NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season

23/06/2017

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St John’s Smith Square has announced its 2017/18 Season

In a characteristic programme, punctuated by a range of Festival celebrations, St John’s Smith Square continues its core mission to provide a home for Baroque music within the UK’s only concert hall dating from the Baroque period while equally championing new music. International artists sit comfortably alongside emerging talent and St John’s Smith Square also continues to provide a vital and unique central London home for the best in community music. Read more

NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More

23/06/2017

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Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 

As announced at the closing press conference for the 2016 Festival by Festival Director Katharina Wagner, the Bayreuth Festival is launching a new supporting programme this year. It is entitled Bayreuth Discourse and is designed as a series of events for the academic and artistic analysis of Wagner’s work and legacy.

A two-day symposium will be held in summer 2017. This year’s theme will be ‘Wagner’s Work and National Socialism’. Lectures and discussions will examine facets of Wagner’s personality and the effect of his works and writings during the Nazi regime and the long-term consequences. Four concerts will feature music by opponents and victims of Nazi rule. Read more

NEW! CATRIONA MORISON WINS BBC CARDIFF SINGER OF THE WORLD 2017

19/06/2017

Catriona Morison, 31-year-old mezzo soprano from Scotland, is the first British winner of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

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Catriona Morison and the trophy (c) BBC

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NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017

14/06/2017

Music in the Summer in the Queen City Read more

NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin

08/06/2017

Daniel Barenboim Unveils The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin

pbs Daniel Barenboim and Ole Bækhøj announced the second season of the Pierre Boulez Saal on Thursday, June 8 in Berlin. In the spirit of Pierre Boulez, flexibility, openness, and musical curiosity will remain the essential ideas for the 2017–18 programme. Contemporary music will stand side by side with chamber music masterworks of the Classic and Romantic eras and major compositions of the 20th century.

The Boulez Ensemble, founded for the hall’s opening and consisting of members of the Staatskapelle Berlin, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, as well as students and faculty of the Barenboim-Said Akademie and international guests, will be heard in concerts with Daniel Barenboim, François-Xavier Roth, Emmanuel Pahud, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Antonio Pappano, among others. Commissioned new works by Luca Francesconi, Aribert Reimann, and Benjamin Attahir, Pierre Boulez’s last student, will have their world premieres.

A staged production of Luther dancing with the gods, will be seen at the Pierre Boulez Saal for the first time. Director Robert Wilson is creating this project, which features texts by Martin Luther and music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Knut Nystedt, and Steve Reich. This is a collaboration with the Rundfunkchor Berlin for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Three concert cycles are dedicated to major Classical works: Daniel Barenboim, Michael Barenboim, and Kian Soltani perform Beethoven’s complete piano trios. Renaud Capuçon and Kit Armstrong take on Mozart’s violin sonatas; and the Streichquartett der Staatskapelle Berlin presents Schubert’s 15 string quartets.

The Staatskapelle Berlin returns to the Pierre Boulez Saal for three concerts conducted by Lahav Shani, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Lorenzo Viotti.

Jazz and early music offer new programmatic aspects. Trumpeter and vocalist Till Brönner will host a series of five concerts with national and international guest stars entitled “Talking Jazz.” Music from the 15th to 18th centuries is heard in concerts by the RIAS Chamber Choir, the Capella della Torre, the Freiburg BarockConsort, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Orlando Consort, and Il Giardino Armonico.

Music from the Middle East and Northern Africa will once again be featured prominently, with the Arabic Music Days in December 2017 as the centerpiece. Kinan Azmeh, Naseer Shamma, and others will be the headliners. Three lecture concerts offer introductions by the performing artists themselves: Jörg Widmann and François-Xavier Roth present music by Boulez, and Sir András Schiff takes on Bach’s piano partitas.

Other highlights include performances starring Thomas Hampson, Daniil Trifonov, Sergei Babayan, Piotr Anderszewski, Gidon Kremer, Yefim Bronfman, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchido, Martha Argerich, and many others. There will also be, children’s concerts, and academy concerts featuring students of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

Further information  at: https://boulezsaal.de/ .

NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season

06/06/2017

The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company & Harrogate Festival,  4-20 August 2017 (RJW)

The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company has assembled its 2017 season of G & S delights. We first heard of this unique company at the now world-famous International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival with an original professional line-up of ex-D’Oyly Carte principals that included Kenneth Sandford, John Ayldon, Alistair Donkin, Geoffrey Shovelton, Patricia Leonard and Lorraine Daniels when first staging The Yeomen of the Guard. It has developed over the decades to become one of the world’s finest professional Gilbert and Sullivan touring groups. This year it will be performing Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and Princess Ida at Windsor, Buxton, Harrogate Festival, Malvern, Norwich and Newcastle-on-Tyne between 20 July and 30 September.

