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Classical Notes: December 6, 2006 Archive

What's better than 76 Trombones?

Posted at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2006 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

How about 99 tubas? Especially when they're gathered together to honor the most-heard tuba player of all time.

New Met

Posted at 4:30 PM on December 6, 2006 by Rex Levang

Many a new wind is blowing at the Metropolitan Opera these days, as you may have noticed in the newspapers and magazines, and even on David Letterman, where the cast of "The Barber of Seville" made a late-night appearance.

This Saturday, the Met returns to the airwaves -- hardcore opera fans already have their calendars marked. Here's a press release laying out some of the new thinking, which affects even the Opera Quiz -- it will now include a round of rapid-fire questions (the Presto round), and opportunities for audience participation.

The mover behind all of this is the Met's new general manager, Peter Gelb, who talked about some of his plans and his career path in an extended speech to the service organization Opera America last spring; audio and video versions here.

Pear Trees: Up 44%

Posted at 8:35 PM on December 6, 2006 by John Birge

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 27, 2006 The 22nd Christmas Price Index finds the cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is $18,920 in 2006, up 3.1% over last year. Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management says: “After years of stagnation, wages for skilled workers, including the song’s dancers and musicians, have increased as the labor market has tightened. The largest dollar increase this year resulted from rising labor costs – exceeding the rate of inflation for the first time in years. Nine Ladies Dancing earned $4,759, 4 percent more than in 2006, compared to a raise of 3 percent for Lords-a-Leaping. The musicians, Drummers Drumming and Pipers Piping, earned 3.4 percent more compared with 2005. Maids-a-Milking, who are paid the minimum wage, were the only service providers not to see an increase this year. Also, Pear Tree prices increased 44 percent from last year. The total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses is $75,122.

Full details and spreadsheet available here.