MONICA HUGGETT IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN
If one wanted a broad picture of the evolution of historical performance, with intriguing little nuances revealed along the way, there would be few better musicians to talk to than Monica Huggett. She has been an unremitting force for four decades, well known from her early association with the Academy of Ancient Music and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and these days as Artistic Director of the Portland and Irish Baroque Orchestras, and Adviser to the Juilliard Historical Program. This interview traces the violinist’s experiences from the time when the authentic movement was just gathering momentum. Most important are her insights about how historical performance has developed out of a number of contrasting approaches that have cross-fertilized each other. Equally interesting are her ideas on where historical scholarship and performance practice still have room to grow, what she wants to achieve from an orchestra in interpretation, and how she has maintained an undiminished inspiration all this time. The interview took place in conjunction with the Vancouver Bach Festival in August 2016, where Monica Huggett directed the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in the Complete Bach Orchestral Suites (review). Read more
Cremona Musica: Cremonafiere 30.9.2016 to 2.10.2016 Fiere di Cremona. Part Two of a two-part report. (JB) Read more
Cremona Musica: Cremonafiere 30.9.2016 to 2.10.2016 Fiere di Cremona. Part One of a two-part report. (JB) Read more
Sir Neville Marriner CH, CBE, Founder and Life President of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields has died
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is deeply saddened to announce the death of Sir Neville Marriner, Founder and Life President of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Sir Neville Marriner passed away peacefully in the night on 2 October. Read more
OLIVER MEARS TO JOIN ROYAL OPERA HOUSE IN MARCH 2017
The Royal Opera House announced today that Oliver Mears will join the Royal Opera House at the beginning of March 2017 to succeed Kasper Holten as Director of Opera, who leaves on 11 March 2017.
Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera, Northern Ireland’s national company since its foundation in 2010, Oliver Mears has built up the company with a focus on excellence, local context, innovation and ambitious local and international partnerships. A champion of Northern Irish and Irish composers, the company has also been determined to build new audiences for the art form, taken the lead in creating work with communities across Northern Ireland and initiated the country’s first dedicated Young Artists Programme.
As a director he has staged productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina, Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw (also Novaya Opera, Moscow). His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad before travelling to Beijing and Shanghai.
He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Scottish Opera and Bergen National Opera. As Artistic Director of Second Movement, he directed productions across London in site-specific venues, while his production of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears for the company travelled to Brno and Prague as part of the 2010 Janáček Festival.
Announcing the appointment, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House said: ‘I am delighted that Oliver Mears is to join the Royal Opera House. He has successfully established Northern Ireland Opera as an important part of the UK opera scene as its founding Artistic Director, conceiving and delivering a range of innovative and impressive projects on and beyond the stage. It’s a very exciting appointment.’
These sentiments were echoed by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera: ‘I have been very impressed by Oliver Mears all through the selection process. He is fiercely intelligent, very knowledgeable about what is going on in the world of the performing arts, in particular theatre and opera, and he has genuine passion for our art form. I look forward to a very productive collaboration with him and wish him all success.’
Oliver Mears said ‘I have had a wonderful time at Northern Ireland Opera over the last six years and am proud of the company’s growth and artistic excellence. I’m thrilled to be joining The Royal Opera to work alongside Antonio Pappano, Peter Katona, Cormac Simms, John Fulljames and the team – we have already had some inspiring conversations and I look forward to the future working together.
Oliver Mears gained a Double First in English and History at Lincoln College, Oxford, and began his career assisting playwright Howard Barker. While working at many of the leading opera houses of the world including the Royal Opera House and La Scala, Milan, he became one of the founding Artistic Directors of London-based opera company Second Movement, directing many site-specific opera productions, including several UK stage premieres and a tour to Prague and Brno of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears.
He has been Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera (Northern Ireland’s national company) since its foundation in 2010.
As director, he has staged many productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for an Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina (winner of Best Production, Dublin Theatre Fringe Festival Awards), Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw. His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad 2012 before travelling to festivals in Beijing and Shanghai, while his production of The Turn of the Screw travelled to the Buxton Festival and Novaya Opera, Moscow.
He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera Holland, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Early Opera Company, Scottish Opera, the National Opera Studio, and Bergen National Opera. In 2012 he was nominated for an ‘Achievement in Opera’ award by the UK TMA Awards for his leadership of NI Opera, and was nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer’ (Director) category at the 2013 International Opera Awards.
Arabella Steinbacher in conversation with Michael Cookson, Dresden 2016
My first exposure to the playing of Munich born violinist Arabella Steinbacher was in 2011 when reviewing her recording of the Shostakovich violin concertos on Orfeo. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/June11/Shostakovich_Steinbacher_C687061A.htm
A child prodigy on the violin Steinbacher started lessons aged 3 and 5 years later became the youngest violin student of Ana Chumachenko at the Munich Academy of Music. In 2000 Steinbacher won the Joseph-Joachim-Violinwettbewerbes Hannover when she was 19 and the Förderpreis des Freistaates Bayern a year later. In 2004 she made her concert debut playing at short notice for an indisposed soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Sir Neville Marriner in Paris.
Certainly a thrilling musician, Steinbacher has made an impressive reputation for herself with several excellent recordings under her belt. One of the finest violinists around compared to a group of talented soloists of her generation, curiously, she is not as well known as her talent deserves; especially in the U.K. Read more
JOHAN BOTHA (1965-2016) HAS DIED
Michael Lewin International Artists’ Management announces: This morning Johan Botha lost his battle against a severe illness.
For 23 years we have worked together with Johan Botha. His death not only means the loss of an irreplaceable artist but more importantly the indescribable loss of a great person. Read more
Christian Arseni Interviews Thomas Adès and Tom Cairns about the world premiere of The Exterminating Angel at the 2016 Salzburg Festival