Review of 2012: Classical
Saturday 22 December 2012
Watching Aleksandra Kurzak whipping a lovesick Roberto Alagna into line in L'elisir d'amore at the Royal Opera House was one of the delights of this operatic year: this Polish soprano has immaculate coloratura, and is an irresistible comedian.
L'heure Espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges
Laurent Pelly's Glyndebourne productions of Ravel's chamber operas L'heure Espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges were as good as it gets: magical stagings, sparkling performances, and lovely orchestral sound thanks to Kazushi Ono's work in the pit.
Something happened in the third of András Schiff's Beethoven recitals at the Wigmore Hall: “inspired” is an understatement for the way he played, giving as exalted and definitive a performance as we are ever likely to hear.
The Tales of Hoffmann
Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann is usually convoluted and implausible: Richard Jones's version for English National Opera made of it something witty, macabre, and disturbingly suggestive. This was that rare thing: a “concept” production that worked.
When Behzod Abduraimov won the London International Piano competition two years ago, it felt like a flash in the pan; but his Southbank debut recital took the breath away: this 22-year-old Uzbek plays like a master, with a winning amalgam of fire and poetry.
Discovery of the year: Georgia Jarman
Arriving unheralded out of the blue, the American soprano Georgia Jarman had audiences gasping in ENO's Tales of Hoffman: incarnating a coloratura-singing doll, her preternaturally agile voice and limbs seemed to morph in a way which was both comic and almost unbelievable.
Turkey of the year: Damon Albarn
Sorry, Damon Albarn, but your co-created opera about the Elizabethan astrologer, cartographer, and mathematician Dr Dee was ENO's most amateurish show in years, with a parish-hall staging and a score so drably forgettable that we pitied those who had to sing it.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God