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Messages - Il Grande Inquisitor

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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...

The Coffee Bar / Re: Musical Connections IV...The Cardinal's Revenge
« on: December 16, 2014, 08:40:58 pm »
Good gracious, no Musical Connections posts in over a year...  :'(

Anyway, those of you who enjoyed some intellectual sparring with the Inquisitor may enjoy the little Christmas Quiz I put together on Bachtrack... with a rather lovely prize:

You may well identify fiendish IGI traits...  :naughty:

Radio / Re: La tribune des critiques de disques
« on: December 16, 2014, 08:23:45 pm »
Not sure who around here is still listening to La Tribune but a few thoughts from me anyway...

Funnily enough, I listened to the Vivaldi Four Seasons programme last week, while my colleague (French editor) listened at the same time on the next desk. Had great fun comparing notes, especially when, half way through, I twigged which band was Version A!

I regret the shortened duration, as well as the loss of Jean-Charles Hoffelé and Christian Merlin as resident panellists. But still a good listen...

The Opera House / Re: ENO: Otello
« on: September 14, 2014, 10:30:43 pm »
Hallo, Stanley! No - Crouch End out of my price range, sadly. I looked up at Muswell Hill, which would have been convenient for work, but would have taken almost as long to get home to after an evening reviewing than commuting back to Winchester. Suddenly, south of the river seemed the best bet, so I'm resident in Camberwell - ironically, not far from Ruth! I figured that she's lived here for years and very happily zips off to opera houses or concert halls most nights of the week, so it must be pretty well placed.

Stuart Skelton is a very fine tenor and a lovely bloke too. I can't imagine he'll do much Italian rep - he's so in demand for Wagner - so enjoy it while you can.

The Opera House / ENO: Otello
« on: September 14, 2014, 10:08:24 pm »
Greetings all! I've been an infrequent visitor of late, having recently sold up and moved to London. Still without proper internet, but wanted to draw your attention to a fine new production at the Coli of Verdi's Otello. Review here:

For those unable to get to a performance, Radio 3 is relaying live the performance on Saturday 27th September. Definitely worth it - for Stuart Skelton splendid Otello, but also for some fantastic orchestral playing - Ed Gardner demonstrating how Verdi should be played after an abysmal Rigoletto from Maurizio Ovaltini the day before...

The Opera House / Re: Moses und Aron
« on: August 02, 2014, 12:49:06 pm »
On my way out I heard someone behind me say to her companion ‘if that’s what they call naked it’s no wonder they were virgins’

 :laughter3:  Brilliant!

Sorry to have missed an impromtu r3ok meet-up, as I was there the following evening. I've seen Don B and Sancho a few months back (still waiting for a moving date, so still on the Winchester-Crouch End commute), but haven't seen George in years!

I agree very much with the verdicts here - I found it a disappointing 'non-production', all grey conference centre drabness. At least it wasn't as rubbish as the Wieler/ Morabito Rusalka previously seen at this address.  It worked best as a concert performance - John Tom and Reiner Trost both very strong, but the WNO Chorus was outstandingly good.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Happy Birthday
« on: April 13, 2014, 08:58:39 pm »
Many happy returns, Don Basilio! :bubbly:   :bubbly:

The Concert Hall / Re: Forthcoming concerts in London
« on: March 29, 2014, 06:14:51 pm »
It's sold out now, chiz, chiz.

My impression, if you can have an impression of a theatre that's only been open a few months, is that it's always worth ringing the Box Office to see if anything has come back.

I didn't buy my ticket until about 10 days ago. They suddenly released a batch and I took the plunge, picking up a £40 pit bench. Most of the seats released were standing places in the upper gallery, but day returns are more likely to be decent seats.

The Concert Hall / Re: Forthcoming concerts in London
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:47:06 pm »
Contrary to what I've heard previously, there are still tickets available for L'Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Of course they tend to be either the very expensive ones or the standing/restricted view ones, but if you can swing it either way please do come see it. The dress rehearsal last night went down a storm. I think it's a very very good show with excellent performances all around - and the production beautifully demonstrates how the theatre itself can be far more than a historical curiosity.

(Say hi in the Swan afterwards if you're there - I'll probably stop there after most shows.)

I wish I'd looked in and seen this earlier, or I'd have popped into The Swan afterwards! I went to L'Ormindo yesterday evening and was delighted to spot your name in the programme. I was down in the pit, with the divine Joelle Harvey wafting past my shoulder. I thoroughly enjoyed the opera, the playhouse (I went there for The Duchess of Malfi, so had experienced its delights before), the atmosphere - hearty congratulations to all. Ironically, I wasn't reviewing - the second Friday in a row where I've not be reviewing but had been confronted by 5 star performances!

Theatre / Re: The Duchess of Malfi - Sam Wannamaker Theatre, the Globe
« on: February 16, 2014, 12:57:16 am »
Quite so, Don B; indeed, charming and fascinating though the SWT is as a place to visit, seeing a play there makes you very aware of the advantages of modern theatres.  The SWT seems to cram the audience into any space available, with little regard for sightlines*.  And since the theatre is even smaller than I imagined this reduces the number of seats with perfect views – indeed it might be that, like its parent theatre, the SWT has no seats with perfect views.

I must have been enormously lucky with my seat! Lower Gallery, Row B Left, from where I had a very good view of the stage (Gemma Arterton especially  ;) ). I did wonder what those 'very restricted' standing views were like, as I had considered booking a return at one point. As it turned out, they suddenly put on two Thursday matinees, one of which I managed to grab a ticket for last week. I had also seen the Old Vic production and agree that Eve Best's Duchess was far more powerful, but then the whole production made a greater impact. However, I appreciated the intimate atmosphere of the SWP and loved the candlelight, but loved the padded bench somewhat less...

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