The Daily Telegraph
By Sarah Schaefer
VANESSA Mae, the violinist, has had to perform without a full orchestra in the first concert of her British tour, because the Slovakian musicians were refused work permits.
Miss Mae was accompanied by 11 freelance musicians at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, on Tuesday night instead of the 72-strong Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Department for Education and Employment is believed to have ruled against the granting of work permits because Miss Mae could have planned the tour with a British orchestra.
A spokesman for the Musicians' Union, which was consulted by the department, said the booking would have had an effect on British labour. However, Mel Bush, the tour's promoter, said that none of the British orchestras had been suitable. "None was available for the entire tour."
The 18-year-old virtuoso, said she regretted the department's decision. "The orchestra accompanied me on my German tour and they must be shocked by the decision.
"The tour will be different now and there will be a few surprises. But I will enjoy everything I play and hope everyone else will."
Refunds are being offered to ticket holders who do not want to hear the revised programme. A spokesman for the Royal Concert Hall said the audience had been sympathetic towards the change of programme.
"At the end of the day it was still a performance by Vanessa Mae and very few wanted to have a refund. One thing is for sure though: the stage was looking empty in comparison to usual concerts."