PIANIST JONATHAN BISS IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON

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.

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YAN PASCAL TORTELIER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE

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.

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A Q&A WITH SARDINIAN TENOR PIERO PRETTI

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.’

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A Q&A WITH UKRAINIAN SOPRANO LIUDMYLA MONASTYRSKA

Liudmyla Monastyrska

Ukrainian dramatic soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska had early success as a principal soloist with the Ukraine National Opera, as well as, singing at St. Peterburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. Important debuts followed in Berlin as Tosca (2010), at Covent Garden she sang Aida (2011) and in this same role she first appeared at the Met in 2012. She sang Abigaille opposite Plácido Domingo in Nabucco at Covent Garden in 2013 (Jim Pritchard described her voice as having ‘a great range of dynamics and colour but also the capability to sing a line softly when required’) and 2016. Liudmyla Monastyrska returns to Covent Garden as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana in a production broadcast to cinemas on 21 April. Before that she makes an eagerly awaited return to La Scala in Milan as Leonora in Il trovatore in Alvis Hermanis’s production and conducted by Nicola Luisotti. In her answers to some questions from Seen and Heard International Liudmyla Monastyrska gives an insight into her background, training and the roles she sings.

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A Q&A WITH CHINESE SOPRANO HUI HE

Hui He had a great success recently on her return to New York’s Metropolitan Opera as Madama Butterfly (review click here) and answers Seen and Heard International’s questions about her life and her career. Read on for more about her ‘journey in the world of opera’ from China’s Shaanxi province to Verona and the world’s greatest concert halls and opera houses.

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CONDUCTOR TOM HAMMOND IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE

Tom Hammond talks to Robert Beattie

Tom Hammond (c) Gareth Barton

Tom Hammond is a London-based conductor, recording producer, and Festival Director. As well as being  Music Director/Principal Conductor of the Finchley, Hertford and St Albans Symphony Orchestras, Tom also directs youth orchestras in Hatfield and Watford, and is a Guest Conductor for the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Palestine, and in this country with the Orchestra of the Swan, which is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Tom is a founding Artistic Director of the Hertfordshire Festival of Music, an annual summer celebration of classical music held in various venues in Hertfordshire which celebrates its fifth consecutive year in 2020.

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CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION

Hervé Niquet discusses Grétry’s opera, Richard, Coeur de Lion with Colin Clarke

Hervé Niquet  (c) Julien Mignot

Opéra Versailles’s production of Grétry’s Richard, Coeur de Lion recently was a great success (review click here). The morning after the first performance of the run, I meet Hervé Niquet in an achingly cool hotel in Versailles. Open and friendly, he is an interviewer’s dream.

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