thu 21/09/2017

Janáček

‘A massive party full of treats and surprises’: Annabel Arden on six mini masterpieces at Opera North

The first day of rehearsals for The Little Greats was thrilling and terrifying in equal measure: the casts of six shows, the whole chorus, all the creative teams and management milling around and talking nineteen to the dozen in the big, reverberant...

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Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished. Clearly he had undergone chemotherapy, but...

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Best of 2016: Opera

It was the best and worst of years for English National Opera. Best, because principals, chorus and orchestra seem united in acclaiming their Music Director of 14 months, Mark Wigglesworth, for his work at a level most had only dreamed of (“from the...

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St Lawrence String Quartet, Wigmore Hall

John Adams, let's face it, was the reason many of us came to hear the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Their performances and recordings as dedicatees of his labyrinthine First String Quartet and Absolute Jest, in which the four players function as...

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Ehnes, Hallé, Elder, Heyward, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Two things to note in Thursday’s Hallé performance at the Bridgewater Hall: the debut in the Manchester main series of their highly talented new assistant conductor, Jonathon Heyward, and another stride along the road towards the Hallé/Elder...

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Prom 45: The Makropulos Affair, BBCSO, Bělohlávek

Karel Čapek, the great Czech writer who pioneered some of the most prophetic dramatic fantasies of the early 20th century, thought Janáček was nuts to want to set his wordy play about a 337-year-old woman to music. He could not have anticipated what...

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Jenůfa, Longborough Festival Opera

Quite apart from its inherent power, Jenůfa always amazes me by the way it seems to pluck a new language out of thin air, then use it to carry one of the most moving and emotionally truthful works in the repertory. Its curiously staccato...

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Jenůfa, English National Opera

ENO's new artistic director Daniel Kramer must regret having gone on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week to talk about suspending Janáček "and other obscures" from the company's repertoire for several seasons to come. Good God, if Jenůfa, Janáček's first...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne

Is The Cunning Little Vixen a jolly children’s pantomime, or is it a searching study of issues of life and death, Man and Nature? The answer, naturally, is that it’s both. Children dress up as animals, and sing and prance about. But at the same time...

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theartsdesk in Prague: Czech Spring with Smetana and Martinů

On the itinerary of musical tourists around Europe, the opening of the Prague Spring Festival comes a close third to the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year's Day Concert and the Bayreuth experience. That said, Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland) – the...

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Jenůfa, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, RFH

Janáček's lacerating music-drama of love-led sin and redemption in a 19th century Moravian village is the opera I'd recommend as the first port of call for theatregoers wary of the genre. Its emotional truths are unflinching, its lyricism as...

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