thu 18/07/2019

RFH

The Light in the Piazza, RFH review - Broadway musical looks good and sounds even better

A Broadway show as melodically haunting and sophisticated as it is niche, The Light in the Piazza has taken its own bittersweet time getting to London. A separate European premiere in 2009 at Leicester's Curve Theatre whetted the local appetite for...

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Donnerstag aus Licht, Pascal, RFH review – indulgent genius at work

What happens on the stage of Stockhausen’s first opera would fill a book – quite a bad novel – but the plot is simple enough. Michael grows up with a domineering, game-hunting father and mentally unstable mother; discovers sex; passes his exams;...

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Sergio Mendes, RFH review - tight discipline, exceptional musicianship

The last time Sergio Mendes, the Brazilian bossa nova legend, played at the Royal Festival Hall was in 1980 when he opened for Frank Sinatra. He shakes his head in wonder at the memory, though it’s not so long ago in the scheme of things – his...

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Philharmonia, Blomstedt, RFH review - gravity and grace

Great conductors, like efficient auto engines, apply a lot of torque – they can use a little energy to achieve great surges of movement. Now aged 91, the American-born Swedish maestro Herbert Blomstedt sometimes hardly seems to raise his baton-free...

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The Cure, RFH review - sterling close-up show from alt-pop stalwarts

The Robert Smith-curated Meltdown festival in London came to a close on Sunday night with a spectacular, concept-driven headline set by The Cure, or CUREATION 25, as the band was actually billed, presumably because of a previously contracted show at...

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Bernstein's MASS, RFH review - polymorphousness in excelsis

Live exposure to centenary composer Leonard Bernstein's anything-goes monsterpiece of 1971, as with Britten's War Requiem of the previous decade, probably shouldn't happen more than once every ten years, if only because each performance has to be...

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Richard Goode, Royal Festival Hall

How to change the way we hear Chopin and Beethoven: play Bach first. Richard Goode opened his Royal Festival Hall recital with the Partita No.6 in E minor, perhaps the most enigmatic and challenging of its siblings. Its intricate contrapuntal lines...

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in vain, London Sinfonietta, Lubman, Royal Festival Hall

If Georg Friedrich Haas’s in vain was a work of political protest when it premiered in 2000, in 2017 it’s a piece that reads more like a commentary – a disturbing musical documentary that captures nearly 20 years of escalating European tensions,...

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Maurizio Pollini, RFH

Age is finally catching up with Maurizio Pollini. This recital was one of a series to mark the pianist’s 75th birthday, presenting Beethoven piano sonatas, music at the core of his repertoire. His legendary status was justified by these readings,...

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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

Mitsuko Uchida specialises in elegant, if uncontroversial, interpretations of core Austro-German repertoire, yet she’s never predictable, and every performance is full of unexpected insights and welcome surprises. Mozart and Schumann stand at...

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Autechre, Royal Festival Hall

At the Royal Festival Hall the cliché seemed complete. Milling around were white men, white men and more white men – all in their late thirties and older, most looking a little bohemian and a lot geeky, with a few of them a little more hardcore in...

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Jazz Voice, Royal Festival Hall

Following the seismic events across the pond earlier this week, an outcome which has left the rest of the world blinking in disbelief, Guy Barker’s brilliant arrangements for this year’s Jazz Voice offered much needed balm for the soul. Creativity,...

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