wed 22/09/2021

Rimsky-Korsakov

The Golden Cockerel, Diaghilev Festival, London Coliseum

Rimsky-Korsakov’s bizarre final fantasy, puffing up Pushkin's short verse-tale to unorthodox proportions, has done better in Britain than any of his other operatic fairy-tales. That probably has something to do with its appearance in Paris, six...

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Crabb, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hrůša, Barbican Hall

There are always risks involved in the uncompromising side of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s family-friendly concerts. Succulent slices of fox-meat in the form of a suite from Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen gave the kids a nourishing start, and...

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No go Glasgow's SNO Maiden

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra's Glasgow concert tonight has had to be cancelled because of what my Scots godson, in far less extreme conditions down in the Borders, once described as "horrifying wind and rain". The programme? The Suite from...

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Olga Borodina, Dmitri Yefimov, Barbican Hall

In Italian opera, where lustrous Verdi mezzos are rare indeed, Olga Borodina tends to a first-the-music-then-the-words approach. In Russian song, the sole focus of last night's Barbican recital until the second encore, her classy, naturally...

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The Metamorphosis, Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House

My acid test for whether a show’s worth going to is, specifically, whether it was worth driving 27 miles into town and 27 miles back, spending, say, three or sometimes four hours travelling to see something 80 minutes long. Not often is it worth...

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Homage to Fokine, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

Mikhail Fokine, choreographer to both West and East, looked forward and back, too. He studied in the old Imperial Theatre School when the tsars ruled Russia, and he was also Diaghilev’s creative genius at the Ballets Russes, moving dance into the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Haydn, Gershwin, Ciccolini, Sheherazade

Riccardo Chailly's 'Gershwin': Fun music that can take a bit of stretching

Today we’ve Easter-themed music from Haydn and a rare chance to hear some delectable Grieg played by an old master. A kitsch Russian classic is given a new slant, and two Italians have serious fun with Gershwin.Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto...

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The Tsar's Bride, Royal Opera

All weddings for the Russian rich end in tears: Paul Curran's updated Rimsky-Korsakov at Covent Garden

Long before the curtain rose on this soapy operatic tale of power and poison, one big question loomed: could director Paul Curran, could anyone, bring Rimsky-Korsakov's sweet, doomed and very Russian bride to convincing life? The music's mostly...

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Thamar/ Sheherazade, Les Saisons Russes, London Coliseum

Irma Nioradze as Thamar: Laser light show and see-through pink leopard spots all part of the new Diaghilev experience

We’ve been so well educated or so roundly brainwashed to expect a certain high standard of Russian ballet that to experience the first two programmes of the three offered by the “Russian Seasons" team at the Coliseum, so-called tributes to...

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Lill, Orchestra of Opera North, González, Leeds Town Hall

Gaudy Victorian splendour: Cuthbert Brodrick’s town hall in Leeds

Outstanding orchestral playing can be found outside London, Manchester and Birmingham. Unlike those cities, Leeds doesn’t have a purpose-built modern concert hall suitable for large-scale concerts, making do with the gaudy Victorian splendour of...

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Philharmonia, Denève, Royal Festival Hall

Stéphane Denève, travelling south to fire up the Philharmonia

Why, a modish reader might ask, did I go to hear a rum-looking cove conducting a classical lollipop at the Festival Hall when I might have tasted the latest fruits of a controversial prodigy over at the Barbican? First, because there's plenty of...

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