Blog Archives

Britten Sinfonia, Alice Coote, Wigmore Hall

The Britten Centenary began here, on his 99th birthday, on Saint Cecilia Day, at Wigmore Hall, and it seemed only fitting that the composer who gave him so much inspiration should have the first word – or should I say the first “tune”. It’s the tune that has captivated generations of “young persons” on their … [Read More]

Posted on 23/11/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

London Philharmonic/ Russian National Orchestras, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall **** (Review)

The heady symbolism of the London Philharmonic and Russian National orchestras sitting cheek by jowl for the climax of Vladimir Jurowski’s War and Peace series was a powerful one and if, on occasions, the melding of these two excellent orchestras resulted in rather less than complete symbiosis musically speaking, the section by section acknowledgement of … [Read More]

Posted on 08/10/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 55: Britten “Peter Grimes”, English National Opera, Edward Gardner – Review ****

You can take the opera out of the opera house but you can’t take the opera house out of the opera – not when the spirit of David Alden’s benchmark 2009 production of Britten’s Peter Grimes resides so potently in English National Opera’s collective psyche. Company members may have come and gone in the interim … [Read More]

Posted on 25/08/2012
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Posted in Reviews

Britten “Billy Budd”, English National Opera

The sight of Kim Begley’s old and broken Captain Vere silently mouthing Billy Budd’s death sentence as it is read out in the final scene of Britten’s opera will be one of the enduring images of David Alden’s new English National Opera production. It’s a terrible mantra that he will repeat over and over and … [Read More]

Posted on 19/06/2012
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Posted in Reviews

Proms 30 & 31, National Youth Orchestra, Jurowski/ Nigel Kennedy, Royal Albert Hall

The building had barely cooled down after the Simon Bolivar Mahler the previous night but youth still ruled at the Proms with the arrival of our own National Youth Orchestra and that eternal wild child Nigel Kennedy promising and delivering astonishment in a not quite solo Bach gig in the evening’s late spot.

And just … [Read More]

Posted on 07/08/2011
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Posted in Reviews

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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Posted in Reviews

Britten “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, English National Opera, London Coliseum

Viruses, it seems, make no distinction between mortals and spirits. Even Fairy Kings can succumb. And so it was that Iestyn Davies, a much-anticipated Oberon, acted the role on stage while William Towers provided his singing voice from an adjacent box. This was not the only ailment to afflict the opening night of English National … [Read More]

Posted on 20/05/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Mourning Philip Langridge

Sad and shocked to hear of Philip’s passing. We met many times over the years and his energy and enthusiasm were exhilarating and inspirational. He was a shining example of everything in music and drama that cannot be taught. He was a truly instinctive performer with a natural intellect (the best sort), extraordinary musicality, and … [Read More]

Posted on 07/03/2010
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Posted in Asides


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