First seen as part of a 1912 double bill, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised and reshaped as Europe plunged into the carnage of the First World War. Strauss was profoundly relieved when his son, Franz, was declared unfit for military service. But his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had already served as a reservist when the now familiar version of their backstage comedy on high and low art premiered in Vienna in 1916, four days after the assassination of the prime minister in the dining room of a hotel a few minutes' walk from the opera house.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
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Monday 20 May 2013
Glyndebourne productions which put Glyndebourne itself on stage are nothing new, but for Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos director Katharina Thoma has harnessed a strand of history which has hitherto gone unremarked. In 1940, with opera off the menu, Glyndebourne became a reception centre for evacuee children.
Wednesday 28 November 2012
The 250 events are inspired by Alex Ross' book The Rest is Noise
Monday 21 May 2012
It might be deduced that the only thing worse than working with children and animals would be working with children as animals. But Leoš Janáček was unfazed by the old Hollywood adage and his cartoon-strip derived opera The Cunning Little Vixen was spirited from page to stage with uncynical conviction and, it has to be said, no end of technical hazards.
Saturday 28 April 2012
It's not uncommon for Western composers like Tavener to bring Eastern influences into their work, but much rarer for an Indian classicist to operate in the Western tradition, as Ravi Shankar does here in his Symphony, which follows the classical four-movement structure but incorporates sitar (played by Shankar's daughter Anoushka) and raga scales into the orchestration.
Sunday 05 February 2012
Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony - the 9th - poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.
Thursday 15 December 2011
With Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon.
The Seven Deadly Sins, HMV Picture House, Edinburgh<br/>Semiramide, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Usher Hall, Edinburgh<br/>Queyras / Tharaud, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
Sunday 04 September 2011
Friday 05 August 2011
Cometh the hour, cometh "The Dude". A few years ago, it felt as if classical music's energy was flagging. It needed a superhero: a young, hip, charismatic figurehead who could take centre stage and inspire a new generation to embrace an art that should be accessible to all but is not always perceived that way. Then, out of the impoverished urban sprawls of Venezuela, emerging from a legendary music education scheme known as El Sistema, along bounced Gustavo Dudamel.
Friday 05 August 2011
Schoenberg first orchestrated Brahms' Piano Quartet No 1 because he felt that the pianist had a tendency to drown out the small string section.
Wednesday 03 August 2011
The Royal Albert Hall can be an intimate place, mysteriously transforming on occasions from monster auditorium to private salon.
Sunday 31 July 2011
At 33, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Music Dirctor Andris Nelsons is young but still almost a decade older than Richard Strauss was when he showed the world how he planned to go on with his dazzling tone poem Don Juan – a piece with an excess of just about everything except length.
The Damnation of Faust, Coliseum, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London<br/>The Night Shift, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Sunday 08 May 2011
Sunday 17 April 2011
Paavo Järvi's spacious, serene reading of A German Requiem is beautifully recorded.
Friday 08 April 2011
Following his brilliant interpretation of Beethoven's 9th, Järvi turns his attention to another German musical milestone, Brahms' most imposing work.
Saturday 26 March 2011
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra brought Strauss – oodles of it – for this Shell Classics International at the Royal Festival Hall; and as they signed off with one of those signature Rosenkavalier waltzes, all swooning strings and tumbling horns, there wasn’t a great deal more we could have asked of them.
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