Monday, October 24, 2016
Veriko Tchumburidze, a Georgian living in Turkey, won the Wieniawski Competition in Poznan last last night. Joint second were Bomsori Kim (South Korea) and Seiji Okamoto (Japan). Fourth and fifth were Luke Hsu (USA) and Richard Lin (Taiwan/USA). The final stage was marred by an ill-tempered outburst on Polish Radio by the controversial jury member Zakhar Bron, denouncing the elimination of his pupil Mone Hattori and saying some of the finalists had given ‘disastrous’ performances in the semis. ‘I am sorry, but yesterday’s concertos – Brahms and Shostakovich were a disaster. I don’t know what jury will say, but that is my opinion. Usually I wouldn’t be so rigorous and assertive in my judgement but I don’t know how much time I have in this world. That is why I wanted to clarify, that many decisions made by the jury this year was wrong” You can listen to his comments here. Polish media are suggesting that the result marks a severe blow for Bron’s influence in the competition industry. Veriko Tchumburidze, who is 20, has received support from the Güher-Süher Pekinels Young Musicians on World Stages project. She plays a 1756 violin made by Giambattista Guadagnini, on loan from a German foundation.
The Nose, The Royal Opera © ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper (cropped) Madness & mischief @TheRoyalOpera 's The Nose: the tap dancers & Martin Winkler were especially mag-SNIFF-ficent — Sam Cobb (@samjeancobb) October 20, 2016 Shostakovich's music in a snuffbox: moments of acerbic beauty, but numbing tedium despite manic activity. Powerful odd production. #ROHNose — Andrew Mitchell (@chaconato) October 21, 2016 the most insane thing i've ever scene! #NOSE @TheRoyalOpera pic.twitter.com/jpncA0KQGv — Melinda Hughes (@melhugsopera) October 20, 2016 The Nose, The Royal Opera © ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper A chorus line of noses tap dancing across the ROH stage is possibly the best sight ion the theatrical year in London. #ROHnose — Amanda Kendal (@AmandaKendal) October 20, 2016 So #ROHNose was wonderfully bizarre. Some great singing, but the narrative got lost at the start of Act III I feel — Jack (@MahlerMad) October 21, 2016 Crazy, genius, unique, virtuosic. WOW! #ROHnose — Ed Beveridge (@dredbeveridge) October 20, 2016 The Nose, The Royal Opera © ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper General consensus among the audience @RoyalOperaHouse tonight - they've never seen anything quite like #ROHNose before! — Attila (@attilalondon) October 20, 2016 I'm not sure what just happened, but I liked it...! #ROHNose — Shuna Scott Sendall (@sss_opus) October 20, 2016 Incredible musicianship, brilliant choreography, totally hilarious #ROHNose @RoyalOperaHouse - GET A TICKET: THAT IS AN ORDER! — David Coronel (@King_Ouf_I) October 17, 2016 Press Reviews Bachtrack ★★★★★ The Times ★★★★★ Evening Standard ★★★★ The Stage ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★ The Telegraph ★★★ What did you think of The Nose? Share your thoughts via the comments below. The Nose runs until 9 November 2016. Tickets are still available . The Nose is a co-production with Komische Oper Berlin and Opera Australia. The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Hamish and Sophie Forsyth, The Tsukanov Family Foundation and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.
