NEW! Hymns and Suchlike – a reflection for our current times

04/04/2020

Hymns and Suchlike
Or Emblaze Vulnerable Across Your Chest

It’s astonishing how tunes of the past well up unsolicited in moments of quiet, such as the bad old songs of yesteryear or rumbustious hymn tunes. They invariably bring a smile on the face if not outright laughter. My own repertory is sometimes evoked from the Music Hall – thanks to my grandpa who used to sing these numbers under his breath continuously. School assembly hymns of course. Whoever sang Guide me O thou great Jehovah to the rousing tune of Cwm Rhondda will never forget it. No one gave much for the words, but John Hughes’s tune is indelibly memorised. Read more

UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC

15/03/2020

Seen and Heard International hopes for the happiest of outcomes for all those who are ill due to the current coronavirus pandemic. We share the optimism of those experts who hope that all those in otherwise good health will be able to resist its worst effects.

With the worldwide restrictions on travel and gatherings of significant numbers the world of classical music and many other entertainment events are currently subjected to a wave of changes, postponements, or cancellations, and it is unlikely normal recreational life will be resumed in the foreseeable future.

Seen and Heard International will continue to post reviews of concerts, operas, dance, theatre, and broadcasts for a long as we can, but bear with us if our content is not refreshed as often as readers have become used to over recent years.

We are not a listings site so if you are checking for news of whether performances have been postponed, cancelled, or might be restarting, please go direct to the websites of the venues concerned. Read more

NEW! Remembering George London’s life and legacy on the 100th anniversary of his birth

11/03/2020

For a singer whose career was cut short in the 1960s by illness, Canadian-American bass-baritone George London’s presence still looms large in the opera world. His magnificent voice can be heard on recordings, including a 1960 Tosca with Renata Tebaldi that for many remains a definitive version of the Puccini opera, but it is the work of The George London Foundation for Singers that is his true legacy. Each year the Foundation awards tens of thousands of dollars to young American and Canadian singers who are in the early stages of their careers. Read more

NEW! APOLLO FIRE’S JEANNETTE SORRELL DISCUSSES O JERUSALEM!

05/03/2020

Jeannette Sorrell of Apollo’s Fire talks with Mark Sebastian Jordan about ‘O Jerusalem!’

Jeannette Sorrell addresses an audience

In its first quarter century, Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland baroque orchestra, has made creative programming a cornerstone — a key part of engaging and building a dedicated public throughout northeast Ohio and beyond. In 2018, the ensemble unveiled a program entitled O Jerusalem! Crossroads of Three Faiths, which I reviewed in concert at that time. Now the group is bringing the program back for a second look and taking it on tour to New York City and Chicago. I spoke with harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell as she was returning to her hotel from a rehearsal for the group’s current tour. Read more

NEW! PIANIST LOUIS LORTIE IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN

25/02/2020

Louis Lortie talks to Geoffrey Newman

Louis Lortie © Elias Photography

There are few Canadian musicians who have exhibited such consistency, versatility and high standards in performance as Montreal-born pianist Louis Lortie. Read more

NEW! PIANIST JONATHAN BISS IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON

16/02/2020

Jonathan Biss and His Promethean struggle with Beethoven

Jonathan Biss (c) Benjamin Ealovega

 

The 250th anniversary of the birth of the irrepressible Ludwig van Beethoven late last year has unleashed ceaseless commemorative celebrations across the world’s concert halls and classical radio stations. It has also triggered a plethora of new recordings by some of the world’s greatest artists, not least the last of a nine-volume set of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas by the renowned Philadelphia-based pianist, teacher, musical thinker and writer, Jonathan Biss. He has dedicated many of his 39 years to interrogating the sonatas and has embarked on a punishing worldwide programme of Beethoven concerts and talks, including a series of seven recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall. Read more

NEW! YAN PASCAL TORTELIER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE

07/02/2020

Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier talks to Gregor Tassie

Yan Pascal Tortelier is a French musician who can reflect on a tradition going back to the nineteenth century. He began playing the violin when he was four and studied at the Paris Conservatoire winning the First Prize in Violin at the age of fourteen. Following many years as a solo and concert violinist, and as a member of his father’s Piano Trio, Yan studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna. He was principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 1989 to 1992, and the BBC Philharmonic from 1992 to 2003, of which he is Conductor Emeritus, additionally he has been principal conductor of the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, since 2011 he has been principal conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Read more

NEW! A Q&A WITH SARDINIAN TENOR PIERO PRETTI

01/02/2020

Late in 2019 Sardinian tenor Piero Pretti impressed many with his Met debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Bachtrack said ‘He has a fine lyric Italianate sound with plenty of squillo and dead centre pitch. He strikes one as a very musical singer; he clearly knew the arc of his phrases and the entire role. Pinkerton is a hard part in which to impress and it will be interesting to hear him as other, more sympathetic leads.’ Read more

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