News

December 28, 2020

Featured Ross Ramgobin December 2020 news

During December, Ross Ramgobin was featured in the title role of Grange Park Opera’s new film of Owen Wingrave, as well as appearing in The Royal Opera’s Christmas Concert as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and in Opera Holland Park’s Christmas Concert, all available for streaming over the Christmas period. A feature interview appears in the January / February issue of Opera Now.

“Ross Ramgobin finds a fierce nobility in the title role that pulls the threads together.”
Neil Fisher - The Times

“Ross Ramgobin, rapidly emerging as a fine singing actor, was sweet, funny and touching as Mozart’s Papageno.”
Tim Ashley – The Guardian

“Ramgobin has been another Christmas bonus – heartbreaking in Grange Park’s Owen Wingrave and partying with gusto in Opera Holand Park’s Christmas bonzanza.”
Claudia Pritchard – Culture Whisper

December 1, 2020

Whānau: Voices of Aotearoa, Far from Home

To reflect the plight of New Zealand musicians in London during lockdown, Julien Van Mellaerts has organised and curated Whānau: Voices of Aotearoa, Far from home, a selection of New Zealand, Māori and Pasifika songs. Recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall last month and now available to watch on YouTube, the project was devised to help those artists able neither to return home nor to work during the pandemic. Those featured additionally include Marlena Devoe. The concert can also be heard on Radio New Zealand Concert. You can also hear an interview with Julien Van Mellaerts as he reflects on his own experience during the pandemic.

December 1, 2020

Critical Acclaim: “The best opera recordings released in 2020 so far”

Resonus Classics’ recording of Sir Malcolm Arnold’s The Dancing Master with a cast including Catherine Carby, Fiona Kimm and Mark Wilde has been selected by BBC Music Magazine as amongst “The best opera recordings released in 2020 so far,” as Editor’s Choice for November 2020 by Gramophone and as a Sunday Times Album of the Week.

You can hear The Dancing Master broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 11 December 2020 as part of the Afternoon Concert.

Also selected by BBC Music Magazine was the Royal Opera’s release on Opus Arte Blu Ray / DVD of Die Walküre with a cast including Alwyn Mellor and Catherine Carby.

October 31, 2020

Brünnhilde and Sieglinde, with Alwyn Mellor and Lee Bisset.

Alwyn Mellor and Lee Bisset sang Brünnhilde and Sieglinde in the Singapore premiere of Die Walküre with the Orchestra of the Music Makers. You can watch the performed streamed on 1 November at 1700 (GMT +8).

October 31, 2020

European Association of Artist Managers

James Black Management is delighted to have been elected to membership of the Association Europénne des Agents Artistiques / European Association of Artist Managers (AEAA).

James Black Management is also pleased to announce membership of the Opera Managers Association International.

September 14, 2020

Adrian Clarke

James Black Management is sad to announce the death on 10 September of much loved baritone Adrian Clarke. He was a joy to work with, full of character and love for his art, and also a most delightful man with a gleeful sense of humour and a nose for a good glass of red. 

Our thoughts are with Sarah Pring and his family at this time.

August 30, 2020

Post COVID-19 update, by James Black Management

Usually, the start of the new season would see a flourish of announcements looking forward to the exciting events ahead.

In a post COVID-19 world, so much has been cancelled that September 2020 is now less a time for anticipation than for reflection.

Those dark days over five months ago brought about a change in my life and that of my artists that has had long-reaching consequences artistically, personally and financially. And although, as they say, “Self pity begins at home,” I do not fool myself that these consequences have only affected the performing arts, even if it does seem that our particular industry seems to be taking the longest to find a way forward. 

During those those darkest days, I was touched by the dignity and stoicism showed by the artists of James Black Management. As together we watched the unravelling of projects hard worked for and long anticipated, whether a major house debut, a major role debut, a beautiful concert of choral repertoire, an important concert, a return to conducting a major ballet company, I was moved sometimes to tears by their constant support of each other and of their kindness to me with gestures that I cannot make public but which will long resonate within me. I also wish to pay tribute to all those promoters who have tried in whatever way possible to make some compensation to those contracted to perform who were no longer able so to do, being fully appreciative of the vulnerability of the freelance artists’ incomeAnd now, wonderful initiatives are being explored. Here in the UK,  with apologies to any I have left out, Garsington Opera at Wormsley, the Glyndebourne Festival, Grange Park Opera, The Grange Festival, Hampstead Garden Opera, Longborough Festival Opera (with JBM’s Lee Bisset), Nevill Holt Opera, Opera Holland Park (see below), the  Waterperry Opera Festival and Welsh National Opera  (one example featuring JBM’s Ross Ramgobin) found ways to present performance in some live form. There were broadcasts from the Royal Opera House and the Wigmore Hall; there were Roger Vignoles’ Distanced Lieder; Simon Lepper’s Music in my Garden;  and now both English National Opera and Scottish Opera are presenting socially distanced performances of La Bohème, both casts of ENO’s Live & Drive featuring JBM artists. 

