Episode 4

Opera

Featured Video

Clive Anderson hosts Maestro’s next studio challenge as five famous amateurs with a passion for classical music do battle with their batons conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra. In the fourth round of this knock out competition the students step up to the podium to conduct a programme of popular operatic arias sung by soloists Alfie Boe and Rebecca Evans in front of the panel of expert judges - conductors Sir Roger Norrington and Simone Young, double bassist Dominic Seldis, composer and cellist Zoe Martlew. They must then face the orchestra vote to decide who leaves the competition for good.

More on this episode

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Have your say

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Comments

Bob Britt
Lovely programme except for the sexist comments and bias of the double bass player judge from a BBC regional orchestra. Does he want to have Jane Asher’s babies or just another nice slice of chocalate cake? That said, the top 2 of Sue Perkins and Goldie are head and shoulders above the pack and I hope it is a dead heat because neither deserve to lose. Both would be a credit to the Last Night in the Park.

Leeds
This has been an excellent show and really opened my eyes to the role of the conductor! Inspirational!

deirdre sharp, Grays Essex
I’ve thorougly enjoyed every programme,a wonderful series, more please!

Stockport
This has been one of the most enjoyable and informative programmes that the BBC has ever produced. I hope very much that it will return for another series and would like to suggest that the winner conducts an edition of Friday Night is Music Night.

Chris - Nottingham
This programme has managed to dispense with a lot of the “reality TV” cliches. I even noticed that Clive Anderson didn’t succumb to the de rigeur and ludicrous “dramatic” pause before the announcing the loser in the first programme although obviously he’s been told to toe the line since then. However to allow the viewing audience to have the final say is nothing short of ridiculous. Come on Sue. Hopefully class will tell.

Chris Barnes, Carshalton, Surrey
I have so enjoyed this series and only wish that the winner could ALSO be decided by the Panel of expert judges. Turning a contest over to a public telephone vote usually means that it descends into a “popularity” contest, often being won by a person judged to be the public’s “favourite”. This is a great pity as I, for one, would like to see the contest won by the person who is the best technical conductor. This can only be judged by the expert Panel.

Terry S.K. LAU, Maidenhead
What can I say,….FANTASTIC !!!!!!!

Esther in Luton
compelling viewing

marj hardie, aberdeen
best thing on the box for ages - standard of contestants, judging and, of course, the musicians and vocalists, superb

Gwyn Halsall, upham, Southampton
I think the experts should decide the winner - conducting is too difficult for ‘the public’ to jucge who is the best.

Ian, Southport
How disappointng that the BBC has to rely yet again on phone votes to get the “best” candidate. This show has been rather interesting but I find it frustrating that the BBC are needing the public to tell them who is best. Surely 99% of people wouldn’t know what to do with a baton anyway. leave it to the professional people.

Layne Kuirk-Schwarz-Waad from London
I have thoroughly enjoyed every episode of Maestro and hope it will be recommissioned. My only complaint would be that a little too much seems to be ‘concertina-ed’ into each episode, without allowing the viewer time to appreciate its content more fully. Last week’s show, enthralling though it was, seemed a little like two episodes conjoined to make one, as a time-saving measure. Surely the series could have commenced its run a week earlier, so as to coincide with the programme’s grand conclusion on 13th September,if time constraints were to blame. Anyway, I shall be watching the finale, this evening, with glee. Great programme! Ps: Never really paid much attention to the career of Sue Perkins, but shall from now on. Warm, likeable, intelligent and modest - a very pleasant rarity in the sphere of entertainment.

May, London
Sue Perkins made a mistake in her performance. However, the Judges actually stated when they gave the marks that (a)her rehearsal performance was good and they marked her up and (b)based on her “past performance” again she was marked up. This courtesy was not extended to Goldie who gave a “perfect performance” in rehearsals. I am no classical music buff, but I have heard of all of the arias used except Goldie’s. I subsequently found out that the aria given to him is very rarely performed or recorded…… a conspiracy? Overall the general condescension in the tone of the Judges’ comments on Goldie’s performances have an unsavoury flavour of yes you’ve made your strike against elitism, now kindly leave.

Chris / W. Yorks
Re: David Lister, The Independent “Why, come to think of it, is it only conductors who are called Maestro?” err, they’re not. Other professions have people referred to as Maestro. I.e. a fencing instructor is called a maestro.

Colin Smith, London
This has been a fascinating series and I hope it proves popular enough to warrant another season. I bet there are plenty of celebrities dying to have a go now. We saw week 3 live with our young daughter and although we are not really classically minded we were bowled over by the sight and sound of a large orchestra and chorus in the confines of the studio. It struck a nice balance; not too serious, not too silly. A bit of explanation about the mechanics of conducting and what to look for would be helpful at the start or some expert comment after each effort other than just the judges comments. Anyway thanks to all concerned and look forward to another run.

