thu 29/07/2021

Leeds

Album: Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow

Emma-Jean Thackray is not lacking in audaciousness. This is, after all, a white woman from Leeds barely into her thirties, raised on bassline house and indie rock, making music whose most obvious comparisons are with some of the most revered (in the...

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From cancellation to new vigour: pianist and artistic director Joseph Middleton on Leeds Lieder

April 2020 was to have been the celebratory 10th Anniversary Festival of Leeds Lieder, the organisation I’ve been fortunate enough to direct since late 2014. I’d called the Festival Ode to Joy and in a curious turn of programming, geekery...

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Connolly, Middleton, Leeds Lieder online review - epic voyage on a luxury vessel

Some lockdown-era recital programmes have doled out miserly short measures, as performers gallop through a brief, rushed hour (or less) of music as if afraid to tax the online patience of their disembodied audience. If this final concert in Leeds...

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Dame Fanny Waterman (1920-2020) - some recollections, with love and affection

Dame Fanny Waterman was a true force of nature, in the best sense of the word. Her diminutive height belied a giant intellectual force and a steely determination to achieve the seemingly unachievable through every means she could muster.She...

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Fidelio, Opera North online review - less is really more

Adaptability is the name of the game for big companies in the music business now. And Opera North’s streamed presentation of Beethoven's Fidelio from inside Leeds Town Hall is a prime example of just how adaptable things need to be.The orchestra is...

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Nine Lives, Bridge Theatre review - engaging if slim finale to ambitious solo season

Call him Ishmael, and the Zimbabwe-born, UK-based writer Zodwa Nyoni has done just that. That's the name of the solo character in Nyoni's slight but undeniably affecting 50-minute solo play Nine Lives, which caps a season of monologues at the Bridge...

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Lu, Orchestre National de Lille, Bloch, Leeds Town Hall - polish and precision in Ravel and Debussy

French orchestras haven’t sounded distinctively Gallic for decades; François-Xavier Roth’s brilliant period band Les Siécles does use idiosyncratic French instruments but their polish and sheen is very modern. Still, close your eyes while Alexandre...

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Street Scene, Opera North review - a true ensemble achievement

Kurt Weill’s “Broadway opera” – his own preferred description – is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work. Its music ranges from the seriously dramatic to fun numbers like the "Ice Cream Sextet" and the jitterbug dance song “Moon Faced, Starry...

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Dinosaur Pile-Up, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - grungy punk poppers end the weekend on a high

Dinosaur Pile-Up may have been around for more than a decade, but it would be fair to say that their career has been something of a slow burn. Indeed, while thanking tonight’s support acts, main man Matt Bigland claimed that they’d supported more...

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CD: Biscuithead & the Biscuit Badgers - Thought Porridge

I was hooked after perusing Thought Porridge’s track listing; who wouldn’t want to hear songs with titles like “The British Cactus & Succulent Society” or “Mournful Colouring Book”? The latter is laugh-out-loud funny, its downbeat list of...

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The Greek Passion, Opera North - pertinence and power

Martinů's The Greek Passion is a bold choice as a season opener, all the more so given that Opera North are staging the rarely-seen original version of his 1957 opera. Commissioned for Covent Garden then shabbily ditched, this is faster moving and...

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'This goes beyond music and drama': tenor Nicky Spence on Martinů's 'The Greek Passion'

I’m a big fanboy of Czech music, Janáček and Martinů especially, but I’d never seen The Greek Passion before being cast as Manolios in Opera North’s new production, as it remains quite a rarity in the opera house. For those who don’t know the...

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