thu 21/06/2018

19th century

Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum. The composer made sure in his last opera that when the fantasies, schemes and hopes of...

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theartsdesk at Leipzig's Blüthner Piano Factory - a perfect family business

Have you ever wondered why the Steinway grand piano is invariably the instrument of choice in every hall you visit, great or small? Why do the halls in question not offer a choice between two or three pianos of different manufacture, as so many did...

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Un ballo in maschera, Grange Park Opera review – singing out against the American grain

Stumble across Grange Park Opera’s new brick-clad “Theatre in the Woods”, nestled amid a labyrinth of gardens and orchards next to the rambling Tudor pile of West Horsley Place in Surrey, and on a mild June evening you may feel as if you have fallen...

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Lohengrin, Royal Opera review - swan mystery musically illuminated

It's awfully long for a fairytale in which a mystery prince helps a damsel in distress, and she asks him the question she shouldn't. Myth tends to go deeper, as Wagner did in The Ring of the Nibelung after Lohengrin. Here he captures the magic of...

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Gringytė, Williams, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - living in the moment

How to judge a genius who died at 25? Gerald Larner, in his programme note for this concert by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, suggests that Lili Boulanger’s tragically early death was actually central to her achievement. She knew she...

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Berlin Philharmonic, Rattle, RFH review - everything but inscape

Questions of interpretation apart, Simon Rattle has yet again proved the great connecter, this time in concerts separated by just over a month. Having set his seal on his new, galvanizing partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra by asserting,...

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Karen Cargill, Simon Lepper, Wigmore Hall review - opulence within bounds

Singing satirist Anna Russell placed the French chanson in her category of songs for singers "with no voice but tremendous artistry". Mezzo Karen Cargill has tremendous artistry but also a very great voice indeed, a mysterious gift which makes her...

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Chopin's Piano, Tiberghien, Kildea, Brighton Festival review - mumbled words, magical music

First the good news: Cédric Tiberghien, master of tone colour, lucidity and expressive intent, playing the 24 Chopin Preludes plus the Bach C major and the C minor Nocturne in the red-gold dragons' den of the Royal Pavilion's Music Room. Then the...

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The Woman in White, Series Finale, BBC One review - good-looking, but flat

Much has been made of this adaptation of The Woman in White having an especial relevance for our times. Its concern with the power dynamics of gender relations was certainly hammered home right from the beginning, as Jessie Buckley uttered its...

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Pianist Christopher Glynn on Schubert in English: 'this new translation never walks on stilts'

The idea for a new translation of Schubert's Winterreise came from an old recording. Harry Plunket Greene was nearly 70 (and nearly voiceless) when he entered the studio in 1934 and sang "Der Leiermann," the final song of the cycle, in English (as "...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Méhul, Mozart, Schubert

 Beethoven: Symphony No 3, Méhul: Symphony No 1 Solistes Européens Luxembourg/Christoph König (Rubicon)Étienne-Nicolas Méhul was one of revolutionary France’s key musicans. He was commissioned by Napoleon to write his Chant national du 14...

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Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece, British Museum review - magnificence of form across the millennia

In bronze, marble, stone and plaster, as far as the eye can see, powerful figures and fragments – divine and human, mythological and real; athletes, soldiers and horses alongside otherworldly creatures like Centaurs – stride out. They pose, re-pose...

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