sun 12/07/2020

Opera Features

theartsdesk in Helsinki: Sunflowers By the Frozen Baltic

David Nice

Venezuela's joyful musical education programme known as El Sistema is the phenomenon of the age, the success story that many western countries now seek to replicate. And that's great. But Britain, for a start, might re-engage its own back-to-basics in music quicker by looking closer to home and seeing how Finland does it. In a small population, every child has free access to an instrument until secondary school.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Fiona Shaw

Edward Seckerson Stage polymath Fiona Shaw talks Lady Gay Spanker and directing a Hans Werner Henze opera

Fiona Shaw talks about the not inconsiderable demands of juggling Restoration comedy with German Expressionism. It almost doesn’t bear thinking about. Between shows at the National Theatre, where she’s been delighting audiences with her rollocking Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance, she enthuses about her second foray into the challenging business of...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Opera Holland Park

Edward Seckerson Opera Holland Park's dynamic duo: Artistic Director James Clutton and General Manager Michael Volpe

The auditorium has risen once more, the box office is open and busy, and the peacocks are out – Opera Holland Park in London is gearing up for the new season. In this “live and uncut” podcast Edward Seckerson talks to James Clutton (above, left) and Michael Volpe about opera rarities, exciting young talent, exciting older talent, the prospect of Wagner (could there be a Dutchman in the offing?), the X Factor, and much, much more. In keeping with the name...

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Rufus Wainwright: Pop Star and Opera Star

Adam Sweeting

To be born into the extraordinary Wainwright dynasty is to be born onstage, and Rufus has seized his birthright in a giant bear-hug. Mere weeks after the death of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, from cancer in January, the lanky, somewhat Heathcliff-like Rufus was back on the campaign trail with throttles wide open. In the pipeline for early April are his new album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, and a new production of his opera Prima Donna at Sadler's Wells.

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The Seckerson Tapes: David Alden Interview

Edward Seckerson

On the eve of his brand-new staging of Janáček's Katya Kabanova for English National Opera, David Alden  - the one-time "bad boy" of opera - talks about first-night riots, Britten and Donizetti triumphs, and the dramatic potency of Janáček. Live and uncut.

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Philip Langridge, 1939-2010

David Nice

Britain's most communicative singing actor, lyric-dramatic tenor Philip Langridge has died at the age of 70. I offer a personal reminiscence, looking back on some of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life, and ask conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner and Vladimir Jurowski as well as director Richard Jones what Langridge's example has meant to them.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Opera North's Ruddigore

Edward Seckerson

Gilbert & Sullivan's audacious parody of Victorian melodrama, Ruddigore, is as spirited a piece of topsy-turvy confection as the celebrated Savoyards ever produced. It arrives at Opera North in a brand-new production directed by Jo Davies and conducted by John Wilson, whose loving restorations of MGM musicals proved such a sensation at last year's BBC Proms season. Edward Seckerson went behind the scenes to meet them both and his exclusive podcast whets the appetite for an evening...

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Interview: Maria Luigia Borsi, singing in the Italian tradition

Adam Sweeting 'Yes, I'm Italian!': Maria Luigia Borsi

In this era of spectacular divas from Russia, Latvia and Romania, it is often remarked that the Italian lyric soprano is a commodity in distressingly short supply. Hoping to rectify that sorry situation is Tuscany’s Maria Luigia Borsi, who will be making her London debut at the Wigmore Hall on Sunday, singing a luxuriant programme of Puccini, Catalani and Mascagni.

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Preparing The Tsarina's Slippers

ismene Brown

A delicious new treat is promised at The Royal Opera House for Christmas: a comic opera by Tchaikovsky that brings the wit and fun of a Russian magical folk tale to the stage in a staging of rare opulence. A story of turbulent love, magical rides through the sky with the Devil, and an impossible task - to get a peasant girl a pair of Catherine the Great's slippers - The Tsarina's Slippers has ballets and Cossack dancing as well as a host of singing characters.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Messiah, ENO

Edward Seckerson

With its powerfully emotive stagings of Bach's St John Passion and Verdi's Requiem English National Opera has built something of a reputation for bringing sacred masterworks to the secular stage. Award-winning director Deborah Warner, conductor and Handel specialist Lawrence Cummings, and ENO's indefatigable chorus master Martin Merry tell Edward Seckerson about the challenges of making a credible stage spectacle...

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