Graham Bennett, Northampton
Best of luck with the final. (I hope something has been done to sort out how the orchestra vote will work should there be another tie in the first part of the programme as episode 4’s mistake was bad enough but to repeat it would be unforgivable).

Helen, Oxford
It’s a pity that what started as an intelligently produced programme has degenerated into such a cruelly edited piece. By selecting a brief and evidently unrepresentative part of the rehearsal process, and by allowing the judges publicly to criticise their conducting colleague, the producer has misjudged his or her audience and the series has lost its integrity.

The Maestro programme team replies:
The BBC appoints a variety of independent third parties to verify vote results at a range of BBC shows (including Maestro). Such third parties are selected and contracted to provide the independent result verification services which are recorded and documented. These practices are in place and in accordance with BBC Guidelines and applicable laws (including Ofcom recommendations).

Peter Rice, Chichester
What arrangments have been made for independent scrutiny of the poll results for the winner of Maestro?

Isobel, London
I’ve really enjoyed this programme so far. It should be listed under education as I had no idea of the intensity and multi-tasking involved. Also how much of yourself and your emotions you have to expose. That sounds very hard for a shy person, yet you are doing it brilliantly. The series has been a revelation to me. I have particualrly enjoyed watching you and Goldie progress, and am sorry only one person can win. But will you continue to conduct?

Kenneth Thompson Doncaster
I think that Maestro is a very good show, I don’t watch “Reality shows”, but I gave “Maestro”a look and I am pleased that I did, it`s moving and funny, I think it is great and look forward to it.

Bea Selwood, Wellington, New Zealand
I agree that this is certainly not high-brow classical quality. But surely anything that fosters an interest in classical music has to be a good thing. Working for a Youth Choir in sports-mad New Zealand, I despair when young people are too ashamed to admit enjoying classical music, let alone participating. Maestro, and recently aired Last Choir Standing, may be far from the epitome of quality, but it has generated huge interest from the public. If that helps the cause of classical music in any way, that’s brilliant!

Ginevra, London
I think it’s a great idea that the orchestra get the final vote: it reflects the relationship that has been built up between the conductor and musicians over the series. You can be the best conductor in the world, but if the orchestra decide they don’t like you, you’re finished. I think it’s a great idea to reflect this in the voting system. It also means contestants get another chance if they fall apart on the night - the decision is based on their ongoing communication and development, not just the one performance. I’m not so sure about turning the final decision over to an audience vote, especially considering the BBC editing process which tends to reflect what somebody thinks makes ‘good tv’ rather than showing exactly what is going on. Having said this, despite my avowed hatred of reality TV, this is one phone-in vote I’m definitely planning to take part in.

Sheffield
This progranm has been fantastic. My children are also enjoying it. I hope Sue wins and I hope you will run the format again next year. Brilliant.

Joanne Grant, Lanark
This is one of the best TV programmes I have ever watched - and I’m not easy to please. I’m an amateur cellist and have conducted children’s groups, so am ‘conductor aware’ to a degree. This is fascinating, interesting, wonderful stuff!!! Congratulations on putting it on. BUt why on earth, in episode 4, did we find ourselves looking at a singer’s face when the most interesting or tricky parts of the conducting were going on? Surely this programme is about the conductors and the singers accepted the job knowing this. People watching were not watching performances by the singers but performances by the conductors. And, sadly, this we did not see. Could you perhaps have employed a split screen or a window and thus satisfied your director and your audience?

Andrew, Southampton
I’m curious about the facial expressions of some of the competitors. I take it they’re told to do that. Though I don’t think I’ve seen conductors (I haven’t seen many)almost giving the violins the eye as if they’re trying to get their phone number! Is it really necessary? I thought it was the hand/baton gestures that told musicians when to come in etc. It just looks very odd to me. (I have no musical skill whatsoever, mind.)

Liz Thompson, London
Why is Clive Anderson given time to ask inane questions of the contestants, and attempt to be funny, but the judges are constantly hurried along (by him)? The public vote is a mistake it should be down to the orchestra.

Jonathan, East Bergholt, Suffolk
The soloists were amazing in this week’s programme. However I found the coverage of the performance a bit irritating. Every time we came to a pause or rubato section - the most complex parts of the conductor’s job - the focus of the camera was on the singer and not the conductor. Ordinarily this is the norm, I know, but in this series it would be nice to see the students at these crucial moments. We could hear that Goldie had made a mistake giving an upbeat after the pauses in his piece, but at that moment could only guess at why things went wrong.

David Freedman. London
The right three are through to the final, and very impressive they all are too in their different ways, but I am dismayed that some of the judges seem biased against Jane Asher.

