wed 15/08/2018

sopranos

Proms 25 / 26 review - Russian masters, noodling guitar, late-night perfection

Sometimes the more modestly scaled Proms work best in the Albert Hall. Not that there was anything but vast ambition and electrifying communication from soprano Anna Prohaska and the 17-piece Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini, making that...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera Holland Park - stylish staging, world-class singing

"When the new god approaches, we surrender, struck dumb". Especially if, for the singer of those words, popular entertainer Zerbinetta, the “new god” takes the shape of same-sex love. Director and designer Anthony McDonald locates the real “mystery...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Martin, Martinů, Vivaldi, 4 Girls 4 Harps

 The Secret Mass: Choral works by Frank Martin and Bohuslav Martinů Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Marcus Creed (OUR Recordings)We're lucky to be able to hear Frank Martin’s Mass for two four-part choirs at all; this most fastidious and self-...

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Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park review - the pain behind the prettiness

A proper production of Così fan tutte should make you feel as if the script for a barrel-scraping Carry On film has been hi-jacked by Shakespeare and Chekhov – working as a team. The story is so silly (even nasty), the music so sublime. When, in...

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Lucy Crowe, Anna Tilbrook, Wigmore Hall review - the eternal and ephemeral feminine

When you have 21 women to present in song, but only a couple among the 14 poets and none to represent them out of the 15 composers idolising or giving them a voice, you need two strong defenders of their sex at the helm. Lucy Crowe and Anna Tilbrook...

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Coraline, Royal Opera, Barbican review - spooky story, underwhelming score

With the eyes of musical fashion turned relentlessly on the calculating stage works of chilly alchemist George Benjamin, hopes ran high for a brighter spark in a new opera by his contemporary Mark-Anthony Turnage. Would Coraline, a music-drama for...

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Soprano Ruby Hughes on Handel's last prima donna

Who was Giulia Frasi? This is so often the response I get when I mention the name of this Italian singer who came to London and became Handel’s last prima donna during the final decade of his life and, consequently, the supreme soprano of English...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Lūcija Garūta, Dag Wirén, Ruby Hughes

 Lūcija Garūta: Music for Piano Reinis Zariņš (piano), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra/Atvars Lakstīgala (LMIC/SKANI)The Latvian composer Lūcija Garūta (1902-1977) reached maturity in the early days of Latvian independence, a supremely talented...

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Tosca, Welsh National Opera review - ticking the traditionalist boxes

Opera-lovers: if you’ve finally had enough of the wheelchairs and syringes, the fifties skirts and heels, the mobile phones and the white box sets, and the rest of the symbolic paraphernalia of the right-on modern opera production, pop along to the...

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Louise Alder, James Baillieu, Wigmore Hall review - sensual heat thaws a winter's evening

Rapture, ecstasy, ardour, and a few cheeky fumbles in the bushes – Louise Alder and James Baillieu’s Wigmore recital promised “Chants d’amour” and delivered amply, giving us love in all its bewildering, technicolour variety. From the heady eroticism...

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Komsi, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican Hall review - Sibelius series ends in glory

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, call it what you will, is one reminder that there's continuity after the turn of the year. Another was Sakari Oramo's final Sibelius-plus concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra - a predictable triumph given that the...

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Classical CDs Weekly Special: Callas Live

Remastered they may be, but the 20 live operas recorded here between 1949 and 1964 vary soundwise from clean at best to atrocious, with all the caprices of stage noise and audience participation seemingly acceptable at the time (so often there's the...

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