ENO’s Valkyrie fails to catch fire: an under-ambitious start to Richard Jones’s Ring Cycle

Very little exists in a visual way of Wieland Wagner’s Bayreuth Die Walküre from the mid-to-late 1960s. What does, largely requires us to use our imagination. It is something which…

Simon Keenlyside and Anna Pirozzi: chilling psychopaths in Covent Garden’s impressive revival of Macbeth

Macbeth is the first great fusion of music and drama in Verdi’s operas. It needs a great production, however, to bring those elements together and this is largely what Phyllida…

Transfigured Strauss and breathtaking Wagner: Miah Persson sings Vier letze Lieder and Rouvali conducts The Ring Without Words

It’s not often that I review a concert back to front, but this Philharmonia pairing of Strauss and Wagner is in part better understood that way. Both composers used huge…

Thomas Schippers and the NHKSO: beauty, opulence and power – the legendary Osaka Die Walküre debuts on CD

The American conductor Thomas Schippers is a name largely unknown to many people. There may be several reasons for this. He died relatively young – at 47 – from lung…

An Akhnaten for our times from the Metropolitan Opera

Philip Glass’s major operas are hardly well represented on CD. Indeed, until recently only a single recording of each of Satyagraha and Akhnaten was available – and in the case…

The Power of Music: healing, communion and time – a recital with Joyce DiDonato and Craig Terry

Joyce DiDonato spoke very personally – but very universally – about what this recital meant, her first in London since the pandemic began. Music was about healing, but it was…

Christina Gansch and Malcolm Martineau in Zemlinsky, Berg, and Mahler at Wigmore Hall

Song in particular and vocal music more generally were of great importance to Zemlinsky, Berg, and Mahler. In Zemlinsky’s case, more than half of his songs were composed in a…

The dashing brilliance and stylish artistry of Jakub Józef Orliński at Wigmore Hall

There is a very good reason why Jakub Józef Orliński is such an audience draw today.  Just a few lines into the first song, Johann Joseph Fux’s ‘Non t’amo per…

Edward Gardner conducts a magnificent The Midsummer Marriage to open his first season at the LPO

The last time I heard Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage was when I reviewed Graham Vick’s 1996 Covent Garden production.  Visually spectacular – that vast Stockhausen-like globe, split open temple…

Tristan und Isolde: the London Philharmonic rise to epic heights, an inspired conductor … and two Tristans

I’m often left wondering with a great performance of Tristan und Isolde whether the true emotion of the work comes from the orchestra rather than the singers.  There were moments…