Clare, Oxford
I have absolutely loved this series- the first I have followed for a very long time - but I agree with most of the comments by others about the inadequate length of the programme to do justice to the material, plus the inconsistent judging and the slight inequity in terms of difficulty of pieces. However, what has really made me lose the will to watch is the fact that the viewers are judging the final. An absolute travesty. And why?? What has been wrong with the judgment of the orchestra, who, after all, are there and experiencing it all. How can we trust that this won’t be fixed by 500 fans of A or B ringing in 50 times each, or simply that it is fixed by the BBC (I know that’s never happened before..). Don’t sell out. This was such a great idea and has been so enjoyable. See it through properly - with people who know what they are talking about doing the judging.

Anna, London
M Willis’ comments are bang on. This is one of the best programmes the Beeb has put on in the past three years. It is a shame Clive Anderson is hosting. He cannot manage a live show with good timekeeping. He is like a loved, tolerated but ultimately embarrassing uncle doing a bad wedding speech. The judges are great with the exception of Dominic whose role seems to be purely to fancy Katie and Jane and throw verbal capes over puddles for them to step upon. His credentials are way under par compared with Simone and Sir Roger. I’d love this show to be 90 mins each week, with more background (without the need to watch it on the internet) - possibly with half an hour in the style of the first programme, which was wonderful, going on to an hour-long live concert segment, with a better host, and more time for proper judges’ comments. But it really is wonderful and the contestants, with the exception of Bradley Walsh who makes me grind my teeth, have been adorable and compelling. Many of us watching are classical music plebs. Programmes like this make the classical and highbrow accessible without being overly simplistic or lowbrow. The BBC has struck a great balance with this show. And Jonathan Dore - it’s a crash course, that is very clear. It is entertainment. Radio three and BBC Four are for the likes of you. This, baby, is brilliant mainstream.

Ian Pemberton, Warrington, Cheshire
Brilliant - Reality TV come of age

David Lawrence, Stratford upon Avon
The comments related to the critically flawed voting system are absolutely right. how could the producers not have seen this - they have been found wanting and what a shame. Lest we forget, every week to this point Katie had been declared the most improved conductor, and her teacher clearly knew what he was doing. The VT’s were well edited, but no surprise concentrated on the moments of greatest jeopardy, so let none of us think that we saw a full and fair representation of what went on between any of the students and their mentors. Of all the programmes of this format this stood the best chance, but Mr. Seldis of the panel has been an uncomfortably loose canon whose marks have defied rational explanation and loosened the integrity of the show’s voting system. He has turned his position as a judge into an opportunity for him to vent his career-long frustrations - such a pity.

Philip, London
Yes, all the right people are through to the final but how unfair to give Goldie such an obscure piece. All the others had well known arias but the one he was given is never included in any performance of ‘Marriage of Figaro’ and neither does it feature in any recordings. The orchestra had probably never played it before in their lives. Why was he not given one of the many well known arias from M of F ?

Janet Duncton Petworth
We are not normally watchers of these knockout programmes and came upon this by accident. It has been wonderfull and funny, good entertainment

Carl Hucklesby , Preston
Sorry to see Katie leave, but why was she given a neopolitan song when the show was based around opera arias ?

Mike, Arundel
Were the BBC prepared for a tied score? Surely a double vote by the orchestra would have been fairer. It’s possible one contestant received the large majority of the votes leaving only a very few to be shared between the other three.

sue. buckmaster - woking
Are you releasing a CD of the music from Maestro. I am really enjoying the programme, the music is wonderful.

Michael Keenan, Upwell
Is it just me or did the orchestra vote seem a bit iffy? No suggestion of any sculdugery at all, it was simply the method. I may have got it wrong, but I believe Clive Anderson anounced that the orchestra should all vote for who they would save, and the bottom two would be leaving. If that was the case, and I apologise if I got it wrong, not even election commision could have come up with a system more open to uncertainty of intention for the majority. Surely two votes would have been much fairer!

Linda Uhlemann Dublin Ireland
I love maestro its inspirational. Could I be a conductor? Give me a baton and a podium, I’m raring to go!! I know we don’t pay a licence fee to you in Ireland, but not allowing the video clips to be seen on the web is just stingy. Come on this is the world wide web, Show the world what great programs the BBC make.

Diane, Preston
What an enjoyable series, with a lovely idea of the orchestra saving one person each week. This fell down last night when two people were to go! Could the BBC not have afforded one more week to get to the final three? I also think that the viewers should not decide the winner. Perhaps the orchestra and judges could all vote.

