The Queen of Spades, a Winning Hand

After the long months when card playing gamblers were relegated to video poker in isolation, Des Moines Metro Opera has triumphantly bolted back to the gaming table with a riveting…

Sweeney A Palpable Hit, So Help Me Todd

The estimable American festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, ventured confidently into Stephen Sondheim territory with an enthralling new production of Sweeney Todd. The first great asset in its favor is…

Seven Ages: a magical and consoling journey through life’s hopes, fears and humility

I hate to fall back on cliché, but this really was a ‘dream-team’ recital at Middle Temple Hall, in which tenor Mark Padmore, baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Julius Drake…

Apocalypse and Combat in Aix

Pierre Audi’s 2021 Aix Festival included two small pieces that continue the Festival’s operatic exploration of the larger Mediterranean world, meanwhile connecting the Festival’s general director to his Lebanese roots.…

Nardus Williams’ debut solo recital at Wigmore Hall

A solo debut recital at Wigmore Hall is a big occasion, and soprano Nardus Williams can be forgiven for looking a little nervous as she ventured onto the platform, with…

Le nozze di Figaro at the Aix Festival

Mozart meets hysteria in this new staging of his masterpiece by Dutch metteur en scène Lotte de Beer, to the quick and just baton of conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthaser…

Russian pessimism, potently performed by countertenor Hamish McLaren

There was no musical equivalent in Russia of the outpouring of Romantic lieder which occurred in Western Europe, as, inspired by the greatest poets of the day, song after song…

The Cunning Little Vixen at Opera Holland Park

Our present condition lends us, perhaps more than ever, to think of what has led us here, how things really are now, and where the world will take us next.…

Innocence at the Aix Festival

This was the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s new opera that will come soon to Helsinki, Amsterdam, London, New New York and San Francisco, its co-commissioners. Finland born composer Saariaho…

El Nour: impressive debut CD by Fatma Said

There cannot be many sopranos whose debut CD takes the listener on a cultural tour around the Mediterranean.  And what a fascinating exploration this is by a rising star who…