My last visit of the year to Wigmore Hall also proved to be one of the best of 2018. American soprano Brenda Rae has been lauded for her superb performances in the lyric coloratura repertory, in the US and in Europe, and her interpretation of the title role in ENO’s 2016 production of Berg’s Lulu had the UK critics reaching for their superlatives.
Pacific Opera Project is in its fourth annual, sold out run of Puccini’s La bohËme: AKA ‘The Hipsters’, and it may seem at first blush that nothing succeeds like success.
L’Enfance du Christ is not an Advent work, but since most of this country’s musical institutions shut down over Christmas, Advent is probably the only chance we shall have to hear it – and even then, only on occasion. But then Messiah is a Lenten work, and yet …
The initial appeal of this festive programme by the chamber choir, Sonoro, was the array of unfamiliar names nestled alongside titles of familiar favourites from the carol repertoire.
Both Venus and the hearth-fire were blazing at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance during this staging of Thea Musgrave’s 1979 opera, A Christmas Carol, an adaptation by the composer of Charles Dickens’ novel of greed, love and redemption.
This concert of Christmas music at St John’s Smith Square confirmed that not only are the Gesualdo Six and their director Owain Park fine and thoughtful musicians, but that they can skilfully shape a musical narrative.
Hodie Christus natus est. Today, Christ is born! A miracle: and one which has inspired many a composer to produce their own musical ‘miracle’: choral exultation which seems, like Christ himself, to be a gift to mankind, straight from the divine.
Fairy-tales work on multiple levels, they tell delightful yet moral stories, but they also enable us to examine deeper issues. With its approachably singable melodies, Engelbert Humperdinck’s M‰rchenoper H‰nsel und Gretel functions in a similar way; you can take away the simple delight of the score, but Humperdinck’s discreetly Wagnerian treatment of his musical material allows for a variety of more complex interpretations.
World premiere recording from Supraphon of Bohuslav Martin? What Men Live By (H336,1952-3) with Ji?Ì B?lohl·vek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from a live performances in 2014, with Martin?’s Symphony no 1 (H289, 1942) recorded in 2016. B?lohl·vek did much to increase Martin?’s profile, so this recording adds to the legacy, and reveals an extremely fine work.
Hector Berlioz Harold en Italie with FranÁois-Xavier Roth and Les SiËcles with Tabea Zimmermann, plus StÈphane Degout in Les Nuits d’ÈtÈ from Hamonia Mundi. This Harold en Italie, op. 16, H 68 (1834) captures the essence of Romantic yearning, expressed in Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage where the hero rejects convention to seek his destiny in uncharted territory.