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Dmitri Shostakovich

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

April 7

Label news: Noseda to record all Shostakovich symphonies

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discGianandrea Noseda announced last night that he plans to record the 15 Shostakovich symphonies for the LSO Live label over the next few seasons. This is an intriguing prospect on several counts. Noseda spent 10 years as resident conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre and is fluent in Russian language and culture. His take on the complete Shostakovich will come up against evolving cycles from Vasily Petrenko in Liverpool (on Naxos) and Andris Nelsons in Boston (on DG). There’s a prospect of really fruitful contrasts. photo: Teatro Reggio, Torino Noseda is incoming music director at the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington and principal guest with the LSO.

Classical iconoclast

April 22

Formula saves the BBC Proms !

Formula saves the BBC Proms 2017!  This may be the beginning of the end for Sir Henry Wood's dreams of the Proms as serious music. Fortunately The Formula, perfected by much-maligned Roger Wright, is strong enough to withstand the anti-music agendas of the suits and robots who now run the Proms.  Shame on those who rely on formula instead of talent, but in dire straits, autopilot can save things from falling apart.  So, sift through the detritus of gimmick and gameshow to find things worth saving   (Read here what I wrote about The Formula)   Danierl Barenboim is a Proms perennial, for good reason, so we can rely on his two Elgar Proms (16 and 17 July) especially the Sunday one which features a new work by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Deep Time, which at 25 minutes should be substantial  Pascal Dusapin's Outscape on 19/7, 28 minutes, also substantial Anotherr "regular" Proms opera, Fidelio on 21/7, with a superlative cast headed by Stuart Skelton and Ricarda Merbeth, tho' Juanjo Mena conducts  Ilan Volkov conducts Julian Anderson's new Piano Concerto on 26/7 , tho's the rest of the programme, though good isn't neccesarily Volkov's forte  On 29/7 Mark Wigglesworth conducts David Sawer's The Greatest Happiness Principle  On 31/7, Monteverdi Vespers with French baroque specialists Pygmalion   On 1/8, William Christie conducts the OAE in Handel Israel in Egypt and on 2/8, John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists do Bach and my beloved Heinrich Schütz.  On 8/8 Gardiner returns with Berlioz The Damnation of Faust, with Michael Spyres. First of this year's four Mahlers is Mahler's Tenth (Cooke) with  Thomas Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra  Robin Ticciati, back with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on 15/8 with an interesting pairing, Thomas Larcher Nocturne-Insomnia with Schumann Symphony no 2.   Throughout this season, there are odd mismatches between repertoire and performers, good conductors doing routine material, less good conductors doing safe and indestructable. Fortunately, baroque and specialist  music seem immune.  See above ! and also the Prom featuring Lalo, Délibes and Saint-Saëns with François Xavier-Roth and Les Siècles on 16/8   Perhaps these Proms attract  audiences who care what they're listening to  Schoenberg's Gurrelieder on 19/8 with Simon Rattle, whose recording many years back remains a classic but may not be known to whoever described the piece in the programme "Gurrelieder is Schoenberg’s Tristan and Isolde, an opulent, late-Romantic giant."  Possibly the same folk who dreamed up the tag "Reformation Day" like Nigel Faarage's "Independence Day" Nothing in life is that simplistic  The music's OK, but notn the marketing. Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC SO in Elgar Symphony no 3 (Anthony Payne) on 22/8   Potentially this will be even bigger than the Barenboim Elgar symphonies, since Oramo is particularly good with this symphony, which may not be as high profile but is certainly highly regarded by those who love Elgar   On 26/8, Jakub Hrůša conducts the BBC SO in an extremely well chosen programme of Suk, Smetana, Martinů, Janáček and Dvorák   More BBCSO on 31/8 when Semyon Bychkov conducts a Russian programme  Marketing guff seems to make a big deal of national stereotypes, which is short sighted  These programmes cohere musically, but that's perhaps too much to expect from the new Proms mindset On 1/9,  Daniele Gatti conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Bruckner and Wolfgang Rihm  An odd pairing but one which will come off well since these musicians know what they're doing They are back again on 2/9 with  Haydn "The Bear" and Mahler Fourth  which isn't "sunny" or "song-filled".  It's Mahler,  not a musical.  Gergiev brings the Mariinsky on 3/9 with Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich Symphony no 5.  Another huge highlight on 7/9 : The Wiener Philharmoniker, with Daniel Harding in Mahler Symphony no 6 - so powerful that nothing else needs to be added to sugar the pill   For me, and for many others, that will be the real :Last Night of the Proms   Party time the next day, with Nina Stemme as star guest     




On An Overgrown Path

April 19

Different trains for different times

In Different Trains Steve Reich juxtaposed his music with reminiscences about the Holocaust to create a contemporary masterpiece. In Letters from Iraq the Iraqi-American composer and oud player Rahim AlHaj takes the reminiscences of those - including himself - who have suffered in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. led invasion as inspiration for eight instrumental tone poems; sample below. Letters from Iraq draws on both Middle Eastern and Western musical traditions and is scored for oud, percussion and a string quintet which for the newly-released recording was drawn from members of the New Mexico Philharmonic. The album is on the Smithsonian Folkways label and the 40 page booklet includes striking paintings by Iraqi visual artist Riyadh Neam. Rahim AlHaj explains that: “Music can make us laugh, make us cry, make us march into war. I want to make music to make us realize peace”. Letters from Iraq is protest music par excellence with one of the tone poems depicting the carnage of a car bomb explosion witnessed by Alhaj’s nephew, who could not flee the scene because he was born with underdeveloped legs. Steve Reich's Different Trains and Dmitri Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony speak powerfully of past humanitarian tragedies, while Letters from Iraq speaks powerfully of a contemporary humanitarian tragedy. Writing about Rahim AlHaj's first album for Smithsonian Folkways, I deplored how the contemporary culture of the conflict-torn Middle East is becoming increasingly marginalised, and in another post highlighting a new release by exiled Syrian musicians, I pointed out that important music is growing in the killing fields. Letters from Iraq is yet another reminder that the Western classical tradition does not have a monopoly on music that is deeply moving and relevant to our contemporary predicament. No review samples used. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.



Royal Opera House

April 11

What makes a good dance score?

