mon 02/03/2015

Stephen Walsh

stephen.walsh

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Bio
Stephen is a former Observer music critic and a regular contributor to The Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Independent and the BBC. He is the author of a major biography of Stravinsky and other books on Stravinsky, Bartók and Schumann. He holds a chair in music at Cardiff University.

Articles by Stephen Walsh

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

You might imagine that composers in general would write songs. On my way to the BCMG’s programme of pieces from the songbook assembled by John Woolrich and Mary Wiegold for the Composers’ Ensemble 30...

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Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

After 16 years one might expect a revival of a repertory opera like Hansel and Gretel to come up with a dusty look and frayed edges. But Benjamin Davis has done a brilliant job pumping the life back...

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Rachmaninov Vespers, Maryinsky Chorus, Llandaff Cathedral

Anyone whose affection for Rachmaninov is bounded by the Second Piano Concerto or the Paganini Rhapsody might be surprised to learn that his own favourite work of his was his setting for...

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Betrothal in a Monastery, Maryinsky Opera, Cardiff

It’s one of the ironies of life and art that Prokofiev’s tenderest and most romantic opera was composed at a time when he was abandoning his wife in favour of a Moscow literature student half his age...

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The Fall of the House of Usher, Sound Affairs, Malvern

At least three composers have set about turning The Fall of the House of Usher into operas, including most famously Debussy, whose abortive attempt, completed by Robert Orledge, was brilliantly...

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Moses in Egypt, Welsh National Opera

So easily parcelled up as a master of opera buffa, Rossini is a composer who constantly surprises by the emotional and intellectual range of his best work. William Tell, which opened WNO’s current...

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Carmen, Mid Wales Opera

It’s only a few days since I was remarking, à propos the WNO revival, that Carmen usually survives its interpreters. Now WNO’s humble neighbour, Mid Wales Opera, are proving the same point, but in a...

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Carmen, Welsh National Opera

Popularity is all very well, but it can be a poisoned chalice. Braving the umpteenth revival of Carmen at WNO (original directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, revival director Caroline Chaney),...

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William Tell, Welsh National Opera

A few months ago, while looking something up about Liszt’s piano piece “Chapelle de Guillaume Tell,” I discovered to my horror that William Tell – like Robin Hood – may never have existed. Even the...

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The Queen of Spades, Grange Park Opera

For my money, The Queen of Spades is one of the great nineteenth-century operas, a masterpiece of dramma per musica. There will always be pure spirits who cry “vulgar” at late Tchaikovsky. But the...

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The Barber of Seville, Longborough Festival

Speaking from the stage before curtain-up on The Barber, Longborough’s founder and chairman, Martin Graham, stressed the hard work put in by director Richard Studer and conductor Jonathan Lyness on...

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Tosca, Longborough Festival

For Longborough to open their new season with Tosca after last summer’s triumphant Wagner is to invoke Joseph Kerman’s famous diatribe against Puccini’s “shabby little shocker” in his fifties book...

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The Fall of the House of Usher, Welsh National Opera

The Fall of the House of Usher is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s mistier tales, and although it has been turned into opera a few times, there are obvious difficulties. Debussy struggled for a decade to...

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Moses und Aron, Welsh National Opera

Schoenberg’s last, unfinished, opera, seldom staged, might almost have been written for the Welsh. At its heart is some of the most refined and intricate choral writing since Bach, but linked to...

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Khovanshchina, Birmingham Opera Company

Has anyone ever sat through Musorgsky’s last, not quite finished, opera about the struggle for power in Moscow at the time of Peter the Great’s accession in the 1690s, and come away with the...

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LSO, Gergiev, Barbican

The Tchaikovsky de nos jours, is Theodore Gumbril’s dismissal of Skryabin in Aldous Huxley’s Twenties novel Antic Hay. For some reason, Alexander Skryabin has suffered more than most from snap...

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