Arnaldo Cohen in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman


  Arnaldo Cohen in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman

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Buenos Aires Independents’ 2015 Season – Some Gems To Come


Buenos Aires Independents’ 2015 Season – Some Gems To Come (JSJ)

 At the time of writing this, with the prospect of a 2015 season opening of Tosca, a new production of the work opens in La Plata – raising the thorny but perennially topical question of the extent to which independent organizations should simply pursue their own programs or attempt some coordination when they are largely competing for the same audiences. There are, after all, only so many very popular works that can be almost guaranteed to fill seats, although on the other side of the coin is a huge repertoire of works that remain under- and worse unperformed.

Certainly the answer isn’t straightforward but among the works announced by the Buenos Aires independent companies for 2015 there is a good balance, with some welcome gems. However, both companies have also restricted their seasons, in line with the ongoing difficult conditions prevailing in Argentina.

 Buenos Aires Lírica

 Buenos Aires Lírica opens its 2015 season with the aforementioned Tosca, under the direction of Marcel Perusso and conductor Javier Logoia Orbe (April 30). Principals include Mónica Ferracani, Enrique Folger and Homero Pérez-Miranda.

 Donizetti’s arguably best opera buffa Don Pasquale follows, which is to be welcomed given it will be 5 years since the last local production (June 12). André Heller-Lopes directs and Juan Casasbellas conducts, and the cast includes Hernán Iturralde, Oriana Favaro and Santiago Ballerini.

 This will be followed by Massenet’s romantic tragedy Werther, last seen locally in 2012 (July 31). Crystal Manich will direct and Pedro-Pablo Prudencio will conduct, and the principals will include Darío Schmunck, Florencia Machado, Ernesto Bauer and Laura Sangiorgio.

 Finally Buenos Aires Lírica always includes a little performed work in its season and its fourth and final production for the year, Dvořák’s Rusalka, is especially welcome, being the Argentine premiere of the work (October 2). Carlos Vieu will conduct and Mercedes Marmorek will direct a cast including Daniela Tabernig, Eric Herrero and Elisabeth Canis.

 Juventus Lyrica

 After a successful 15th year, rounded off with a special commemorative Gala, Juventus Lyrica opens its 16th season with a welcome production of Giordano’s rather infrequently performed Andrea Chénier (April 10). Ana D’Anna will direct and Antonio Maria Russo will conduct, and the cast will include Gustavo López Manzitti, Darío Sayegh and Sabrina Cirera.

 Mozart’s ever popular Le nozze di Figaro follows, with production by María Jaunarena and musical direction by Hernán Schvartzman (July 10). No details have been offered but given the nature of previous collaborations, this will likely be presented with period instruments.

 Then to close the season (another) Carmen, under the musical direction of Hernán Sánchez Arteaga (November 6). Direction will be by Ana D’Anna and María Jaunarena, with a cast including Eugenia Fuente and Enrique Folger. Given the 140th anniversary of this work in 2015, no doubt many productions will result.

 Jonathan Spencer Jones

Artists from China, Estonia and Holland head for 2015 Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music


Artists from China, Estonia and Holland head for 2015 Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music


Details have been announced of the 2015 programme for the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music which will take place from May 12 – 23 May and will showcase a wealth of British artists alongside exceptional artists from China, Estonia and Holland.

 Highlights include World and UK premieres, three featured composers and performances by soloists on a wide range of instruments from the euphonium to the hurdy gurdy. Founded by composer John Metcalf (MBE) and now in its 47th year, the internationally renowned festival, which celebrates the work of living composers, is at the forefront of contemporary classical music promotion in the UK.

 Amongst a great range of living composers’ works the 2015 festival programme will focus on the music of three composers in particular:

 Universally acclaimed Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in his 80th birthday year

  • Amsterdam-based Brit composer, Richard Ayres, whose orchestral and chamber works are programmed to complement Welsh National Opera’s premiere of his new opera Peter Pan
  • Dobrinka Tabakova whose “thoughtful and approachable music” (Gramophone) is gaining her wide-spread recognition and praise. Dobrinka’s CD “String Paths” was a Grammy Award nominee and selected pieces from this album will feature throughout the Festival.

