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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Thursday 30 June 2011
Slipped in among the musical repertoire of the OperaUpClose season in Upper Street comes this wacky, semi-autobiographical 1992 Australian play, set in 1971, by Louis Nowra, about patients in a lunatic asylum putting on Mozart's Così Fan Tutte – without the music. It's also about the madness of putting on a show in the first place, the terror of performing and the treachery of backstage relationships.
Friday 24 June 2011
Friday 17 June 2011
Each country-house opera has its own story, and Longborough’s is the most unexpected. Martin and Lizzie Graham were entranced by the Bayreuth centenary ‘Ring’, and conceived a crazy dream to replicate it in the Cotswolds.
Wednesday 15 June 2011
Her appearances in this country are rare enough as it is so to discover that Maria Joao Pires was to be a late substitute (for the indisposed Murray Perahia) was precious consolation indeed.
Sunday 05 June 2011
Saturday 04 June 2011
Alda Noni was an Italian light soprano with a beautiful voice and fabulous coloratura technique.
Friday 03 June 2011
The sun really smiled on the opening of Garsington Opera’s handsome new summer pavilion at the Getty’s Wormsley estate – but in doing so it rather turned Mozart’s Magic Flute on its head flooding light and enlightenment somewhat prematurely over the Queen of the Night’s dominions. The new dawn arrived here with the rising of the moon and that was not all that proved topsy-turvy about Olivia Fuchs’ inaugural staging.
Monday 23 May 2011
Jonathan Kent sees the prime challenge of ‘Don Giovanni’ as being to find a way to ‘give its hero a life’, since his mix of charm and demonic psychopathy is entirely unexplained: he wants it to be clear that this is the first time the Don has killed, and that it’s murder rather than libertinage which sends him to hell. Kent’s thesis worked well when the show was unveiled last year, thanks to Gerald Finley’s charisma in the role, but the production was in some ways problematic.
Sunday 22 May 2011
Album: Jeremy Polmear, Stephen Stirling, Richard Saxel, Music for Oboe, Horn and Piano (Oboe Classics)
Friday 20 May 2011
Oboe, horn and piano is a rare but oddly beguiling blend of timbres, albeit a combination mostly avoided by composers, perhaps due to the difficulty resolving the contrasts of instrumental colour and character.
Tuesday 17 May 2011
Asked last week to describe Charles Rosen, the Southbank Centre’s head of contemporary culture replied: ‘A god.’ And it was in that spirit that people packed the Purcell Room for this grizzled New Yorker’s pre-concert lecture.
Sunday 08 May 2011
Thursday 05 May 2011
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment prides itself on its ability to recreate the musical past, but the concert at which Beethoven premiered his fourth piano concerto was stranger than anything that could be recreated today.
Friday 15 April 2011
The first thing you notice about Elizabeth Llewellyn’s voice is the bloom – a plushy, covered quality that extends pretty much throughout the range and only hardens under pressure at the top.
Thursday 07 April 2011
Bigger than the violin, the viola is tuned a fifth lower, with a darker, warmer sound, and with richer harmonics: while the violin flies high, the viola can connect us to the earth.
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