Colin Block. Dublin, Ireland
Well done BBC, and thank you! Normally I hate the recent trend for the “voting-people-off” type of programme because they are usually so false. “Last Choir Standing” was absolutely cringe-making to me as a choral director, but “Maestro” on the other hand did everything right - it gives a good insight into the whole business of conducting, and through the competition element manages to be thoroughly riveting, without ever striking a “false note”. Clive Anderson is perfect as compere, and the judges, although they sometimes teeter precariously near the corny “good cop - bad cop” style of adjudication are generally on the ball. The only thing that must be driving the thousands of musicians mad who are watching is that every time there is a rall or a pause in the music, the shot switches away from the conductor. These are precisely the key points where we all want to know how is the student conductor handling these tricky moments, but we never see. Is it too late to sort this for the live final?

Derek, Silverdale
As ever in this wonderful series the episode four music was thoroughly enjoyable and the programme instructive. It’s a pity that, having explained to us in the preamble how the interplay between conductor and soloist should work, the camera didn’t show more of this. Instead we were shown either the soloist or the conductor but hardly ever the two together.

David Kirby-Ashmore. Milton Keynes
What a pity! The final of maestro is going to be ‘judged’ by the massed ignorance and prejudice of the (great) British public. The first programme was entertaining and informative. The rest have also been entertaining, but not long enough for any appreciation of the learning processes of the contestants. It was right that the orchestra had the final say as to who was eliminated - they should also be voting for the winner in the final. The public vote reduces the programme to the level of the many puerile talent shows on TV. Finally, why were the orchestra not able to vote for their favourite two conductors in the semi-final, as two were being saved? Had the been I suspect that the musically illiterate and at best metronomic Goldie would not have sneaked in to the final.

Will, Brighton
Hang on….. Bottom 4???!!! Surely the bottom two should’ve just been given the boot? Can’t have Goldie getting kicked out though can we! I WANT MY LICENSE FEE BACK! (Not really…)

Alastair Blaine, Swindon
What a disappointing episode. So far the series has been entertaining, very informative and at times very funny. This episode wasn’t - all the students seemed to have lost their enthusiasm. Even Sue Perkins didn’t have anything good to say. Clive Anderson kept chivvying on the judges to make up time so we could hear an ‘expert’ perfomance where the camera focused in on the solo singers. What a wasted opportunity to see a professional conductor in action! This series has bee great fun so far, but I hope the final is a marked improvement over the poor quality this week.

John Hall - Warley, Essex
After criticising Katie Derham for wiggling her bottom when conducting Dr Simone Young moved hers up and down by bending at the knees when showing us how it should be done.No wonder she declined to have the judges rate her performance

Jenny Gibbons Exeter
I thought Jane Asher was cheating; her mentor was clearly giving her the beat from the balcony, and she kept turning round to see him. In a sense, you can’t blame her since the aria she was given was so much more difficult than others’. For instance the Mozart was the same speed throughout

Elt, London
I had been enjoying Maestro very much(tho’ irritated that there never seemed enough time for all the judges’ comments) until last night when it went pearshaped. This was supposed to be a prog. about people learning to conduct. So why all the close ups of the singers? There was very little footage of the conductors’ hands which is the important part. Judges comments were rushed as usual and then a long, very long duet conducted by a judge. If she had conducted the same piece as one of the students it might have made an interesting comparison but it was unnecesary, irrelevant, time wasting and totally detracted from the programme. Was there a different director for that episode? And then the farce of the orchestra vote. It was quite simple - if keeping 2 out of 4 people then the orchestra should have had 2 votes. Not difficult to arrange. But actually I would have liked input from the soloists as to who they would save; similarly last week why could the excellent choir not have been asked for their comments both about the rehearsal and the actual performance?

Kathleen Dodds
And there was I applauding the BBC for doing away with the tackiness of an audience vote. How refreshing to have progression on merit rather than popularity! And now the final will be decided by the public - Classical X-Factor, anyone? And yes, I’m a young person, not an old fogie. And surely there should have been a vote for the tied 3rd place followed by the 3-way vote? Much fairer - and more exciting too. I agree with lots of the other comments here - give participants pieces of equal difficulty, cut out the tacky personal-story stuff (choosing a dress!!!) to make way for more musical comment and rehearsal information, film the conducting more than the singing/audience, get the orchestra to follow, not cover up the mistakes, and less Clive Anderson chat/kissing (why all the kissing - how off-putting!) and you’d have a great show that both educates and entertains.

Kenneth, Harrow
It’s a shame that what was an entertaining programme has been spoilt by one or two examples of consistently poor judging and by the shortcomings of the system used for the orchestra’s vote. A brave effort by the Maestro Interactive Producer to justify the process, and what was going to happen in the event of a tie was indeed stated at the beginning, but the failings of such an approach were also glaringly obvious from the beginning. If the orchestra are to select two people to go through then they have to have the opportunity to vote for two people. Otherwise there’s a significant risk, particularly with such a small voting sample, that the second person to go through wouldn’t be representative of the majority opinion. This voting lark’s not hard, you’d have thought the BBC would have figured it out by now ; )

Ross Jones, Harrogate
Last night was the first time I had seen the programme and I was captivated and wished it had gone on all night.The singing was wonderful and it was TV at its very best,which is quite unusual to pick a programme at random and really enjoy it.I hope it goes on for a long time in the dreary winter ahead.

