An individual sells a French violin online for $2,500 (not a large sum for a violin, actually.) The buyer claims some dispute about the instrument’s label. PayPal does have a policy about disputed labels, but they mean the kind found on counterfeit designer bags, not antique instruments. The buyer (who is either scamming both the seller and PayPal, or is a uniquely special kind of idiot) did as PayPal instructs in their fake-goods policy, and destroyed the violin in order to get his refund.
Yes, maybe he found some crappy cheap fiddle, copied the label and destroyed that instead. One hopes. The alternative is just too unpleasant to contemplate, for a musician.
On this side of the pond, here’s an FAZ interview with tenor Endrik Wottrich about doping, claques, marketing pressure and other cheerful aspects of today’s high-end opera industry. (In German. If I find a translation I’ll post an update.This is actually from way back in 2007 but making another loop around the web.)