Artists of The Royal Ballet in ‘Rubies’ from Jewels, The Royal Ballet © 2017 ROH. Photograph by Alastair Muir. There are certainly two composers most indelibly associated with ballet: Tchaikovsky , the composer of Swan Lake , The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty ; and Stravinsky , the man behind The Firebird , Petrushka , The Rite of Spring and so many others. In the second and third parts of Jewels , choreographer George Balanchine turned to these two musical greats, but he did not use ballet music: he used music they had written for the concert hall. There is still something about these scores, however, that makes them perfect for dance, from the graceful lilt of Tchaikovsky’s polonaise to the vivacity of Stravinsky’s finale. And there are certain other composers, too, whose music seems to attract choreographers particularly often: Rachmaninoff , Chopin , Bach … not to mention the minimalists . What it is, then, that makes music suitable for dance? What makes good ballet music? We asked people from across The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House what they thought. Hear from: Romany Pajdak , First Artist of The Royal Ballet Liam Scarlett , Artist in Residence of The Royal Ballet Koen Kessels , Music Director of The Royal Ballet Peter Manning , Concert Master of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Zenaida Yanowsky , Principal of The Royal Ballet Romany Pajdak , First Artist of The Royal Ballet There is so much soul and feeling in Tchaikovsky's music, from joyous ecstasy to heart-rending sorrow and all the shades in between. I’m not sure there is a definitive answer, nor a particular set of rules that one could follow for the ideal score. Tchaikovsky did write some of the most iconic ballet music in direct response to detailed scenarios. His Serenade for Strings, however, was not written with dance in mind and yet Balanchine’s response to it is my all-time favourite work to dance. The joy of dancing to Tchaikovsky comes from the emotional depth of his work. For me there is so much soul and feeling in his music, from joyous ecstasy to heart-rending sorrow and all the shades in between, that I only know how to acknowledge through moving. The work I most respond to as a dancer tends to have this emotional resonance. However, the great joy of dancing with The Royal Ballet, with such a vast repertory and versatile orchestra, is that one experiences so much different music. The rhythmic playfulness of Stravinsky, the melodic complexity of Shostakovich and the use of space and time in Max Richter ’s work all inspire and challenge choreographers in different ways. Pieces of music I had never thought of dancing to, when seen and heard through the eyes and ears of a choreographer, suddenly become accessible, and a new realm of appreciation opens up. Just as in the wider world, it takes all kinds. Romany Pajdak in rehearsal for Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2014 Liam Scarlett , Artist in Residence, The Royal Ballet Scarlett is currently working on a new work for The Royal Ballet, Symphonic Dances , to music by Rachmaninoff. The more you listen to Rachmaninoff's music, the more you realize its complexity. It’s up to a choreographer to know when something can be choreographed, and when it can’t. Symphonic Dances is the fourth time I’ve used Rachmaninoff’s music , but I think I’ll always steer clear of the concertos and the symphonies, which are just so epic, so huge. With Symphonic Dances, I think Rachmaninoff imagined that there might be movement associated with it – it’s in the title. All of his music is so beautiful and lavish; it has a very Russian opulence to it, and it’s huge in scale. I think he was very aware of his heritage and his predecessors, so while Tchaikovsky has some soaring melodies, Rachmaninoff goes even deeper with his. There are certain pieces of music where the first thing you think is how hard they are, but in my eyes that’s not a good thing. Similarly, with ballet, you don’t want it to look difficult – there’s nothing worse than an audience waiting for the dancers to mess up. In a circus, a tightrope walker might find what they do easy, but they make it look difficult, to keep the audience excited. But in ballet you can’t do that – you put effort into it, but to make it look effortless. It’s the same with Rachmaninoff’s music : while it is technically very hard, for me it doesn’t sound difficult for difficult’s sake. You don’t notice the level of craftsmanship behind it to begin with: the more you listen to it, the more you realize its complexity. Steven McRae and Laura Morera in Sweet Violets © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2014 Koen Kessels , Music Director of The Royal Ballet The relationship between choreographer and composer is key for a good ballet score. The relationship between choreographer and composer is key for a good ballet score, whether it is written for ballet or not, and whether the composer is alive or dead. The music of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, always theatrical, suits choreographers so well because it gives them the imaginative freedom to explore everything from form, to emotion, to narrative. Their ballet music is symphonic, and their concert