Ben Johnston. Edinburgh
Is this a game show ? The whole thing spoilt by Clive Anderson’s so called funny interjections… does everything have to have a funny side? If he kept quiet we would have more time to hear comments on performances, and allow students to speak… and he would not need to “hurry people up”. What a shame.

Ellie, Gloucester
Why all the sympathy for KD? And why all the harshness (throughout the series it seems) for JA? I think it was interesting that the orchestra apparently supported Jane more than Katie: maybe the “inner diva” that she found has been apparent (and irritating) to them throughout, while Jane Asher has behaved impeccably. Well, that and the fact that she is by the far the superior conductor of the two.

Anon, London
A gripping show - interesting despite being structurally formulaic. However the main flaw is that there is not enough time for judges’ feedback, which is one of the most interesting parts of the shows. Delete something else (eg some of the witticisms) and give 2x the time for each judge. And I think Katie was robbed - she was far better than Jane and should have gone forward to the final!

Dave Galley, Brierley Hill
How nice it is to watch a programme where the audience applaud without having to scream and shout as if it’s the most exciting thing that has ever happend on television.

David, Birmingham
This has been a great but frustrating series. Without a score in front of you it’s not always been obvious to the layman why there has been a ‘train wreck’ in certain pieces. If there is a second series - which I sincerely hope there is - it would be helpful if these things could be explained even if it meant extending the programme. Episode one at 90 mins was perfect.

Paul Freeborn, London
This series started really well, with a good balance between being informative and being fun. I can just about live with the orchestra getting the final vote over who goes. Although as an orchestral musician of many years experience I have to say that the players will always tolerate more from conductors who they like and so their vote will inevitably tend to be biased towards those that they like the best rather than who has actually done the best .This was all too clear in last nights vote and the reinstatement of Goldie. He clearly has a great raw musical passion and untapped talent but as your judges all said - he bombed and on that basis should have gone. More impotantly, Cive Anderson’s revalation that the final “winner” would be decided by a viewers telephone vote is simply daft. It will inevitably be wholly done on the basis of who you want to win rather than who has perfomed the best on the night. Even if your viewing audience was made up exclusively of professional musicians, it would be impossible to make a fair decision simply from what is seen on the screen as we cannot judge the full interplay between conductor and orchestra. A great shame that a programme with such potential gets dragged down to the level of Big Brother. Of course the BBC will presumably share in the take from the phone calls and maybe there always was a hidden agenda to get a particular person through to the Last Night - but then I would say that wouldn’t I!

Juliet Kitching, Leeds
The final? WOW!

Sandra, London
This programme is a first attempt, and while I would have liked it to be different/better it is an interesting piece of TV taking a tried and tested format into a new area. There isn’t enough TV about music and music making, and on that ground alone I think it deserves praise. However, Dear BBC, you are a long way from having a good programme here. May I make the following suggestions for improvement for the next series (which I assume you are already planning). Format. I like seeing the students play something quite long rather than simply getting a few highlights, and the hour long format works well. However I also feel there is a lot I could learn from watching the training. The chemistry between student and mentor, how they are taught, and what they are taught are all interesting and deserve more than the snippet they get in the current show. If you want to teach the viewer about conducting then showing this stuff is a better tool than showing the students actually conducting in the competition. So how about this for the next format@ Tuesday: an hour long programme showing training related stuff. Thursday: an hour long competition night. Presenter. Clive Anderson is a disaster. He is as funny as a packet of breakfast cereal, exhibits some decidedly sexist turns to his so-called jokes, and is often so obviously reading his autocue that it is an embarrassment. Judges. Choose people who have real opinions and can make them well. As a viewer I want to learn about conducting and the judges are one of your teaching methods. Dominic is my problem. I loathe the way he seems to apply different criteria to Jane and Katie than to the rest of the students. Judges again. If you are not going to have time for all four judges to speak after every student cut the number to three. But better, make sure there is time for all four to speak and I don’t just mean in a little soundbite. Give them time to say what they want to say. They really can (and should) deliver something useful to the viewer. Commentary. Let the mentors and the students feed back on the judgements. You could cover this easily in the training show.

Christina McDonald
I think Katie had a really rough time with her mentor and it looked as though that affected her conducting. I thought she did brilliantly under the extra pressure. The relationship between student and teacher is extremely important within any kind of artistic work and if that stops working properly, it does nothing for your confidence. I really liked her conducting and I was sorry to see her go. It wasn’t her fault! The guy who was teaching her looked liked a right arrogant idiot. That couldn’t have been easy on the emotions. Well done and congratulations Katie for getting as far as you did!