As I write this  I read that the London Symphony Orchestra will find a way to perform at LSO St Luke’s, the Orchestra of Opera North will be performing at Leeds Town Hall; and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will return to live performance in front of an audience presenting a season. Artists are creative and resilient people: they will and do find a way.

As I experienced when attending one of Opera Holland Park’s boldly innovative concerts this Summer (and I was very proud that JBM’s Jennifer France, Anush Hovhannisyan and Ross Ramgobin were all performing), the need for people to engage not just with live performance but with each other remains firmly rooted in our collective psyche. This was brought home even more keenly to me when I taught for a few days at Jésus León’s Vienna Opera Academy in August. The process of working again on live music making with those wonderfully talented young singers, alongside superb colleagues, brought inspiration to my spirit.  I watched with great pride the streams of their performances of Don Giovanni performed indoors with an orchestra and audience conducted by JBM’s Toby Purser at the Palais Eschenbach. As I did for the streams from Florence’s Re-Generation Festival, in whose curation JBM’s Anush Hovhannisyan played such an active role.

It will take a long time to return to normal, or even a new normal in our world, but there are ever more signs of a determination to find a way forward. Even as I write this, from within the JBM roster, one has just performed two concerts in Innsbruck, one is in rehearsal in France, two others begin rehearsals in the UK at the start of September. Two more begin rehearsals shortly in Germany and another in Portugal. I continue to explore options with promoters world-wide and will never again take for granted the excitement (I hope I never did) felt as an engagement is discussed, confirmed and a contract lands on the desk (or even in these modern days via a PDF on the iMac). Will these upcoming projects happen? Will there be another spike? As I lack Madame Arvidson’s insight, or at least her chutzpah, I’ll not speculate. 

However, as Carmen (or was it La Carmencita?) says to Escamillo, “It is not forbidden to wait, and it is always sweet to hope.” We have waited, and continue so to do, but we also hope and, a cliché being a cliché because it is invariably true, “Hope springs eternal.”

March 26, 2020

A message on Coronavirus COVID-19 by James Black Management

Usually, approaching the start of each month, it is exciting to set out the upcoming range of engagements to be undertaken by the artists of James Black Management for the monthly website update. However, these unprecedented circumstances mean that opera houses, concerts halls and other places of public music making and entertainment are closed. The absolute priority has to be the health of the nation, but the consequences of such closures are devastating in their impact on all freelance performers as they see months of preparation and projected income vanish.

It has been moving to see the care promoters have taken in their treatment of their freelance employees as they struggle to make decisions whose implementation can have such serious consequences, whilst retaining the survival of the very organisations that will in an uncertain future once again sustain them. It has been equally salutary to experience the dignity and understanding with which artists have accepted these decisions even as their livelihoods vanish in an instance, acutely aware as we all are of the bigger picture.

As we increasingly self-isolate and shield for our own safety, the Arts become ever more important. A book to read, a gallery to virtually visit, music to listen to, radio programmes to hear. World-wide, performing artists are reaching out to offer streaming experiences whether from opera houses, concert halls and theatres or individual postings. I urge you to engage as much as possible with these; let us never forget their importance in our lives.

When we emerge in to a new world, we will relish even more the joy of being able to meet together once again to enjoy the collective magic that the Arts afford.

In the meantime, stay safe.

January 29, 2020

The Times: Anush Hovhannisyan is The Face to Watch in Opera 2020

Congratulations to Anush Hovhannisyan, who has been selected by The Times as The Face to Watch in Opera 2020 ahead of her upcoming performances in Les vêpres siciliennes with Welsh National Opera and with Opera Holland Park in Eugene Onegin.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/calendars-at-the-ready-what-to-see-and-hear-this-year-8mrbjmm3l

December 27, 2019

John Rigby has been nominated for Best Musical Direction at the 20th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards

Congratulations to John Rigby who has been nominated for Best Musical Direction for the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London’s Palladium 20th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards.