tue 07/02/2023

Baroque

Dunedin Consort, Butt, Wigmore Hall review - Christmas glory in Venice and Dresden

St Mark’s shadow fell gloriously over the Wigmore Hall last night with a programme of Christmas music performed in, or inspired by, the great basilica of Venice. The Dunedin Consort braided festive works from pioneers who wrote for its grandly...

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Album: Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

There’s been a quiet storm of critical approval building around Weyes Blood. American singer Natalie Mering has been releasing music for over a decade but, during the last two or three years a tailwind of positive verbiage has blown her faster...

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Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Wigmore Hall review - fires of London

A dream pairing of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and early-keyboard wizard Kristian Bezuidenhout marked St Cecilia’s Day at the Wigmore Hall with a programme that celebrated music made not in the Black Forest but beside the Thames.Both halves of...

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Alcina, Royal Opera review - sharp stage magic, mist over the pit

Handel’s audiences must have taken a very long time to settle – at least an act, to judge from the mostly inconsequential music of Alcina’s first hour. Lovely: we’re on an enchanted isle where puritanical people have been transformed into animal-...

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Tamerlano, English Touring Opera review - the darker side of Handel

During the final act of Tamerlano, James Conway’s new production for English Touring Opera has the titular tyrant lead a captive king around the stage on a chain. Given the oppressive, deadlocked mood of Handel’s opera and this interpretation, you...

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Orpheus, Opera North review - cross-cultural opera in action

Within its own aspirations, Orpheus is a complete triumph. “Monteverdi reimagined”, as Opera North subtitled it from the start, is an attempt to unite (and contrast, and compare, and cross-fertilise) early baroque opera with South Asian classical...

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Album: Arcade Fire -WE

When the pandemic closed in, Canadian experimental indie rock troupe Arcade Fire were on the cusp of heading into the studio to record their new album. COVID had other plans. But rather than pause, the husband and wife duo of Win and Regine...

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Amadigi, Garsington Opera review – geometries of enchantment

In Handel’s operas (as, indeed, elsewhere in art and life) the worst witch may turn out to have the best character. Without the sorceress Melissa, splendidly full of evil ruses yet endowed with a generous measure of tragic pathos, Amadigi di Gaula...

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Messiah highlights, English National Opera, BBC Two review – short-cut sorrow and redemption

Well, it wasn’t quite Messiah, but it was a source of joy. In ENO’s end-of-lockdown staging, BBC Two’s transmission of Handel’s resurrection song delivered a scant 54 minutes of music from the Coliseum on Easter Saturday. In contrast, two ancient...

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Iestyn Davies, Arcangelo, Wigmore Hall review - heavenly Handel as the lights dim again

Just before the doors closed again on live audiences at the Wigmore Hall, Iestyn Davies and members of the Arcangelo ensemble celebrated the private side of a very public composer. The peerless counter-tenor, whose powerfully polished command of...

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BBC Proms live online: Benedetti, OAE, Cohen review – double helpings of Baroque zest

In a year of absences and separations, here was another one we had to bear. Built around a programme of Baroque double concertos, last night’s Prom should have brought Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova together in a violin super-duo that...

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Luis Sagasti: A Musical Offering review – the sounds of silence

Luis Sagasti attends closely to the silence that precedes, pauses, and follows music in this mesmeric collage of stories inspired by the sounds that humans – and animals, and stars – create. Like many authors before him, the Argentinian novelist and...

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