Monday, 28 January 2008

Opera Review: ROH The Magic Flute / Die Zauberflöte

First night of David McVicar's production of The Magic Flute, now back at Covent Garden for the third revival:

Simon Keenlyside is always magnificent as Papageno, but it felt a bit like some of the other singers were resorting to stock gestures and to walking through the production.

The chorus didn't sing as lustily as is usual for them, and somehow there just wasn't the fire or warmth that Mackerras brought to the piece last time.

Tomorrow: an interview with Sarah Tynan and Robert Murray about The Mikado at ENO.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

An interview with Sarah Chang

Our latest interview is an in-depth chat with the violinist Sarah Chang about her career to date, her forthcoming appearance with the London Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto, her new recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and her love of London.

Read more here:

Also, don't forget to read our latest CD reviews, which include:
Gerald Finley's new Ives CD on Hyperion
Simon Rattle's new recording of Pictures at an Exhibition on EMI
Mozart's Davide penitente on Naxos
Tippett's Complete Piano Music on Hyperion
Coming this week:
The Magic Flute
Madam Butterfly
LPO/Adam Fischer

Thursday, 24 January 2008

An interview with Simon Keenlyside about The Magic Flute

An interview with Britain's leading baritone, Simon Keenlyside, about forthcoming appearances in The Magic Flute, Don Carlo, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Wozzeck, plus his new disc of operetta arias.

Quite a number of tickets remain for the Covent Garden Flute performances, so now's your chance to witness Keenlyside at work in one of his greatest roles, Papageno.

Monday, 21 January 2008

BBC SO axes Composer Weekends in favour of Composer Days

In a surprise move, the BBCSO has announced that it will no longer continue its annual January Composer Weekends beyond 2008.
Instead, there will be Composer Days scattered between January and March, next year focusing on Stockhausen, Murail and Xenakis.

More here:

Any reactions to this decision?

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Aimard's The Art of Fugue on Deutsche Grammophon

An exciting new release this week of Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording of Bach's The Art of Fugue on Deutsche Grammphon.


'You have to wonder how happy the executives were at Deutsche Grammophon when their new star-signing, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, plumped for Bach's elusive Art of Fugue for the first recording of his exclusive contract with the label. One can imagine from a pianist renowned for his intelligence, as well as formidable technique, this was unlikely to have been a choice of repertoire that was taken lightly.'

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Anna Netrebko withdraws from another performance of Traviata at the ROH; Peter Grimes opens at Opera North; Julia Fischer on Pentatone

Sadly, the Royal Opera House has announced the indisposition of Anna Netrebko for the third performance of La traviata at 3pm tomorrow. I feel genuinely sorry for all those who have missed her interpretation of the role, which, although unorthodox in many respects, has just the visceral quality that is needed for the part:

Phyllida Lloyd's award-winning production of Peter Grimes has returned to Opera North, currently at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. In February it will be seen in London at Sadler's Wells, where I saw it last year with great pleasure:

Finally, a highly-recommended new Mozart disc from Julia Fischer, Yakov Kreizberg and Gordan Nikolitch:

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Soprano Judith Howarth chats about playing Madam Butterfly at ENO

An interview with lovely Judith Howarth about Cio-Cio-San in the Anthony Minghella production:

Apparently it's selling fast, so go and book your tickets pronto!
Later this week, look out for an interview with Simon Keenlyside.

Monday, 14 January 2008

ROH review: La traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Jonas Kaufmann.

A review of the first night, featuring Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann (left) and Dmitri Hvorostovsky conducted by Maurizio Benini at Covent Garden, can be read here:

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Nina Stemme cancels ROH Simon Boccanegra; Kristin Chenoweth sings Cunegonde in ENO Candide; Rake's Progress and Wozzeck DVDs on Opus Arte

Nina Stemme has cancelled her role debut as Amelia Grimaldi in the John Eliot Gardiner-conducted Simon Boccanegra at the ROH in May 2008; Kristin Chenoweth will sing Cunegonde in Candide at ENO in June:

Robert Lepage's production of The Rake's Progress comes to Covent Garden in July; watch it first on DVD with Andrew Kennedy:

Calixto Bieto's production of Wozzeck on DVD:

Preview of London and UK concerts in January 2008:

Kapp Family Orchestral Works on Chandos:

Renee Fleming as Violetta in Decca's DVD of La traviata:

Piano Concerti by Melcer on Hyperion:

Des Knaben Wunderhorn on Hyperion:

Alwyn Piano Works on Naxos:

Herz's piano music on Hyperion:

Handel's Esther, Tamerlano and Acis and Galatea and Bostridge's Great Handel:

La pietra del paragone on Naive:

Volume 2 of Bavouzet's Debussy Piano Collection on Chandos:

The finale of the Adelaide Ring -Götterdämmerung on Melba

The last concert in Gardiner's Bach Cantatas pilgrimage:

See more at

Coming Soon: Gergiev's Mahler, I puritani on DVD with Netrebko, interview with Judith Howart on ENO's Madama Butterfly and much more!