wed 20/03/2019

Opera Features

'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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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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ENO's Marvellous Miller in pictures

David Nice

It should have been unmodified rapture: a gathering of English National Opera team members old and new celebrating the doyen of the company's best-selling productions. And, as has always happened with the artistic side of the company, this loving homage to Sir Jonathan Miller sounds like a triumph. Critics weren't invited to the gala - statement, not sour grapes; this was a charity event, after all - and the final rehearsal was closed, though not apparently at the wish of anyone performing...

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Martyn Brabbins: a safe pair of hands at ENO

David Nice

No-one can easily replace Mark Wigglesworth as Music Director of English National Opera: ask any of the musicians working there and you'll find they're all heartbroken. That said, they could not have chosen a nicer man or a better all-round musician than Martyn Brabbins.

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Pick of the BBC Proms 2016

theartsdesk

"Refreshingly traditional" is how one of our writers describes this year's BBC Proms programme. Alarmingly unadventurous might be another way of putting it, though only in comparison with many of the golden years under Roger Wright.

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theartsdesk at the Holland Festival

james Woodall

The Holland Festival is one of the greats. It has a British director, the articulate Ruth Mackenzie, formerly of the Chichester Festival and the cultural Olympiad, now into her second year. It’s the same age as Edinburgh and Avignon – 70 in 2017 – but not as well known, though it should be. “We must,” Mackenzie says, “seriously punch above our weight.

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Alberto Remedios: 'his natural instrument obeyed his inner thoughts with ease'

Linda Esther Gray

When I sang Isolde to Alberto’s Tristan at English National Opera all those years ago, it was a joy to hear such wonderful tenor sounds in my ears, my heart and my soul. It was always difficult for him to memorise his work and up until the first night I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen. Yet when we went into that other place of performing he became Tristan and we travelled, on the waves of his beautiful sounds, to places I have seldom been.

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theartsdesk in Prague: Czech Spring with Smetana and Martinů

David Nice

On the itinerary of musical tourists around Europe, the opening of the Prague Spring Festival comes a close third to the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year's Day Concert and the Bayreuth experience. That said, Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland) – the immoveable opener – is more of an acquired taste than Johann Strauss or Wagner.

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theartsdesk in Warsaw: Moniuszko Vocal Competition 2016

Gavin Dixon

We don’t hear much about composer Stanisław Moniuszko in the West, but in Poland he’s considered a key figure in the history of opera. Moniuszko’s statue stands at the entrance of the National Opera House in Warsaw, and inside he’s depicted by several busts and portraits.

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