sat 20/04/2019

Leeds

Murray, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Collon, Leeds Town Hall

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s standard of playing is consistently impressive, so much so that it’s easy to forget that the ensemble is effectively reconstituted from scratch each autumn. Last night’s fresh incarnation, deftly...

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Orchestra of Opera North, Farnes, Leeds Town Hall

The few ensemble lapses and moments of insecurity during the first half of this concert had nothing to do with Richard Farnes’s conducting, or with the playing of an augmented Orchestra of Opera North. It’s in rude health; Farnes has refined and...

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The Flying Dutchman, Opera North

We’ve been spoilt over the past few summers in Leeds; Opera North’s semi-staged Ring has been a triumph, and the whole cycle will be performed complete in June 2016. To fill the Town Hall in 2015 we’ve got concert performances of Wagner’s The Flying...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Nielsen, Choir of Gonville & Caius College, St Peter's Singers

 Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 6 Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Sakari Oramo (BIS)Few composers' music can blow away the cobwebs quite like that of Carl Nielsen, and David Fanning's sleeve note to this BIS disc rightly describes him as “the...

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Špaček, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Leeds Town Hall

You’ve booked the iconic Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and their charismatic chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek to do a whistle-stop UK tour. Hoorah. But what do you get them to play? The mind boggles with programming possibilities. A symphony by...

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La Vida Breve/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North

The good news first: director Christopher Alden’s new production of Gianni Schicchi is quite brilliant, and one of the funniest, cleverest things you’ll see in an opera house. Puccini’s taut one-acter is difficult to mess up, but it takes some skill...

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CD: Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education & War

By the time I reached “Coming Home” - the second track on Kaiser Chiefs’ fifth album, and the band’s "comeback" single - I was predicting not a riot exactly, but certainly a few snide comments below re: my knowledge of the Leeds lads’ back catalogue...

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National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Daniel, Leeds Town Hall

Middle-period Mahler can be hair-raising enough under normal circumstances. In this performance of the Fifth Symphony, the angst and intensity dials had been turned up to 11. Every orchestral colour shone with greater intensity, and each change in...

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Stott, Orchestra of Opera North, Farnes, Leeds Town Hall

When you're young, you think that liking Elgar is a habit you'll grow into later in life, like buying a set of golf clubs or following The Archers in detail. As I shuffle into middle age, I find that I'm beginning to love this music more and more. I...

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Siegfried, Opera North

Newcomers to this ongoing Ring cycle would be wrong to imagine that a series of semi-staged concert performances represent a downsizing, a half-hearted stab at Wagner production. The decision to perform the operas in Leeds’s vast Town Hall was made...

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Albert Herring, Opera North

Staging Britten’s third opera in the round in a small performance space of the Howard Assembly Room makes complete sense. Albert Herring’s supporting cast of village grotesques are that little bit more oppressive when they’re singing yards away from...

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National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Wilson, Leeds Town Hall

Holst? Yes. Britten? Maybe. But John Adams? Programming Adams’ Guide to Strange Places as the extended opener in this National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain concert made complete sense after a few minutes; conductor John Wilson’s strengths as an...

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