sun 09/08/2020

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Berlin: Requiem for a Shaker-Upper

Kate Connolly Christoph Schlingensief: 'described as Germany's most disciplined anarchist'

It is tempting to playfully twist the German language a little to come up with a word that best describes the avant garde German theatre and film director Christoph Schlingensief. A “Wachrüttler”, literally a shaker-upper or rouser, is probably the best title to describe a man who seemed to put every vein and sinew of his body into shaking German society awake. The loss of Schlingensief, who died of lung cancer last Saturday aged 49, has left a gaping hole in the German arts world.

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Remembering Charles Mackerras

David Nice

Perhaps we can drop the "sir" here, as he preferred, though most of the contributors below only knew him in his knighted later years. No death of a musical great, at least since the departure of Mstislav Rostropovich, has caused such a flurry of tributes and reminiscences, even if many of us were long prepared for the end and marvelled at the way he soldiered on to give more great performances in his final year.

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theartsdesk in Buxton: The Buxton Festival

Hilary Whitney

As I alight from the train at Macclesfield and scramble into the back of the taxi which will take me on the 20-minute journey across the Pennines to Buxton and its eponymous festival, the driver announces with grim satisfaction, “I am now going to take you on one of the most dangerous roads in Britain.”

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UK Festivals 2010 Round-Up

ismene Brown

Get your tent and ice-box and plan your summer's entertainment with theartsdesk's definitive clickable festival guide - listings and links for all the UK festivals this summer, from heavy rock by Scottish lochs to Morris-dancing in the south west, and taking on opera, classical and major international arts festivals for good measure.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Christophe Rousset Interview

Edward Seckerson

The apartment is shared with a Burmese cat named Hermione and two no less exquisite and venerable harpsichords.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Edward Gardner Interview

Edward Seckerson

Edward Gardner is no longer English National Opera's best kept secret. The former choral scholar and repetiteur goes from strength to strength helming ENO through productive and interesting times. The world's stages are now beckoning. During a break in final rehearsals for Mozart's great opera seria Idomeneo in a new production from multi-media queen Katie Mitchell he talks informally about what being music director of a company like this entails.

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theartsdesk in Toronto: Luminato Hosts Wainwright and Malkovich

Rebecca Ritzel Operatic history of Aids: Peter McGillivray embraces Neema Bickersteth in Dark Star Requiem

To get a feel for whether an arts festival has truly penetrated a city’s psyche, it helps to strike up a conversation with local Starbucks baristas. That’s why I was grateful to be asked one recent evening in Toronto, “So what exactly is Luminato?”As the green-aproned server handed me a post-show cup of tea, I thought, good question: what is Luminato? Four years after the festival’s founding, it seems many Toronto residents remain unsure. I explained that it’s an arts festival with many...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Finishing Mozart's Unfinished Opera

Edward Seckerson Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: the restoration of his unfinished opera 'Zaide' is the current labour of love for Ian Page

The Classical Opera Company does exactly what it says on the tin and over the last few years has refreshed parts of the repertoire and corners of the nation that their bigger and more illustrious counterparts never reach. Conductor and artistic director Ian Page talks about questions of style, untapped repertoire and major restorations, like the company's recent staging of Thomas Arne's Artexerxes and its current labour of love rebuilding Mozart's unfinished opera Zaide....

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The Seckerson Tapes: Sarah Connolly Interview

Edward Seckerson

Acclaimed British mezzo Sarah Connolly prepares for the title role in Donizetti's battle royal of rival queens Maria Stuarda. Her return to Opera North in the bel cantorole of her choice will be one of the highlights of the UK opera season and in this revealing podcast she gives fascinating insight into her extensive preparation and "anatomisation" of the roles she performs - right down to the fine detailing here of Mary's temperament and bearing, and even her height....

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The Seckerson Tapes: Catherine Malfitano Interview

Edward Seckerson

She was the Tosca who played live to an audience of one billion in 107 countries; she is the director of English National Opera's new staging of the opera they once dubbed Puccini's "shabby little shocker". How times change. In this exclusive ENO podcast, Catherine Malfitano says that it's high time we moved on from the Tosca-as-diva portrayal - that, she says, should remain offstage where Puccini left it.

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