Lorin Maazel may well have set some kind of record here for two of the most protracted and incoherent performances in Mahler history. Even before solo violas had finished tracing out the searching opening line of the 10th Symphony Adagio it was clear that Maazel was inhabiting some parallel time zone from our own. That’s … [Read More]
The railway tracks to Auschwitz hit the buffers just above the orchestra pit – the fount of so much heavenly music. Now there’s an irony. There’s a front cloth suggesting Auschwitz sacking and once that has risen, the drama (or should that be melodrama?) is visually spelt out for us in Johan Engels two-tiered design: … [Read More]
“This is my domain”, says Méphistophéles, and suddenly we his audience are behind the footlights looking into an auditorium just like ours. It isn’t a particular original idea casting the devil as master of ceremonies and purveyor of dreams and nightmares but in David McVicar’s thrillingly opulent 2004 staging of Gounod’s Faust the conflict between … [Read More]
The accepted wisdom on Puccini’s trio of one-acters, Il Trittico, is that Gianni Schicchi is the masterpiece, Suor Angelica of very particular and questionable taste, with Il Tabarro, all shadow and melodrama, bringing up the rear. But should we now, in the light of Richard Jones’ revelatory staging of the central “altarpiece”, be … [Read More]
There were funeral pyres to light, mountains to climb, and, of course, there was Jerusalem to build. All in a Last Night’s work. Another record-breaking season – an astonishing 94% of capacity – thundered to a close with the usual assortment of incongruous “turns”. Ours not to reason why Bartok was rubbing shoulders with Brünnhilde … [Read More]
The surprises came thick and fast – but variants on a theme of Lady Gaga in the style of Bach was not one we might have anticipated. It came courtesy of the young Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic and given his limpid and robust devilry in Liszt’s outrageous Totentanz its capriciousness was entirely in keeping. You … [Read More]
John Wilson and the orchestra which bears his name created a absolute sensation at the 2009 Proms with their celebration of 75 years of MGM musicals.
3.5 million people watched the relay live; countless more all over the world will relive the experience on DVD.
John has made a speciality of restoring and recreating great … [Read More]
It’s not every day that a superstar of the violin chooses to trade places with an orchestral concert master but Joshua Bell has been doing just that with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for some years. This “special relationship”, which began with Bell’s first major concerto recording when he was just 18, … [Read More]
It’s a well-kept secret that the Bergen Philharmonic is one of the world’s oldest orchestras – 246 years old and counting. Norway’s most famous son, Edvard Grieg, was himself artistic director from 1880-1882. Now, and for the foreseeable future, an American is at the helm.
Andrew Litton was weaned on music: his parents were passionate … [Read More]
Kerry Ellis amassed a legion of adoring fans when she went “green” playing Elphaba in Stephen Schwartz’ smash-hit musical both in London and on Broadway. But her preeminence as a musical-theatre-diva-cum-rock-chick was secured earlier still when Brian May, the celebrated lead guitarist of Queen, asked her to play Meat in the Queen/Ben Elton show We … [Read More]