sun 23/07/2017

Proms

Prom 6: Benedetti, BBC NOW, Søndergård - dazzling violin magic

Nicola Benedetti was the star of this show, no doubt about that. She is a Proms regular and favourite, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience, the Royal Albert Hall filled almost to capacity. And she didn’t disappoint, giving a performance of...

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Prom 9 review: Fidelio, BBCPO, Mena - classy prison drama rarely blazes

What a pity Beethoven never composed an appendage to Fidelio called The Sorrows of Young Marzelline. One crucial moment apart, the music he gives to his second soprano in his only opera isn't his best, but Louise Alder so lived the role of the...

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Prom 7 review: Weilerstein, BBCSO, Weilerstein - new cello concerto enthrals

It’s at times like this that I give thanks for the Proms. Who else would (or could) have put together a programme pairing Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with an 18th-century sonic fantasy, or topped it off with a substantial UK premiere? A bit...

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Prom 3: Faust, COE, Haitink - Europeans tread air under 88-year-old master

The message must be getting through. On the First Night of the Proms, Igor Levit played as encore Liszt's transcription of the great Beethoven melody appropriated as the European Anthem; in Prom 2, Daniel Barenboim unleashed his Staatskapelle Berlin...

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Prom 1 review: Levit, BBCSO, Gardner - fizzing Adams finally ignites mixed First Night

The ideal First Night of the Proms sets the tone for the season, perhaps flagging up some of the themes to be followed up later, offering a blend of novelty and familiarity, and preferably ending with a roof-raising choral blockbuster. This...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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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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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

Mitsuko Uchida specialises in elegant, if uncontroversial, interpretations of core Austro-German repertoire, yet she’s never predictable, and every performance is full of unexpected insights and welcome surprises. Mozart and Schumann stand at...

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Eyes and teeth: Conductors at the 2016 Proms

The concert photographer Chris Christodoulou has been taking pictures at the BBC Proms for 35 years. Even more than the musicians under their baton, he spends his time watching conductors like a hawk, observing their every gesture and grimace. Every...

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Last Night of the Proms, BBCSO, Oramo

I had never been to the Last Night of the Proms until last night, nor really paid much attention to it in recent years. To the extent I did, I have been resentful of the fact that to many people it represents the Proms as a whole, with its flag...

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Prom 74: Verdi Requiem, OAE, Alsop

Tradition – a choral spectacular for the penultimate night of the Proms – but with a twist – a youth choir and period instruments. Marin Alsop this evening led a spectacular Verdi Requiem, not least for the sheer scale of the chorus, the BBC Proms...

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Prom 71: Trifonov, Staatskapelle Dresden, Thielemann

Soft power in the shape of cultural ambassadors can go a long way. With a little help from its big guns in banking and industry, Germany has given this year's Proms no less than four of its major orchestras – from Leipzig, two from Berlin, and now...

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