Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Robert Tear

Robert Tear was one of the finest british Tenors of our century, a kind and considerate man, and a truly great artist and musician. I remember performing as a young treble soloist together with 'Bob' and Richard Hickox in the Barbican. He was incredibly calm and patted me on the back smiling reassuringly as we went on. To me, his was an air of grace and accomplishment. A true gentleman and a most loyal stage partner.
I cherished his kind advice before going to university and I was fortunate to work with Robert at the Royal Academy of Music, a place he visited frequently to teach. He enjoyed in particular a rendition of Schubert's Im Fruehling. 'To think of Schubert not as a romantic, but a classical composer' he was keen to point out to me.
It was an honour, Maestro.
Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

On Stage ... Sophie

Nathalie Chalkley as Sophie Scholl in Kommilitonen.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Terry Gilliam at English National Opera

'I suppose opera is about a sweep and arc of character and ideas, and in that case half of my films would be an opera'

Terry Gilliam's The Damnation of Faust comes to English National Opera on May 6th. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Royal Academy Opera ... Kommilitonen!

Peter Maxwell Davies's new opera Kommilitonen premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in London on Friday to stonking reviews. A sell out audience which included Simon Callow and Lesley Garrett gave standing ovations as David Pountney and Sir Maxwell Davies took their bows. The cast gave a tremendous performance and the final production feels like a true artistic achievement.

Unlike the recent Anne Nicole, a satirical 'docu-opera', the subject matter here is the gritty historical reality of three intertwining stories of student protest and youthful determination against all-powerful regimes: James Meredith as the first black man to enrol in an American University, the sisters Scholl, and their campaign of protest against the Nazi regime and finally the denunciations of the Chinese cultural revolution.

Pountney and 'Max' have collaborated for the third time in this opera and it is hard not to be moved by its intrinsic story telling, the symphonic maturity of the music and the ever horrendous impact of the looming oppressors. Yet we, the cast round up the bitter central highlight of the opera with a grand chorus plea for freedom. It is art to conjure hope; A testament to time. Opera, after all is by no means 'dead'.

There are three more performances at the Royal Academy of Music. Reviews on Times Online,, Guardian, Telegraph and Evening Standard.

Monday 21 March 2011 19.00
Wednesday 23 March 2011 19.00
Friday 25 March 2011 19.00

In November the production will move to the Juilliard School in New York.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Mitsuko Uchida's London

Mitsuko Uchida is one of the greatest pianists of our time. She gave a special masterclass at the Royal Academy of Music last week working with the Academy’s Concert Orchestra on Mozart’s beautiful Piano Concerto no.20 in D minor. She was also presented with the Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music by the Principal, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood. London truly is a place for free music making!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Styles ... Alma Mahler

The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is staging a Gustav-Mahler-Thomas-Hampson Festival, culminating in a world premier of a film on Mahler's Symphonies and a final concert with the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Mahler Lieder. The great american baritone Thomas Hampson is artist in residence in Hamburg.
What a great picture of Mahler's wife, Alma, listening attentively to the sounds of her husband. Truly, I tell you, Music to move the worlds.
Check out the exciting work at Elbphilharmonie: elbphilharmonie