Hils, Halifax
I’m hooked on the show but feel there are clearly judges’ favourites. In particular Goldie is quite extraordinary, given that he cannot read music, and this - plus the fact that he is “hip” and the judges may like themselves/classical music to be seen that way too - seems to influence the marking rather than the marking being a reflection of his performance on the night. Last week Jane Asher was marked down for not looking at the trumpets; Goldie spent most of his performance with his eyes closed, yet ended up top of the leader board! This week and last he has given us two good lessons in beating time - nothing else.

Adrian Murray, London
This truly wonderful series by itself pretty much justifies the BBC’s licence fee for 2008. All its infuriating flaws (very well documented here by the viewers) only serve to make it more compulsive viewing. I say:- (i) at some point each week all the competitors should have had to conduct the same piece and been marked like-for-like. These performances could have been recorded, with only edited highlights (and lowlights) included in the broadcast to illustrate and justify why the judges marked as they did. (ii) Last night Jane Asher, looking dreadfully drained I thought, was incredibly lucky to get away with another underwhelming performance - this time at the expense of Katie Derham whose “cornetto” was one of the most delightful things experienced so far (iii) Alfie and Rebecca should get their own show immediately! Within the time-strapped Maestro format, their duet was strictly an extravagant luxury, but what the heck (iv) Simone Young was very brave to risk a “beauty and the beast” juxtaposition with what had gone before; I admire her hard hitting judging style but I did not notice the orchestra raising its game significantly under her flouncy baton style.

Jayne Shorter, Bristol
The orchestra vote at the end was not fair. Initially members of the orchestra were voting to save one person out of three. However a ‘tie’ meant that they were suddenly asked to save two people out of four. The only fair way to do this was for them to vote twice. By voting once they were only voting for their first favourite. I thought this was totally unfair and may well have resulted in the second person saved as being the wrong person

Sally Cox, Downham Market
I think the series overall is great and very entertaining, but I have to take issue with Dominic’s judgments last night. By awarding Jane a very questionable 9 out of 10 he completely skewed the results, and his bluster about “having a word with” Katie’s mentor after the show was also pretty laughable!

Lindsay Thomson, Suffolk
Can anyone reconcile the following statements (I paraphrase slightly)? Simone: “Goldie, what happened? You were perfect in rehearsal …” Dominic: “Goldie, we [sic] were expecting a car crash and it just happened.” But then, it seems to me that inconsistency has been the only consistent thing about the Maestro judging… :-(

Ann mount, Berwick, East Sussex.
Great series, but more time needed for judges’ comments, and MUCH less of Clive Anderson.

Bronwyn Evans, Cardiff
I thought the programme very disappointing last night. The camerawork was focusing far too much on the opera singers and on close-up faces of those conducting - we’re meant to be watching them conducting, so seeing an uninterrupted waist-up view of the students you would think would be a given. It really spoilt my enjoyment of the programme. There were specific technical things that they were all doing which we in the TV audience missed becasue of the camerawork. I also think it’s an absolute travesty that Jane Asher has managed to get through to the final. The judges marks for her clearly reflected a sympathy vote as she had the hardest piece. What were they doing giving one person a piece that was so much more difficult than the others? Alex James has so much musicality and gives himself utterly to each piece he conducts, and has improved staggeringly throughout this show, he deserved to be in the final. And even Katie has come on a lot more than Jane Asher. Some of the judges’ remarks were unjustifiably personal and bad-tempered too. And why were judging remarks and background stories rushed through only in order to spend 5 minutes watching Simone Young conduct (not very interestingly) at the end? This series has not lived up to its its early promise, although Sue Perkins is awesomely talented and Goldie has been a revelation. But again he really messed up last night, but still got good marks from the judges. I will be watching the final next week but I really hope they sort out the cameras.

Veronica Patrick, Colwyn Bay
I am enjoying this programme so much - it is fascinating - really well done. I’m loving getting to know the participants, listening to the music etc etc. Thank you, BBC - it’s a real highlight of my week.

Philip O'Connor, Market Harborough
This programme is becoming increasingly out of tempo. The efforts of contestants is rarely matched by that of the judges, witness the increasingly bitchy commentaries by the judging panel allied to the most mystfiying scoring seen in any episode to date. You need to get the time management of this programme in balance: the last five minutes were bordering on farce. Good luck to the finalists and my sympathies to Katie Derham who must still be reeling from the outcome.

Sean Slater, Olmarch, Ceredigion
As much aas I have enjoyed “Maestro” and continue to enjoy the series, I cannot but think the result is a foregone conclusion and the scores are rigged to give you the results you want.

