mon 23/05/2022

Barbican

Vondráček, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - mixed messages

Conductor and pianist came at Liszt from opposite directions last night. Michael Tilson Thomas is a venerable presence at the podium and has been Laureate Conductor of the London Symphony for decades. Their relationship speaks of deep empathy and...

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Fidelio, Insula Orchestra, Barbican review - truth and justice brought to light

Thanks to the pandemic, the planned tidal surge of Fidelio productions never quite happened during Beethoven’s anniversary year of 2020. Instead, the birthday’s boy’s sole opera – beset by glitches and re-thinks ever since its creation – has rolled...

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Buchbinder, Gewandhausorkester Leipzig, Nelsons, Barbican / COE Soloists, St John's Smith Square review - European sophistication in spades

When in 2018 Andris Nelsons and his "new" Leipzig orchestra sealed an auspicious partnership with a locally significant but modestly scaled symphony, Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” (No. 3), they could not have foreseen two years ahead when the bigger...

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Age of Rage, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Barbican review - shattering assault on all the senses

Hunger for the gruesome horrors and euphoric highs of Greek tragedy seems to be stronger than ever. Yet when it comes to epic sequences, nothing in recent decades has quite had the impact of Peter Hall’s Aeschylus Oresteia at the National Theatre or...

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Bevan, Williams, Bebbington, RPO, Davan Wetton, Barbican review - Vaughan Williams celebrated

Amid the warm familiarity of a programme of established Vaughan Williams favourites, presented at the Barbican by the RPO and the City of London Choir, what really drew me in was the chance to hear his Fantasia on the “Old 104th” Psalm Tune,...

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Kožená, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - Berlin to Broadway, and back

As Walter Huston croaked in 1938, it’s a long, long while from May to December. And Kurt Weill – who wrote his evergreen “September Song” for Huston in that year – spanned several musical epochs within not so many years as he travelled from the...

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Moore, LSO, Zhang, Barbican review – virtuosity worn lightly

Xian Zhang is clearly a versatile conductor. In this concert, with the London Symphony Orchestra, she presented a fascinating strings work by Chinese composer Qigang Chen and a new trombone concerto by Dani Howard, all framed with favourites from...

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Damrau, Kaufmann, Deutsch, Barbican review - intermittent ignition

This recital of love songs by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, devised by the pianist Helmut Deutsch and sung by the megastar duo of soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Jonas Kaufmann, looked on paper like the Lieder event of the year. In practice,...

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CBSO Chorus, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov, Barbican review - a mass of life

One of the world’s top five orchestras – sorry, but I locate them all in continental Europe – played on the second night of its London visit to a half-empty Barbican Hall. Half-full, rather, attentive and ecstatic. As for the much-criticised venue,...

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Wang, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov, Barbican review - the sound of history

“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner famously wrote. “It’s not even past.” Funny to think that I approached 2022 bored in advance with all the glib celebrations of post-WWI international modernist breakthroughs that the centenary of Ulysses...

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Dogs of Europe, Belarus Free Theatre, Barbican Theatre review - doom art with doom reality

Hindsight is everything. In the light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political intrigues have suddenly taken on a far more menacing face, disbelief has been pulverised by reality – and theatre has become actuality.A few weeks ago, the Belarus Free...

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Cabell, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - transatlantic traffic

Had he never written a note of his own, George Walker would still have left a record of trailblazing achievements. Born in Washington DC in 1922, he studied piano at Oberlin College and the Curtis Institute (the conservatoire that notoriously...

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