sun 24/07/2016

Verdi

Falstaff, CBSO, Gardner, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Edward Gardner gives the downbeat, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra bursts into Verdi’s great opening guffaw. Enter stage left Graham Clark, as Dr Caius. Enter stage right Ambrogio Maestri, as Falstaff. And before a note has been sung,...

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Il Trovatore, Royal Opera

That often-repeated truism about Verdi's craziest melodrama, that it needs four of the world's greatest voices, makes no mention of acting ability. Given the top-notch international approach to this kind of opera, impressively fielded by what's...

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Shakespeare 400 Gala, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

Every year is Shakespeare year in theatre, opera house and concert hall. An anniversary's best, though, for those select few galas where the mind's made flexible by constant comparison between different Shakespearean worlds. I don't know how it was...

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The Force of Destiny, English National Opera

Verdi’s dark tale gets even darker in this new staging from Calixto Bieito. He updates the story to the Spanish Civil War, a setting with plenty of opportunity for his trademark violence but also offering illuminating parallels on the story itself....

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Mark Wigglesworth

Mark Wigglesworth and I go back quite a long way in terms of meetings – namely to 1996, when I interviewed him for Gramophone about the launch of his Shostakovich symphonies cycle on BIS. He completed it a decade later, though that release hung fire...

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Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

September is upon us and it’s nearly time for the new season. English National Opera’s Artistic Director John Berry may have left the building but his enterprising legacy lives on in a 2015-16 season that looks on paper as good as any in the past 20...

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theartsdesk at the Buxton Festival: Bloody Lucia, saintly Joan and sweet Louise

Sunlight bounces off Derbyshire stone, buskers strum on the Pavilion Gardens bandstand and there’s improvised Shakespeare on the streets: it’s Festival time again in Buxton. Frank Matcham’s Opera House doesn’t present a particularly festive...

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Remembering Jon Vickers (1926-2015)

Canadian heroic tenor Jon Vickers, who died on Friday 10 July aged 88 and whose full life took him from work on a Saskatchewan farm to the great opera houses of the world, was inimitable, terrifying and titanic. Faced with the intense flavour of...

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Rigoletto, Longborough Festival

The gable end of Martin Graham’s converted barn opera-house at Longborough is surmounted by statues of three composers: pride of place, not surprisingly, to Wagner – the festival’s raison d’être – and with Verdi and Mozart on either side. It’s true...

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Falstaff, Royal Opera

It may only be a revival, but this is what the Royal Opera does best, above all in fielding a living legend of a Falstaff for Verdi's last masterpiece who’d probably be beyond the pockets of many other houses. Italian baritone, masterchef and...

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La Traviata: Love, Death and Divas, BBC Two

Verdi's La Traviata has become one of the best-loved and most-performed works in the operatic repertoire, but this is no thanks to sections of the English press. In this entertaining romp through the opera's history, presenters Tom Service and...

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First Person: Once More With Feeling

As a child back in Lithuania, I always wanted to be an actor, but opera has taken me in a different direction – though recently it has opened up doors for the big screen and TV. This month Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail is being beamed...

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