Month: January 2015

Andrea Chénier – The Royal Opera House Jan 26th 2015

What is missing in the Royal Opera House’s Chénier?* We have a good cast with two of the leading voices of our age. We have one of the leading directors of opera too, a talent sure footed in his direction and choices. We have a subject that should thrill – love against the odds, love indeed unto death, set in Revolutionary France and yet we have…the Royal Opera House’s Chénier. What is missing really makes itself felt. So, what is missing?

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Thoughts on Orfeo at The Roundhouse/Youtube

All interested may watch here:

Preliminary thoughts on basis of that video: Orendt makes a fine Orfeo, a genuine tragic hero, the voice having a virile and honey-hued tone. He shed genuine tears when told of Euridice’s death and carried the weight of this production on his shoulders  (less Orfeo, and more Atlas…?) throughout. He navigates the varied fioriturae and melismatic passages well.

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The Barber of Seville (Or Salisbury), Opera Up Close, King’s Head Theatre, January 17 2015

This was the penultimate Opera Up Close Barber of Seville, indeed, the penultimate Opera Up Close event at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington. Happy then that they have gone out with a rousing show such as this!

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Maria João Pires, Ashot Khachatourian, London Chamber Orchestra January 15 2015 19.30

Mozart
Concert Rondo, K. 386
Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 4
Beethoven
Symphony No. 7
Ashot Khachatourian
piano
Maria João Pires
piano
Christopher Warren-Green
conductor

Music with a mission: this was the conclusion one made listening to Christopher Warren-Green’s chat with Maria João Pires, which began the concert. Praise to introduce her. Praise (applause) when she took her bows some time after. For us who heard her play, continued joy in our hearts on tube rides, Boris bikes, cars and buses homeward. A gift of music.

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Swan Lake, English National Ballet, The Coliseum 11th January 2015 14.30

Swan Lake season begins here. Derek Deane’s creation for English National Ballet transfers from the truly cavernous arena of Royal Albert Hall into the smaller (though with a capacity of 2.5 thousand people still the largest theatre in London!) venue of the Coliseum. It largely succeeds.

Present are the requisite phalanxes of Swans  in their serried lines and happy geometries.

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Bournonville Celebration, The Peacock Theatre, 10th Jan 2015

What a delight of an afternoon. It was a rare pleasure to see the Principals and Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet here to celebrate their heritage in an all Bournonville programme. (more…)

Don Quixote January 7th 2015 Royal Opera House

A relaxed atmosphere in the house for the evening’s Don Quixote, Acosta’s staging inspired by Petipa’s 1871-ish original. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza elope from reality into picaresque adventure and here find Kitri (Marianela Núñez) in a tiff with young local boy Basilio (Thiago Soares). Of course father wants her to marry a noble man. Noble man has the hots for Kitri. Cue farce, lively dances, a Keystone cop-ish chase caper and eventually, a marriage.
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A mixed bag from Dudamel’s Simón Bolívar Orchestra

Gustavo Dudamel, Simón Bolívar Orchestra, Southbank Centre Jan 8th 2015.

Both orchestra and conductor orchestra are new to me, and this was my first time listening to them. (Yes I live under a rock as I am not in London and don’t have a TV.) For those about to shut the browsing windows thinking my opinion is thus invalid or worthless, I grant you this but I appeal to the novelty of this concert report as coming from one who is new to the experience of hearing them, and the opinions here given without prior knowledge of the capabilities or potentials of all concerned.

Or, very little prior knowledge, as they had been praised to me the night before as a young orchestra, vital and somewhat unique (though for youth, similarities with Barenboim’s come to me) and so, on strength of programme, I went.

Programme:

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Ballet Proust, Roland Petit’s “Proust, or: the Intermitencies of the Heart”

I came to this DVD expecting a narrative ballet, perhaps “A la recherche du temps perdu” in miniature, a million words squashed down into just under two hours of ballet and, though this isn’t what this ballet was, I didn’t feel cheated by what I saw.
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Un ballo in maschera Royal Opera House January 2nd 2015

Some fine singing can’t mask a staved-in production.

The Royal Opera House’s Ballo. What a disappointment in so many ways, and an inauspicious start to 2015. On paper, a surefire winner principally due to Calleja and Hvrotovsky as two powerhouse leads, yet both ended up looking lost at sea. (more…)