Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvydom

There can be no doubt – No ifs or buts: Mike Leigh ranks Gilbert World’s leading misery-guts. It may come as a surprise that the parents of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert outshone him in eccentricity: a valuable tool which is a leitmotif in Mike Leigh’s impressively researched and thoroughly entertaining 1999 biopic. Other authors too … Read more


Young-Jin Hur in conversation with Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko, © Svetlana Tarlova

The world is complex in its embrace of seeming opposites. There is joy in sad music; individual preferences coexist with societal norms; natural tendencies may complement acquired processes. The world is complex, but it is simple in its consistent presence of contradictions. This complexity also holds true for life’s challenges. The truism that bearing difficulties strengthens the self is elevated to metaphysical heights in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. In the realm of music, Igor Stravinsky viewed that ‘the more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.’ A time of difficulty and limitation, thus, seems also a story of hope.

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St John’s Smith Square announces ‘ARTIST LAB’



The covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges around the world. Clearly, our first priority is everyone’s health and well-being, but an important part of this is people’s enjoyment of music and the arts. Concert halls have closed their doors and musicians are unable to work. This creates enormous pressures and challenges as people’s livelihoods are challenged and venues face an uncertain future.

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Rick Perdian spoke with Michael Brofman, founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn Art Song Society, about the impact of the pandemic on the organization and its plans for the future

Michael Brofman © Meg Goldberg

In the midst of its tenth anniversary season, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) had to cancel everything when New York became the global epicenter of the novel coronavirus in March. For its 2020-21 season, BASS is going digital and will celebrate the legacy of Franz Schubert, the first and arguably the greatest composer of German Lieder, with five programs of more than 100 of his songs. In addition, BASS will launch the New Voices Festival, which seeks to reimagine the art song for the twenty-first century.

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‘It Ain’t A-Gonna Rain No Mo’ – more music hall memories

 It Ain’t A-Gonna Rain No Mo’

Oh, it ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’, no mo’,
It ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’.
But how in the world can the old folks tell
It ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’?

Grandma used to tell me that if there was enough blue in the sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers, it wouldn’t rain, so I might then play in the garden. That’s how I became interested in cloud movements. She didn’t explain that it was the wind’s dialogue with the clouds that was the referee. Or how fat the sailor had to be.

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Zooming with the Stars – Met announces Live in Concert Series from 18 July

Met Stars Live in Concert – 12 concerts from 18 July to 19 December

Met Stars Live in Concert Press Conference

In a Zoom press conference, The Metropolitan Opera unveiled its plans for an upcoming series of 12 concerts featuring some of opera’s greatest international stars.

Jonas Kaufmann review click here

Renée Fleming review click here

Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak review click here

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We’ll be back! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra weathering the Covid-19 storm

CBSO perform Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ (c) Andrew Fox

On 4 March 2020 I went to Symphony Hall, Birmingham to hear the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the CBSO Chorus give a fine performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem conducted by the orchestra’s charismatic Osborn Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (review). Though the Coronavirus alarm bells were ringing ever more loudly by that point, little did I imagine that this would be the last time that I would be able to hear the CBSO during their 2019/20 season. I had plans to review several more of their concerts, most notably their planned performance of Britten’s War Requiem on 20 June. Not long after that Brahms concert, though, the UK was put into lockdown and the orchestra was obliged to cancel future concerts on an incremental basis, including a 12-concert tour of Germany and Austria. Eventually, on 30 April, they bowed to the inevitable and cancelled the remainder of the season.

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