fri 24/06/2022

Janáček

The Excursions of Mr Brouček, Grange Park Opera review - biting satire from bouncing Czechs

Now for something completely different. The Excursions of Mr Brouček is Leos Janáček’s least typical opera and is rarely performed. Among his tragic tales such as Jenufa and Kat’a Kabanova, the charm of The Cunning Little Vixen and the strangely...

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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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Jenůfa, Welsh National Opera review - powerful drama with a kitsch tailpiece

If like me you regard the ending of Janáček’s Jenůfa as one of the most moving scenes in all opera, you might care to consider how it would be possible to deflate it in spite of the best singing imaginable. You might, for instance, bring up a back...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, English National Opera review - half-realised men and beasts

Nature in the form of Storm Eunice stopped this Cunning Little Vixen in her tracks on Friday evening. ENO shrugged off the cancellation and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. And here we were, getting the essential message that humans must reach an...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - nature, large as life

"Nature is healing," declared the social media meme, back in the early days of lockdown when humanity had temporarily retreated to focus on its banana bread. There were pictures to prove it, apparently. Dolphins sported in the canals of Venice; city...

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Jenůfa, Royal Opera review - Janáček scours the soul again in a compelling new take

At the heart of Janáček’s searing music-drama, and the pioneering play by another remarkable Czech, Gabriela Preissová, on which it is based, are two strong women trapped in a conventional community whose intelligence goes to waste and whose lives...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Opera Holland Park review - imagine the forest, enjoy the music-making

Gorgeous woodland romp, a tale of a vivacious, independent-minded young lady-into-fox objectified by three ageing, disillusioned men or a parable of natural regeneration? The different levels of Janáček’s one-off fantasy, from strip-cartoon origins...

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Káťa Kabanová, Glyndebourne review - a misalliance of metatheatre and the mundane

Angels and birds throng the inner life of tragic heroine Katya Kabanova, very much centre-stage in Nikolay Ostrovsky’s The Storm and achingly so in Janáček’s musical portrait. Director Damiano Michieletto takes the feathers, adds cages and...

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Classical music/Opera direct to home: 3 - Two Jenůfas

We're learning fast what works and what doesn't with online arts offerings in a time of coronavirus. A distinguished young pianist I know rightly pointed out to me yesterday that however good the artists sharing their talents with us from their...

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London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ono, Barbican review - feet on the ground, eyes to the skies

We have John Eliot Gardiner to thank for an unconventional diptych of Czech masterpieces in the London Symphony Orchestra's current season. He had to withdraw from last night's concert - he conducts Dvořák's Cello Concerto and Suk's "Asrael"...

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Katya Kabanova, Royal Opera review - inner torment incarnate

Backstories, we're told, are a crucial part of stage visionary Richard Jones's rehearsal process. Janáček, or rather Russian playwright Ostrovsky on whose The Storm the composer based Katya Kabanova, gives several of his hemmed-in characters...

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Katya Kabanova, Opera North review – a grim tale

A sad tale’s best for winter, and Opera North have returned to Janáček’s lyrical taken on a classic Russian drama of domestic abuse, guilt and suicide for this ingredient of their current season. Director Tim Albery and designer Hildegard Bechtler...

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