What I am about to write must be taken with the proviso that I have not seen, this year or any other, the rest of Andreas Kriegenburg’s Munich Ring. Friends tell me that would have made little difference, yet I cannot know for certain.
For Prom 17, Martyn Brabbins, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales brought together English music written either side of the First World War.
A celebration of European song will be the focus of the 2018 Oxford Lieder Festival (12th – 27th October) and will showcase the familiar masterpieces of the song repertoire while…
In the opera house and on the concert platform, we are accustomed to ‘women being men’, as it were. From heroic knights to adolescent youths, women don the armour and trousers, and no-one bats an eyelid.
Fascinating programming from the BBC Philharmonic under their Finnish Chief Guest Conductor, John StorgÂrds. The mix of vocal music, arrangements and multiple pieces per half felt like a flashback to the early days of the Proms, offering eclectic mixes of vocal and instrumental soloists.
BBC Prom 11 Mahler Symphony no 8 in E flat major at the Royal Albert Hall, London, with Thomas S¯ndergÂrd conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and a huge cast. The nickname “Symphony of a Thousand” wasn’t Mahler’s choice but the invention of promoters eager to market it as a showpiece.
Mention ‘nineteenth-century English opera’ to most people, and
they will immediately think ‘Gilbert and Sullivan’. If they
really know their Gilbert and Sullivan, they’ll probably remember
that Sullivan always wanted to compose more serious operas, but that
Gilbert resisted this, believing they should ‘stick to their
last’: light, comic, tuneful satire.
There may be sixty or so operas by Donizetti to choose from, but if you’ve put together the remnants of another one, why not give everyone a chance to hear it? And so, Opera Rara brought L’Ange de Nisida to the concert stage last night, 180 years after it was composed for the ThÈ‚tre de la Renaissance in Paris, conductor Sir Mark Elder leading a team of bel canto soloists and the Choir and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a committed and at times stirring performance.
Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a strange operatic beast. Originally a MoliËre-Hofmannsthal-Strauss hybrid, the 1916 version presented in Vienna ditched Le bourgeois gentilhomme, which had preceded an operatic telling of the Greek myth of Ariadne and Theseus, and replaced it with a Prologue in which buffa met seria as competing factions prepared to present an entertainment for ‘the richest man in Vienna’. He’s a man who has ordered two entertainments, to follow an epicurean feast, and he wants these dramatic digestifs served simultaneously.
Stefan Herheim’s production of Debussy’s magnificent 1902 opera for Glyndebourne has not been universally acclaimed. The Royal Albert Hall brought with it, in this semi-staged production, a different set of problems – and even imitated some of the production’s original ones, notably the vast shadow of the organ which somewhat replicates Glyndebourne’s 1920’s Organ Room, and by a huge stretch of the imagination the forest in which so much of the opera’s action is set.