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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MUSIC NEWS / PETER GRIMES: Review

Royal Opera House, LondonDeborah Warner’s detailed new production sets Britten’s opera in a decayed coastal town in post-Brexit Britain. Allan Clayton – on top form – leads an outstanding cast; conductor Mark Elder emphasises the score’s beauty and well as its violence Joe Cornish on how he got hooked on BrittenPhoto essay: Everyone has blood […]

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OPERA: New opera company launched to champion neglected works

Conductor John Andrews has launched a new opera company to champion unknown and neglected works. It follows the success – including an Editor’s Choice – of his recent recording of Malcolm Arnold’s 1952 comedy The Dancing Master, about which Gramophone critic Richard Bratby wrote: ‘In short, it’s hard to imagine it done better. Arnold’s many […]

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SCHUMANN: Scenes from Goethe’s Faust CD review – deeply impressive

Gerhaher/Karg/Miles/ Bavarian Radio Choir and SO/Harding (BR Klassik, two CDs) Andrew Clements writes: Even Schumann’s greatest admirers – and I’d count myself among them – would never claim that his choral music is the most significant or rewarding part of his output. But Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, which he worked on for a decade and […]

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HANDEL: Belshazzar, review

This new recording grippingly responds to Handel’s theatrical genius, says Geoffrey Norris. A new year. A new CD label. A new recording of Handel’s dramatic 1745 oratorio “Belshazzar”, that monumental three-acter lasting just short of three hours and boasting some of Handel’s most inspired, humane, thrilling music. Les Arts Florissants, the specialist Baroque ensemble, ventures […]

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OPERA: How can its image be positively affected within the UK primary and secondary education regime?

Today we welcome Rosie Purdie our latest addition to our team. She is our Opera Editor and lead writer on all things operatic The issue of opera and its appeal to a wide and diverse audience is one that opera makers are painfully aware of. It’s no secret that nowadays the majority of audiences who […]

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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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A-Z of Wagner: B is for Bayreuth

From The Guardian: The next letter of our fortnightly alphabetical tour of the world and work of Richard Wagner is B, for Bayreuth and Brünnhilde. B is for Bayreuth, the capital of Upper Franconia in southern Germany, but more to the point the capital of Wagneria – it styles itself “Wagnerstadt” on local signs. It […]

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