thu 28/05/2020

Opera Features

'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

Roderick Williams

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to bask in some adulation. “An opera singer? No, really? That must be so glamorous…” and so on.

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theartsdesk at Budapest Wagner Days: Bayreuth on the Danube

David Nice

While Merkel's Germany has won back world leadership, Wagner's festival shrine at Bayreuth lost its post-war pre-eminence years ago. There hasn't been a strong Ring there since Kupfer's, which I was lucky enough to see in 1991, and things will only improve with the departure of overweening Katharina Wagner and Christian Thielemann (fine conductor, disastrous people-person).

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'The challenge is to make something of not very much': Iestyn Davies on Britten's Oberon

Iestyn Davies

Tomorrow Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will begin a short run at the Snape Maltings, Suffolk in a new production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. It will mark the high point of the Aldeburgh Festival’s summer celebrations half a century on from the opening of the Snape Maltings concert hall.

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

theartsdesk

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished.

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: Handel for all

David Nice

"Love is in the air," croons or rather bellows presenter Juri Tetzlaff, getting his audience of adults and children to bellow back the wordless refrain, arms swaying above their heads. Mezzo Sophie Rennert, dragged up as noble Lotario, and soprano Marie Lys as widowed princess Adelaide dance tenderly to the strains.

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Listed: How I Do Love Thee

theartsdesk

Love is in the air. Today, men and women and boys and girls will be pondering how to say it with roses and cards and candlelit dinners: those three words that contain multitudes. As the old strip cartoon never quite got round to saying, love is... the human condition, which is why a good quantity of the culture we review on this site has to do with it. To help you get into the mood for romancing, we have asked our...

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ENO's Marvellous Miller in pictures

David Nice

It should have been unmodified rapture: a gathering of English National Opera team members old and new celebrating the doyen of the company's best-selling productions. And, as has always happened with the artistic side of the company, this loving homage to Sir Jonathan Miller sounds like a triumph. Critics weren't invited to the gala - statement, not sour grapes; this was a charity event, after all - and the final rehearsal was closed, though not apparently at the wish of anyone performing...

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Martyn Brabbins: a safe pair of hands at ENO

David Nice

No-one can easily replace Mark Wigglesworth as Music Director of English National Opera: ask any of the musicians working there and you'll find they're all heartbroken. That said, they could not have chosen a nicer man or a better all-round musician than Martyn Brabbins.

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Pick of the BBC Proms 2016

theartsdesk

"Refreshingly traditional" is how one of our writers describes this year's BBC Proms programme. Alarmingly unadventurous might be another way of putting it, though only in comparison with many of the golden years under Roger Wright.

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theartsdesk at the Holland Festival

james Woodall

The Holland Festival is one of the greats. It has a British director, the articulate Ruth Mackenzie, formerly of the Chichester Festival and the cultural Olympiad, now into her second year. It’s the same age as Edinburgh and Avignon – 70 in 2017 – but not as well known, though it should be. “We must,” Mackenzie says, “seriously punch above our weight.

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