It’s on occasions like this that the star-rating system runs into irreconcilable difficulties. I honestly cannot remember a time when musical and theatrical values were in such total divergence. The Royal Opera’s long-overdue first staging of Dvorak’s late masterpiece Rusalka is an incomprehensible travesty – hideously designed (Barbara Ehnes and Anja Rabes) and ineptly directed … [Read More]
The defining moment in John Adams’ opera – and Tom Morris’ staging of it – comes right at the top of a long and not unproblematic evening. And it’s a moment that should give pause for even those who huff and puff before seeing and experiencing. A chorus of Palestinian exiles dissolves into a chorus … [Read More]
Such is Berlioz’ persuasive theatricality that even when he is rearranging Shakespeare one is inclined to ask not what the Bard is doing for him but rather what he is doing for the Bard. His unprecedented Symphonie Dramatique Roméo et Juliette doesn’t so much re-enact but reflect on the unfolding drama and the joy of … [Read More]
For the New York Philharmonic to have embarked upon a London residency without Mahler in their portfolio would have been unconscionable. It was they, after all, who brought it to the wider world under their most celebrated music director Leonard Bernstein. But Alan Gilbert, the current incumbent, is no Bernstein – few are – and … [Read More]
There is really very little that Marc-André Hamelin can’t or won’t do on or with a piano and he did most of it in this characteristically supersonic recital – including one wholesale assault on the Wigmore Steinway’s bottom octave with his fists. You can blame Villa-Lobos for that. Risky if you’ve just played Stockhausen and … [Read More]
Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony – the 9th – poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.
There are those who insist that the great Catholic symphonist had completely sketched and all but scored the final movement – but attempts to stitch together a performing version have … [Read More]
The location is Sting’s beachside house in Malibu the morning after the night before: another night, another venue – the Hollywood Bowl – another three-hour concert of his songs.
That’s concert with a capital “C” because this time Sting has brought along more than just a few of his favourite musicians to join him, he’s … [Read More]