A Christmas Cracker from VOCES8

Christmas crackers usually come stuffed with a flimsy paper crown, a tacky toy, a plastic puzzle and a bad joke.  But, open a VOCES8 Christmas Cracker and you’ll find the…

Virtuosic performances by Tenebrae at the Wigmore Hall

Tenebrae has clearly reached that point in its timeline when it could build a roster of virtually unknown pieces and still attract an audience, safe in the knowledge that its…

Magical music-making from Padmore and Biss at Milton Court

‘Glorious and emblazoned in their gentlest blood marriage, they stand there before us, the gentlest of all arts, the art of poetry and the art of music.’  Robert Schumann’s essay,…

Scenes from the Wild: a stunning new orchestral song-cycle from Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist, the winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize, chronicles the turning of the seasons from the spring equinox of 2018, when McAnulty was fourteen,…

An RAM double bill: Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi

How wonderful at last to return to opera at the Royal Academy of Music. (I caught an excellent concert of chamber music by Bartók and Eötvös from musicians coached by…

New Worlds – South America: The AAM and VOCES8 at Milton Court

The Academy of Ancient Music’s New Worlds series stopped off in South America this week, by way of Cambridge and London, when they were joined by VOCES8 to explore the…

A patriarchy-punching Magic Flute directed by Polly Graham at the Royal College of Music

At first glance, Polly Graham’s decision to set Mozart’s The Magic Flute in a secondary school seems an inspired one.  After all, in Schikaneder’s journey from darkness to light the…

Cosi fan tutte in San Francisco

Cosi fan tutte (1790), the little sister of the Mozart Da Ponte trilogy, was mounted last night in the same set used by its older brother The Marriage of Figaro…

Musical stories from Tom Guthrie and Barokksolistene at Middle Temple Hall

In the 1980s, ‘authenticity’ was a buzzword in music research and performance; by the 1990s it was considered bothersome; nowadays it’s pretty much banished – a bygone concept of how…

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…