tue 23/05/2017

Handel

Ariodante, The English Concert, Bicket, Barbican

To hear The English Concert playing Handel is to arrive in technicolour Oz after a lifetime of black and white baroque in Kansas. We’re not short on period bands in the UK, but few bring this music into anything like the kind of focus that Harry...

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Alceste, Early Opera Company, Curnyn, Wigmore Hall

A wife dies to save her husband; a hero goes to hell and back to retrieve her from the underworld. Nothing of this dark myth, other than a rollicking row across the Styx from a bass singing Charon, ferryman of the dead, remains in Handel's...

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Ormisda, St George's Hanover Square

The annual London Handel Festival is dutifully working its way through every one of Handel’s operas in a cycle that will eventually take us from Alcina to Xerxes before, presumably, starting all over again. But each year, alongside these headliners...

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Partenope, English National Opera

It's time again for surrealist charades at the nothing-doing mansion. Christopher Alden's Handel is back at ENO, making inconsequentiality seem wondrous. Christian Curnyn's conducting sets the tone, with orchestral playing as light as air, and a new...

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Gauvin, Le Concert de la Loge, Chauvin, Wigmore Hall

Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin has one of the most beautiful voices in the business – a glinting crystal blade sheathed in velvet. She wields it with skill, darting swiftly with coloratura one minute, before stabbing deep with emotion the next. In...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Strauss, John Bullard, Tania Stavreva

Strauss: Suites from Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck (Reference Recordings)Manfred Honeck’s extended slice of Richard Strauss's Elektra was made in collaboration with the Czech composer Tomáš Ille, Honeck’s...

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DiDonato, Il Pomo d'Oro, Emelyanchev, Barbican

Most singers give recitals, and very nice they are too. But there are some – Bartoli, Florez, Netrebko, Terfel – who really put on a show. Mezzo Joyce DiDonato might just be the queen of this select band, and between the projections, smoke, sound...

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Oreste, Royal Opera, Wilton's Music Hall

Human sacrifice and long-term reconciliation are serious matters for music-drama. Not that you'd know it from Handel's pasticcio or confectionary of previous operatic hits, nor from Gerard Jones's one-note production. For strip-cartoon violence...

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Alcina, RAM, Round Chapel, Hackney

Handel’s Alcina is about sex, certainly. But unlike Olivia Fuchs’s new production for the Royal Academy of Music, it’s about an awful lot of other things as well. Power, illusion, ageing, love, gender, family, intimacy – all these themes find...

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Be With Me Now, Britten Studio, Snape

As the hand-held credits popped up on screen to pianist and musical director Manoj Kamps's superb quartet arrangement of Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, the European Union's Culture Programme logo brought a spontaneous burst of applause. Not the norm...

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: HandelFest 2016

What Auden called "the sexy airs of summer" arrived early in Göttingen this year. Frog action in the Botanical Gardens of the town's pioneering University may have been less clamorous than when I first came here in late rather than early May (the...

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Piau, Les Talens Lyriques, Rousset, Wigmore Hall

La Follia was, as every programme note inevitably reminds us, a pop song of its day. A strutting Spanish dance, it featured in the work of over 150 composers, so catchy was its signature chord progression. Still a classic of Baroque concert...

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