Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
London Symphony is Told to Fake it at the Olympics
Monday, June 04, 2012 - 11:00 AM
Musicians in the London Symphony Orchestra are reportedly going to join the ranks of Milli Vanilli and mime their performance at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.
Reports from London state that organizers are concerned that bad weather and poor acoustics of the Olympic Stadium — a bowl-shaped facility with seating for 80,000 — could make a live performance too risky. The performance is set to take place as athletes from competing nations parade around the arena on July 27.
London's Daily Mail reports that the LSO recorded its performances six weeks ago at London's Abbey Road studios, apparently against the wishes of Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, who serves as artistic director for the massive event.
When an estimated four billion television viewers tune in for the event, they'll see the orchestra and conductor moving their hands and arms while a soundtrack plays.
The news is hardly unique to this year's ceremony. In 2008, a nine-year-old singer lip-synced the "Ode to the Motherland" to the voice of another young girl whom Beijing officials had deemed less telegenic. Two years earlier, tenor Luciano Pavarotti used a tape when he was called on to sing his trademark "Nessun dorma" at the Torino Olympics.
Musicians in the orchestra complained of the decision in London newspaper reports, citing their recent outdoor performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in London's Trafalgar Square as evidence that they can manage the acoustical challenges. A request for comment by WQXR.org was not immediately returned.
A spokesman for Locog, the organizing committee, told the Mail: "Due to the complexity of staging the ceremony, it is not possible for all music to be live."
Photo: Wikipedia Commons