Entertainment wRap: Jackson trial, recovered Strad
MANILA, Philippines - Here are some entertainment news from July 29 to August 4.
Vienna Boys' Choir facing money problems
The Vienna Boys' Choir, one of Austria's bestselling musical exports, faces serious financial problems, says its director Walter Nettig.
Earlier this month, the Austrian national audit office recommended that the government start charging the choir 17,200 euros ($22,900) per month for rent.
"If in the future we have to pay 200,000 euros in rent every year, we can't manage," Nettig told Die Presse.
The Choir relies on income from its many concerts, tours, and CDs and on private donations. Only the teachers' wages are paid by the state. But the choir has also been housed since 1948 – rent-free – in an 18th-century palace.
Nettig said that squeezing more out of the 10 to 14-year-olds to earn more funds was out of the question.
"What more can we get out of the children? They have to practise for hours, go to school, et cetera. As long as I am in charge there will definitely be no additional performances," he said.
Nettig said their newly opened 15 million euro steel-and-glass concert hall – which is not large enough to house the choir – was financed by a generous private sponsor.
Jackson's poor image discouraged sponsors
Despite record advance ticket sales for his “This Is It” tour, Michael Jackson's dismal public image in his final years meant his concert series had no sponsors, a witness said Monday, July 29.
In the 14th week of the Jackson family’s lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live, Eric Briggs of FTI Consulting said no company agreed to sponsor Jackson’s final tour.
He said the pop icon's image had deteriorated in the years leading up to his death on June 25, 2009.
"Brand companies appreciate artists can be great performers, but that doesn't mean they want to put their names next to the performers," Briggs said.
He noted Jackson's image rebounding somewhat in the 1990s, but it plummeted again in 2003 for several reasons, including accusations that he molested young boys.
For big-name labels, Jackson was a risk, because new scandals could emerge without warning, Briggs explained, and "brands are looking for predictability."
The King of Pop's mother, Katherine, and his children, took AEG to court for negligence and for hiring doctor Conrad Murray.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 over Jackson's June 25, 2009, death from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, administered to help the 50-year-old singer with chronic insomnia.
The family seeks $1.5 billion in damages – the estimated amount Jackson would have earned from the concert and a worldwide tour if he had lived.
Stolen Stradivarius found after 3-year hunt
British police said Tuesday, July 30, they have recovered a rare Stradivarius violin worth £1.2 million ($1.8 million, 1.4 million euros) that was stolen from its owner in a London railway cafe in 2010.
Thieves took the antique instrument, which was made in 1696, and two valuable bows from Korean-born violinist Min-Jin Kym as she was dining at London's Euston station.
The violin was recovered from a property in central England last week, police said, without giving further details. 3 people were jailed in connection with the theft in 2011.
"It's been a very difficult journey, I still can't quite believe what has happened," said the 34-year-old violinist after the instrument was returned to her.
Police said the violin was discovered intact with very minor damage. It was found in its case along with a missing £62,000 Peccatte bow and a bow by the School of Bazin worth £5,000.
John Maughan was jailed for 4 years after pleading guilty to the theft in April 2011. He was 30 then. Two London teenagers aged 15 and 16 were sent to youth detention centers.
Violins made by Italian Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737), considered by many the world's most important luthier or crafter of stringed instruments, are extremely rare and valuable. There are probably no more than 600 still in existence.
Bolshoi artistic director plans comeback after acid attack
The Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin said Thursday, August 1, he hopes to return to work in Moscow in September even if his eyesight is still extremely limited after an attacker splashed acid on his face.
If his vision continues to improve, Filin said, speaking to Russia's Channel One television, "in mid-September I will be able to return to work and I will be able to open the season at the Bolshoi Theatre."
But Filin's treatment has not been as successful as he had hoped for, and he could still only make out light and shadows.
"This treatment will take a very long time," he said.
The violent attack on Filin outside his home in January this year shocked fans of the legendary ballet troupe, amid the bitter infighting at the theatre.
Filin suffered skin burns but the acid caused the greatest damage to his eyes, and he has undergone 22 operations.
An unemployed ex-convict has accused Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko of ordering the attack. But the dance artist said in court he only wanted Filin beaten up. - With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com