sun 18/02/2018

Wagner

Das Rheingold, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - orchestral revelations, but cursing Alberich trumps wooden Wotan

Vladmir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra have been to the bottom of the Rhine before, but in 2015 only did a whistlestop tour of the rest of Rheingold's terrain with an extensive array of excerpts. Having worked with the players on...

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Classical CDs Weekly Special: Callas Live

Remastered they may be, but the 20 live operas recorded here between 1949 and 1964 vary soundwise from clean at best to atrocious, with all the caprices of stage noise and audience participation seemingly acceptable at the time (so often there's the...

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Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, V&A review - seven cities, seven masterpieces

There's something here for everyone, as a "roll up!" slogan for one of the greatest shows in town might put it. Even opera buffs don't seem to have found much to fault with the cornucopia of sounds, moving pictures, objects, paintings, drawings and...

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Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert, Cadogan Hall - stellar line-up for a vital cause

“Keep here your watch, and never part.” There was a strong symbolism of standing and singing together in the last moments of the Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert. After singing the Lament of Purcell's Dido, Christine Rice made her way back slowly...

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Last Night of the Proms review: Stemme, BBCSO, Oramo - international array, abundant blue and gold

The Last Night of the Proms is always a beautifully choreographed event, and this year’s was no exception. The format changes little, but each year a new selection of works is chosen to fill the slots. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, always the backbone...

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Kozhukhin, LSO, Rattle, Barbican

Gorgeous sound, shame about the movement – or lack of it. That seems to be the problem with too many of Simon Rattle's interpretations of late romantic music. It gave us a sclerotic Wagner Tristan und Isolde Prelude last night, Karajanesque and not...

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theartsdesk at Budapest Wagner Days: Bayreuth on the Danube

While Merkel's Germany has won back world leadership, Wagner's festival shrine at Bayreuth lost its post-war pre-eminence years ago. There hasn't been a strong Ring there since Kupfer's, which I was lucky enough to see in 1991, and things will only...

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Die Walküre, Grange Park Opera review - imaginative and intelligent

Grange Park Opera is aiming big. The company is in a new venue, the grounds of West Horsley Place in Surrey, where they have built themselves a spectacular new opera house in less than a year. The building is not yet complete, but is close enough to...

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Tristan & Yseult, Shakespeare's Globe review - terrific visual and musical élan

This show feels like an end-of-the-exams party, and in a way that’s exactly what it is. If the fruits of Emma Rice’s short tenure as Artistic Director at the Globe were a series of tests that she is deemed to have failed, then Tristan & Yseult,...

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Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival

The Longborough Festival was started, essentially, to perform Wagner, and Wagner is still what it does best. This revival of Carmen Jakobi’s production of Tristan und Isolde is the strongest argument imaginable for small-theatre Wagner. For once the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Ludwig

No-one has ever matched costume drama to psychological depth quite like Luchino Visconti. Much of it has to do with what Henry James termed a "divided consciousness": as a nobleman who became a communist in World War Two and was relatively open...

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Royal Opera

Recent British-based productions have taken Wagner's paean to creativity, the reconciliation of tradition and the individual talent, at face value. Graham Vick's long-serving Covent Garden colourfest, with its brilliant staging of the night brawl;...

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