thu 22/10/2020

Opera Features

First Person: tenor Nicky Spence on working with Blackheath locals on screen Stravinsky

Nicky Spence

As patron for a community organisation, I see clearly how opera is the biggest collaboration going. Between stage, orchestra  pit, school liaisons, chorus leaders, make-up bays and the magicians of the technical team, every cog is of equal importance.

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Eavesdropping on Rattle, the LSO and Bartók’s Bluebeard

David Nice

One source of advance information told us to expect a reduced version of Bartók’s one-act Bluebeard’s Castle, among the 20th century’s most original and profound operatic masterpieces.

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First Person: Antonia Bain on directing a short kitchen opera for film

Antonia Bain

The Narcissistic Fish is a brand new opera specifically created to be filmed.

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Classical music/Opera direct to home 14 - sound and vision at the highest level

David Nice

As more musicians emerge from lockdown to conduct, play and sing in audience-less venues - ongoing kudos to the Wigmore Hall for its weekday lunchtime concerts, a fixure for so many viewers and listeners - here are some more off-piste treasures, a past glory from the...

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Avoiding meltdown from lockdown: Michael Chance on The Grange Festival's strategy for survival

Michael Chance

Where to start? We at The Grange Festival began in mid-March (the 15th) with a letter to our company, all those few hundred who come and work for us during the festival months and who are all, almost without exception, employed on a freelance basis, warning of a likely cancellation but urging a commitment to stage the summer festival over June and July (with preparations stating in mid-April) if at all possible.

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 6 - Parsifals for Easter

David Nice

Wagner's final drama, of learning, suffering and redemption through compassion, is second only to Bach's Passions at this time of year, and seems likely to strike a special note in the present crisis.

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Classical music/Opera direct to home: 3 - Two Jenůfas

David Nice

We're learning fast what works and what doesn't with online arts offerings in a time of coronavirus. A distinguished young pianist I know rightly pointed out to me yesterday that however good the artists sharing their talents with us from their living/music rooms, and however reassuring it is to be able to join them at a set time, bad sound cancels out most of the pleasure (though he didn’t rule out making an appearance himself).

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

David Nice

Two numbers, one hair-raising slice of music-theatre. When Sondheim's paying homage to the older, revue type of musical, you can extract a string of top hits: Follies, from which Marianka Swain chose "I'm Still Here" yesterday, could yield at least half a dozen more choices, Company almost as many.

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'Divinity is all around us': soprano Susanna Hurrell on Ravi Shankar's 'Sukanya'

Susanna Hurrell

In 2010, my best friend and I made a whimsical decision to go backpacking in India over the Easter break. I had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy through exposure to the teachings of the ancient Vedas, and through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, so I jumped on the opportunity to experience the culture that gave birth to so much wisdom and ancient knowledge.

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Jessye Norman, 1945-2019

David Nice

She was recording Carmen in Paris, and the Radio France auditorium was packed with the press, asking such dazzling questions as "have you been up the Eiffel Tower yet?" and "what do you think of the French men?". I thought, given the statuesque approach, it might be best to wonder if there was a nobility in the characterisation.

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