tue 03/08/2021

Southbank Centre

Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the Royal Festival Hall. Seventy years on, it’s fitting that English National Ballet should be the first through its doors, post...

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Uchida, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Bach to the future

In the beginning, 38 years ago, came a career-making Mahler Third Symphony for Esa-Pekka Salonen in his first concert with the Philharmonia. Reassembling that vast epic wouldn't be possible under present circumstances. Last night, ending 13 years as...

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Bronfman, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – celebration around C major

One of the many things we’ll miss when Esa-Pekka Salonen moves on from his 13 years as the Philharmonia’s principal conductor will be his programming. For this first of his farewell concerts, he’s not only chosen what he loves but made sure it all...

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Swan Lake, LPO, Jurowski, Marquee TV review - full Tchaikovsky score perfectly paced

Two regrets and a tentative hope before full praise for what has to be the best complete Swan Lake in concert ever. Not everyone will be sorry, as I am, that Jurowski chose for his grand leavetaking as music director of the London Philharmonic...

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Coote, Philharmonia, Gardiner, Southbank Centre online review - English masterworks

This Philharmonia concert from the Royal Festival Hall comprised three masterworks of English music, following a (welcome) trend that has emerged in COVID-era streamed concerts in digging out a couple of smaller-scale, less often programmed pieces...

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Isserlis, LPO, Elder, Southbank Centre online review – songs of life and death

The Southbank Centre automatically stuck the trusty “Bohemian Rhapsodies” headline on this London Philharmonic Orchestra concert of Czech music streamed from the still-deserted Royal Festival Hall. Given Janáček’s presence on the bill, they should...

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Bevan, LPO, Jurowski, RFH online review – never-ending stories

The LPO, and its soon-to-depart chief conductor Vladimir Jurowski, began its 2020 Vision season back in February. It set out to mix and match the music of three centuries and show how it echoes in contemporary works. Well, little of that turned out...

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Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall. The Philharmonia’s outgoing principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is a...

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Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience. Last night I counted less than 15 people listening in the cavernous auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall pitted against a fairly...

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Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review - memories, tributes and dreams

Bidding farewell to the Royal Festival Hall, Tasmin Little was at the very peak of her powers. It’s almost unthinkable that we will never see her play here again. Many have hoped that she’d be one of those musicians who announce their retirement...

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Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Sode, Chineke! Orchestra, Edusei, RFH review - protest, passion and joy

During the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London earlier this year, a black man named Patrick Hutchinson hoisted over his shoulder an injured white man from the counter-protest of the English Defence League and carried him to safety. The...

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Finley, LPO, Gardner, Royal Festival Hall (p)review - special magic ready for streaming

There was a rainbow over the Royal Festival Hall as I crossed one of the Hungerford foot bridges for the first time in six months. The lights and noises inside did not betray the augury. Was it the sheer hallucinatory pleasure of being within the...

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