music is born out of their theatrical passion. Tchaikovsky pored over scores borrowed from the Moscow theatre library, and Stravinsky, born in the ‘wings’, started out making orchestrations for Les Sylphides (from Chopin’s Nocturne op.32 no.2 and Grande Valse brillante op.18) – his reward was writing a new ballet, The Firebird. Both were rather unimpressed by the limitations imposed by the ballet masters of the Russian Imperial theatres (lists of dances, indications of tempi, describing the narrative...). They even initiated the concept for ballets and insisted on working collaboratively with choreographers on the scenario and the dramaturgy. And both gained the respect of choreographers in the creative process, meaning that they did not have to adapt their scores that much to specific requests. Today, such composers as Thomas Adès (with his cataclysmic Polaris from 2011, choreographed by Crystal Pite in 2014) and Esa-Pekka Salonen (Nyx, 2012, choreographed by Wayne McGregor in 2016) may not be so obsessively dance-minded, but both are conductors working in the theatre, and both use a truly communicative language. Hence their fruitful collaboration with choreographers. Meanwhile, Bach’s music, with its supreme structure and architectural perfection, still sounds contemporary, and it’s no surprise that he continues to inspire new ways to express emotion and movement. Peter Manning , Concert Master of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House To create magic we must always explore style, content, effect, narrative and technical possibility, and the time of the music’s composition. Conversations with choreographers are vital in choosing ballet music and among the greatest artistic explorations we have. I had the honour of being taught some years ago by a great musician, the violinist Nathan Milstein , whose love of ballet allowed him to form a close relationship with Balanchine. It was this relationship that led to Balanchine’s outpouring of Stravinsky ballets. Those discussions must have been fascinating. The challenge is to find music that contains the idea of rhythmic dance and shape, alongside flowing and lyric movement. Simply put, there is almost too much music to choose from, and to create magic we must always explore style, content, effect, narrative and technical possibility, and the time of the music’s composition. In the finale of Schubert ’s Ninth Symphony, for example – used by William Forsythe in The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude – we can see the episodic nature of the writing: muscular, with rhythmic punctuation, but also with interludes of pure lyricism, and a long crescendo of intensity, speed and emotion… . In one movement we glimpse another world, and the mixture of forms creates its own dynamic. As Concert Master I am fully aware that in the musical canon there is an A–Z of emotions and rhythms, and we have 800 years or more of compositions to choose from, as well as music fresh off the press. When music is brought to sit perfectly with choreography, something of great magic and importance can flow. At The Royal Ballet we experience the pure joy of mixing music with dance, and it is a great privilege working to help maintain the classics, as well as exploring the fresh, new and vital. Zenaida Yanowsky , Principal of The Royal Ballet I don’t believe there’s such thing as ‘ballet music’. We like to think that rhythmic music is best suited for dance, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the movement itself is rhythmic and the music is not, as in Flight Pattern . Choreographers have a tendency to use more intuitive music to create work and that’s maybe because our brains would have to work too hard otherwise. Having to decipher the sound and the movement at once means you have to make so many fast connections! I don’t believe there’s such thing as ‘ballet music’, though... more, just the sound that will complement the choreographer’s vision and will intertwine with the movement to create and achieve an emotional goal. There are some immense pieces of music I would like to see and dance to. Thomas Adès’s Totentanz is one of them. What do you think makes a piece of music perfect for ballet? Add your thoughts in the comments below. Jewels runs until 21 April 2017. Tickets are still available. The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Julia and Hans Rausing, Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, Lady Ashcroft, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, Peter Lloyd and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund. Symphonic Dances and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude appear in a mixed programme with Tarantella and Strapless 18–31 May 2017. Tickets are still available. The mixed programme is given with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund; Symphonic Dances with generous philanthropic support from Simon and Virginia Robertson, Victoria Robey and the New Scarlett Production Syndicate, with additional philanthropic support from the JP Jacobs Charitable Trust; and for Strapless Christopher Wheeldon’s Position as Artistic Associate is generously supported by Kenneth and Susan Green, with generous philanthropic support from Mr and Mrs Edward Atkin CBE.

