Russian to destruction!

Russian to destruction!

Khovanshchina, Millennium Centre, Cardiff 23 September Lucien Jenkins   After opening with some lovely woodwind playing, Musorgsky’s libretto (all his own work) sets up three groups in a 17th-century power struggle. Perhaps to help the audience navigate the politics,...
Bouncing Back

Bouncing Back

Zazà Opera Holland Park 18 July Endless revivals of “great” operas are legion. But sometimes a work pops out of the undergrowth and catches the imagination of a new era. Zazà, by Ruggero Leoncavallo, the composer of Pagliacci, burst (back) onto the scene with an...
To Hell and Back

To Hell and Back

Orfeo ed Euridice Longborough Festival Opera 29 July It’s no secret that Wagner is at the heart of Longborough Festival Opera’s artistic mission, but even they have never mounted quite such an unashamedly Germanic season as this summer. Following on from a (refocused...
Bogged Down

Bogged Down

La clemenza di Tito Glyndebourne 31 July Each time I hear Mozart’s final opera I thank heaven we live in a world perceptive enough to realize that this piece, dismissed as a “German pig’s breakfast” by the wife of its dedicatee and disparaged pretty much ever since,...
Proms Queens

Proms Queens

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Leila Josefowicz Prom 50, Royal Albert Hall 21 August Sebastian Scotney What a heartening sound. The full house in the Royal Albert Hall didn’t just greet the end of this very fine Prom of Beethoven,...
Thrill Ride

Thrill Ride

London Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle, Prom 46, Royal Albert Hall A certain musical schizophrenia characterised the last hundred years: as “The 20th Century” the age was bright, modern and broke with the past. Composers braved atonality and persuaded the players it...