fri 20/07/2018

Italy

L'Ange de Nisida / JPYAP Summer Programme, Royal Opera - buoyant touch in Donizetti bagatelle

Two rules should help the non-Donizettian: avoid all stagings of the prolific Bergamasco's nearly 70 operas other than the comedies; and seek the guarantee of top bel canto stylists. Conductor Mark Elder and soprano Joyce El-Khoury certainly fit...

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Isabeau, Opera Holland Park review - Mascagni's lumpy Godiva-ride rarity

Valiant Opera Holland Park, always taking up the gauntlet for Italian operas which should mostly never be staged again. Worst was Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, where musical ambition vastly outruns technique and inspiration. Mascagni's Iris with...

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The Ciambra review - supremely effective storytelling

The Ciambra is a wonderful and subtle piece of filmmaking. Director/writer Jonas Carpignano captures the genuine heart and fire of family relationships with an amateur cast of relatives, led by the magnetic young Pio Amato. By trusting the audience...

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DVD: All the Money in the World

It’s open season on the Getty dynasty. Last month the BBC documentary The Gettys: The World’s Richest Art Dynasty briskly coursed through the family archives. In March the TV drama Trust began on FX, scripted by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny...

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Helaine Blumenfeld: Britain’s most successful sculptor you’ve never heard of

Sexy is an overused word in the arts but it’s an adjective you can’t help applying to some of Helaine Blumenfeld’s voluptuous marble sculptures as you run your fingers over their surfaces. These abstract bodily forms, often in the purest icing-white...

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Wake, Birmingham Opera Company review - power to the people

“Would you like a veil?” asked a steward, offering a length of black gauze, and when you’re at a production by Birmingham Opera Company it’s usually wisest to say yes. You get used to it - the frantic Google-mapping to locate the venue; the hike...

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Blu-ray: Orchestra Rehearsal

Made for Italian state television in 1978, Fellini’s Orchestral Rehearsal is full of clichés. Some of them do ring true: brass players and percussionists are often a mischievous, rowdy bunch. As for the others… I’d best stop there, lest I annoy any...

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Explore Ensemble, EXAUDI, St John's Smith Square review - making sense of Nono

This was an evening of silence and shadow, a chill, moonlit meditation, where each sound demanded forensic attention. Enter the world of Luigi Nono and his admirers. As his compatriot Sciarrino wrote of Lo Spazio Inverso, which opened the...

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Roma Agrawal: Built review - solid love

"I've been known to stroke concrete," writes self-professed geek Roma Agrawal – and from the very beginning of her memoir-cum-introduction to structural engineering, Built, where she describes her awe as a toddler at the glass and steel canyon of...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Sterndale Bennett, Fieri Consort

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Strauss: Burleske Joseph Moog (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Nicholas Milton (Onyx)It's not you, it's me. That’s probably what I'd say to Brahms in attempting to explain why I generally prefer his craggy D minor...

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Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

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Grosvenor, Filarmonica della Scala, Chailly, Barbican review - Tchaikovsky’s force of destiny shines bright

You could probably guess from the assembling audience that the orchestra making its Barbican debut last night came from Milan. That many mink coats rarely congregate in a London concert hall. And under the baton of its music director Riccardo...

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