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Messages - Il Grande Inquisitor

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Cinema / Re: Ethel and Ernest
« on: December 31, 2016, 11:36:18 pm »

Shameless nepotistic bump:

This evening, 7.30 on BBC1.

I watched Ethel & Ernest this afternoon, George, and I think it's the most heartwarming thing I've seen on the tv this festive season. Charmingly done.

The Opera House / Re: Tosca
« on: October 25, 2016, 06:56:26 am »
Congratulations to IGI on his photo of the dome of San Andrea.  Domes are particularly difficult for photographing.

Did you take it yourself?

And nice to see you around again.

I did, Don B, a quick snap on my phone and surprised at how gorgeous it looks. I put it down to the light...  ;)

I was in Rome to review the Santa Ceclians season opener - a concert performance of Fidelio - and to interview Antonio Pappano.

The Opera House / Re: Tosca
« on: October 23, 2016, 09:22:23 pm »
Interestingly, Vienna is doing a Tosca in Jan/Feb, but more fascinatingly, Domingo is conducting.  Never heard anything by him other than when he sang, do we have any opinions on his conducting?  I might seriously consider going to this.

Domingo is not a good conductor. I last heard him conduct at the 2015 Operalia final and there were several moments where he did not co-ordinate between pit and stage. The singers deserved better.

The Opera House / Re: Tosca
« on: October 23, 2016, 09:20:06 pm »
I made my first visit to Rome in the mid-80s and still recall the sense of frisson as I crossed The Tiber, en route for The Vatican, and was confronted by the spectacular sight of Castel Sant'Angelo - a sense of shiver, too!  Puccini has enrichened my musical education in so many ways.

I was in Rome this weekend, Stanley! No Castel Sant'Angelo this time, but I did spend half an hour back in Sant'Andrea della Valle yesterday - the morning light is so special.

The Opera House / Re: Tosca
« on: October 20, 2016, 10:45:47 pm »
I cannot see a performance of the work coming up, which saves me the strain of having a time-limit before seeing a performance. 

Whereabouts are you, Mario? I suspect that wherever you are in the world, Tosca can never be that far away!

Try this link...,2,3,4,5;medium=1;work=12568

The Opera House / Re: Norma
« on: October 09, 2016, 09:23:16 pm »
Thanks again Don!

The "near four hour performance"?  Ouch!  Nevertheless, next to hear after Tosca.

And last week I saw a complete Semiramide in Florence, which ran to over four hours! Well worth the trip, though...

20th Century / Re: Benjamin Britten
« on: July 08, 2016, 12:07:15 am »
... to complement the R3 broadcasts of the superb Opera North performances at the Sage, Gateshead. 

I was fortunate to cover Opera North's Ring last week in London. Magnificent achievement!

20th Century / Re: Benjamin Britten
« on: July 08, 2016, 12:04:54 am »
Hello, IGI.  This quite like old times.

I'm amazed I can still remember my login!  :D

20th Century / Re: Benjamin Britten
« on: July 06, 2016, 10:41:28 pm »
Actually, I'm also going to bore you with the story of how I ended up writing those booklet notes.

Great to read this, Ollie, and I look forward to the Testament release.

Readers may be interested in my colleague Alexandra Coghlan's review of 'My Beloved Man':

Theatre / Re: Carmen Disruption - Almeida Theatre
« on: April 21, 2015, 11:38:27 pm »
Yes, if I understood the programme notes correctly Stephens and his German colleague Sebastian Nübling drew on the experiences of Rinat Shaham as a opera singer who specialises in this one role.  Shaham might also have combined the roles played in London by Sharon Small and Viktoria Vizin because I note that, in the play text, the cast for the Hamburg production lists only The Singer (Shaham) whereas in London The Singer is, rather confusingly, played by an actor (Small) with the actual opera singer (Vizin) listed as Chorus.

Indeed. I had a long exchange with Rinat last night on the play (and singing Carmen) and she performed as both actress and singer in the Hamburg premiere. She also pointed me this article:

Theatre / Re: Carmen Disruption - Almeida Theatre
« on: April 21, 2015, 01:37:28 am »
Thanks, HtoHe, for your review. I'm booked to see this on Friday and am looking forward to it even more now. I think I'm correct in thinking that the play was created through drawing on the thoughts of mezzo Rinat Shaham, who featured in the play's first run, in Hamburg. Rinat has sung Carmen around the world though not, alas, in London.

Viktoria Vizin, who sings in this production, sang Mercédès when Francesca Zambello's ROH production was new. I thought then that she'd make a good Carmen, but her career since seems to have been largely based in Budapest (there was a Charlotte for Scottish Opera, I think).

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: April 21, 2015, 01:14:26 am »
Patricia Kopatchinskaja playing the Bartók second concerto (he never called it that of course...). A chap called Eötvös is conducting. I'm not sure whether he spurred her on in some way or whether she's a complete wacko - either way, every single moment has the very living daylights squeezed out of it and the result is absurdly compelling. I've never heard Bartók's chromatic slitherings sound anywhere near so slithery; she can make any note on any string sound like a harmonic; when Bartók asks for an ffff tremolo she must have scraped off half the bow-hair; the dots-under-a-slur repeated notes in the second movement are done literally as bounces under one bow and if you say 'hang on, isn't that just going to be a horrible scratchy noise?' I can only reply 'yup'.

She's a complete knock-out, isn't she! I bought that recording as a result of hearing her last year in Cambridge playing, as violin and director, the Bartok Romanian Folk Dances and (with Thomas Gould) Ligeti's Ballade and Dance for two violins among other things  -  Brahms, Tigran Mansurian, Janacek and Mendelssohn. I think I can promise you that no spurring on is either necessary or possible, whether from Peter  Eötvös or anyone else. She is an absolute force of nature, way off the top end of the wacko scale, and yet everything amid the craziness and spontaneity ... works. She is pretty terrifying to watch in performance too, in the best possible way. I was, and remain, completely smitten (though I somehow think it would be best never to get wrong side of her :laughter3:).

Greetings, fellow Kopatchinskaja fans! I've been an admirer for some time. She recorded the Beethoven Concerto, where she plays her own arrangement of the cadenza from the piano version of the concerto, which involves her playing against her own, over-dubbed violin. There's a wonderful Ravel Sonata worth seeking out, not least for Fazil Say's prepared piano in the 'Blues' movement. The disc "Rhapsopdia" is remarkable - Tzigane with cimbalom accompaniment (played by her dad).

The Coffee Bar / Re: Musical Connections IV...The Cardinal's Revenge
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:54:58 pm »
Good to spy some r3ok participation...  :)

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: December 16, 2014, 10:03:46 pm »
Thanks, Ollie. Added to my Spotify files for later listening. It's odd that Norrington, Gardiner et al haven't got around to the Brahms' Concerto.

Spinning here, Un ballo in maschera in various versions, ahead of a new ROH production later in the week. 1957 La Scala (live) provided happy listening this afternoon.

Radio / Re: La tribune des critiques de disques
« on: December 16, 2014, 10:01:01 pm »
Have you been tempted to engage in any of the audience-participation side of things? ;)

Not yet! I'm reluctant to venture too far down the page when listening to the podcast for fear of discovering by accident which versions are being considered... and then I forget to look at the comments/ voting once the podcast is over. To be honest, I've lapsed in my listening now I don't have a silly commute each day, but with a colleague who's another La tribune fan, I'm sure I'll be back in the saddle soon...

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