Monday, 26 April 2010

Portraits ... 'Black Trinity'

Black Trinity

'Never trust any artist ever telling you any bloody thing, they are all a bunch of liars. Artists, absolutely on any subject is always talking drizzle. (Including Moi)
Because the work is the statement. Right?'
Brian Duffy

Lunchtime with Werner Güra and Christoph Berner

The Wigmore Hall offers a diverse range of Lunchtime recitals next to their Evening Programme, featuring the very finest of musicians. Werner Güra is one such fine German Tenor from Munich, his recordings of Schubert's Winterreise and Die Schoene Müllerin having reached great acclaim with critics. His lunchtime recital was a beautiful selection of solemn Schubert Songs, accompanied by the great artistry and proficiency of Christoph Berner, a young Viennese Pianist. The Recital was recorded live for bbc Radio 3 and is accessible on bbc iplayer.
Lunchtime Recitals are a surprisingly refreshing indulgence in a day. Unfortunately, at Wigmore especially, only the older generations take advantage of such first class music presentations, at cheaper prices and at little expense to ones time (One hour max!) Why don't you consider a lunchtime spent in one of the finest concert venues of the world, and recharge those batteries when work has been just too stressful or the week is looking to be a tough one to manage. Musicians and Music have so much to give (Look how they smile!): Come on in and take! Thank You Herr Güra and Herr Berner.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Awards

These are the winners of this years Kathleen Ferrier Awards Finals, which were hosted at Wigmore Hall London last night. A most enjoyable contest, although I personally rather dislike song competitions. You may wonder then, why there are so many, and why we attend them all? Not all singers choose to enter competitions and many have found great fame without doing so but the fact remains that they provide ample platform for exposure in a music business, where the market seems vastly over-populated. In case of the Ferrier Awards, they also provide substantial financial assistance for young musicians.
As expected, the standard was extremely high at this years gathering and we listened to a rather good programme featuring
Arias from Rigoletto, I Puritani or La Sonnambula, to songs from Schubert, Wolf, Walton and Finzi. It is a competition requirement to feature a diverse repertoire including english song. All contestants must have spent at least one year at a British Music institution. The final then featured four members of Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one from Royal Northern, and one student of the Royal Academy. Above all these competitions seem to go down well with audiences, our six candidates singing in front of a sell-out audience at Wigmore. The winner, Njabulo Madlala convinced above all with a heartfelt performance and utter sincerity in his dark velvety sound. It shows, that true character is ever more pleasing to observe.
In many ways, the jury summed up perfectly the dilemma of such competitions: "It is a terrible business to sit in judgment of such extraordinary talent". Suffice it to say then, that they all may have the heart to continue to the main stages of the world!
Thank You all for the little group picture session!

Results Final Auditions 2010
Friday 23 April 2010
Wigmore Hall - 6pm

First Prize £10,000
Njabulo Madlala Bariton

Second Prize £5,000
Sarah Power Soprano

Song Prize £4,000
Laurie Ashworth soprano

Accompanist Prize £3,000
Anna Cardona

Anna Patalong soprano
Duncan Rock baritone
Aoife Miskelly soprano

The Jury Gavin Henderson CBE Della Jones Alexander Oliver Felicity Palmer CBE Roger Vignoles
Chairman Paul Strang

- Sir Thomas Allen CBE Dr Sheila Armstrong Valerie Beale Vernon Ellis Sir Nicholas Goodison Graham Johnson OBE Yvonne Kenny AM Nicholas Riddle Joan Rodgers CBE John Shirley-Quirk CBE Martin B. M. Williams -

from left to right: Sarah Power, Njabulo Madlala, Aoife Miskelly, James Baillieu, Laurie Ashworth, Elizabeth Rossiter, Duncan Ross, Anna Patalong, Tim Abel, Anna Cardona ... all being silly ...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Inspirations ...

One of the keys to a good performance is to be truly inspired. I sometimes feel that it is not stressed enough in art performance. To me it is really important just to go out into the streets and the world, and to really see, feel and smell and just to get a little carried away with how this world works really. Running around with a camera makes it all even more exciting as I can capture everything that grabs my imagination: The way people look, the way people dress, the way people talk, the way moods change, the way the light fades and the way evening falls on a warm spring day...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Alessandro Corbelli

The Royal Opera House production of Il Turco in Italia closed tonight in front of a sell out audience. Only this weekend, the Financial Times hailed the dawn of a new age, in which art has once again come to the attention of the greater masses. For the Royal Opera House this meant a sell out show, which at first had difficulty picking up pace due to the unknown factor of the piece, but like all Rossini, the seductive piece of comedy wins all hearts, especially, when two masters of the buffo get together on a world stage like the Royal. Corbelli is the undisputed opera comic of our age and D'Arcangelo is at the forefront of the new generation of Opera Superstars, helmsmen of this great art-form. Together they produced exquisite entertainment and truly magical moments.
Corbelli will return next month as part of the famous Fille du Regiment production, but Ildebrando was somewhat solemn when he explained to me that he was only expected back in London in 2012. While we agreed to meet up at the end of May as part of his production of Carmen in Munich with Jonas Kaufmann, I am certain that he will return to London quite soon.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Roberto Ortiz and the Richard Lewis Recital

Roberto Ortiz and Hester Crombie

The young mexican Tenor and friend, Roberto Ortiz gave a fantastic solo recital last night at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Accompanied by Hester Crombie, Roberto cruised through a programme featuring Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Verdi but also songs from Schubert, Hahn and Rossini.
Without doubt, this is one of the finest young upcoming voices, his smooth tenor giving an air of great class and control. Roberto has given concert recitals with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and was recently awarded the Clonter Opera Prize 2010. Look out for this young man!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Rolleis and Smart Audiences

I hope all of you have enjoyed a pleasant Easter break. Term has only once again commenced here at the Royal Academy of Music. However lots is going on in London and elsewhere this summer regarding everything arts and opera related. The students are all preparing for end of year exams and concert recitals. There is a real buzz about the Royal Academy.

Ive been asked many questions regarding my camera setup lately so I came up with this little still-life the other day. It features three different generations of cameras, belonging to my grandfather and my father who led me to my photography in the first place. Extraordinary really how technology has changed. Coincidentally all the equipment still works. I am not sure what people will say however if I rock up at the Opera House with my 1953 Rolleicord.

Speaking of which, I have been very impressed both in Munich and London, at the way people dress and really make an effort in looking good for a night out at the opera. So much so that you will likely see me snap away at you beautiful people during the intervals in future. Afterall it is you, the audience, which turns our art into a movement. Spot me with my camera ...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Erwin Schrott in Munich

Erwin Schrott made a fine Figaro at the Staatstheater in Munich!
He will sing Figaro at the Royal Opera House in June.