fri 24/05/2019

Classical Features

'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

Roderick Williams

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to bask in some adulation. “An opera singer? No, really? That must be so glamorous…” and so on.

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theartsdesk at the Istanbul Music Festival: East and West in perfect balance

David Nice

The time is out of joint for Turkey at the moment, but it’s still a country equally split between those looking to the west for the culture of ideas and the more conservative element which at least needs its voice respected. They co-exist peacefully in a great cosmopolitan city like Istanbul, which recently joined Ankara and Izmir in rejecting increased powers for its leader.

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

theartsdesk

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished.

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: Handel for all

David Nice

"Love is in the air," croons or rather bellows presenter Juri Tetzlaff, getting his audience of adults and children to bellow back the wordless refrain, arms swaying above their heads. Mezzo Sophie Rennert, dragged up as noble Lotario, and soprano Marie Lys as widowed princess Adelaide dance tenderly to the strains.

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theartsdesk on the Seine: a second new concert hall for Paris

David Nice

It's funny how Parisians grumble about any major new venue which lies outside their chic central stamping ground.

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theartsdesk in Tallinn: From Dusk to Black at Estonian Music Days

David Nice

Many other top Estonian musicians, performing among other works 30 premieres of music by their compatriots in just over a week, might have been equally deserving candidates for the lead image. But perhaps an even more appropriate image might have been a black rectangle.

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First Person: 15 years of Tenebrae, a lifetime of choral music

Nigel Short

Having just celebrated a birthday the wrong side of 50 years of age I confess to regularly pinching myself when I dare to look back and see the higgledy-piggledy route my life has taken to bring me to the present day, as we celebrate 15 years of Tenebrae. Not just the odd lucky break here and there but seemingly a lifelong sequence of odd twists and turns, of chance meetings and associations, every one of which has resulted in me landing at the current co-ordinates of life.

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thertsdesk in Oslo: Mozart beneath a Munch sun

David Nice

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 lured me to Oslo last week. But in talking to the Renaissance man...

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Farewell, Stanisław Skrowaczewski (1923-2017)

Gavin Dixon

Bruckner conductors improve with age: Haitink, Blomstedt, Gielen – octogenarians all. But Stanisław Skrowaczewski went further, conducting his favourite composer almost to his death, this week at the age of 93. And more than any of his contemporaries, he seemed to embody the Brucknerian qualities of wisdom, experience and patience. A glorious Indian summer brought his work to a new generation, as,...

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Listed: How I Do Love Thee

theartsdesk

Love is in the air. Today, men and women and boys and girls will be pondering how to say it with roses and cards and candlelit dinners: those three words that contain multitudes. As the old strip cartoon never quite got round to saying, love is... the human condition, which is why a good quantity of the culture we review on this site has to do with it. To help you get into the mood for romancing, we have asked our...

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