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London Symphony Orchestra, Jansen, Pappano, Barbican Hall

There were, it seemed, enough trumpets to serve Gabriel throughout eternity – and, as fanfares go, this one was stretching a point and then some. LSO On Track had commissioned it from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and true to the spirit of this enterprise seeking to field young musicians of mixed abilities alongside players from … [Read More]

Posted on 31/01/2014
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Les Vepres Siciliennes, Royal Opera House (Review)

It started so thrillingly, director Stefan Herheim pulling off a theatrical coup which simultaneously fleshed out the opera’s back story whilst casting us body and soul into the gloriously opulent world of French opera-ballet. But as Verdi’s sprawling Parisian epic lost its dramatic impetus and sense of direction so Herheim and aspects of his staging … [Read More]

Posted on 18/10/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Wagner “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, Royal Opera House

The years have undoubtedly taken their toll and what seemed so fresh and new in 1993 – the pristine abstractions of Richard Hudson’s design, the washes of orange and gold light, the assertively jolly Brueghelesque costumes – now looks a little pantomimic. And yet the Shakespearian artifice of Graham Vick’s thoughtful and much-admired staging of … [Read More]

Posted on 20/12/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Puccini “Il Trittico”, Royal Opera House

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]

Posted on 13/09/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Prom 2: Rossini “William Tell”, Royal Albert Hall

You couldn’t see the Lone Ranger for dust – and I doubt we’ve ever heard the most famous gallop in music despatched with such fleet-footed (or should that be hooved) panache. But there are another four or so hours to this particularly story and to hear the whole of Rossini’s epic operatic swansong William Tell[Read More]

Posted on 17/07/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Puccini “Tosca”, Royal Opera House

Bring together three of the most intuitive talents (and biggest stars) on the planet, meld them under the baton of Antonio Pappano whose command of every caress, swoon, and dramatic impulse of Puccini’s Tosca is not learned but instinctively felt and you have a recipe for the kind of evening that gives the Royal Opera … [Read More]

Posted on 15/07/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Verdi “Macbeth”, Royal Opera House

Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002 staging of Verdi’s Macbeth is prematurely looking like a parody of itself – an exhibit in one of designer Anthony Ward’s gilded display cases. But it’s sounding rather terrific in this second revival and before we actually see the shrieking and cackling hags of Verdi’s prelude – a bizarrely choreographed red-turbaned chorus … [Read More]

Posted on 25/05/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Massenet “Werther”, Royal Opera House

Rolando Villazón is back. That was the overriding headline of this highly emotional revival of Massenet’s heartbreaker. The other was how and why Benoit Jacquot’s painterly staging came to be so lambasted from some quarters when it was premiered in 2004. This opera is all about keeping up appearances in direct contradiction of innermost feelings … [Read More]

Posted on 06/05/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Orchestra of the Accademia Nationale Di Santa Cecilia, Pappano, Anvil Basingstoke

The Orchestra of the Academia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, Rome, brought a little something home grown on this their fleeting UK tour. While their counterparts at the Royal Opera in London were tracing out the ethereal opening measures of the Prelude to Verdi’s Aida, over at the Anvil in Basingstoke the self same music … [Read More]

Posted on 18/03/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Pappano, Cadogan Hall

Exactly one week after the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra memorably presented key players in a chamber setting, Antonio Pappano has done likewise with his Royal Opera House Orchestra – and what’s more found a common denominator. You go years without hearing the single surviving movement of Mahler’s early Piano Quartet and then, like buses, two arrive … [Read More]

Posted on 28/02/2011
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Posted in Reviews

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