In DmitriyShostakovich The Nose at the Royal Opera House, London, it wasn't just Kovalov's nose that got cut. This production was a mutilation, The Nose as Eunuch, the opera stripped of its vital, creative essence. In Gogol's original story, Kovalov is a "collegiate assessor", a petty bureaucrat who passes judgement, based on surface values. His Nose, however, has other ideas and runs away, taking on a life of its own, more adventurously led than its supposed owner's. The nose of a person's face defines their outward appearance. Kovalov's nose shows him up for what he is, or isn't. And, by extension, the whole social order. The Nose is not comedy, it's savage satire. Miss that and miss its fundamental, pungent purpose. No excuses. Shostakovich is hardly an unknown composer. Moreover, The Nose,was created at a time of exceptional artistic freedom in the early years of the Revolution, when the Soviet dream represented ideals and progressive change. Futurism, expressionism, modernity, Eisenstein, Bulgakov, Mayakovsky. Shostakovich was only 20 when the piece was written, still full of courage and hope. But even those who don't know the background have only to pay attention to the music to get it. Shostakovich's score explodes with inventiveness and zany experiment. It begins with a fanfare and the roll of drums, like Grand Opera, but opens onto mundane scenes in mundane lives. David Pountney's translation respects the image of smell. Something's off , rotting perhaps, even though we can't see it. Despite the exuberant scoring deliberately more circus than High Art, The Nose parodies the rich tradition of Russian opera. There's relatively little singing, and what there is is shrill and distorted, closer to Sprechstimme than to aria. Significantly, some of the best music for voice lies in the choruses, who represent the "ordinary" masses, and in the vignettes for subsidiary characters, all of them characterized with great gusto. The Nose may also be the Royal Opera House's tribute to John Tomlinson, who will never sing again but can still hold an audience spellbound by his incisive acting in multiple roles, a good foil for Martin Winkler's Kovalov, whose identity remains constant throughout proceedings. Part of this story is about Kovalov's supine personality, in contrast to the vivacious spontaneity of his Nose, who doesn't give a stuff about propriety and the right way to do things. Winkler's a good singer, which made his performance piquant. The innate authority in Winkler's voice suggested that there might, somehow, be depth in Kovalov, if only he wasn't so repressed. The vignettes were also well performed : honours to the ever popular Wolfgang Ablingrer-Sperrhacke, but also to the sturdy regulars of the ROH company, without whom the ROH would not be what is is. The choruses, needless to say, were superb. The extremes in Shostakovich's score should also alert any listener to the true nature of the piece. The famous Percussion interlude pounded violently: it might suggest Kovalov's approaching nightmare, or perhaps the tension the Nose feels as it's about to break way. Words would be superfluous. This isn't "comfort listening". Ingo Metzmacher's conducting was idiomatic and utterly expressive. The angular, jagged edges in this music are absolutely part of the meaning of this opera, as are the bluesy distortions, especially in the brass, where the lines of convention are eroded. Horns and trumpets blowing raspberries, just as The Nose treats Kovalov with jaunty irreverence. Wonderful playing from the Royal Opera House orchestra, who sounded as though they were having a wonderful time, escaping, like The Nose, from standard repertoire. Shostakovich's instrumentation is deliberately bizarre. Famously, he employed a Flexatone, a kind of whirring saw whose wailing timbre suits the craziness in the plot. He also uses a xylophone, a balalaika, a whistle and castanets, and weaves these in well with the rest of the orchestra. The high woodwinds, for example, chuckle and chatter in frantic staccato, the strings scream. This manic instrumentation reflects the plot, too, in its depiction of the variety and diversity of life beyond Kovalov's narrow horizons. Wild as the music is, it would be a mistake to assume that undisciplined playing would be in order. Quite the contrary. Metzmacher pulls the wildness together so the colours stay vivid, and the players operate in relationship to each other. Again, this precision reflects the dance element in the opera, so very much a fundamental to its meaning. The Nose was created for the Mariinsky and its excellent corps de ballet. Dancers can't do free for all, or they'd collapse in an unco-ordinated heap. The tightness of Metzmacher's conducting gave them firm support so they could do their artistic thing, knowing they could rely on the pulse in the orchestra. Absolutely fabulous choreography (Otto Pichler) and wonderfully executed dancing from the members of the Royal Ballet. Who can forget the chorus line of high-kicking Noses. The Nose itself was Ilan Galkoff. For me, the high