fri 15/11/2019

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Clonter: The Opera Farm

philip Radcliffe

Deep in rural Cheshire farmland, music is in the air. It’s not the music of the spheres from the Jodrell Bank radio telescope nearby, nor even the sound of the birds and the bleating of the lambs nearby. It is the music of human voices at work on scales and operatic arias. The 250-acre farm is Clonter, where for years people used to come to be entertained in the barn while picnicking amid bales of straw. Now the barn’s converted into an opera theatre - "the Glyndebourne of the North".

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Year Out/Year In: Classical Music and Opera

theartsdesk

Earlier this month, George Osborne, Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt were spotted in a Royal Opera House box surveying the country's most expensive artistic patrimony. What they thought - and how they and the Arts Council might wield their axe - will change the musical landscape of Britain forever.

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Bah Humbug: Richard Wagner - banish him from the stage

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Now that The X Factor's finally over, can we please get back to heaping opprobrium on the only Wagner that really deserves it? In the coming year opera houses around the world will be deciding whether to temporarily bankrupt themselves in 2013 to celebrate the composer's centenary. Opera Australia have announced a £10 million Ring Cycle.

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Simon McBurney On Creating A Dog's Heart

Simon McBurney

For anyone who grew up in the former Soviet Union, Heart of a Dog is a seminal text. But it’s also in the great tradition of Gogol and all the Russian satirists. It springs out into absolutely delicious flights of fantasy, but really sharp-edged. The mixture is there in Ostrovsky too: both very dark and very funny and also suddenly beautifully poetic.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Philanthropist Ian Rosenblatt

Edward Seckerson

It has been said that making money is music to the ears of any entrepreneur. In the case of Ian Rosenblatt you might need to turn that concept on its head. The music itself is his passion and the financial losses he routinely absorbs in pursuit of musical excellence is for him a small price worth paying. Well, not so small actually: through Rosenblatt Solicitors - his prestigious City law firm - he spends around £400,000 a year financing the Rosenblatt Recital Series, a now internationally...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Director Rufus Norris

Edward Seckerson

In 2001 Rufus Norris cleaned up on the awards front with his stunning production of Festen, the David Eldridge adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg's disturbing film which started life at the Almeida Theatre. But it was his grimly ironic staging of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret that I would put among the half-dozen or so best productions of a musical that I have ever seen.

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Remembering Joan Sutherland, 1926-2010

ismene Brown

Joan Sutherland’s was the voice of my childhood, the voice on the record-player when my mother, a coloratura soprano, practised her Lucia and Traviata. It was a clear and ravishingly carefree sound, as fluid as a stream bubbling in sunlight, effortlessly scintillating in the highest registers, a voice that almost sounded regretful as it descended to earth.

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Romeo and Juliet in Opera and Ballet

ismene Brown

Those teenage lovers Romeo and Juliet will be dying nightly on a stage near you in various guises for much of the autumn - not as Shakespeare’s play, but as ballets and operas based on it. Next week both Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet field two of the more famous versions on their autumn tours, while at the end of the month the Royal Opera stages a rare revival of Gounod’s opera.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Opera North Double Bill

Edward Seckerson Opera North explores the creation of the violin in a new opera 'The Gypsy Bible' (above) and unveils a new production of 'The Turn of the Screw'

"It is a curious tale. I have it written in faded ink, a woman's hand, governess to two children, long ago..." So begins Benjamin Britten's operatic re-imagining of Henry James's ghostly chiller The Turn of the Screw. Oscar Wilde called it "a most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale" but how are we supposed to interpret it? In a remote country house, a governess fights to protect two children from menacing spirits. But are these spirits real or imagined?

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The Seckerson Tapes: Soprano Amanda Roocroft

Edward Seckerson

Amanda Roocroft was a star from the moment she graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music. At 25, Sir Georg Solti asked her to sing Pamina at the Salzburg Festival. She declined. It was too soon. Where would there be left to go? "Hurry slowly" would seem to have been her motto and now that she is playing - for the first time - a diva with 300 years of experience, the decisions she has made in her career are more than ever falling into perspective.

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