tue 12/12/2017

Britten

Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Morton Feldman, Maria Marchant

Bach: Keyboard Concertos, Italian Concerto Sonya Bach (piano), English Chamber Orchestra/John Mills and Stephanie Gonley (leaders) (Rubicon)There's no shortage of decent recordings of Bach concertos played on piano. I’d probably rescue my Murray...

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Prom 13 review: Rana, BBCSO, Davis – Malcolm Sargent tribute lacks punch

Ten days ago I reviewed the First Night of the 2017 Proms. Last night I was back at the Royal Albert Hall to hear the First Night of the 1966 Proms. This time-capsule experience was courtesy of a re-enactment of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s 500th Prom, in...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to...

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Albert Herring, The Grange Festival review - playing it straight yields classic comedy gold

Perfect comedies for the country-house opera scene? Mozart's Figaro and Così, Strauss's Ariadne - and Britten's Albert Herring, now 70 years and a few days old, but as ageless as the rest. With the passing of time it's ever more obvious that this...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Snape Maltings

It’s all there in the first few bars of Britten’s music – that unsettling tension between beauty and familiarity, and eerie, undefinable otherness. Those cello glissandi might end in glowing major chords, but the tentacle-like slides throw them into...

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'The challenge is to make something of not very much': Iestyn Davies on Britten's Oberon

Tomorrow Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will begin a short run at the Snape Maltings, Suffolk in a new production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. It will mark the high point of the Aldeburgh Festival’s summer...

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Little, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

The CBSO is justifiably proud of its association with Benjamin Britten. There’s rather less proof that he reciprocated, dismissing the orchestra as "second-rate" after it premiered his War Requiem in 1962. Throughout the 1950s, he’d repeatedly...

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Gerhardt, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place

What's not to like, or love, would have to be the sensible response to both the opening programme of Kings Place's year-long Cello Unwrapped festival at Kings Place and its life-enhancing execution. Symmetries abounded – between Alban Gerhardt's...

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Billy Budd, Opera North

"That cursed mist" may hide the French from the crew of the HMS Indomitable and cause far more deadly damage to moral certainty. But clarity and strength are the assets of Orpha Phelan's new production for Opera North: no gimmicks, superb company...

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Owen Wingrave, British Youth Opera, Peacock Theatre

Owen Wingrave is the Britten opera that always comes with a caveat, an apology. Dramatically flawed (a problem partially, but by no means entirely, accounted for by its genesis as a television opera) and musically uneven, it has nevertheless emerged...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Glyndebourne

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is too other-worldly to have anything as mortal as a musical heartbeat. Pulsing through it instead are musical quivers, jolts of eerie energy first heard in the opening cello glissandi. Denaturing the instrument,...

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