thu 05/08/2021

Britten

A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Grange Festival review - heroic comedy in hard times

When the history of 2021’s slow emergence from lockdown comes to be written, musical administrations will stand out among the heroes. That’s especially true of the country-house opera organisations which have mushroomed in recent years. Don’t ask...

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Bostridge, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - large and live

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra believes that its current post-lockdown summer series features the largest orchestra currently performing live in the UK. It’s not an easy claim to verify, and the full string section certainly wasn’t on...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - songs and dances in a room with an audience

It began with a sense of wonder, not just from the Barbican's socially distanced audience but also from the stage, at “that sound you make with your hands”, as Simon Rattle put it in what he said was a novelty speech before a performance. What...

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The Turn of the Screw, OperaGlass Works online review - the fright is in the filming

It’s second time lucky for OperaGlass Works, whose previous production at Wilton’s Music Hall, of Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress, hit the mark for me in the singing but not the staging. I suspect that had we been there in the auditorium with...

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Classical CDs: recorders, fishermen, Spanish nightlife and waltzes

 Bach: Sonatas for recorder, harpsichord and viola da gamba Michala Petri (recorder), Hille Perl (viola da gamba), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) (OUR Recordings)That these sonatas were originally composed by Bach for flute is surely of no...

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Holy Sonnets/The Heart's Assurance/A Charm of Lullabies, English Touring Opera online review - darkest hours

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” John Donne’s Holy Sonnets may summon all his art of wit and paradox to mock that might and dread; still, we sense the abject terror behind the formal...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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Classical CDs: Janáček, Myaskovsky, Prokofiev, John Wilson

 Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen, Sinfonietta Lucy Crowe, Gerald Finley, Sophia Burgos London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Simon Rattle (LSO Live)You know this is going to be good within seconds of Act 1 awakening, Janáček’s arboreal...

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Williams, Hallé, Elder online review - big results from small forces

The second of the Hallé’s Winter Season concerts-on-film is scarcely less ground-breaking than the first. But this time we are in the orchestra’s second home, the former church now extended to be Hallé St Peter’s in the regenerated part of...

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First Person(s): soprano Susan Bullock and baritone William Dazeley on filming Britten’s Owen Wingrave

Two of the singers in an ambitious project to film Britten’s opera based on a Henry James story – part timeless tale of repressive tradition which chimed with the composer's pacifist beliefs, part ghost story – which was originally “made for...

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Doric Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – sombre reflections

With the wealth of online performances during the pandemic, it is easy to forget the regular offerings from the Wigmore Hall. The Hall found itself in a better position than most, as it was able to present its autumn schedule largely unchanged, the...

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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...

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