thu 03/12/2020

Britten

Christine Rice, Julius Drake, Wigmore Hall review - songs of love and death

It began as a Christmas present in the bleakest of winters. In December 1939, as war engulfed Europe, Bertolt Brecht sent a poem to the exiled Kurt Weill in New York. Weill set it as a bittersweet gift for his wife Lotte Lenya. “Nannas Lied” – the...

Read more...

4/4, Royal Opera review – desire, loss and lunacy in four surprising acts

Think you’ve seen enough of monologues and duets over the past few months? Watch this and reel. Four British directors, four conductors with close ties to the Royal Opera and five singers based here, from South African and Spanish-born sopranos on...

Read more...

Live from Covent Garden 1, Royal Opera and Ballet online review - small-scale but perfectly formed

Vintage champagne was served up last night, and whether you found the glass half-full or half-empty would depend on your perspective. In the bigger picture, it's disappointing that not more musicians could return to the Royal Opera House stage, and...

Read more...

Stephen Hough/Lucy Crowe, Anna Tilbrook, Wigmore Hall online/BBC Radio 3 review - the end of the beginning

After a devastating drought, even a light shower can feel like something of a miracle. Under normal circumstances, a 60 minute lunchtime piano recital from the Wigmore Hall would represent wholly unremarkable business as usual for BBC Radio 3. As it...

Read more...

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 8 - from troubled royal rituals to a lone cellist

Inventiveness waxes ever stronger, it seems, in quarantine, as do the number of faces and instrumental sounds gathered together at any one time. As the branches diversify, embracing pre-filmed concert and opera, solo and multiple livestreams from...

Read more...

The Turn of the Screw, Opera North, OperaVision review - claustrophobic visions of terror and beauty

Feeling stir-crazy right now? Imagine being confined to one room with a half-crazed housekeeper, two dysfunctional kids and two increasingly insistent ghosts, plagued by nightmares, unable even to get out into the garden or walk down to the lake....

Read more...

Frang, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - hearing the silence

Three deep-veined masterpieces by two of the 20th century's greatest composers who just happened to be British, all fading at the end to nothing: beyond interpretations of such stunning focus as those offered by violinist Vilde Frang, conductor...

Read more...

Watkins, Clayton, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - a rainbow cornucopia

Horns fanfared, coasted and chorused through yet another Philharmonia winner of a concert to match the impressive planning of its Weimar season last year and no doubt a plan close to the heart of principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who started...

Read more...

Classical CDs Weekly: Schubert, Shostakovich, Berlinskaya-Ancelle Piano Duo

 Schubert: Symphony No 9 Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Maxim Emelyanychev (Linn)There’s a telling photo of Maxim Emelyanychev on page 11 of Linn's booklet, the conductor beaming at the camera, the body language suggesting he's having a hard time...

Read more...

Tynan, Clayton, Murray, Aurora Orchestra, Dean, Wigmore Hall review - Britten lives!

Benjamin Britten died on 4 December 1976. Last night’s Wigmore Hall concert, on the 43rd anniversary of his passing, proved that his real legacy lies not in inert acts of homage but a living engagement both with his work, and the unruly energies...

Read more...

Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945. The side of a "Grimes bus" today would probably proclaim over...

Read more...

Death in Venice, Royal Opera review – expansive but intimate evocations

Death in Venice is usually a dark and claustrophobic affair. It lends itself to small-scale staging with minimal props and suggestive, low-key lighting. But for this new production at the Royal Opera, director David McVicar has taken a different...

Read more...
Subscribe to Britten