mon 27/02/2017

Britten

Gerhardt, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place

What's not to like, or love, would have to be the sensible response to both the opening programme of Kings Place's year-long Cello Unwrapped festival at Kings Place and its life-enhancing execution. Symmetries abounded – between Alban Gerhardt's...

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Billy Budd, Opera North

"That cursed mist" may hide the French from the crew of the HMS Indomitable and cause far more deadly damage to moral certainty. But clarity and strength are the assets of Orpha Phelan's new production for Opera North: no gimmicks, superb company...

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Owen Wingrave, British Youth Opera, Peacock Theatre

Owen Wingrave is the Britten opera that always comes with a caveat, an apology. Dramatically flawed (a problem partially, but by no means entirely, accounted for by its genesis as a television opera) and musically uneven, it has nevertheless emerged...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Glyndebourne

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is too other-worldly to have anything as mortal as a musical heartbeat. Pulsing through it instead are musical quivers, jolts of eerie energy first heard in the opening cello glissandi. Denaturing the instrument,...

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Be With Me Now, Britten Studio, Snape

As the hand-held credits popped up on screen to pianist and musical director Manoj Kamps's superb quartet arrangement of Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, the European Union's Culture Programme logo brought a spontaneous burst of applause. Not the norm...

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The Beggar's Opera, University of Birmingham

Memo to self: never read the director’s programme essay. Jacob Dorrell, director of the University of Birmingham’s summer production of Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera at the Barber Institute, explains: “I wanted to bring to the Barber stage a...

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Illuminations, Tynan, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Snape Maltings

Nothing galvanises an audience quite like physical risk. As soprano Sarah Tynan rose on a hoop into the darkness, intoning the final words of "Départ" from Britten's song cycle Les Illuminations, you could almost hear her heart race. Beneath, a...

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Tsybuleva, Institut Français/TAM Estonia, St James Piccadilly

Cherrypicking from 17 concerts to come up with the one by last year's Leeds International Piano Competition winner may seem a bit unfair to the French Institute's ever more ambitious annual It's All About Piano! Festival. It was hard, for instance,...

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Kelemen, BBCSO, Wigglesworth, Barbican

In the deep recesses of my brain lies a distant memory of an early lesson in musical appreciation in primary school. Excerpts from Beethoven’s "Pastoral" Symphony were being played. The teacher asked us what images came to mind. The answers came...

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The Drummer Boy of Waterloo, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh

Back in 1949, Britten’s Let’s Make an Opera, with its enduring second part The Little Sweep, blazed a trail for children’s opera in Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall. Little has changed about this generously-sized village institute – a funding appeal for...

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The Turn of the Screw, Aurora Orchestra, LSO St Luke's

A Hawksmoor church ought to be the right setting for the psychological terror of Britten’s great chamber opera, a slanted but still chilling adaptation of Henry James's novella. True, the once-deroofed interior has been coolly revamped as a...

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Shibe, Egmont Ensemble, Wigmore Hall

It was a sad coincidence that this Monday Platform “showcasing talented young artists” took place only weeks after the death in a road accident of Roderick Lakin, Director of Arts for 31 years at the Royal Over-Seas League which was last night's...

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