wed 21/08/2019

Opera Features

Q&A Special: Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch on Strauss and Wagner

David Nice

In many ways the most well-tempered of conductors, Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923-2013) brought a peerless orchestral transparency and beauty of line to the great German classics. Even the most overloaded Richard Strauss scores under his watchful eye and ear could sound, as the composer once said his opera Elektra should, “like fairy music by Mendelssohn”.

Read more...

Galina Vishnevskaya on Britten and his War Requiem

David Nice

One of Russia’s greatest and most inspirational sopranos, Galina Vishnevskaya died on 11 December at the age of 86. To the world at large, she will probably be most famous for taking an heroic stand alongside her husband, cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, against the Soviet authorities over the treatment of Alexander Solzhenitsyn; in 1974, the couple were stripped of their citizenship as a result.

Read more...

Royal Opera House chief Tony Hall to the BBC - now what?

ismene Brown

So Tony Hall moves from heading the Royal Opera House to taking over the BBC as its new Director-General. I can't for a moment imagine a rerun of that crucial mini-conversation between Helen Boaden and George Entwistle over the Jimmy Savile programming (if you can remember all the way back to mid-October through the cannonfire since) taking anything like a similar course had it been Tony Hall rather than Entwistle.

Read more...

theartsdesk Olympics: Athletes at the opera

alexandra Coghlan

Triumph, despair, glory and struggle: the Olympic Games might technically be a sporting event, but in spirit and essence they are pure drama. Film-makers may have shouted loudest about this discovery, generating hit after Olympic-themed hit throughout the 20th century, but composers also know a thing or two about sporting thrills, with almost 300 years of Olympic action in the opera house.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Buxton: G&S live on (and on)

philip Radcliffe

Within hours of the opera buffs leaving town, having had their fill of Buxton Festivalia, the old spa changes gear for operetta. For three weeks, the town becomes the jolly international capital for Gilbert & Sullivan. Enthusiasts and performers from all over the country and foreign parts gather to celebrate the seemingly never-ending attraction of those old familiar tunes, characters and satirical send-ups.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Cape Town: Mandela Trilogy

Simon Broughton

“Come to the front with those guns. You need to frighten those poor Brits – pah, pah, pah, pah, pah!” Michael Williams hurls his fist forward as if wielding his own weapon as he urges the demonstrators with their sticks and guns forward. The crowd of black singers in front of him are recreating an anti-apartheid protest in Cape Town Opera’s production of Mandela Trilogy, which gets its European premiere in Cardiff on 20 June.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Göttingen: Handel Festival 2012

alexandra Coghlan

Other towns may choose national heroes as their emblems – posing generals, politicians or sword-wielding officers on horseback, glaring sternly down from their plinths – but not Göttingen. It is entirely in keeping with the unassuming, unobtrusive loveliness of this small town in Lower Saxony that its symbol should be not a grandee but a goose-girl.

Read more...

A Monstrous Reflection: on staging Caligula

Benedict Andrews

"How light power would be and easy to dismantle no doubt, if all it did was to observe, spy, detect, prohibit, and punish; but it incites, provokes, produces. It is not simply eye and ear: it makes people act and speak." Michel Foucault, Power

Read more...

theASHtray: Klinghoffer, Cape Town, and Debussy pisses off the poets

ASH Smyth

Who does the PR these days for Middle Eastern extremists? Whoever it is clearly wasn’t on board when the Palestine Liberation Front decided to whack the Achille Lauro. Or wasn’t aware that chucking a wheelchair-bound pensioner into the Med was the sort of move unlikely to garner widespread international support for the cause.

Read more...

theASHtray: Homeland, Kings of Leon, and we need to talk about Aïda

ASH Smyth

So Homeland is here, and mid-ranking-CIA-operative Claire Danes is chasing Marine-Sergeant-and-possible-al-Qaeda-double-agent Damian Lewis all over the shop (but really only in their heads, so far), and neither of them is getting anywhere fast, so Claire goes home for a kip and sticks on some relaxing music, and would you Adam ‘n’ Eve it? – another bloody jazz nerd!

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Pain and Glory review - masterful meditation on age and art

The Almodovar who made his name as an all-out provocateur in the 80s considers that wild art’s becalmed far side...

CD: Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity - To Whom Buys a Record

To Whom Buys a Record roams through 12 crisply recorded pieces confirming that...

The Doctor, Almeida Theatre review - Robert Icke's long...

After six years, associate director Robert Icke bids farewell to the...

Heartbreak Holiday, BBC One review - can it match up to Love...

The BBC’s version of Love Island has familiar ingredients: ten 20-somethings, many with pale manicures and hair extensions, on an island...

Train Your Baby Like A Dog, Channel 4 review - an animal beh...

Animal behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden, who lives in Spain, has some very good dogs (and a charming toddler, who knows how to sit). Can she...

Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the f...

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall...

The Day Mountbatten Died, BBC Two review - the IRA's au...

It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a very elderly relative...

Making new waves: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from La...

It was during the 1997 Golden Globe Awards telecast that I first caught a glimpse of the...

DVD/Blu-ray: The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) was the...