – Senior semi-finals.
May 17 (7:30 p.m.) – Jazz concert by the Regina Carter Quartet.
May 18 (7:30 p.m.) – Geneva junior prizewinners’ concert, with violinists Chloe Chua and Christian Li and pianists Laurence Matheson and Lim Yan. Program TBA.
May 19 (7:30 p.m.) – Folk-acoustic concert by Mark & Maggie O’Connor.
May 20 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) – Jury masterclasses, conducted by violinist Pamela Frank with physical therapist Howard Nelson; violinists Joji Hattori, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Alf Richard Kraggerud, Soyoung Yoon and Angelo Xiang Yu; and conductor Valentina Peleggi.
May 20 (7:30 p.m.) – Sphinx Virtuosi Showcase, with violinists Rubén Rengel, Rainel Joubert and Melissa White, violist Celia Hatton, cellist Thomas Mesa and double-bassist Xavier Foley playing works by Dvořák, Piazzolla, Foley, Andrea Casarrubios and Michael Abels.
May 21 (3:30 p.m.) – “The Danger of a Single Story: the Importance of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Arts and Their Role in Society,” panel discussion with Aaron Dworkin, Ronald Crutcher and others.
May 21 (7:30-9:30 p.m.) – Junior finals.
May 22 (7:30-10 p.m.) – Senior finals.
May 23 (5 p.m.) – Menuhin Competition Gala, with the Richmond Symphony, conductor TBA; violinist Angelo Xiang Yu; junior & senior competition winners; and guest artists TBA. Program TBA. (Televised on VPM PBS [Channel 23] and streamed on the competition’s website,

Local sponsors of the 2021 Menuhin Competition are the Richmond Symphony, the City of Richmond, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM.

Christa Ludwig (1928-2021)

Christa Ludwig, the eminent German mezzo-soprano, has died at 93.

Ludwig, the daughter of musical-theater figures, began her career in post-World War II Germany, singing for US occupation troops and in small recital venues. She made her operatic debut at 18, singing the role of Orlovsky in Johann Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus” at the Frankfurt Opera in 1946. After working in several German opera houses, she was hired in 1955 to perform at the Vienna State Opera.

She went on to perform mezzo and some soprano roles with many of the world’s leading companies; for decades she was a favorite singer at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She also was a celebrated interpreter of art-song and oratorio, and made many recordings that became reference versions of works by Schubert, Wagner, Mahler and Richard Strauss.

Her final stage performance was as Klytemnestra in a 1994 Vienna State Opera production of Strauss’ “Elektra.”

An obituary by The New York Times’ Daniel J. Wakin:

Virginia Opera 2021-22

Virginia Opera’s coming season will feature two favorite works, Puccini’s “La Bohème” and Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” as well as the Virginia premiere of “Three Decembers” by the contemporary American composer Jake Heggie, a condensed version of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” and a production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music,” staged during the Virginia Arts Festival.

Based on “Some Christmas Letters,” an unpublished play by Terrence McNally, Heggie’s “Three Decembers” follows the relationship and unfolding secrets of a fading Broadway star and her children through the holidays of 1986, 1996 and 2006.

“Das Rheingold,” first of the four music dramas in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, will be presented in a condensation by Jonathan Dove.

The 2021-22 Virginia Opera schedule:

“Das Rheingold” (sung in German with English captions) – pairs of afternoon and evening performances on Sept. 12 at TopGolf Norfolk and Sept. 19 at TopGolf Richmond. (Seating is limited and currently available to subscribers only.)

“La Bohème” (sung in Italian with English captions) –Nov. 5, 6 and 7 at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Nov. 13 and 14 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax, and Nov. 19 and 21 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center in Richmond.

“Three Decembers” (sung in English with captions) –Jan. 28, 29 and 30 in Norfolk, Feb. 5 and 6 in Fairfax, and Feb. 11 and 13 in Richmond.

“The Marriage of Figaro” (sung in Italian with English captions) –March 25, 26 and 27 in Norfolk, April 1 and 3 in Richmond, and April 9 and 10 in Fairfax.

“The Sound of Music” (in English) –May 13, 14 and 15 at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk.

Casting will be announced later.

For subscription-ticket prices and other information, call Virginia Opera’s box office at (866) 673-7282, or visit