It is a provocative claim which has split music scholars. Has new forensic analysis “proved” that some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s best-loved works were actually written by his wife?
The fur is flying at Milan’s La Scala, with the celebrated lyric theatre caught in a cat fight with opera legend Franco Zeffirelli.
Twenty years ago the Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos was the flashiest kid on the block, but since then he’s been on an inward journey, deepening his interpretations with an ever more refined understanding of what the piano can do. His latest Southbank recital has made one thing clear: among keyboard poets, he is now beyond compare.
Rossini was just twenty when he wrote this glittering farce: it made sense that everybody involved in its two-centuries-belated premiere at Covent Garden should be Jette Parker Young Artists, not much over twenty themselves.
In a sports centre in Formigine, a quiet Italian town near Bologna, I am listening to an orchestral rehearsal unlike any I've heard before. Around 40 musicians sit together in a closed circle; in the centre is… nobody. This orchestra, Spira Mirabilis, has no conductor. Instead, the passionate young performers, from all over Europe and beyond, take equal responsibility for the music they play. They could claim to be the world's most democratic orchestra.
Now out on the road, English Touring Opera has some unexpected tricks up its sleeve, most notably a production of Haydn’s charming Il mondo della luna which breaks every rule in the Baroque book - except the cardinal one that the idiom of the music must be scrupulously honoured.
Since reverting to the baritone voice he began with, Placido Domingo has chosen his Covent Garden roles with care. As he observed in public discussion with Antonio Pappano last weekend, he now shares the stage with singers who could be his children, so now we’re talking patriarchs, not heroes.
The tourists witnessing this cultural skirmish in Ruse's city square are beginning to wonder if they're on Candid Camera. "Ooh!" A classically-trained singer, Ana-Mariq Spataris, concludes her solo operatic squeak by collapsing in giggles, and 30 other girls echo her: "Ooh!" A local big band, featuring hefty trumpet players and even heftier saxophonists, play an eerie, sustained chord. A dishevelled, beer-swilling string quartet joins in, tentatively. The unorthodox open-air rehearsal gathers pace as the girls break into Bulgarian folk song, skipping around the intrigued onlookers.
Courtney Love is to make her opera debut in New York.
After four colourful years at the Kings Head, OperaUpClose are planning to spread their wings nationally, but they’re bidding farewell to this venerable pub-theatre with revivals of three of their best shows, plus a new production of The Marriage of Figaro which, by its sheer inspirational verve, outshines them all.
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