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 07 January 2011
Thursday 06 January 2011
It may be the grimmest month in all other respects, but January is an unexpectedly great time for radio listening. Unlike humans, radio programmes have disproportionately more birthdays in January, because that's when the broadcasting year starts, so anniversary editions abound – witness this week's Archers spectacular, of which more later. On top of that, there are anniversaries of other institutions, such as the King James Bible, which is currently receiving exhaustive attention from Radio 4 for its 400th.
Wednesday 05 January 2011
Having just praised the Wigmore Hall for bravely flying the flag during most schedulers’ dead-time at Christmas, I must now give a similar accolade to London’s new chamber venue in the wilds of Kings Cross – Kings Place.
Sunday 02 January 2011
Thursday 23 December 2010
Few singers can boast of a career lasting more than 65 years; Hugues Cuénod was one who could, but the Swiss tenor was in every way an extraordinary artist. Fluent in six languages, he had an unusually wide range of sympathies spanning four centuries, from Dowland, Monteverdi and Bach, to Berg, Honegger and Stravinsky, encompassing every type of vocal music from café chantant to oratorio. Equally at home putting across popular songs with Jane Laquien, as the duo "Bob et Bobette", or singing Satie's Socrate in the salon of the Princesse de Polignac, he had not one but several careers, as concert singer, recitalist, musical-comedy artiste, teacher and as a superb operatic character tenor. These careers overlapped each other, but after the Second World War the character tenor became the most important and successful.
Saturday 11 December 2010
Kinshasa, the chaotic capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is used to just about every noise imaginable.
Friday 03 December 2010
BBC Radio 3 is to dedicate its entire schedule to the works of Mozart for almost two weeks.
Monday 29 November 2010
It is the story of an immoral Lothario, a tale which begins with sexual violence and ends with divine justice. You'd have thought seasoned opera-goers would be well prepared for the exploits of Don Giovanni. But that hasn't stopped a new production from being accused of "shock tactics" by suggesting scenes involving gang rape.
Friday 26 November 2010
The Romanian opera singer Roxana Briban, who sang in Buch-arest, Berlin and Bangkok during a 10-year career, died on 20 November, apparently by her own hand, at the age of 39. Her husband Alexandru said she had fallen into depression after the Bucharest National Opera severed her contract in 2009.
Wednesday 24 November 2010
Put temporarily out of the game last year by illness, Helene Grimaud is one of the most exciting young pianists around, and one of a kind.
Wednesday 17 November 2010
Sunday 14 November 2010
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Laszlo Polgar, who died on 19 September 2010 aged 63, was a Hungarian bass and member of the Zurich Opera. His most famous role was probably that of Bluebeard in Bela Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, for which he won a Grammy Award for best opera recording in 1999 along with soprano Jessye Norman, conductor Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Sunday 07 November 2010
In one respect at least Rufus Norris' new ENO production of Don Giovanni might truthfully be described as electrifying.
Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London<br/>Jonas Kaufmann, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>The Marriage of Figaro, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Sunday 07 November 2010
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
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