fri 05/06/2020

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 11 - more phased returns to creative work | reviews, news & interviews

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 11 - more phased returns to creative work

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 11 - more phased returns to creative work

Sweden comes to musical life again, a small UK festival ponders and past glories shine

Nina Stemme sings Wagner in StockholmNeda Navaee

At last, it seems, one venerable British institution will be emulating what Scandinavian and Czech set-ups have been managing over the past month: live performances from an audience-less venue, though in sound only. In quickly reorganised scheduling along with BBC Radio 3, the Wigmore Hall features a host of its top regular artists in June lunchtime concerts.

We’ll be announcing those nearer the time, and reviewing more than a few In the meantime, you can get the vision as well in films from the Wigmore’s splendid archive, with an incredible wealth of material available on its YouTube channel; the one that caught my eye yesterday, because the pianist linked to it in expressing regret that he couldn’t give the same programme in Berlin, was Cédric Tiberghien’s imaginative weaving of Beethoven’s lesser-known sets of variations with Crumb, Feldman and Cage.


Nina Stemme joins the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic

Not to be outdone by its equally distinguished opposite number in Oslo, who placed young Norwegian lyric-dramatic soprano at the heart of its gradual return to full numbers, the Stockholm team showcases the leading Wagnerian of her generation, Nina Stemme, at the centre of its concert on 20 May, when she will sing the Wesendonck Lieder that include music also to be found in Tristan und Isolde. This is some small compensation for missing her Elektra at the Royal Opera. American music director Alan Gilbert also conducts Debussy’s and Schubert’s Eighth (‘Unfinished’) Symphony.


Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra returns with dynamic Rouvali Santtu-Matias RouvaliNow should have been the time for this top orchestra’s second innovative Point Festival, connecting Beethoven with issues of sight and sound. Sweden’s freer situation in terms of lockdown – admittedly not going too well right now – allows a modest orchestra to reassemble with the dynamic young Finnish principal conductor it is to share with our own Philharmonia, Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Like Tiberghien’s programme, the one tonight live at 18 00 CET (17 00 for us in the UK) mixes Beethoven (the Eighth Symphony) with Americana (rather more familiar Copland plus Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman). The GSO’s film archive is already well stocked – try a real spectacular, Rouvali conducting Prokofiev’s Fifth.


Opera North's Trouble in Tahiti

Bernstein’s terrific one acter was done in highest style up in Leeds back in 2017, with a good-looking production by Matthw Eberhardt and young Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta stealing the show – along with a little help from her co-performers – in the tour de force “Island Magic”. Here’s another chance to rediscover a sassy rarity that deconstructs one aspect of the American dream. You can also watch the whole of Wagner's Ring if you want to clear enough space in your lockdown schedule. .


Northern Chords Festival online discussion Jonathan Bloxham and Northern Chords Festival OrchestraAs one festival after another turns out the lights for a year, it’s good to see what one enterprising youthful venture is doing to fill the gap. On what would have been the opening weekend of the NCF’s opening day, dynamic conductor and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (pictured above by Jamie Smith with the Festival Orchestra at the 2018 Europe Day Concert in St John's Smith Square), who set it all up 11 years ago, talks to three outstanding musicians who would have been performing on Tyneside this week: brilliiant young pianist Martin James Bartlett, fascinating guitarist Sean Shibe and tenor Ben Johnson, and unveils an interim special. You are invited to ask questions via Zoom at 6pm tomorrow.

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