Anthony and Cleopatra in San Francisco

A John Adams premiere is about the biggest news event the opera world can generate. Here’s the news from San Francisco. Anthony and Cleopatra is the first opera John Adams…

A due voci: Iestyn Davies and Hugh Cutting at Wigmore Hall

This truly lovely recital represented the fruits of the introduction of the basso continuo at the end of the sixteenth century, which liberated polyphonic voices from their fundamental harmonic role…

Welsh National Opera’s The Makropulos Affair: a magnificent achievement

The question of why we should crave immortality is central to Janáček’s penultimate opera.  As a composer he defied old bones and enjoyed an Indian summer, finding recognition during his…

Stanford: Children’s Songs – a generous, involving recital by Kitty Whately and Gareth Brynmor John

In 1906, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) published The National Song Book, a collection of folk-songs, carols and rounds. In an address to a musical society in 1917, Arthur Somervell –…

Haute-couture opera with an industrial vibe: Costanzo, Handel and Glass at London’s Printworks

If one places in context where this program of Handel and Glass took place – the old and the contemporary – its historic setting seemed to have a real sense…

Characterful Mahler from Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth and Sabine Devieilhe

Harmonia mundi’s recent disc of Mahler’s 4th Symphony provides a remarkably flowing and vivid account, fashioning a new perspective on a much-recorded work.  Inner detail is heard afresh with instruments…

The Unravelling Fantasia of Miss H: a powerful operatic tribute to Mary Frances Heaton

She stood up one Sunday in St George’s church, the parish church of Doncaster, and interrupted the sermon, accusing the preacher of being “a whited sepulchre, a thief, a villain,…

The Trocs go to the opera? Vinci’s Alessandro nell’Indie with five countertenors at Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival

This was a brilliantly theatrical and superbly sung recreation of an opera reflecting the work’s premiere by an all-male cast. Max Emanuel Cencic’s Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival takes place in…

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Proms

John Eliot Gardiner surely named his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique with an intent that was thrillingly in evidence during this performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the instrumentalists being joined by…

Three Britten cycles – manicured performances from Andrew Staples

Poets from W.H. Auden to Shakespeare and Goethe to Racine fired Benjamin Britten’s musical imagination and kindled an artistic response that had little equal among 20th-century British composers. Nowhere do…