mon 06/07/2020

Opera Features

Classical music/Opera direct to home 14 - sound and vision at the highest level

David Nice

As more musicians emerge from lockdown to conduct, play and sing in audience-less venues - ongoing kudos to the Wigmore Hall for its weekday lunchtime concerts, a fixure for so many viewers and listeners - here are some more off-piste treasures, a past glory from the...

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Avoiding meltdown from lockdown: Michael Chance on The Grange Festival's strategy for survival

Michael Chance

Where to start? We at The Grange Festival began in mid-March (the 15th) with a letter to our company, all those few hundred who come and work for us during the festival months and who are all, almost without exception, employed on a freelance basis, warning of a likely cancellation but urging a commitment to stage the summer festival over June and July (with preparations stating in mid-April) if at all possible.

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 6 - Parsifals for Easter

David Nice

Wagner's final drama, of learning, suffering and redemption through compassion, is second only to Bach's Passions at this time of year, and seems likely to strike a special note in the present crisis.

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Classical music/Opera direct to home: 3 - Two Jenůfas

David Nice

We're learning fast what works and what doesn't with online arts offerings in a time of coronavirus. A distinguished young pianist I know rightly pointed out to me yesterday that however good the artists sharing their talents with us from their living/music rooms, and however reassuring it is to be able to join them at a set time, bad sound cancels out most of the pleasure (though he didn’t rule out making an appearance himself).

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

David Nice

Two numbers, one hair-raising slice of music-theatre. When Sondheim's paying homage to the older, revue type of musical, you can extract a string of top hits: Follies, from which Marianka Swain chose "I'm Still Here" yesterday, could yield at least half a dozen more choices, Company almost as many.

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'Divinity is all around us': soprano Susanna Hurrell on Ravi Shankar's 'Sukanya'

Susanna Hurrell

In 2010, my best friend and I made a whimsical decision to go backpacking in India over the Easter break. I had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy through exposure to the teachings of the ancient Vedas, and through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, so I jumped on the opportunity to experience the culture that gave birth to so much wisdom and ancient knowledge.

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Jessye Norman, 1945-2019

David Nice

She was recording Carmen in Paris, and the Radio France auditorium was packed with the press, asking such dazzling questions as "have you been up the Eiffel Tower yet?" and "what do you think of the French men?". I thought, given the statuesque approach, it might be best to wonder if there was a nobility in the characterisation.

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'This goes beyond music and drama': tenor Nicky Spence on Martinů's 'The Greek Passion'

Nicky Spence

I’m a big fanboy of Czech music, Janáček and Martinů especially, but I’d never seen The Greek Passion before being cast as Manolios in Opera North’s new production, as it remains quite a rarity in the opera house. For those who don’t know the work, it tells of a group of refugees who arrive in a villa

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Making new waves: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from Lars von Trier

Royce Vavrek

It was during the 1997 Golden Globe Awards telecast that I first caught a glimpse of the film that would change my life completely. Midway through the ceremony was featured a short clip of a paralysed man telling a young woman, his wife, to go and find another man to make love to.

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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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