WAGNER: A-Z – A is for Alberich

Stephen Ross writes: A stands for Alberich, antisemitism and Apocalypse Now. A is for Alberich, the vertically challenged, sex-crazed villain whose theft of the gold at the beginning of Das Rheingold – the prelude to the Ring Cycle – triggers a train of deranged events, which concludes four evenings and 15 hours later with the […]

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OPERA: Why you won’t catch a British politician at one!

Martin Kettle writes: Unlike Angela Merkel, our leaders rarely flaunt their cultural tastes. It’s to the detriment of national life Last Saturday I sat in something very close to rapture just a few feet away from Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. But Merkel wasn’t making a speech. She wasn’t giving a press conference. And, although I […]

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Monteverdi: Madrigali Vol 3: Venezia CD review – a joyous celebration of the composer’s range

Andrew Clements writes ….. After discs devoted to the madrigals that Monteverdi wrote in Cremona and Mantua, the final part of Les Arts Florissants’ anthology includes pieces from the Seventh and Eighth books. Published in Venice in 1619 and 1638 respectively, they were the last such collections to appear in the composer’s lifetime, and the […]

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OPERA: Milhaud: L’Orestie d’Eschyle review – an operatic curiosity worth investigating

Andrew Clements writes: Though Aeschylus’s triptych of tragedies has influenced opera composers from Wagner to Birtwistle, relatively few of them have been tempted to fashion a stage work of their own from the Oresteia plays. There is Sergei Taneyev’s ambitious, evening-long version, while Iannis Xenakis’s Oresteia compresses the whole drama into just 50 minutes, with […]

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SO … WHAT ABOUT: The opera novice?

Originally published in January 2012 Until last year Sameer Rahim had little interest in classical music – but now he is hooked on opera. In a new column he offers a novice-eye’s view of this seemingly forbidding but truly magical art form. Continues HERE

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MARIA CALLAS: Shattering ‘Vissi d’arte’ at Covent Garden in 1964

Callas sings Puccini’s Tosca with an unrivalled intensity Maria Callas’s 1953 recording of Tosca, opposite Giuseppe di Stefano’s Cavaradossi and Tito Gobbi’s Scarpia, remains one of the greatest of all opera recordings (go here for an insight into the tempestuous recording sessions). And here is Callas at Covent Garden in 1964, in Franco Zeffirelli’s production. […]

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OPERA: Will children ever care about it?

Rupert Christiansen writes: What role opera should play in our educational system is a problem that has baffled and exercised me for my 25 years as a critic – and lover – of this great if beleaguered art form. My feelings are complicated by the fact that my own path to opera was entirely self-motivated. […]

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Exactly the way it happened folks: A small piece of education, at the hands of a customer

Howard Popeck … It’s with considerable embarrassment that I recall both my musical ignorance and my inverse snobbery about musical styles. Styles that I neither understood nor wanted to understand, for no good reason at all in the early days of Subjective Audio. I call those days my irrational time. They’ve been a recurring event […]

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JS BACH St Matthew Passion (Rademann)

Peter Quantrill writes …. There are strong arguments for opening out the themes of the Passion by means not of a staging transplanted from church to opera house, as has been attempted in recent years, but through movement. In this choreographed Passion there are two discrete but overlapping layers of action. The musicians concentrate on […]

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From the archives: Christopher Breunig – Davis’s new Fidelio, Haitink’s Beethoven completed – and more.

Davis’s new Fidelio The New Year brings a sea-change to the London Symphony Orchestra as workaholic Valery Gergiev takes over from Sir Colin Davis as principal conductor, his senior colleague becoming its president. (The Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras have also announced new appointments: Esa-Pekka Salonen and Vladimir Jurowski.) Happily, Sir Colin is to make […]

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