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Showing posts from February, 2012

Concert: Friends of T.

Trinity College, Cambridge, Saturday February 18 2012

Haydn
String quartet in E flat Op 71 N°3. Endellion String Quartet.

Sophie Hannah
The Shadow Tree; The Storming; Crowd Pleaser. Read by Sophie Hannah.

Beethoven
String quartet in C Op 59 N°3. Endellion String Quartet.

Mendelssohn
Symphony N°3 in A minor, “Scottish”, Op 56. Conductor: Harry Ogg, Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra.

Sophie Hannah
The Cancellation; Moderation; The Dalai Lama on Twitter. Read by Sophie Hannah.

Rodgers
Overtures to Flower Drum Song and South Pacific. Conductor: Chris Keen, Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra.

[Note: this is not one of my usual write-ups; it will probably only be of interest to those who knew T.]

An odd sort of programme. But this was not a public, commercial event but a private, “bespoke” one in memory of a very close friend for over 35 years, who died in December. The quirky programme, in which he had, at least in part, a hand, was therefore designed to remind us of T. and his life, acquaint…

Cavalli - Egisto

Opéra Comique, Paris, Thursday February 9 2012
Conductor: Vincent Dumestre. Production: Benjamin Lazar. Sets: Adeline Caron. Costumes: Alain Blanchot. Lighting: Christophe Naillet. Makeup and wigs: Mathilde Benmoussa. Egisto: Marc Mauillon. Lidio: Anders Dahlin. Clori: Claire Lefilliâtre. Climene: Isabelle Druet. Hipparco. Cyril Auvity. Aurora, Amore: Ana Quintans. Didone, Voluptia: Luciana Mancini. La Notte, Dema: Serge Goubioud. Apollo: David Tricou. Le Poème Harmonique.

“Je me fais chier” (French for “this is boring the crap out of me”). So said a friend two seats away as the curtain fell for the interval. Minutes later, on our way through the freezing night to our earlier-than-expected dinner at a Turkish restaurant, he insisted that he had nothing against Cavalli: he’d been enchanted by La Calisto in Brussels. But this production had, he said, none of the requisite magic, and the women’s voices were plain “ugly.”

My inexpert understanding – misunderstanding, most likely - is that…

Philippe Fénelon - La Cerisaie

ONP Garnier, Tuesday February 7 2012
Conductor : Tito Ceccherini. Production and lighting : Georges Lavaudant. Sets and costumer: Jean-Pierre Vergier. Liouba : Elena Kelessidi. Lionia: Marat Gali. Gricha: Alexandra Kadurina. Ania: Ulyana Aleksyuk. Varia: Anna Krainikova. Lopakhine: Igor Golovatenko. Charlotta: Mischa Schelomianski. Douniacha: Svetlana Lifar. Iacha: Alexey Tatarintsev. Firs: Ksenia Vyaznikova. Orchestra  and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Verdicts on Philippe Fénelon’s new work La Cerisaie (The Cherry Orchard) run from one end of the spectrum to the other. The friend who asked me, in an e-mail, “Are you by any chance going to see this rubbish?” would presumably agree with the Financial Times, whose critic started his review: “What were they thinking of? There is so much that is bafflingly wrong with Philippe Fénelon’s new opera – score, libretto and staging – that it is hard to know where to begin.” Yet for ConcertoNet the performance – score, libretto and stag…

Strauss - Salome

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday February 5 2012.
Conductor: Carlo Rizzi. Production: Guy Joosten. Sets: Martin Zehetgruber. Costumes: Heide Kastler. Lighting: Manfred Voss. Video: Claudio Pazienza. Herodes: Chris Merritt. Herodias: Doris Soffel. Salome: Nicola Beller Carbone. Jochanaan: Scott Hendricks. Narraboth: Gordon Gietz. Ein Page der Herodias: Susanne Kreusch. Juden: Alasdair Elliott, Yves Saelens, Johannes Preissinger, Alexandre Kravets, Guillaume Antoine. Nazarener: Frode Olsen, Donal J. Byrne. Soldaten: Tijl Faveyts, Patrick Schramm. Ein Kappadozier: Julian Hubbard. Ein Sklave: Marc Coulon. La Monnaie orchestra.

Anyone who’s as fond of Strauss as I am will understand if I say that a disappointing Salome is a particular disappointment. I’ve been scratching my head a bit since yesterday’s performance in Brussels, unable quite to pin down the problem. In the end, I think it was the production. Joosten set it in a monstrously vulgar TV/cinema-inspired world of parvenus, celebrating…

Tchaikovsky – Pikovaya Dama

ONP Bastille, Tuesday January 31 2012
Conductor: Dimitri Jurowski. Production: Lev Dodin. Sets: David Borovsky. Costumes: Chloe Obolensky. Lighting: Jean Kalman. Hermann: Vladimir Galuzin. Tomsky: Evgeny Nikitin. Prince Yeletsky: Ludovic Tézier. Chekalinsky: Martin Mühle. Surin: Balint Szabo. Countess: Larissa Diadkova. Lisa: Olga Guryakova. Polina: Varduhi Abrahamyan. Masha: Nona Javakhidze. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Children’s choirs of the Hauts-de-Seine and the Opéra National de Paris.

The ever-excellent Opera Cake blog is not alone in noting that at the Paris Opera these days, only reruns of old productions are any good (though not all of those). This is the fourth outing of Lev Dodin’s staging of La Dame de Pique in Paris, and a good one it is (better, thank goodness, than his Salome, which has already been ditched), so it’s surprising it still manages to get booed on opening night, when the man himself is there too boo at. It comes as welcome change, …