tue 19/03/2019

Vienna

The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - charming to hear, charmless to look at

I last saw this Magic Flute, directed by Dominic Cooke, when it was new, some 14 years ago, and I remember it mainly, I’m afraid, for its lack of visual charm. Nothing much has changed: the relentless box sets (designer Julian Crouch), not a leaf or...

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Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review – Viennese schools refreshed

In the right hands, the music of the various Viennese Schools can still sound almost startlingly original. Imogen Cooper’s are very much the right hands, containing a rare, refined artistry that only continues to grow with the years. In her Wigmore...

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La finta semplice, Classical Opera, QEH review - consummate musicianship stokes early Mozart

You can always be sure of impeccable casting and spirited playing as Ian Page takes his Classical Opera through Mozart year by year. Just don't expect more than the glimmer of genius to come in 1768, though. It doesn't matter in those admirable...

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Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne - detailed acting, great singing

If Hugo von Hofmannsthal's libretto for Richard Strauss in their joint "comedy for music" is the apogee of elaborately referenced dialogue and stage directions in opera, Richard Jones's realisation - for all that it throws out much of the original...

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The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Let's face it, Robert "Cabinet of Dr Caligari" Wiene's 1926 film loosely based on Strauss and Hofmannsthal's 1911 "comedy for music" is a mostly inartistic ramble. Historically, though, it proves fascinating. The composer mostly left it to Otto...

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Alexander Melnikov, Wigmore Hall review - three pianos, four monsterworks

Living-museum recitals on a variety of historic instruments pose logistical problems. Telling The Arts Desk about his award-nominated CD of mostly 19th-century works for horns and pianos, Alec Frank-Gemmill remarked on the near-impossibility of...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Composer, chansonnier and conductor HK Gruber at 75

You haven't lived until you've witnessed Viennese maverick H(einz) K(arl) Gruber – 75 today (3 January, publication day) – speech-singing, conducting and kazooing his way through his self-styled "pandemonium" Frankenstein!!. Composed for chansonnier...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Bob Dylan - Trouble No More

“Passion! You gotta have passion!” I still feel the full force of Tricky’s conviction, as I was filming him in 1997, for my film Naked and Famous. He’s right: music works better than words when expressing the deepest emotions.This year has been a...

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Mitsuko Uchida, RFH review - Schubert from rough to heavenly

When you've found your living ideal for Schubert's sonatas - Elisabeth Leonskaja, surely - it can be a challenge to stay open-minded and welcome another take on the profundities. Mitsuko Uchida didn't make it easy for herself or us at the start by...

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theartsdesk in Stockholm - HK Gruber and sacred monsters

It was excellent, flesh-creepy fun back in 1978, when a young Simon Rattle conducted the Liverpool world premiere with the composer declaiming, but how well has Austrian maverick H(einz) K(arl) "Nali" Gruber's "pandemonium" for chansonnier and...

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theartsdesk at the Viennale: shunning the 'illusion machine'

The Viennale is one of the best film festivals in the world and an indispensable part of Vienna’s cultural life. Yet this year’s edition was launched amid trying times. For one thing, whatever sanity-altering toxin is affecting voters the world over...

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Crowe, The English Concert, Bicket, Milton Court review - Mozartian prima-donna perfection

Singing students from the Guildhall School should have been issued with a three-line whip to fill the inexplicably half-empty Milton Court concert hall for last night's charmer. After all, every musician, and not just sopranos, should know that this...

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