fri 03/12/2021

Brewer, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Brewer, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican Hall

Brewer, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican Hall

Mostly cheerful late romantics, with a great American soprano opulent in Marx songs

Christine Brewer, opulent in cheerful love songs by Joseph Marx IMG

Exactly an hour and a half after Wagner's first orchestral brew of sex and religion had raised the curtain on the Royal Opera Tannhäuser, the pilgrims and floozies were at it again over the other side of town. If there was hardly the whiff of elemental theatrics ahead in Jiří Bělohlávek's surprisingly staid conducting of the overture, different treats were in store: the most opulent and musicianly of all living sopranos, Christine Brewer, in cheerful love songs by a nearly forgotten Austrian composer, and a smells-and-bells pilgrimage up a mountain and down ennobling Richard Strauss's most natural orchestral work.

Exactly an hour and a half after Wagner's first orchestral brew of sex and religion had raised the curtain on the Royal Opera Tannhäuser, the pilgrims and floozies were at it again over the other side of town. If there was hardly the whiff of elemental theatrics ahead in Jiří Bělohlávek's surprisingly staid conducting of the overture, different treats were in store: the most opulent and musicianly of all living sopranos, Christine Brewer, in cheerful love songs by a nearly forgotten Austrian composer, and a smells-and-bells pilgrimage up a mountain and down ennobling Richard Strauss's most natural orchestral work.

Strauss's "mountaineers" could have made a more rugged, less pious ascent, but who could blame them for gaping and worshipping all that beauty'

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