Friday, 27 November 2009

Mozart Requiem

Unexpectedly off to Mozart Requiem tonight at Barbican. Hurrah!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Moon

Just saw the new Twilight film. Some good moments (Michael Sheen) but terribly diffuse and a rather too long. There are only so many shots I want to see of Kristen Stewart mooning (pun intended) about wondering what went wrong with her life/ where her vampire is/ why she only falls in love with bloodsuckers or lycanthropes etc etc
Heigh ho.

On a more elevated level the booking form for FILLE DU REGIMENT is wending its way Gardenwards and my fingers are duly crossed.

Anna Caterina Antonacci at the Wigmore Hall

Anna Caterina's recital was superb. One of the best recitals I have been to in a long time. Not quite sure why she wasn't allotted a full evening rather than a lunchtime slot but one must grateful for anything we get from this unique artist! If there were any justice she would be a superstar in the operatic world. She certainly deserves it more than several singers I can think of. Even in recital she totally commands the stage and inhabits the world of each song.

I'm now licking my lips in anticipation of her Cassandra in Les Troyens with Kaufmann at the ROH (not till 2012, unfortunately!)

I'm also trying to ascertain if she is repeating her mesmerising Medea anywhere. Her performance on the DVD is stupendous and I would travel a long way to see her do it live. If anyone knows can they contact me?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Bayreuth versus Salzburg

Desperately want to see the ELEKTRA at Salzburg next year but dare not commit the funds till I have heard whether the ruinously expensive Bayreuth booking was successful or not!

Sweeney Todd - The Unkindest Cut

Listening to the original Broadway recording of Sweeney Todd on the way back from "Life is a Dream" at the Donmar I am struck by two thoughts. Firstly that this is Sondheim's greatest work by a considerable margin and secondly that Tim Burton is responsible for an act of artistic vandalism for presenting a film version which excises much of the best and most innovative music (the chorus parts). Sondheim must bear some of the blame for allowing him to do it but Burton is the principal villain.
A side thought is to ask the questions "When is someone going to mount a decent production of the show for Bryn Terfel and will they please record it at the same time?"

Monday, 23 November 2009

Classic novels to musical theatre

Interesting reflections on adapting classic novels into works of music theatre having read THE BRIDE OF THE LAMMERMOOR immediately followed by THE WOMAN IN WHITE. Leaving aside the obvious quality gap between Donizetti and Lloyd Webber music-wise it is instructive to note that Donizetti's version is an overall improvement on Scott's rambling novel while Lloyd Webber's, saddled with an absolute dog of a libretto, turns Collins' exciting but supremely subtle story into a flat and rather obvious melodrama.
Although one must regret the loss of Lord Ashton, one of Scott's most interesting characters and the turning of Lucy's callow teenage brother into a stock baritone villain one can only applaud the decision to excise entirely the exasperatingly tedious character of Ravenswood's family retainer who must qualify as one of the most annoying and dully repetitious characters in all literature.
The novel's Lucy is a pale creation compared to Donizetti's Lucia and even her attempted assassination of Arthur Bucklaw is unsuccessful. Scott's Ravenswood is admittedly a far more depthful character than Cammanaro's adaptation but at least Donizetti spares his hero the ignominious exit by quicksand (shades of Carver Doone!). Cammanaro also nicely fleshes out the conflicted clergyman, Bide-the-Bent and allots him the portentous lead-in to Lucia's Mad scene.
More thoughts on this and on Collins/Lloyd Webber later.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tomorrow creeps on this petty pace..

Heading for bed soon - A day of domesticity beckons tomorrow...

A Little Night Music a Paris

Looking forward to this so much. Just got to get through the Panto season first!!


Just been watching Matt Frei's Berlin series. Utterly fascinating, superb and encapsulating the most fascinating,troubled city in the world

Bryn's Bad Boys in Brum

My review of Bryn Terfel's Bad boys Concert at Symphony Hall (click on title)

Anna Caterina Antonacci

Going to see the divine Anna at the Wigmore on Monday at 13.00. Is anyone else going?

Don Giovanni in Somerset

The details are not quite sewn up yet but it now seems almost certain that I will be returning to Somerset Opera to direct "Don Giovanni". Looking forward to it hugely - My first directing in two years. I have missed it greatly.

Posting links

Hmm. the link posting function does not appear to work for me. Anyone got any ideas as to why that might be?

Hello from the coalface

Hello. This is my first posting on my new blog. I will be offering links to my reviews of live Classical Music events, thoughts on the wonderful world of professional theatre(!) and random thoughts on just about anything that comes to mind