wed 22/03/2017

18th century

Partenope, English National Opera

It's time again for surrealist charades at the nothing-doing mansion. Christopher Alden's Handel is back at ENO, making inconsequentiality seem wondrous. Christian Curnyn's conducting sets the tone, with orchestral playing as light as air, and a new...

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thertsdesk in Oslo: Mozart beneath a Munch sun

Leif Ove Andsnes directing two great Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard may be the chief attraction when the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra comes to London's Cadogan Hall on Friday to celebrate its 40th birthday. It was certainly the bait which...

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Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, RNCM, Manchester

Manchester Camerata give relatively few old-fashioned concerts these days – I mean the sort that are done in purpose-built concert halls, with a conductor, soloist and conventional orchestra strength – because they’re busy crossing boundaries and...

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Roots, BBC Four

Those of us who saw the first, 1977 TV adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots in our teens still remember the shock and horror at its handling of a subject about which we knew little, American slavery. We know a lot more now, but the visceral reaction to...

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Sunday Book: Jake Arnott - The Fatal Tree

Novelist Jake Arnott has an eye for seedy glamour. The Fatal Tree takes the 1720s underworld - the setting of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, one of the most successful of all time - and adds more sex and a slick story, to make this rivetingly vivid...

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Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera

Adriana Lecouvreur deserves to be better known. The opera has a toe-hold in the repertoire, with occasional appearances, usually as a showcase for the soprano in the title role. Its composer, Francesco Cilea, is known for little else, but the opera...

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Summerfield, Jackson, Riches, Classical Opera, Page, Wigmore Hall

Young Amadeus is growing up in real time with MOZART 250, Classical Opera's ambitious 26-year project following its hero's creative life from childhood to the grave. 2015's start, marking two and a half centuries since the boy wonder's first visit...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall

Igor Levit began his recording career with Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, and his deeply felt, impressively mature readings made his name. Now he is performing a full cycle at the Wigmore Hall, and his take on the earlier sonatas turns out to...

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DiDonato, Il Pomo d'Oro, Emelyanchev, Barbican

Most singers give recitals, and very nice they are too. But there are some – Bartoli, Florez, Netrebko, Terfel – who really put on a show. Mezzo Joyce DiDonato might just be the queen of this select band, and between the projections, smoke, sound...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Napoléon

Like Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Abel Gance's Napoléon is the monument of a genius badly in need of self-editing. In both instances, everything testifies to the singular vision of the artist - in Gance's case, his innovations in the field of...

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CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Is there anything on a concert programme more guaranteed to make the heart lift – or to prove that a conductor has their musical priorities straight – than a Haydn symphony? If you're tired of Haydn, you're tired of life: there’s no music more...

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Oreste, Royal Opera, Wilton's Music Hall

Human sacrifice and long-term reconciliation are serious matters for music-drama. Not that you'd know it from Handel's pasticcio or confectionary of previous operatic hits, nor from Gerard Jones's one-note production. For strip-cartoon violence...

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