sun 01/05/2016

Stephen Walsh

stephen.walsh

Stephen Walsh's picture
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

Figaro Gets a Divorce, Welsh National Opera

The third of Beaumarchais’s Figaro plays, La Mère coupable, is a very different affair from the other two, in that it records actual adultery and its disastrous consequences (including Cherubino’s...

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The Marriage of Figaro, Welsh National Opera

From the more or less inconsequential wit and bravura of The Barber of Seville to the profound comic psychology, social nuances and unparalleled musical genius of The Marriage of Figaro, and from the...

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The Barber of Seville, Welsh National Opera

The latest themed season from WNO, to add to their fallen women, Donizetti queens and what not, goes by the slightly worrying title (for anyone with a short attention span) of “Figaro Forever”, and...

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Dutilleux Centenary, BBC NOW, Rophé, Cardiff

The French composer Henri Dutilleux would have been 100 last Friday if he had lived that long, which in fact he very nearly did; he was 97 when he died in 2013. Five years before that he had been...

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A Christmas Carol, Welsh National Opera

Dickens’s public readings from his novels were almost as famous and popular as the novels themselves. He would write special scripts that gave prominence to particular characters and that dramatized...

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Tosca, Wales Millennium Centre

There’s a good deal to be said for semi-staged opera. It concentrates the mind in a particular way; it brings the orchestra more fully into the action; it moves the singers closer to the audience;...

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theartsdesk at the Brecon Baroque Festival

The city of Brecon (county town of former Brecknockshire, now lost in the spurious and far-flung county of Powys) is a long way from Leipzig and on the face of it has little in common with the home...

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Sweeney Todd, Welsh National Opera

If nothing else, Stephen Sondheim’s best-known work will put you off pies; it will put you off barbers; and it may in the end put you off Sondheim. Popular though it seems to be with planners and...

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Orlando, Welsh National Opera

It’s almost impossible to imagine what a Handel opera performance can have been like in London in the 1730s, when Orlando first appeared. The audience came primarily to hear their favourite singers:...

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I Puritani, Welsh National Opera

Whatever one may feel about Bellini’s music, it’s hard to think of him as in any sense a political composer. So you could almost hear the hearts hit the floor when the curtain went up – or rather was...

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Xerxes, Longborough Opera

One hardly expects operas about historical figures to bother much with the actual facts of their lives. But Handel’s Xerxes must nevertheless rank as an extreme case. Instead of bridging the...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Garsington Opera

We’re so used these days to theatre music as aural torture – blasts of pop music on the tannoy, assorted electronics or, if you’re (moderately) lucky, a snatch of too-loud Chopin or Grieg before the...

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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 –...

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The Rape of Lucretia, Glyndebourne

Britten’s first chamber opera is very much a Glyndebourne piece; its world premiere in the old festival theatre in July 1946 was also the festival’s inaugural post-war production. It brought into...

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Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival

It’s well-known that Wagner shelved The Ring two thirds of the way through in favour of Tristan with the aim of producing something that could be put on quickly in a conventional theatre. Of course,...

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Pelléas et Mélisande, Welsh National Opera

Debussy completed only one opera (though he started plenty), but it’s the most perfect work imaginable, not only in sheer musical refinement and narrative precision, but in psychological penetration...

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