Royal Opera House

April 5

Opera and Music at the Royal Opera House 2017/18

Antonio Pappano © Sim Canetty-Clarke/ROH 2011 Details of The Royal Opera's 2017/18 Season have been announced. The full production list is as follows: La bohème NEW PRODUCTION 11 September–10 October 2017, 16 June–20 July 2018 (Live in cinemas 3 October 2017) Music: Giacomo Puccini Director: Richard Jones Conductors: Antonio Pappano / Paul Wynne Griffiths / Nicola Luisotti Richard Jones directs a new production of Puccini’s passionate opera of love and death in 19th-century Paris. Mimì – Nicole Car / Simona Mihai / Maria Agresta / Ekaterina Siurina Rodolfo – Michael Fabiano / Benjamin Bernheim / Matthew Polenzani / Atalla Ayan Marcello – Mariusz Kwiecień / Alessio Arduini / Andrei Bondarenko Musetta – Nadine Sierra / Danielle de Niese / Vlada Borovko Schaunard – Florian Sempey / Gyula Nagy / Duncan Rock / Rodion Pogossov Colline – Luca Tittoto / Fernando Javier Radó / In Sung Sim Benoît – Jeremy White Alcindoro – Wyn Pencarreg Die Zauberflöte 12 September—14 October 2017 (Live in cinemas 20 September 2017) Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Director: David McVicar Conductors: Julia Jones / Richard Hetherington Julia Jones conducts The Royal Opera’s gorgeous production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with two wonderful casts including Roderick Williams as Papageno and Janai Brugger as Pamina. Pamina – Siobhan Stagg / Janai Brugger Tamino – Mauro Peter / Tuomas Katajala Papageno – Roderick Williams / Florian Sempey Sarastro – Mika Kares / In Sung Sim Queen of the Night – Sabine Devieilhe / Christina Poulitsi First Lady – Rebecca Evans / Jennifer Davis Second Lady – Angela Simkin Third Lady – Susan Platts / Gaynor Keeble Monostatos – Peter Bronder / Peter Hoare Papagena – Christina Gansch / Haegee Lee Speaker of the Temple – Sebastian Holecek / Darren Jeffery Les Vêpres siciliennes 12 October–4 November 2017 Music: Giuseppe Verdi Director: Stefan Herheim Conductor: Maurizio Benini Verdi’s spectacular grand opera is conducted by Maurizio Benini with a cast including Malin Byström and Rachele Stanisci, Bryan Hymel, Michael Volle and Erwin Schrott. Hélène – Malin Byström / Rachele Stanisci Henri – Bryan Hymel Jean Procida – Erwin Schrott Guy de Montfort – Michael Volle Ninetta – Michelle Daly Daniéli – Nico Darmanin Thibault – Neal Cooper Robert – Jihoon Kim Mainfroid – Samuel Sakker Le Sire de Béthune – Simon Shibambu Le Comte de Vaudemont – Jeremy White Lucia di Lammermoor 30 October–27 November 2017 Music: Gaetano Donizetti Director: Katie Mitchell Conductor: Michele Mariotti Donizetti’s opera of a woman forced to breaking point is conducted by Michele Mariotti with a cast including Lisette Oropesa, Charles Castronovo and Christopher Maltman, in Katie Mitchell’s powerful production. Lucia – Lisette Oropesa Edgardo – Charles Castronovo / Ismael Jordi Enrico Ashton – Christopher Maltman Raimondo Bidebent – Michele Pertusi Normanno – Andrew Tortise Arturo Bucklaw – Konu Kim Alisa – Rachael Lloyd La Tragédie de Carmen NEW PRODUCTION 3–14 November 2017 (Wilton’s Music Hall) Music: Georges Bizet Director: Gerard Jones Conductor: James Hendry The youthful stars of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme perform Peter Brook’s radical reworking of Georges Bizet’s opera in the intimate setting of Wilton’s Music Hall. Carmen – Aigul Akhmetshina Don José – Thomas Atkins Escamillo – Gyula Nagy Micaela – Francesca Chiejina Semiramide NEW PRODUCTION 19 November—16 December 2017 Music: Gioachino Rossini Director: David Alden Conductors: Antonio Pappano / Christopher