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…

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…

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…

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…

Hurn Court Opera’s Dido and Aeneas

An outing to the handsome Romanesque-revival church in Wilton, Wiltshire for a performance of Dido and Aeneas by Hurn Court Opera provided food for thought.  Established in 2017, this Dorset-based…

Elizabeth Llewellyn and Simon Lepper open the 2021-22 Wigmore Hall season with Italian and English song

One year on from her Wigmore Hall debut, and following the release of her highly praised album of the songs of Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, Heart & Hereafter, soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn returned…

Polished performances from Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Bach & Handel

There’s no denying the energy and precision Sir John Eliot Gardiner can still coax from the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, founded by him over fifty years ago.  In…

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…