Prom 57’s Parsifal (Mark Elder, the HallÈ) brought us John Tomlinson, perhaps the greatest Wagnerian bass of our time.
The Royal Albert Hall was made for Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. BBC Prom 11 2013 featured Gesang der J¸nglinge and Welt-Parliament from Mittwoch from Licht.
The 2013 BBC Proms season ahs just been announced. It’s spectacular – almost all of Wagner’s major operas feature either in full performance or as excerpts. Verdi, Britten, Tippett and Birtwistle also feature. And Joyce DiDonato headlines a glorious Last Night of the Proms.
John Adams’s Nixon in China has become one of the most successful operas in the late 20th/early 21st century wave of post-modernist attempts to revitalise the operatic tradition. It has even started its own sub-genre, the so-called CNN opera.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s visit to the Proms has become a much anticipated annual event. This year on 28 August, they brought Michael Grandage’s new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Robin Ticciati, who takes over as musical director at Glyndebourne in 2014.
The ghost of Peter Pears may no longer hover in the wings, but in an age when ‘defining’ interpretations by the likes of Jon Vickers and Philip Langridge still linger powerfully in collective audience memories, Stuart Skelton’s interpretation of Crabbe’s problematic fisherman is assuming a striking individuality and impact.
Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder is conceived as cosmic panorama. King Waldemar curses God and is himself cursed, doomed to ride the skies forever, inspiring awe and horror.
The massed forces of the 600+ singers and players assembled for this exciting performance of Berlioz’s gargantuan Requiem (Grande messe des morts) made for an impressive visual spectacle in the vast high Victorian Royal Albert Hall.
Bach probably never intended the full Mass in B Minor to be performed, so it is tricky to talk about what forces he meant it to be performed by. But the Kyrie and Gloria certainly were sent by Bach to the Royal Court at Dresden (which was Roman Catholic), and these movements could be used in the Lutheran Church as well.
In November 1938 a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynsban, driven to desperation and despair by the Nazi persecution of his mother, shot a minor German diplomat in Paris. The Nazis retaliated with one of the most savage, vicious pogroms experienced up to that time. A Child of our Time, composed during 1938-41, was Michael Tippett’s musical response to this contemporary tragedy and his attempt to comprehend its universal and eternal relevance.