tue 20/08/2019

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Dalarna: Rhinegold in a Swedish barn by a lake

David Nice

Anna Larsson's fellow Swedes can count themselves lucky that the worldwide first choice to sing Wagner's Erda and the midnight song in Mahler's Third Symphony has made so much of her Dalarna inheritance.

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'A product not only of his era but also of his travels': Ian Page on Mozart's cosmopolitan education

Ian Page

When Mozart was an established composer living in Vienna during the final years of his short life, a young student seemingly came to him to seek his advice. The would-be young composer said that he was planning to write a symphony, and asked Mozart what advice he could give to him. Mozart replied that a symphony was a complex undertaking, and suggested that the youngster should first write a few keyboard sonatas and string quartets before undertaking an orchestral work.

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Franco Zeffirelli: 'I had this feeling that I was special'

Jasper Rees

"I am amazed to be still alive. Two hours of medieval torment.” Franco Zeffirelli - who has died at the age of 96 - had spent the day having a lumbar injection to treat a sciatic nerve. You could hear the bafflement in his heavily accented English.

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First Person: Conductor Maxime Pascal on Stockhausen at the Southbank Centre

Maxime Pascal

Stockhausen stands alongside Monteverdi and Beethoven as a composer who exploded the understanding of his art. Stockhausen deeply changed the relationship between space, time and music; there’s a human, intimate dimension to his composition, and he predicted the future.

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

Samir Savant

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital.

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'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

Robert Howarth

I’m here in Leeds at the end of five weeks of quite intense rehearsals for Opera North's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

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Best of 2018: Opera

David Nice

Outnumbered by four to one: out of the classical/opera team, Alexandra Coghlan, Jessica Duchen, David Benedict and...

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theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

David Nice

Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for the second time in the history of Brno, the cultured Moravian capital where he spent most of his life, tended to the rare and local.

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'I’ve told everyone that it’s a comedy – but will anyone laugh?' Jonathan Dove on his new Marx opera

Jonathan Dove

Marx is having a terrible day. He is supposed to be finishing volume two of Capital but he’s distracted by his lust for the maid, workmen are taking away the furniture, his daughter thinks she’s caught a spy.... and what will his wife say when she discovers he’s taken her silver to the pawnbroker?  Where is Engels when Marx needs him most?

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theartsdesk in Gothenburg - Wagner's gold turns green

Boyd Tonkin

Before we hear a note, extras dressed as maintenance staff potter about the stage. They try to erase a scrawled slogan on a wall that reads “Hur allt började”: how it all began. “It” is the story of Wagner’s Ring cycle as presaged in the introductory drama of Das Rheingold, which kicks off the tetralogy.

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