tue 18/06/2024

Cardiff

The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - Mozart remodelled and remuddled

So why not rewrite The Magic Flute with a new text and a heavily reconstructed plot? After all, the original was just a pantomime, albeit one that embodied one or two big issues of the day (1791), but essentially popular theatre with a text by a...

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Trouble in Butetown, Donmar Warehouse review - entertaining and warmhearted

With the fast-approaching anniversary of the latest war in Europe, our culture’s continued fascination with World War Two gets a contemporary boost from Trouble in Butetown at the Donmar Warehouse.Written by Diana Nneka Atuona, this follow-up to...

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Classical CDs: Musical saws, keyed fiddles and kestrels

 Dvořák: Symphonies 1-9, Legends, Slavonic Dances Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/José Serebrier (Warner Classics)The advantage of having all the Dvořák symphonies in one handy box is that you can explore the works that rarely get an airing;...

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Mahler 9, BBC NOW, Stenz, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - passionate without bloodshed on the rostrum

What a fascinating work Mahler's Ninth Symphony is! Marvellous and astonishing as well, of course. But these qualities are, so to speak, written into the score (did Mahler ever compose anything not designed to astonish?).Yet the fascination comes...

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Jenůfa, Welsh National Opera review - powerful drama with a kitsch tailpiece

If like me you regard the ending of Janáček’s Jenůfa as one of the most moving scenes in all opera, you might care to consider how it would be possible to deflate it in spite of the best singing imaginable. You might, for instance, bring up a back...

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Don Giovanni, Welsh National Opera review - fine young cast let down by unhelpful conducting

If Don Giovanni is not the greatest opera ever written, it’s at least one of the very, very few that even in erratic performances have the capacity to seem it. There was so much wrong, in detail, with WNO’s revival of John Caird’s now eleven year-...

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BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Final, BBC Four review – an embarrassment of vocal riches

A massive musical hope for the future is what we all need right now, after 14 stop/semi-start months and a threatened decimation of the concert and opera scene, the danger of which isn't over yet. This year’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World...

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BBC Proms live online: Romaniw, BBCNOW, Bancroft - creating 'hwyl' with no audience

I’ve been missing the sound of applause. That realisation dawned on me on the couple of occasions when it broke out spontaneously in last night’s Prom. There was no audience at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay, so these particular bouts of hand-...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Ives, Shchedrin, Veprik

 Ives: Symphonies 3&4 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas (SFS Media)Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 3, subtitled ‘The Camp Meeting’, was completed in 1911 but waited until 1946 for its premiere, long after Ives had given up...

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Bombay Bicycle Club, Cardiff University Students Union review - guitar pop, perfected

When a band claims a crowd is the loudest of the tour, you can usually guarantee they've said it on every other date too. But for one sweaty night in Cardiff, you had to believe them. Bombay Bicycle Club returned after a six-year absence and were...

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The Killers, Cardiff Castle review - The Man arrives

With the fabled fields of Glastonbury on the horizon, The Killers chose the equally mythic Cardiff Castle as their practice run. While Stormzy was making history on the Pyramid Stage, the Welsh capital played witness to a precision-engineered pop-...

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BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019 Final, BBC Four review - stage confidence, supportive set-up

If ever there was an instance of the great being the enemy of the good, it happened after all the live singing on Saturday night. This year we all remember, with sadness for his early death and amazement at his burning, burnished talent, the...

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