Ludwig van Beethoven

Quick catch-up…

Programmes April 2015

It’s been a hectic old time the last few weeks, so capturing thoughts on performances has rather got forgotten. They’ve been a diverse bunch as well.

So, in brief: (more…)

A run of success

Fresh from the rather disappointing performance at the rather special Bayreuth Festspielhaus, it was back into Proms season and a run of tremendous performances in the dismal Royal Albert Hall… it would seem that the Albert Hall has a message for Bayreuth: you can have a special and well-designed theatre, but it ain’t much use if what you put on isn’t up to scratch. It goes without saying that all of these performances would have been that much more special in a better acoustic, but they still achieved rare levels of intensity in Kensington’s cavernous barn. (more…)

Kavakos’s enthusiastic Beethoven

Following a rather slow day, having got back to London about midnight from Glyndebourne’s disappointing Rosenkavalier, the evening was given over to the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonidas Kavakos in an all-Beethoven programme at the Barbican. It was just the tonic. (more…)

It certainly sounded like Fidelio. Mostly.

Last Sunday, I saw the Royal Opera House’s Elektra, by all accounts a barnstorming performance of the work. Unfortunately for me, someone checking their phone was only one of the ways in which the row in front seemed intent on bobbing about and generally disrupting my ability to engage in the work. So I wasn’t really in a position to write it up and instead will, sadly, just have to write it off. (more…)

Fidelio packs its punch

Last Saturday’s Fidelio at Covent Garden may not have been perfect, but it’s in the work’s DNA to pack a punch against many odds.  And even if the work itself hadn’t had such in-built strength, the quality of the singing would have pulled it through.

Nina Stemme, remarkable in every role I’ve ever heard her in, once again came through as a dramatic and vocally confident Leonora.  Even when given daft things to do by the director she still managed to retain the dignity of the character and make something convincing of the role.  A good example would be the frequent cleaning of guns, weighing them up, and swapping them from one bag to another during Abscheulicher! Make something of that, whilst imbuing your gleaming tone with dramatic nuance, if you can.  And if anyone can, Stemme did. (more…)

Uppers and downers at the Wigmore Hall

We dropped into the Wigmore Hall last night for an interesting programme from the Nash Ensemble and Susan Gritton.  Adolescent Tchaikovsky met Beethoven, whilst Shostakovich provided both a surging finale and some of the most gloomy songs ever encountered. (more…)