Grand theatre, LeedsDe Falla’s tragic Spanish love story and Puccini’s only comedy make for a compelling night at Opera North
Every musician has a special connection with their instrument, but while most play their own on stage, with pianists this is rarely the case. We practise at home, but we perform on instruments – cumbersome and costly to transport – that belong to concert halls, and which we won’t have touched prior to setting foot in the building.
The moment of first contact is significant. You enter the hall; the instrument is on the stage; you approach, take off your watch, empty your pockets of wallet and phone, sit down, adjust the bench … All the while somebody from the hall stands nearby, also expectant: for you, this is just one piano of many, but for them it is the only piano that matters, and they can care deeply about the way you react to it. You play something: a chord; a passage; a few bars. At once the piano ceases to be a generic specimen of the grand piano genus, and becomes the most concrete, tangible thing there is. This is the piano you are going to play tonight, and your encounter has just begun.
The prospect of Sir Simon Rattle returning to the UK at a new world-class music centre, and news of £5 million of government money for the refurbishment of Colston Hall, should have classical music fans singing for joy
Royal Festival Hall, London It was hard to imagine Ravel’s wrist-wrecking and finger-crunching solo part being better played than this
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