Alison , Cheshire
Me and my boyfriend have watched every week, but never again. Why not just give the prize to Sue now? The strange play-off with four people seems to have been an afterthought , but we both think that Katie was very hard done by. The producers have lost more than they think with this manoeuvre. Last week showing her choosing a dress was out of keeping with the show , and this week her mentor upsetting her, in spite of all this she did enough to go through but was seemingly prevented, so thanks for the memories Maestro but it’s goodbye.

Anon
No Katie = No interest

Mrs Emma Peel, Newcastle upon Tyne
A hugely enjoyable 4th episode - Rebecca and Alfie were absolutely superb. Felt so sorry for Katie - there was virtually nothing to choose between the lovely Katie and the gorgeous Jane. Both ladies demonstrated such wonderful dramatic passion for their various operatic pieces. I thought this was Jane Asher’s finest performance of the series. What a pity four could not have gone through to the final.

Jordan
I can’t stand Katie’s mentor. Her video diary tonight was really harsh and it seems unlike her to swear. You can see how much she was upset.

Tim Thirst, Norwich
What a wonderful programme - until tonight. It lost all its credibility with one stupid mistake, the voting system. In this system, the top scorer remains, but the person who comes SECOND will be voted off. Incredulous! Let me explain. Assume the orchestra has 100 players. 85 think Sue is top and Katie second. 10 think Jane is first and Katie second. 5 think Goldie is first and Katie is second. With only ONE vote each [the flaw in the system when voting two off], Sue gets 85, Jane 10, Goldie 5, Katie 0. With three votes for first, second and third place: Sue gets 85 and wins first place. The second vote takes place. Katie gets 85, Jane 10, Goldie 5. Katie wins second place. The third vote takes place. Jane gets 10, Goldie 5. Jane comes third. This is of course all done at the same time on a voting console. I could not believe [or the others watching with me] that the BBC could make such a stupid mistake. Either that or the vote was rigged. Which is it, and how are the BBC going to correct it? Maestro Interactive Producer Graeme Kay replies: Clive stated at the beginning of the progamme that the three students with the lowest scores would face the orchestra vote and the bottom two would leave the competition. That meant that in the event of a tie below that of joint first place, four students would have to face the orchestra vote. That was indeed what happened with Jane and Katie in joint second place and as a result of the vote by the orchestra Alex and Katie received gained the least votes and were therefore eliminated from the competition.

Carole, Wadebridge, Cornwall
I am absolutely loving this programme. Although not a musician, I am with everyone else on wanting Sue or Goldie to win, I can see how much better they are than the others and am applauding every performance. Again in agreement with others, more backstory please! BBC - is it lack of time, or don’t you believe we want to see it? Interactive producer Graeme Kay replies: In the video section of the website, if you look for titles beginning “Behind the scenes”, you’ll find extra material which has not been broadcast.

Charles Jennens, London
If I needed to understand how conducting works, the best example tonight was on Radio 3 - Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic … I understood more about conducting from him than anything on show tonight on Maestro.

Lins, Totnes
Having just heard that the final is to be judged by the public I can only hope that we are shown more of the actual conducting than we were shown tonight. Watching the singers filling our screens whilst we were left to guess at how the conductors were managing was irritating. It would be like watching the band instead of the dancers in “Come Dancing.” My other niggle has been that I do feel each judge should be heard. Surely enough time should be left for that. Niggles aside this has been one of the best and most entertaining family programmes we have enjoyed for a long time. I was hoping that “Last Choir Standing” would be more along these “less-hyped, more-music” lines. Great stuff.

Michael Young
That was the best Summertime I have ever ever heard that rebecca is amazing. What a voice!

Jonathan and Vicky, Leeds
To Jonathan Dore, your comments are probably (possibly) accurate for a musician or a classical music lover. However, we feel you’re missing the point. This is all about people who are professional in their own field trying something new. Do you think you could produce drum and bass (or be a founding father of a music genre) or present a 30min live news programme that finishes to the second, or write, produce and present stand-up comedy? We have found this an inspirational window into the world of classical music. Everyone is trying their best and do you know what? I have no idea who Horowitz is but we love this programme. Who knows, one day our curiosity may lead us to Horowitz. With due respect Jonathan, it’s people like you who try to make classical music exclusive. Maestro has been the best tv (even to none classical music lovers) in a long time and we can’t wait to see and learn more from the next series. Bravo!