point was the ensemble of Eunuchs, a flamboyant drag act. I loved their physicality: the animal energy in those limbs expressing the freedom the Nose represents! Wonderful performances all round: the Royal Opera House at its best. The disappointment, though, was the banality of the staging,directed by Barry Kosky. Presenting Shostakovich, and especially The Nose as feelgood West End Song and Dance Act is a travesty, a total denial of everything the piece stands for. Kosky is popular because he gives punters what they want, nice things to look at without engaging their minds. Obviously there's a market for that, but it's a betrayal of The Nose and everything it stands for. The Nose isn't specifically Russian or Soviet, though those elements are relevant, but its primary focus is on the way society operates through group think , based on shallow surface appearances. So what do we get ? A Nose dedicated to unquestioning superficiality. All those wonderful individual performances but built on the dead heart of a clueless concept. Audiences assume Regie means costumes, and updating, but what it really means is whether the visuals contribute to the expression of meaning. Kosky's The Nose is bad Regie because it ignores the basic ideas behind the opera, its music and its composer. We live in times when artistic integrity doesn't count for much and mob populism rules. So a lot more is at stake than just opera. All directors have their signatures, just like conductors and singers make an individual stamp. Kosky's reminds me of Tracey Emin's unmade bed. Wildly popular, but who needs the whiff of stale emissions and sordid self obsession? We've all "been there" but most of us grow up and do other things. But the punters like it, so it must be art. That is why, for me, Eunuch The Nose was a deal breaker.
Royal Opera House, London Barrie Kosky’s take on Shostakovich’s satire is imaginative and brilliant but it sacrifices the opera’s deeper meaning Shostakovich’s First Symphony and his first opera, The Nose, point in the modernist direction his later music might have taken, had he not so spectacularly fallen foul of the Soviet regime. But the talent so brilliantly announced in the symphony always seems less controlled and focused in The Nose. Gogol’s surreal, sardonic short story about the bureaucrat Kovalov and his increasingly desperate efforts to be reunited with his errant organ may have been a perfect match to Shostakovich’s precocious brilliance, but the breathless energy in the score – with its manic gallops and insidious ostinatos, winding chorales and dissonant outbursts – sometimes betrays a composer in his early 20s trying a bit too hard to make his name. Related: Rehearsals for The Nose at the Royal Opera – in pictures Continue reading...
Shostakovich’s surreal satire tells of a missing nose that causes chaos in St Petersburg. Director Barrie Kosky makes his Covent Garden debut with the new production that opens on 20 October. The Guardian’s Tristram Kenton had exclusive access to the final week of rehearsals Continue reading...
When it comes to expressing emotion, Cellist Gautier Capucon has no equal. Now he is out with a new recording: Beethoven: Cello Sonatas and Variations Beethoven: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (complete) Variations (12) on “See the conquering hero comes” for Cello and Piano, WoO 45 Variations (7) on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen”, for Cello and Piano, WoO 46 Variations (12) on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” for Cello and Piano, Op. 66 All performed by Gautier Capuçon (cello) and Frank Braley (piano) Following after last year’s live recording of the Shostakovich cello concertos, this album sees Gautier return to the studio with his friend and recital partner of many years, Frank Braley, in a program of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Cello and Piano. In addition the album includes Beethoven’s wonderful variations on three different themes – two on arias from Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte, and the other from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus. Here is Mr. Capucon in Beethoven’s Cello Sonata number 2:
Dmitri Shostakovich (25 September 1906 - 9 August 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the Stalinist bureaucracy. In 1936, the government, most probably under orders from Stalin, harshly criticized his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, causing him to withdraw the Fourth Symphony during its rehearsal stages. Shostakovich's music was officially denounced twice, in 1936 and 1948, and was periodically banned. After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Gustav Mahler). Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His symphonic work is typically complex and requires large scale orchestras. Music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two pieces for a string octet, and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, and a substantial quantity of film music.
Great composers of classical music