mon 22/07/2019

18th century

Alder, The Mozartists, Page, Wigmore Hall review - a Mozart feast for eyes and ears

Seven European cities, seven works: from an eight-year-old's First Symphony composed in what is now Ebury Street to the towering concert aria for Josepha Dushchek of Prague's Villa Bertramka, Ian Page's latest Mozart cornucopia took us on a rich and...

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Beecham House, ITV review - a cartoon version of 18th century India

It has become routine to accuse Brexiteers of wanting to bring back the British Empire (though obviously it's OK to run an empire from Brussels), but the charge might more accurately be levelled at ITV. They’ve brought the ratings rolling in with...

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Bauci e Filemone/Orfeo, Classical Opera, QEH review - a star Orpheus is born

All happy 18th century couples are alike, it seems, and that makes for a certain placidity in Gluck's pastoral Bauci e Filomene for the (unhappy) wedding of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria. All unhappy couples are...

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration review - big views bring new light

Placed in a long and artfully Arcadian vista, earthy bronze subdued against verdant grass and trees, the restless form of Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, 1979-81 (Main picture), both disrupts and is absorbed by its surroundings. A...

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Semele, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Gardiner, Alexandra Palace review - Handel's cornucopia lavishly served

Louise Alder, lyric soprano of the moment and vivacity incarnate, had yet to be born when John Eliot Gardiner made his first recording of Handel's Semele with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in 1981. Now they all come together to...

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The Glass Piano, Print Room at The Coronet review – fascinating story undermined by absurdism

Often the greatest works of dramatic absurdism spring from the worst extremes of human experience, whether it’s Ionesco’s Rhinoceros responding to fascism, or Havel’s The Garden Party satirising the irrational cruelties of Prague’s Soviet occupiers...

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St Matthew Passion, Ex Cathedra, Skidmore, Symphony Hall Birmingham - powerful, poignant Bach

For the final instalment of their three Matthew Passions this Holy Week, Ex Cathedra gave a large scale performance of Bach’s oratorio in their home town on Birmingham, after dates with lesser forces in London and Bristol. With an augmented...

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital. Our core charitable and artistic...

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Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John. The veteran conductor brought his French choir and orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, and a line-up of relatively young soloists to the...

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Bach B minor Mass, BBCSO, Butt, Barbican review - large-scale losses and a few gains

Practitioners of musical authenticity and scholarly research, so guarded and protective of their territory in the early days, now like to spread the love around. So if an amateur choir of 100-plus like the BBC Symphony Chorus, celebrating its 90th...

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'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

I’m here in Leeds at the end of five weeks of quite intense rehearsals for Opera North's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Our director James Brining and his amazing team (including assistant director Deborah Cohen, set and costume...

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