 Three young composers have been commissioned by the Festival for 2015: UK based Tom Green and, in a continued collaboration with China, young composers Ying Xiao and Yanchen Ye. Two works by young Welsh-based composers Ben Lunn and Andrew Wallace for piano duo will also receive their world premieres along with a UK premiere from Estonian Helena Tulve.

 Artistic Director of the Festival, composer, John Metcalf, curates the programme each year, inviting artists, who have a commitment to new music, from across the world to perform and introduce audiences to different exciting styles of music. It is his view that “there has never been a more exciting time to experience new music. The scope of the music in the 2015 Festival is truly remarkable with the sheer breadth of styles and influences offering audiences an incredibly diverse range of experiences and insights”.

 International Artists appearing at the Festival include Nieuw Ensemble from Amsterdam and Soloists from China’s National Centre for Performing Arts Orchestra. Continuing the festival’s connection with Estonia and forming a central part of the celebration of the music of Arvo Pärt are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra who will give individual concerts before joining together for the festival finale at St David’s Hall under the baton of Kristjan Järvi with soloist, Kristina Blaumane (cello).

 The festival also welcomes artists from the UK, including renowned viol consort Fretwork and Sara Trickey (violin). Joining Sara for her concert is the Festival’s 2015 Young Artist In Residence – pianist Robin Green. Part of Robin’s brief in this concert is to accompany Sara on the hurdy gurdy. He will also perform as part of the Francoise-Green Piano Duo who will be joined by guest artists David Childs (Euphonium) and Patrick King (timpani). Robin’s involvement culminates on the final day of the Festival with a performance of Frederick Rzewski’s epic work for solo piano ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

 The Festival’s collaborative partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama continues with the day-long festival “ATMOSPHERES” which showcases the work of young composers studying at the conservatoire. As part of that event the Nieuw Ensemble will perform a selection of new works by students of the College.

 The Festival offers a unique performance experience with venues across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, chosen for their setting and atmosphere to enhance the audiences’ experience of the music performed. As well as the more traditional concert spaces of St David’s Hall, BBC Hoddinott Hall and Dora Stoutzker Hall, performances are also planned at three Penarth venues – All Saints Church, St Augustine’s Church and Penarth Pier Pavilion, at Dyffryn House near St Nicholas and the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. The Festival also returns to St Illtud’s Church in Llantwit Major, one of the UK’s earliest centres of learning whose recently renovated Galilee Chapel now acts as a centre for education in Celtic Christian studies. Supplementing the main concerts, pre and post-concert talks with performers and composers are planned giving further insight and context to the works being featured.

 In advance of the May festival, a Festival Preview concert will take place on March 18 at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay as an introduction to the music of the festival’s three main featured composers. The concert will be performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Clark Rundell with oboe soloist David Cowley who will be joined by BBC Radio 3 presenter, Stephen Johnson to guide the audience through the programme.

 Full information on festival events is available from

Lucerne Festival Preview 2015


Lucerne Festival Preview 2015

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Concertmaster Dale Barltrop in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman


Concertmaster Dale Barltrop in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman

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Saimir Pirgu, the Albanian Tenor, in Conversation with Margarida Mota-Bull


Saimir Pirgu, the Albanian Tenor, in Conversation with Margarida Mota-Bull (4.10.2014)

Photo Credit Fadil Berisha

Photo Credit Fadil Berisha

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Stars in the Making 1: Luis Gomes (tenor) interviewed by Margarida Mota Bull


Stars in the Making 1: Luis Gomes (tenor) interviewed by Margarida Mota Bull

Gomes, Luis-400

Luis Gomes (c) ROH


The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera House is designed to support the artistic development of young professional singers, conductors, directors and répétiteurs, as per information kindly provided by the Administrator. The Young Artists are salaried company members, who work at the opera house on a full-time basis over a two-year period. Each artist is given the opportunity to work on productions for The Royal Opera. They also receive coaching in all opera disciplines, including music, languages, movement and acting from a wide range of freelance coaches, as well as guidance in related issues and career development. Portuguese tenor Luis Gomes and Brazilian baritone Michel de Souza are two of the artists currently in the programme. Read more

Stars in the Making 2: Michel de Souza (Baritone) interviewed by Margarida Mota Bull


Stars in the Making 2: Michel de Souza (Baritone) interviewed by Margarida Mota Bull

Michel de Souza,  Photo ROH

Michel de Souza, Photo ROH

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