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25 Août   -  

Durch Mitleid wissend - Bayreuth Parsifal 2016

Wagner Parsifal at Bayreuth: always a place of pilgrimage. But would Wagner himself have prefered po-faced reverence or thought-provoking engagement?   Wagner didn't do "pretty pictures". Of all his oeuvre, Parsifal is the ...

22 Août   -  

BBC Scottish SO Volkov : Grisey Mahler Mozart

Proms 46 and 48 with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra making their welcome annual visit to the Royal Albert Hall, London. Since the BBC SSO is second only to the BBC SO in the BBC stable of orchestras, this pair of Proms were special ...

20 Août   -  

Janáček The Makropulos Affair Prom 45

Karita Mattila was born to sing Emilia Marty, the diva around whom revolves Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos).  At Prom 45, she shone all the more because she was conducted by Jirí ...

18 Août   -  

Britten Untamed ! Glyndebourne A Midsummer Night's Dream

At Glyndebourne, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream,  in a performance so good that it was the highlight of the whole season, making the term "revival" utterly irrelevant.  Jakub Hrůša is always stimulating, but on this ...

14 Août   -  

Poetic Thoughts : Mahler 8 Chailly Lucerne Festival

The 2016 Lucerne Festival opened with Mahler Symphony no 8.  Mahler's Eighth celebrates a powerful life force, the spirit of creativity itself, pulling together images from diverse sources. Thus it epitomizes the ideals that led Claudio ...

10 Août   -  

Thunderstorm the opera Shanghai comes to the ENO

At the Coliseum,  home of English National Opera, Thunderstorm.  The opera is based on the play  Thunderstorm, (雷雨) by Cao Yu ( 曹禺, 1910-1996)  which is an iconic classic of modern Chinese ...

9 Août   -  

Blazingly relevant Mahler 1 - Salonen, Schoenberg Dutilleux

Prom 32, Best Prom of the Year so far, Esa- Pekka Salonen conducting Mahler,  Schoenberg and Dutilleux  with the Philharmonia Orchestra.  An exceptionally good performance, even by the high standards we've come to expect from this ...

7 Août   -  

On Chosen Hill Gloucester, with Gerald Finzi

On Chosen Hill,  in Churchdown outside Gloucester, in summer.  Chosen Hill is one of those "power spots", like Wearyall Hill in Glastonbury, which seem to have the power to draw out positive energy.  Perhaps they connect to sites of ...

5 Août   -  

Nightscape with Dog : Knussen, Reinbert de Leeuw

In Prom 26, Oliver Knussen conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Reinbert de Leeuw and Brahms. Knussen was a teenager when he first met de Leeuw. They have much in common, both specialists in contemporary music, extraordinarily good interpreters of ...

4 Août   -  

George Butterworth 100 years ago today

One hundred years ago today, George Butterworth was still alive. On 5th August 1916, his body lay dead on a battlefield in the Somme.  He was leading a party of men on a sortie up Munster Alley, when  shortly before 4.45 am on 5th August ...
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