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.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin file for divorce after 10 years of marriage
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bookies now say Ed Miliband is more likely to be prime minister than David Cameron
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Safe House, TV review: Plenty of teasers to keep us guessing but spare us the cliches
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars: Rogue One trailer: Watch the teaser for the Jedi-less Death Star heist film
Avengers Age of Ultron 'after credits' scene leaks online days before cinema release
Louis Tomlinson is launching his own record label and has already 'signed two acts'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments