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Prom 72: Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Calleja, Zhang, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Joseph Calleja performs at the BBC PromsIt was too little too late to redress the scant attention gives to Verdi’s bicentenary at this year’s Proms but the “Maltese Tenor” – Joseph Calleja – arrived with an eleventh hour offering of low-key Verdi arias and joining him was the Milanese orchestra bearing the composer’s name. Calleja’s growing legions of fans were much … [Read More]

Posted on 06/09/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 68: Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Skride, Petrenko, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Vasily Petrenko conducts the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC PromsThe Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra made quite a splash with their Tchaikovsky symphony series under Mariss Jansons back in the 1980s. The watchwords then were freshness and articulation, a re-establishment of Tchaikovsky’s innate classicism – and so it was again as Vasily Petrenko stepped out as the orchestra’s new Chief Conductor. The opening of Tchaikovsky’s First … [Read More]

Posted on 03/09/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 53: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms 2013With the imminent release of a scorching account of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra set the bar very high (too high?) for their Prom curtain-raiser – Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy-Overture “Romeo and Juliet”. The opening of this piece is a nightmare of woodwind chording and tuning and whilst the quality of … [Read More]

Posted on 23/08/2013
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Philharmonia Orchestra, Lugansky, Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall

Liadov crafted more than his fair share of curtain-raisers – but to what end? One might imagine The Enchanted Lake – an atmospheric and beautifully scored miniature – as the prelude to an opera or full-length ballet; there would be method and consequence in that. But as a piece in its own right its six … [Read More]

Posted on 24/04/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Tchaikovsky “Eugene Onegin”, Royal Opera House (Review)

Simon Keenlyside as Eugene Onegin with dancer in Eugene Onegin © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013We begin where we will end – with Onegin and Tatyana closing the door on the life that was and the life that might have been. It’s one of the great “what ifs” of opera and Kasper Holten’s first production as Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House is a bold one – thoughtful, … [Read More]

Posted on 05/02/2013
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Posted in Opera, 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

London Symphony Orchestra, Mutter, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

For anyone who’s ever thought that the term Vorsprung durch Technik might be better applied to the superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter than a certain brand of automobile her hair-raising account of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will have given pause. The spirit was so wild and the risks so … [Read More]

Posted on 01/12/2011
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I, Culture Orchestra, Kotla, Marriner, Royal Festival Hall

Sounding for all the world like the latest App for a certain smartphone, the I, Culture Orchestra is the youngest orchestra on the planet – just seven concerts old. In essence it’s the official orchestra of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council and yet another instance of music in action across borders – namely … [Read More]

Posted on 07/11/2011
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London Symphony Orchestra, Bronfman, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

As sometimes happens in live performances a soloist’s encore might display a brilliance and precision that one might have felt lacking in the main event – or, in this case, events. Yefim Bronfman’s account of the Paganini-Liszt Étude No.2 in E-flat major was dazzling and alert and focused in ways that his back-to-back performances of … [Read More]

Posted on 13/05/2011
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London Symphony Orchestra, Khachatryan, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

Valery Gergiev’s survey of the Tchaikovsky symphonies began here on a chilly January night with youthfully idealistic “Winter Daydreams” thrown into the sharpest relief against a disillusioned and angry Shostakovich whose own journey into the bleak mid-winter was by the time he penned his 2nd Violin Concerto very much a one-way ticket. Two revealing performances, … [Read More]

Posted on 19/01/2011
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