tue 27/06/2017

Britten

Albert Herring, The Grange Festival review - playing it straight yields classic comedy gold

Perfect comedies for the country-house opera scene? Mozart's Figaro and Così, Strauss's Ariadne - and Britten's Albert Herring, now 70 years and a few days old, but as ageless as the rest. With the passing of time it's ever more obvious that this...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Snape Maltings

It’s all there in the first few bars of Britten’s music – that unsettling tension between beauty and familiarity, and eerie, undefinable otherness. Those cello glissandi might end in glowing major chords, but the tentacle-like slides throw them into...

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'The challenge is to make something of not very much': Iestyn Davies on Britten's Oberon

Tomorrow Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will begin a short run at the Snape Maltings, Suffolk in a new production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. It will mark the high point of the Aldeburgh Festival’s summer...

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Little, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

The CBSO is justifiably proud of its association with Benjamin Britten. There’s rather less proof that he reciprocated, dismissing the orchestra as "second-rate" after it premiered his War Requiem in 1962. Throughout the 1950s, he’d repeatedly...

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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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