Placido Domingo is teaming up with Woody Allen for a revival of the filmmakers first opera production at the Los Angeles Opera.
The British music world is waiting to hear whether the London Symphony Orchestra has succeeded in appointing Simon Rattle as its new music director – and waiting, and waiting. Speculation is reaching fever pitch as his sold-out London residency with his current orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, approaches: a celebration of his 60th birthday including associated television and radio programmes, education and outreach activities and a scramble for box-office returns.
A forgotten corner of musical history has been brilliantly re-animated by the lutenist Elizabeth Kenny plus a group of her colleagues from the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, and they’re presenting it in a replica of the theatre for which it was originally intended.
A bitter feud at the top of the English National Opera burst into the open yesterday after the outgoing chairman demanded that the artistic director be axed “for the very survival” of the organisation.
André Chénier was a poet-satirist who fell foul of Robespierre and was guillotined in 1794; the formal beauty and moral fury of the poem he penned on the eve of his execution makes one of the most chilling death-row utterances ever. An Italian translation of that poem’s first line – comparing the sunset of his life with the end of a fine spring day - provides the aria which Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier sings as he waits to mount the scaffold.
Once upon a time the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa was known as a purveyor of recherché nineteenth-century curiosities.
Crowdfunding is a new word for a very old practice in the classical music business, as two piano trios getting their Wigmore premieres on the same day have demonstrated. The money for Kaija Saariaho’s trio Light and Matter came from many sources, of which the Britten Sinfonia, whose players performed it, was only one. Others contributions came from the Wigmore Hall, Aeolian Chamber Players, the Library of Congress, a Swedish ensemble, a Swiss foundation, and 10 private donors.
What an irony: while cash-strapped English National Opera cancels its much-trumpeted ‘Orfeo’ at the Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Opera House presents its first-ever staging of Monteverdi’s masterpiece in that erstwhile temple to psychedelic rock, the Chalk Farm Roundhouse.
Andras Schiff is a recent convert to the fortepiano, and his recital of two late Schubert sonatas on an instrument from the composer’s own time was a revelation. Made by Brodmann in 1820, this beautiful fortepiano had been owned by the Austro-Hungarian royal family, and restoration had revived all its original strengths.
Winter’s Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession is the title of the eclectic and stimulatingly off-beat book Ian Bostridge has just published, and that obsession is at once Schubert’s and his own.
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