How much familial dysfunction and lust – whether for sexual gratification or revenge – can one take in a single weekend? Salome and Elektra back-to back may on paper seem like a feast of divine decadence but no sooner had one become accustomed to the sickly sweet air of the former when the putrefaction of … [Read More]
It has been said many times (and by Strauss himself) that the title role of Strauss’ Salome requires at least two different voices. Nina Stemme has both of them. And so seamlessly, artfully, are they rolled into one that it is hard to think of any other singer at the present time who better encapsulates … [Read More]
Die Frau ohne Schatten is an opera awash with high-flown symbolism and dubious, if not downright dodgy, sub-Freudian psychology. It peddles ludicrous notions about the inherent conflict between spiritual and physical love, frowning at the sex that does not lead to results – i.e. procreation – and worst of all daring to suggest that a … [Read More]
Applause for the conductor – even if it is Andris Nelsons – is just about the last thing we need to hear when Richard Strauss is about to fling down the brutal chords which spell out the name of Agamemnon. Surely the start of Elektra is now one of those occasions where we must set … [Read More]
The Major-Domo promises fireworks during the Prologue of Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Katharina Thoma, the director of Glyndebourne’s new staging, drops a bombshell – actually several bombshells. Glyndebourne’s wartime history – as a refuge for evacuees – would seem to have chimed with the darker implications of the opera within – namely … [Read More]
A single bottom C sunk deeper than even the deepest underground trains running so audibly below the Royal Festival Hall was the auspicious start to the South Bank Centre’s much anticipated festival “The Rest is Noise”. Forget Hamlet’s famous last words, when Zarathustra has spake the sound resonates through an eternity of silence.
Alex Ross’ … [Read More]