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Pirates of Penzance

The 2017 Festival has a line-up of new faces, and others making a welcome return. Vivian Coates, founder and artistic director of Lyric Opera in Ireland, will direct two new productions – Princess Ida and The Pirates of Penzance. The President of Italy decorated him for his services in promoting Italian opera in Ireland.

Michael McCaffery (Old Vic Company, National Theatre, Glyndebourne and the Bayreuth Festival) directs a new production of The Mikado at Harrogate in August and Donald Maxwell returns to direct HMS Pinafore and star in Princess Ida. Andrew Nicklin takes over the Musical Direction for three of the four shows and Aidan Faughey conducts Princess Ida.

Other frontline newcomers include Anthony Flaum who made his mainstage debut with the English National Opera this year (Nanki Poo and Frederic); Mae Heydorn the Swedish/German mezzo soprano (Glyndebourne, Grange Park Opera) takes Katisha, Buttercup, and Ruth; Emma Walsh (Lyric Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Winslow Hall Opera) will play Princess Ida, Josephine and Mabel; Natalie Montakhab, a rising star with Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and English National Opera will play Yum Yum.

Toby Stafford-Allen is known to us as one of Britain’s leading baritones with English National Opera and will play Pirate King, Pish Tush and Captain Corcoran. Simon Wilding, a member of the Bayreuth Festival Chorus, has also starred with English National Opera, Opera Holland Park, and Royal Opera and will play the Sergeant of Police, Pooh Bah and Dick Deadeye. When you add well-known singers like Richard Gauntlett (Major General, Sir Joseph and Ko-Ko); James Elliott (Ralph Rackstraw and Hilarion), Richard Suart (King Gama); Nicholas Sales (Cyril); James Cleverton (Arac) and Gaynor Keeble (Lady Blanche) you can understand why the production teams are excited at laying these new foundations of talent.

The Festival venues are the Royal Hall and Savoy theatres in Harrogate. A busy fringe programme complements the stage performances between August 4rd and 20th August 2017. The brochure can be seen at the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival website.

 Raymond J Walker

NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces New Chief Conductor

05/06/2017

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich have announced that they have appointed Paavo Järvi as their new Chief Conductor and Artistic Director as from the start of the 2019/2020 season.

LAYOUTFOTOS; BITTE FEINDATEN ANFORDERN Probe der deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen  mit Paavo Järvi

Paavo Järvi © Julia Baier

Järvi replaces the outgoing Lionel Bringuier. Next January Järvi brings his Estonian Festival Orchestra to Zurich; he is not however scheduled to conduct the Tonhalle Orchestra next season, but in the season 2018/2019 he is expected to be in Zurich for three weeks.

There was only one question at the hastily convened press conference, at which the contract was actually signed. It came from one of the music critics at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Peter Hagmann. He asked what percentage of time Järvi would commit to the Tonhalle and whether he would come to live in the city, given all his other musical commitments. Järvi is Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Founder of the Parnu Music Festival in Estonia (his country of origin), Principal of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and a regular guest conductor with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philharmonia in London and the Dresdner Staatskapelle. He has committed to devote 9 weeks to the Tonhalle in his first season, and 14 weeks thereafter, which apparently is par for the course. Järvi said the question was a good one, but was then non-committal, promising simply to give “everything he has” to the orchestra. These are days when there are not many top-flight Big Name conductors around and they can afford to spread their favours thinly.

Zurich music-lovers can however now look forward to a musical diet that should include Bruckner, Shostakovich, Nielsen and Sibelius, all composers who were neglected under the reigns of David Zinman and Lionel Bringuier.

Järvi told the gathering that he cannot wait to make music together with the orchestra. He last conducted them in a performance which included Schumann’s Third Symphony, which was a highlight for him, and he thought, as he left the stage, how good it would be if he could return on a more permanent basis. Järvi commented that he is not, of course, new to the musical scene and has been watching the comings and goings on the musical chairs for some while; he has always kept an eye on the Tonhalle and jumped at the chance of the top job. Ilona Schmiel, the Intendantin of the Orchestra, whom Järvi has known well for some time and whom he described as both dynamic and talented, told us that there were originally 70 names on the list of possible contenders, but it was soon whittled down – with the assistance of some senior members of the orchestra (this is not the Berlin Philharmonic where all players have a say and actually take the decision) and with someone from the London Symphony Orchestra management – to a second round of candidates, and then – surprisingly quickly – they were left with just one.

