Ruby Hughes in spellbinding form in Songs for New Life and Love

At first glance Charles Ives and Gustav Mahler make unusual bed fellows.  But on this excellent CD from BIS they flank a song cycle by Helen Grime to form a…

Profound questions from Ondřej Adámek and the LSO, at the Barbican

An obvious risk, and frustration, in asking infinitely profound questions is that one knows they cannot be answered.  The title of Ondřej Adámek’s orchestral song-cycle, Where Are You?, poses one such…

Sumptuous performances of Schnittke and Pärt from the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Another coupling of Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt from BIS brings together three unaccompanied choral works of the 1980s.  Two close contemporaries, their spiritual journeys coincided with the revival of…

Oliver Mears’ Rigoletto at Covent Garden: a superb drama of darkness and light

It was an absolute delight to be back at the Royal Opera House for the opening night of the 2021-22 season, but also somewhat disorientating.  A full auditorium; convivial operagoers…

A wonderful recital of French song from Sabine Devieilhe and Alexandre Tharaud at Wigmore Hall

When I heard the French soprano Sabine Devieilhe make her solo debut at Wigmore Hall in May 2018, the only quibble I had with her charming programme, Les Salons de…

Rising Stars Concert, Lyric Opera of Chicago, 2021

On a recent Sunday evening at Millennium Park Lyric Opera of Chicago presented its annual concert to introduce the new season. During his initial remarks welcoming audience members to Sunday…

Respighi Songs: Ian Bostridge and Saskia Giorgini

In 1913, Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) became professor of composition at the Liceo Musicale di S Cecilia in Rome, a post he held for over a decade.  One of his students…

Arcangelo perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the BBC Proms

When Arcangelo performed Handel’s Theodora on the penultimate evening of the 2018 Proms season, I wondered whether a small period-instrument ensemble and singers could surmount the challenges posed by the…

Cinquecento present an outstanding collection of music by Heinrich Isaac

After hearing this excellent disc which Cinquecento have devoted to the music of Heinrich Isaac, I was compelled to find other recordings.  How seldom the music of this Flemish-born composer…

Amy Beach’s Cabildo at Wilton’s Music Hall: a Creole Beggar’s Opera

Pierre Lafitte (1770-1821) is a figure of swashbuckling legend.  The French-born New Orleans merchant mariner-cum-pirate and his brother Jean ran an illicit trading network in defiance of the American, Spanish…