tue 02/09/2014

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

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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Boulevard Solitude, Welsh National Opera

Reviewing WNO’s Manon Lescaut a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that its director, Mariusz Treliński, had devised the production in terms of Henze’s Boulevard Solitude, “and simply tyre-levered the...

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Manon Lescaut, Welsh National Opera

As before, WNO have a theme for their new opera season: this time it’s Fallen Women, a topic that might well attract the attention of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Surely men have the right to...

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Acis and Galatea, Mid Wales Opera, Cardiff

Handel’s “little opera”, as he called Acis and Galatea when he was composing it in 1718, probably survived while his true, full-length operas vanished from sight precisely because it was little,...

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Roberto Devereux, Welsh National Opera

Whatever it was about the kings and queens of England that so intrigued Donizetti, it certainly wasn’t their politics. The third, and last, in WNO’s autumn cycle shows Elizabeth once again in a state...

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Maria Stuarda, Welsh National Opera

Last week Anne Boleyn, this week Mary Queen of Scots. Donizetti’s trawl through the Tudor monarchs and their victims was more a recurrent obsession than a systematic exploration. WNO, on the other...

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Anna Bolena, Welsh National Opera

“Let the florid music praise,” sing Britten and Auden in their On This Island cycle; and I suppose we must do as we’re told, though aesthetic duty can be a hard taskmaster. For me it cracks its whip...

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Paul Bunyan, Welsh National Youth Opera, Cardiff

Reading through WH Auden’s libretto for Britten’s first stage work – the so-called operetta Paul Bunyan – it’s sometimes hard to decide whether the intention was to participate in the great American...

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La Bohème, Longborough Festival

Having spent most of the summer on Wagner’s Ring, Longborough are now giving, as a kind of bergamasque, an opera whose entire length would fit into the first act of Götterdämmerung. La Bohème is...

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Don Pasquale, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, Mariame Clément grumbles in the Glyndebourne programme that Don Pasquale “poses no specific ‘conceptual’ challenge” to the opera director. Sighs of relief all...

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