mon 19/02/2018

19th century

Iolanthe, English National Opera review - bright and beautiful G&S for all

Very well, so ENO's latest Gilbert and Sullivan spectacular was originally to have been The Gondoliers directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. But that Venetian fantasia has already been seen at the Coliseum in recent years,...

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Tosca, Welsh National Opera review - ticking the traditionalist boxes

Opera-lovers: if you’ve finally had enough of the wheelchairs and syringes, the fifties skirts and heels, the mobile phones and the white box sets, and the rest of the symbolic paraphernalia of the right-on modern opera production, pop along to the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Shostakovich, Christoph Prégardien, Nataša Mirkovič

Shostakovich: Symphony No 6, Sinfonietta (Quartet No 8, arr. Abram Stasevich) Estonian Festival Orchestra/Paavo Järvi (Alpha Classics)The one false note here comes in the form of Paavo Järvi’s description of Shostakovich's Symphony No 6, referring...

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Carmen, Royal Opera review - clever concept, patchy singing, sexy dancing

Roll up, dépêchez-vous, for Carmen the - what? Circus? Vaudeville/music-hall/cabaret? Opéra-ballet, post-Rameau? Not, certainly, a show subject to the kind of updated realism which has been applied by just about every production other than the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Sterndale Bennett, Fieri Consort

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Strauss: Burleske Joseph Moog (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Nicholas Milton (Onyx)It's not you, it's me. That’s probably what I'd say to Brahms in attempting to explain why I generally prefer his craggy D minor...

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Capuçon, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - Dvořák in blazing focus

You can't have too much Dvořák in a single evening, at least not when the works in question operate at the highest level of volatility and melodic abundance like last night's overture, concerto and symphony. "Febrile centrists" might look like an...

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Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

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Das Rheingold, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - orchestral revelations, but cursing Alberich trumps wooden Wotan

Vladmir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra have been to the bottom of the Rhine before, but in 2015 only did a whistlestop tour of the rest of Rheingold's terrain with an extensive array of excerpts. Having worked with the players on...

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Giselle, Royal Ballet review - beautiful dancing in a production of classic good taste

The run of Giselle that opened at the Royal Opera House last night was completely sold out before it even started, and no wonder. Pair Sir Peter Wright's eerie production with some very fine casts and the reliable classiness of the Royal Ballet's...

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Feng, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - pulling it out of the hat

Say what you like about Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s partnership with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – and plenty has already been written – but sometimes the facts speak for themselves. At the end of this midweek matinee concert, an...

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A Woman's Life review - simple but affecting

A Woman’s Life first premiered at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, alongside the likes of La La Land, Arrival and Jackie. Though it’s taken longer to get to our shores than its contemporaries, the film feels fresh and relevant. This...

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Hostiles review – powerful but preachy Frontier fable

The last time we saw Christian Bale in a western, he was playing the downtrodden rancher Dan Evans in James Mangold’s punchy remake of 3.10 to Yuma. No doubt it was valuable experience for his role in Hostiles, Scott Cooper’s smouldering flashback...

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