Robert Kenchington, Stamford
Not a good programme tonight. Here’s why: 1. Poor repertoire: a succession of mainly slow-moving maudlin arias either by Puccini or in his style. 2. Bad organisation: the singers,placed too far from the conductor’s sightline,just did their own thing. 3. Acrimony between judges and mentors during the concert. Not very professional and raises the question again as to whether the programme is meant to be ‘fun’ or not. 4. Jury members still taking the programme too seriously - their chairman visibly losing interest in the whole business. There was an underlying tension to the whole programme tonight with the normally relaxed Clive Anderson clearly at pains to keep order. ‘Maestro’ is turning from a classical version of ‘X Factor’ into a kind of ‘Big Brother’ with arias - compounded by Katie Derham’s little tantrum. Let’s hope the finale can restore some dignity to the proceedings

Alex, London
What an absolute travesty; Katie should have gone through with Goldie. Clearly the orchestra vote wasn’t set up to ‘save’ two people in the event of a tie, given that they could only vote for one person, but the main problem was the judging. Simone and Sir Roger Norrington are very good but Dominic and, in particular, Zoe are a complete disgrace. You have to wonder why they even bother turning up as they have obviously made up their minds and could submit their scores weeks in advance.

Anon, Middlesbrough
I think this programme needs to put a youth orchestra in front of the conductors. This would show if they were any good or not and the listeners at home would be able to judge better. ‘Cos let’s face it a professional orchestra has got a leader they can follow and they don’t really need a conductor, so it all sounds good whoever’s conducting, as tonight’s show proved - when the judge conducted it sounded the same as when the students did, cos it’s the same orchestra. A youth orchestra with less experience would not be able to cover up the cracks so well and a more entertaining programme would be produced as a result!

Anon, Leeds
Again hooked but feel very sorry for Katie. Different coach and she would have been less stressed!

Cathy, Lancaster
Dramatic vote - more like the good old wrestling results.

Ernest Alistair Lowe, Wakefield
Why two out this week? This was supposed to be 4 of 6 episodes - now 4 of 5 why? Interactive producer Graeme Kay replies: Show 5 is the series finale and show 6 is the event at which the winner will perform - the Proms in the Park concert on the Last Night of the Proms. For a full explanation of the rules, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/musictv/maestro/how-maestro-works/

Zanna
Goldie and Alex should have gone. Sue is by far the best!! SUE TO WIN !!!!

Joe, London
Felt a bit lacklustre tonight. Thought they all lacked passion and some things seemed to drag a bit. Sue’s still my girl!

John Hanna, Weymouth
I’m really enjoying Maestro for the insight into how difficult conducting must be. I understand the need for someone to indicate the tempo to all the orchestra simultaneously, but I still can’t see how a conductor can really influence the playing of seasoned musicians who already know their parts of the score by heart. Could someone enlighten me?

Shirley, Esher
Could we please also have a language edited version of The Maestro to share with young children who are also interested and excited by the programme? Thank you BBC.

M Willis, London
Katie D got off lightly! Why was she given a folk/’pop’ song instead of a real opera aria? Her piece - O sole mio - is strophic and simply delivered. To put it against Puccini, Mozart and Gershwin is not competition. The fact that she conducted it as a hula hula dancer merely emphasised how appropriate her dismissal was. Conducting opera is a special skill. Sue Perkins talked about the additional levels of emotion, humanity and just plain acting it requires. It would have been interesting to hear Rebecca Evans’ and Alfie Boe’s thoughts or being supported by conductor and orchestra when performing opera on stage or in concert. This would have been more productive than rushing through students and judges so that we could hear Simone Young conduct an unchallenging duet.

Michael, Portsmouth
What a great series! It just needs more time for judges comments, and a bit more background for the contestants preparation. I loved the way the “fear” in the contestants eyes in the earlier programmes gave way to smiles and confidence as they realised the power of the music under their control. I hope the BBC do another series, especially making each programme longer to avoid the “rushed” elements.

Janet Shell, Hersham
Rebecca and Alfie - it could be the new Xmas special - conducted by ? - stranger things have happened! Meanwhile - toi toi - not that you will see this until later - but I am looking forward to hearing Rebecca again - perhaps we should have suggested the Lakme duet or something?!

Liz and John Woodhouse
What a pity we’ll be winging our way to Johannesburg during next week’s programme and will also miss the Last Night!!! Good luck to everyone and it’s been a fantastic show so far.

John Farmer
Can’t wait for Alfie and Rebecca. They are both amazing. Saw them at Cadogan Hall together last year when they opened the Chelsea Festival. Well done!

Jonathan Dore, Cambridge
How hard can it be? You’re asking the wrong question, and looking in the wrong place. If you want to know where the real skill lies, and the real work is done, look at the rehearsal, not the performance. Anyone can be coached to blag their way through conducting a performance of a short piece (provided there are no changes of time signature and little variation in tempo), but no-one who isn’t a musician could blag their way through a rehearsal for more than 15 seconds without being rumbled. Do you want that phrase bowed or slurred? Spiccato or legato? Where do you want the ritardando to start? What kind of mutes do you want here? And a thousand other questions orchestral players ask would be simply incomprehensible to any of the contestants on the show, but are the everyday bread and butter of a conductor’s life. What your programme is doing is no more meaningful than seeing whether someone can mime playing the piano to a recording of Horowitz.

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