Willis Antonio Pappano conducts Rossini’s epic tragedy with a cast including Joyce DiDonato, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Daniela Barcellona and Lawrence Brownlee in a new production by David Alden. Semiramide – Joyce DiDonato Assur – Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Arsace – Daniela Barcellona Idreno – Lawrence Brownlee Azema – Jacquelyn Stucker Oroe – Bálint Szabó Mitrane – Konu Kim Nino's Ghost – Simon Shibambu Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci 29 November 2017—13 January 2018 Music: Pietro Mascagni / Ruggero Leoncavallo Director: Damiano Michieletto Conductor: Daniel Oren Catch this classic double bill of Italian opera in The Royal Opera’s Olivier Award-winning production, with Daniel Oren conducting two excellent casts. Santuzza – Elīna Garanča / Anna Pirozzi Turiddu – Bryan Hymel Mamma Lucia – Elena Zilio Alfio – Dimitri Platanias Lola – Martina Belli Canio – Fabio Sartori Tonio – Simon Keenlyside / Roberto Frontali Nedda – Carmen Giannattasio / Simona Mihai Silvio – Andrzej Filończyk / Samuel Dale Johnson Beppe – Luis Gomes Rigoletto 14 December 2017—16 January 2018 (Live in cinemas 16 January 2018) Music: Giuseppe Verdi Director: David McVicar Conductor: Alexander Joel Alexander Joel conducts two excellent casts led by Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Dimitri Platanias in David McVicar’s acclaimed production of Verdi’s potent and tragic opera. Duke of Mantua – Michael Fabiano / Ivan Magrì Rigoletto – Dmitri Hvorostovsky / Dimitri Platanias Gilda – Sofia Fomina / Lucy Crowe Sparafucile – Andrea Mastroni Maddalena – Nadia Krasteva Giovanna – Sarah Pring / Kathleen Wilkinson Count Monterone – James Rutherford / Darren Jeffery Marullo – Dominic Sedgwick Matteo Borsa – Thomas Atkins Count Ceprano – Simon Shibambu Countess Ceprano – Francesca Chiejina / Jacquelyn Stucker Salome 8–30 January 2018 Music: Richard Strauss Director: David McVicar Conductor: Henrik Nánási Malin Byström takes on the title role in Richard Strauss’s searing opera, as featured in the V&A exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics. Salome – Malin Byström Jokanaan – Michael Volle Herod – John Daszak Herodias – Michaela Schuster Narraboth – David Butt Philip Page of Herodias – Christina Bock First Jew – Dietmar Kerschbaum Second Jew – Thomas Atkins Third Jew – Hubert Francis Fourth Jew – Konu Kim Fifth Jew – Jeremy White First Soldier – Levente Páll Second Soldier – Alan Ewing First Nazarene – Kihwan Sim Second Nazarene – Dominic Sedgwick Cappadocian – John Cunningham The Return of Ulysses NEW PRODUCTION 10–21 January 2018 (Roundhouse) Music: Claudio Monteverdi Director: John Fulljames Conductor: Christian Curnyn The Royal Opera returns to the Roundhouse with Monteverdi’s great late work, in a new production directed by John Fulljames starring Christine Rice and Roderick Williams, sung in English. Ulysses – Roderick Williams Penelope – Christine Rice Telemachus – Samuel Boden Minerva – Catherine Carby Eurycleia – Susan Bickley Melantho – Francesca Chiejina Eurymachus – Andrew Tortise Eumaeus – Mark Milhofer Irus – Stuart Jackson Amphinomus – Nick Pritchard Peisander – Tai Oney Antinous – David Shipley Tosca 15 January—3 March 2018 (Live in cinemas 7 February 2018) Music: Giacomo Puccini Director: Jonathan Kent Conductors: Dan Ettinger / Plácido Domingo Three casts, led by Adrianne Pieczonka, Angela Gheorghiu and Martina Serafin and conducted by Dan Ettinger and Plácido Domingo, star in The Royal Opera’s production of Puccini’s thriller. Floria Tosca – Adrianne Pieczonka / Angela Gheorghiu / Martina Serafin