As the Royal Opera opens its new Don Giovanni, Jessica Duchen argues that its theme of moral vacuity is as relevant now as in Mozart's day
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Friday 05 November 2010
For its first ever staging of Britten's chilling thriller The Turn of the Screw, Opera North has engaged a young director unafraid of piling on ghostly layers. As if Henry James's novella wasn't suggestive enough of sexual ambiguity and a sense of innocence corrupted, Alessandro Talevi freely adds his own often tangential ideas. The Governess's fevered imagination, and the stage too, is peopled with cavorting, wraith-like apparitions and fantastic tableaux often at odds with both plot and score. Instead of enhancing the visual and dramatic frisson between the haunters and the haunted they distract from the opera's musical and theatrical tensions, blurring the definition between the original 16 skilfully demarcated scenes.
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Friday 08 October 2010
Those who enjoy "new" works from old artistic masters are being rather spoiled at the moment. This week they have had a previously unpublished poem by Ted Hughes on the death of his wife, Sylvia Plath. Meanwhile, a lost concerto score by Vivaldi has turned up in Scotland.
Sunday 26 September 2010
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the period-instruments orchestra Apollo's Fire was founded in 1992.
Saturday 25 September 2010
Friday 10 September 2010
René Jacobs ongoing coverage of the entire Mozart opera oeuvre continues with The Magic Flute, performed as usual with the RIAS Kammerchor and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
Friday 10 September 2010
They tell me that Jonathan Miller's production of Così Fan Tutte is coming up to its 16th revival at London's Royal Opera House. You may remember it as the one that became hijacked when a certain Giorgio Armani dressed it in that season's line. I have to report that my wardrobe this time, in the role of Don Alfonso, is in the very safe hands of a well-known firm of Savile Row tailors.
Monday 30 August 2010
This was Norway's moment in the limelight: no surprise to find its indefatigable music ambassador – pianist Leif Ove Andsnes – leading the charge, attended by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
Thursday 26 August 2010
This was Norway’s moment in the limelight: no surprise to find its indefatigable music ambassador - pianist Leif Ove Andnes - leading the charge, attended by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. And if the novelty they brought with them was created by a Dane, it had at least been inspired by Andsnes.
Tuesday 24 August 2010
With a technicians’ strike looming, Proms director Roger Wright has enough on his plate, but here is a simpler challenge for him: to provide programmes for the Chamber Proms at the Cadogan Hall which don’t shamefully undersell them.
Friday 20 August 2010
Wednesday 18 August 2010
Wednesday 11 August 2010
It was the second outing for a John Foulds piece in one week. But then it does tend to pour rather than rain at the Proms, and this was the Hallé Orchestra where Foulds's dad once played the bassoon. April – England implies showers (which are plentiful in Manchester) but it's the sunniness that you go away humming.
Saturday 07 August 2010
Friday 30 July 2010
Written late in his short life, the Clarinet Concerto in A major was Mozart's last purely instrumental piece, and one of his most beautiful, a work whose delicate melodic charm is matched by the rigorous restraint of the clarinet part, in which excessive ornamentation is eschewed in favour of a nimble, lyrical grace.
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