mon 23/05/2022

Wagner

Lohengrin, Royal Opera review - a timely return to warzone Brabant

David Alden’s Lohengrin is back at Covent Garden for a first revival. The defining image the first time round, in 2018, was of the ending, a political rally for King Henry’s regime, with Lohengrin and the swan as its icons. That felt crude – a two-...

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Colli, Bournemouth SO, Scaglione, Lighthouse, Poole review - drama and romance

The Drama and Romance of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s promotional hook for this concert signalled a heady musical mix. Appropriate for the stark contrasts of mood central to Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4,...

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LPO, Canellakis, Royal Festival Hall review - ecstatic sonorities at full pelt

This remarkable evening should really have been more remarkable still. The unfortunate pianist Cédric Tiberghien took an official pre-travel Covid test that obliged him to drop out at 5pm – even though, as he tweeted in frustration, three subsequent...

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The Valkyrie, English National Opera review - fitfully flickering flames

That the ever-decreasing circles of Richard Jones’s first Wagner Ring instalment for English National Opera ended in a no-show for the fire that should have made former Valkyrie supreme Brünnhilde proof against all but a fearless hero – Westminster...

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Siegfried, RINGafa, St Mary’s Putney review - heroes everywhere

A Samoan-themed Ring cycle? Well, why not? A calculated distance has always separated its audience from the Norse and German epics of its origin.Wagner composed it once capital and technology had begun their ineluctable overthrow of gods and kings,...

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'Everyone who played for him always gave their very best': remembering Bernard Haitink (1929-2021)

Few musicians get to stage-manage a dignified departure from the world. Among his last compositions, Richard Strauss set a poem by Eichendorff depicting an old couple looking into the sunset and asking “is this perhaps death?”, and towards the end...

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'Rest now, you God': remembering bass-baritone Norman Bailey (1933-2021)

Few singers really change your life. Norman Bailey did that for me [writes David Nice of theartsdesk]. The occasion wasn't my first experience of a Wagner opera, but it was the first time I'd been to a performance of his great human comedy Die...

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Tristan und Isolde, Glyndebourne, BBC Proms review - endless love, perfect pace

“Now I’ve conducted Tristan for the first time,” the 27-year-old Richard Strauss wrote from Weimar to Wagner’s widow Cosima in 1892, “and it was the most wonderful day of my life”. Robin Ticciati, over a decade older but still young in terms of his...

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RhineGold, Birmingham Opera Company, Symphony Hall review - music-drama at the highest level

The love of power corrupts, the power of love falters or fails. The essence of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung is also what Graham Vick communicated so stunningly in many of his unforgettable productions with his Birmingham Opera Company (...

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Die Walküre, Longborough Festival Opera review - heroic defiance of farcical constraints

Whatever might be said about Longborough Festival’s first live opera since 2019, the first and most important thing is to praise the company without reservation for putting on a show of anything like this quality in the face of obstacles of the sort...

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Siegfried, Göteborg Opera online review - a hero for our times

The team of Stephen Langridge (director), Alison Chitty (design) and Paul Pyant (lighting) produced a quietly radical Parsifal at the Royal Opera in 2013, finding both beauty and horror in unexpected corners. On the strength of its third instalment...

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester online review - re-consecration of the house

The Hallé have been slow off the mark, compared with some, in their response to the challenge of concert-giving in the Covid era. But now that they have delivered on the first of their winter season performances, it has clearly been worth the wait....

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