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“Billy Budd”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Review)

billy budd image richard hubert smith“This is not his trial, it is mine”, says Captain Fairfax Vere as he sees the inevitability of Billy Budd’s condemnation. “My heart’s broken, my life’s broken”, he concludes, and by having him bear witness to Billy’s execution as his older, tormented self, director Michael Grandage has him (Vere) effectively witnessing his own. Billy’s death [Read More]

Posted on 11/08/2013
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Philharmonia Orchestra, Davis, Royal Festival Hall

The occasion was Delius’ 150th birthday but more broadly it was a celebration of Englishness. Vaughan Williams’ lark ascended once more, the Philharmonia’s concert master Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay effecting the transfiguration of song into mystic musing with elegantly nuanced fingerwork and fluttery trills transporting us slowly but surely into the ether.

Delius’ rarely heard Cello Concerto … [Read More]

Posted on 30/01/2012
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Prom 24: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Davis, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall can be an intimate place, mysteriously transforming on occasions from monster auditorium to private salon. There’s something about a small group of players, or in this case singers – the BBC Singers – in close harmony that effects that transformation and so it came to pass that the short vocal preface … [Read More]

Posted on 03/08/2011
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Britten “Peter Grimes”, Royal Opera House

Willy Decker’s 1994 production of Britten’s Peter Grimes has not worn well and pales now in the shadow of David Alden award-winning staging down the road at English National Opera. That, too, is due for revival. Decker’s problem – more pronounced in Francois de Carpentries’ revival – is that the highly stylised and fussily choreographed … [Read More]

Posted on 22/06/2011
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