Järvi, who has immense charm and charisma, speaking in Baltic-intoned English, told us that there are great orchestras with miserable concert halls, miserable orchestras with great halls; but the Tonhalle is fortunate to be a great hall and a great orchestra. Now it has a great Chief Conductor to boot.

John Rhodes

NEW! English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition Live Streamed on Thursday 25 May

22/05/2017

enb-logo-560English National Ballet – Emerging Dancer LIVE

Thursday 25 May 2017 – from 7.25pmwww.ballet.org.uk/emerging-dancer

On Thursday 25 May 2017, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer competition will be live streamed from Sadler’s Wells via Facebook.

As well as being able to watch the full programme of performances, audiences will also get further insight into the competition, with interviews from some of the artists involved. Emerging Dancer LIVE follows the success of last year’s live stream which achieved over 10,000 views worldwide.Now in its eighth year, this annual event allows English National Ballet to recognise the excellence of its artists. Selected by their peers, six of the company’s most promising dancers perform in front of an eminent panel of expert judges, before one receives the 2017 Emerging Dancer Award. World-renowned director and choreographer and former judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Arlene Phillips OBE, will host the event.

Also revealed on the night will be the recipients of the People’s Choice Award as selected by members of the public, and the Corps de Ballet Award, acknowledging the work on and off-stage of a member of the Corps de Ballet. The inaugural Corps de Ballet Award was presented last year to Artist of the Company, Jennie Harrington, recognising her exceptional commitment over the previous season.

Joining Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, on the judging panel this year are former Royal Ballet Principal dancer and teacher Laura Connor; former English National Ballet Lead Principal dancer Dmitri Gruzdyev; former Royal Ballet Senior Principal dancer, teacher and choreographer Marguerite Porter MBE; Alfreda Thorogood, former Royal Ballet principal dancer, teacher and Guest Repetiteur for English National Ballet; and Graham Watts OBE, writer and chairman of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle and of the National Dance Awards.

The finalists will first perform a pas de deux, followed by a solo. This year will see Isabelle Brouwers and Emilio Pavan present the grand pas from Paquita, Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes will dance a pas de deux from Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta perform the Esmeralda pas de deux.

Isabelle Brouwers will then dance a solo from a Drift by renowned choreographer and Artistic Director of Royal Ballet Flanders, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The piece is extracted from a short trio first choreographed for LA Dance Project. Madison Keesler performs We Move Lightly by Myles Thatcher, dancer and choreographer with San Francisco Ballet; and Rina Kanehara will dance Raimondo Rebeck’s Blind Dreams set to music from Philip Glass’s soundtrack from the film The Hours.

Guilherme Menezes performs a new work, Flight Mode, from Danish choreographer Sebastian Kloborg whilst Emilio Pavan dances Proprioception, a new piece by choreographer Kirill Burlov set to Depeche Mode’s Heaven. Aitor Arrieta performs SelF, new choreography by Aleix Mañe set to three pieces; Flat of Angles, pt4 read by Benedict Cumberbatch, Hospital by Max Richter and Palladio by Karl Jenkins.

This year’s finalists have been mentored by their peers in the Company. Pedro Lapetra has mentored Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta as they rehearse Esmeralda whilst Senri Kou and Daniel Kraus have worked on Paquita with Isabelle Brouwers and Emilio Pavan. Alongside Barry Drummond, Kou has also helped Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes prepare for La Sylphide.

Last year’s winner of both the Emerging Dancer Award and the People’s Choice Award, Cesar Corrales, will perform a pas de deux from Don Quixote with Katja Khaniukova.

The Emerging Dancer competition is generously supported by Sue and Graeme Sloan.

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  • NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More __________________________________
  • NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend – 14-16 July __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Culture and the Coast: Garsington’s Opera for All and Forthcoming Opera Screenings __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 BBC Proms from Friday 14 July – Saturday 9 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces Details of New Season 2017/2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Grange Park Opera’s 2017 Season in its New Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
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  • NEW! ANGELA BROWNRIDGE IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
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  • NEW! THE GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST JAMES EHNES __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST KIRILL GERSTEIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! IN MEMORIAM LOUIS FRÉMAUX (1921-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Robert Farr reports on the 26th Annual Singing Competition Final – Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award for Singers __________________________________
  • UPDATED IN MEMORIAM NICOLAI GEDDA (1925-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! BARITONE MICHAEL VOLLE IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
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