Mario Cavaradossi – Joseph Calleja / Riccardo Massi / Massimo Giordano Baron Scarpia – Gerald Finley / Marco Vratogna Spoletta – Aled Hall / Hubert Francis Cesare Angelotti – Simon Shibambu Sacristan – Jeremy White Sciarrone – Jihoon Kim Carmen NEW PRODUCTION 6 February—16 March 2018 (Live in cinemas 6 March 2018) Music: Georges Bizet Director: Barrie Kosky Conductors: Jakub Hrůša / Christopher Willis Barrie Kosky directs Bizet’s much-loved opera, with Jakub Hrůša and Christopher Willis conducting two casts led by Anna Goryachova and Gaëlle Arquez in the title role. Carmen – Anna Goryachova / Gaëlle Arquez Don José – Francesco Meli / Andrea Carè Escamillo – Kostas Smoriginas / Alexey Markov Micaëla – Anett Fritsch / Susanna Hurrell Zuniga – David Soar / David Shipley Frasquita – Jacquelyn Stucker / Haegee Lee Mercédès – Angela Simkin / Aigul Akhmetshina Le Dancaïre – Pierre Doyen Moralès – Gyula Nagy / Dominic Sedgwick Le Remendado – Jean-Paul Fouchécourt From the House of the Dead NEW PRODUCTION 7–24 March 2018 Music: Leoš Janáček Director: Krzysztof Warlikowski Conductor: Teodor Currentzis Janáček’s final work receives its Royal Opera premiere in a new production directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, with Teodor Currentzis conducting an excellent cast including Johan Reuter and Willard W. White. Alexandr Petrovic Gorjancikov – Willard W. White Aljeja – Pascal Charbonneau Luka Kuzmic – Štefan Margita Skuratov – Ladislav Elgr Šiškov/Priest – Johan Reuter Prison Governor – Alexander Vassiliev Big Prisoner/Nikita – Nicky Spence Small Prisoner/Cook/Cekunov – Grant Doyle Elderly Prisoner – Graham Clark Voice – Konu Kim Drunk Prisoner – Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts Šapkin – Peter Hoare Prisoner/Kedril – John Graham-Hall Prisoner/Don Juan/Brahmin – Aleš Jenis Young Prisoner – Florian Hoffmann Prostitute – Rinat Shaham Cerevin – Alexander Kravets Macbeth 25 March—10 April 2018 (Live in cinemas 4 April 2018) Music: Giuseppe Verdi Director: Phyllida Lloyd Conductor: Antonio Pappano Antonio Pappano conducts Verdi’s opera on Shakespeare’s tragedy, with a magnificent cast including Anna Netrebko and Anna Pirozzi, Željko Lučić and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. Macbeth – Željko Lučić Lady Macbeth – Anna Netrebko / Anna Pirozzi Banquo – Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Macduff – Yusif Eyvazov / David Junghoon Kim Lady-in-waiting – Francesca Chiejina Malcolm – Konu Kim Doctor – Simon Shibambu Coraline WORLD PREMIERE 27 March—7 April 2018 (Barbican Theatre) Music: Mark-Anthony Turnage Director: Aletta Collins The world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera based on Neil Gaiman’s much-loved story, in a production at the Barbican directed by Aletta Collins. 4.48 Psychosis Dates TBC Music: Philip Venables Director: Ted Huffman Philip Venables’s award-winning opera is inspired by Sarah Kane’s extraordinary final play. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk 12–27 April 2018 Music: Dmitry Shostakovich Director: Richard Jones Conductor: Antonio Pappano Richard Jones’s critically acclaimed production returns after more than a decade, with Antonio Pappano conducting a cast led by Eva-Maria Westbroek in Shostakovich’s masterpiece. Katerina Ismailova – Eva-Maria Westbroek Sergey – Brandon Jovanovich Boris Ismailov – John Tomlinson Zinovy Ismailov – John Daszak Sonyetka – Aigul Akhmetshina Aksinya – Rosie Aldridge Shabby Peasant – Peter Bronder Priest – Wojtek Gierlach Police Inspector – Mikhail Svetlov Teacher – Thomas Atkins Old Convict – Paata Burchuladze Female Convict – Miranda Keys Sentry – Simon Shibambu Coachman/Second Workman – Hubert Francis Lessons in Love and Violence WORLD PREMIERE 10–26 May 2018 Music: George Benjamin Director: Katie Mitchell Conductor: George Benjamin George Benjamin conducts the world premiere of his new collaboration with Martin Crimp – a hotly anticipated work from the creators of Written on Skin, with an excellent, hand-picked cast. Samuel Boden Stéphane Degout Jennifer France Barbara Hannigan Peter Hoare Gyula Orendt Andri Björn Róbertsson Krisztina Szabó Tansy Davies and Nick Drake WORLD PREMIERE June 2018 (Printworks) Music: Tansy Davies Director: Lucy Bailey The latest opera from composer Tansy Davies and librettist Nick Drake, the award-winning team behind Between Worlds. Mamzer Bastard WORLD PREMIERE June 2018 Music: Na'ama Zisser The Royal Opera presents the world premiere of a new work by exciting young composer Na’ama Zisser, in a soundworld that thrillingly unites contemporary idioms with the music of Orthodox Hasidic Judaism. Lohengrin NEW PRODUCTION 7 June—1 July 2018 Music: Richard Wagner Director: David Alden Conductor: Andris Nelsons Wagner’s great romantic opera is conducted by Andris Nelsons with a cast including Klaus Florian Vogt, Kristine Opolais and Christine Goerke in a new production directed by David Alden. Lohengrin – Klaus Florian Vogt Elsa von Brabant – Kristine Opolais Ortrud – Christine Goerke Friedrich von Telramund – Thomas J. Mayer Heinrich I – Georg Zeppenfeld Herald – Kostas Smoriginas First Noble of Brabant – Konu Kim Second Noble of Brabant – Thomas Atkins Third Noble of Brabant – Gyula Nagy Fourth Noble of Brabant – Simon Shibambu Don Giovanni 29 June—17 July 2018 Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Director: Kasper Holten Conductor: Marc Minkowski In Mozart’s dazzling tragicomic opera, Marc Minkowski conducts a world-class cast led by Mariusz Kwiecień with Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Pavol Breslik and Hrachuhi Bassenz. Don Giovanni – Mariusz Kwiecień Leporello – Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Donna Anna – Rachel Willis-Sørensen Don Ottavio – Pavol Breslik Donna Elvira – Hrachuhi Bassenz Zerlina – Chen Reiss Masetto – Anatoli Sivko The Commendatore – Willard W. White Falstaff 7–21 July 2018 Music: Giuseppe Verdi Director: Robert Carsen Conductor: Nicola Luisotti Robert Carsen’s production of Verdi’s masterful comic opera is filled with wit, humour and sheer joie de vivre. Sir John Falstaff – Bryn Terfel Alice Ford – Ana María Martínez Ford – Simon Keenlyside Nannetta – Anna Prohaska Fenton – Frédéric Antoun Mistress Quickly – Marie-Nicole Lemieux Meg Page – Pamela Helen Stephen Dr Caius – Carlo Bosi Bardolfo – Michael Colvin Pistol – Craig Colclough Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance 2018 15 July 2018 The Jette Parker Young Artists return to the main stage in their annual summer performance. L'Ange de Nisida in concert 18–21 July 2018 Music: Gaetano Donizetti Conductor: Mark Elder Opera Rara gives the world premiere of Donizetti’s opera – some of which is familiar from La Favorite – in a concert performance starring Joyce El-Khoury and conducted by Mark Elder. Sylvia – Joyce El-Khoury Leone de Casaldi – David Junghoon Kim King Fernand of Naples – Ludovic Tézier Don Gaspar – Laurent Naouri Monk – Evgeny Stavinsky What are you most looking forward to in the 2017/18 Season? Let us know in the comments below or using the #ROH201718 hashtag on Twitter.

Dmitri Shostakovich
(1906 – 1975)

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.



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