Tannhäuser at the Royal Opera House

‘R. slept well and has decided to have a massage only once a day,’ writes Cosima Wagner in one of her last diary entries, from Venice, only twenty days before…

Amazone: Lea Desandre and Jupiter at Wigmore Hall

The percussive thump and burr which sparked into life Francesco Provenzale’s ‘Non posso far’ (from his opera Lo Schiavo di sua moglie) at the start of this lunchtime recital by…

Peter Grimes in Paris

That the Four Sea Interludes and the Passacaglia from Peter Grimes have become orchestral showpieces attests to the opera’s musical might, manifest just now at the Palais Garnier by British…

Tristan et Isolde in Paris

A few weeks ago it was one act per night in Los Angeles, in Paris just now it is all three acts at once, as it had been back in…

Brünnhilde’s Dream: an inventive, expressive and impressive sequence by Rozanna Madylus and Counterpoise at Wigmore Hall

The programme originally planned for this Wigmore Hall recital by the ensemble, Counterpoise, might have been titled ‘Fathers and Daughters’.     A new monodrama integrating speech, sprechstimme and singing, The…

Tan Dun’s Buddha Passion: a flawed work which isn’t all it seems

If one thinks of a classical ‘Passion’ one might not expect the Chinese-American composer Tan Dun to feature in any list of compositions. The liturgical, protestant, Passions of Bach (unfashionable…

The Owl and the Nightingale: stylish musical storytelling from the City of London Sinfonia

‘Avian invective’ is, sadly, an all-too-common dissonance on the cyber-airwaves today.  But, twittering tiffs are no modern invention: the medieval bird-debate poem tradition offers rich examples of feathery squabbles, such…

Katya Kabanova: orchestral drama from the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle

Perhaps the most perfectly proportioned of Janáček’s operas, certainly one of the most emotionally and dramaturgically correct—which, in Janáček’s case, is saying quite something—Katya Kabanova has not wanted for recent…

Echo: Ruby Hughes and Huw Watkins at Wigmore Hall

Travelling into central London on Sunday afternoon was a slightly strange experience.  At least there were trains – never a given these strike-strife days – but footfall was light, despite…

Sorrow and Serenity from Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO at the Barbican Hall

There seems to be much sorrow in the world at the moment, but little serenity.  This concert by the London Symphony Orchestra thus offered a welcome balancing of affekts, the…