GRAMOPHONE Review: Bernstein Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 Baltimore Symphony/Alsop

A disc of two halves, for sure: a somewhat sober “Jeremiah” and a scintillating “Age of Anxiety”. Perhaps there is simply no reply to Bernstein’s feverish intensity in both his recordings of the former; the latter, of course, has the poetic Jean-Yves Thibaudet as protagonist and he is very much a chip off the Bernstein … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Natalie Dessay – Pictures of America Paris Mozart Orchestra/Gibault

Anyone who has ever seen Natalie Dessay on the stage will know what an accomplished actress she is. It is that which has put flesh on her singing and enriched her operatic career. And now a new phase begins. There is talk of films, of straight acting roles – and maybe even adventures at the … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4, 5 & 6 Arctic Philharmonic/Lindberg

In a forward to the liner notes for this new BIS release superstar trombonist and composer turned conductor Christian Lindberg writes of his childhood obsession with the Tchaikovsky symphonies and in particular his fascination with the disparity of tempi revealed in different interpretations. His return to the composer’s metronome markings would, he says, probably mark … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Tchaikovsky/Sibelius Violin Concertos Lisa Batiashvili/Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim

Editor’s choice (January 2017)

There is no violinist currently playing the high-end of the international circuit that I would sooner go out of my way to hear than Lisa Batiashvili. There is something so super-intuitive about her playing that while she is performing the brilliance of her technique, the range of her colours and sheer … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Mahler Symphony 7 Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Adam Fischer

The “other” Fischer boldly goes here where his younger brother has enjoyed such conspicuous success – and Adam, with his excellent Dusseldorf Symphony, may well be one up on Ivan with this compelling account of Mahler’s outlandish Seventh.

Let me get my one niggling reservation out of the way. By the close of the first … [Read More]

Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

86153-18It’s taken almost four nail-biting decades for Dreamgirls to evolve from the germ of an idea to the most anticipated show never to have quite made it, lock, stock, and smoking barrel across the Atlantic. The germ of an idea – the tale of a fictional girl-group whose journey from backing singers to headliners proves … [Read More]

Lazarus, King’s Cross Theatre

lazarus-london-8When David Bowie first met with producer Robert Fox to discuss Lazarus back in 2013 you have to now wonder if he was seriously contemplating his own mortality. The clue, of course, is in the title, and that of his extraordinary last album Blackstar. In what is effectively a sequel to the Walter Tevis novel … [Read More]

The Last Five Years, St James Theatre

the-last-five-yearsFrom Monteverdi to Schubert to Bernstein and Lloyd Webber the dramatic song cycle has travelled far and wide over the centuries though not until Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years in opposite directions. His two-handed tour-de-force shadows Cathy (Samantha Barks) and Jamie (Jonathan Bailey) as they find and lose each other at a time … [Read More]

Floyd Collins, Wilton’s Music Hall

xfloydcollinsproduction2_jpg_pagespeed_ic_-gug2co5cIt’s one of those true stories you really couldn’t make up. In 1920s Kentucky, Floyd Collins, visionary cave explorer, happens across a spectacular sand cave – the sand cave of his dreams – only to become trapped on his way back to the surface. The media attention he might have hoped would turn his discovery … [Read More]

Groundhog Day, Old Vic

groundhog-day-1Well over a decade ago Stephen Sondheim expressed some interest in turning the movie Groundhog Day into a musical. Presumably he, too, would have turned to the movie’s scriptwriter Danny Rubin for the book – it is, after all one of those iconic screenplays, as inseparable from the talents of Bill Murray as it might … [Read More]

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