English National Opera Announces 2021/22 Season

The English National Opera (ENO) has announced its 2021/22 main stage season. It heralds the ENO’s ambitious return to the London Coliseum following the coronavirus pandemic theatre closures. In line with our founding principle, the season has been designed to delight aficionados and newcomers alike, with a range of audience favourites and bold new productions….

Misery and Hope Through Motion | Visual Musings of William Blake’s ‘The Whirlwind of Lovers’

Guest post by Justin Pennington  Simply called the Commedia, Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth-century magnum opus has fascinated scholars since its conception. It has produced many artistic, literary, and psycho-analytical examinations of its concern with eschatology. For those unfamiliar with the poem’s structure, it is the Inferno, with the pilgrim’s journey through Hell, and the powerful visual…

Lieder column: some recent art song releases

A slight change of pace for this piece. Blogging is a privilege that allows us – without any oppressive deadlines or word count restrictions – to immerse ourselves in individual releases when approaching each article. That said, it also makes me acutely aware of those times when there’s a run of discs I love, and…

New recording of Arne’s Eighteenth Century Hit Impresses

I sat down to Arne: Artaxerxes over the Bank Holiday and believed, at first, that I was listening to a newly discovered Mozart opera. Young Mozart may well have seen  Artaxerxes in London in the mid-1760s when he was touring. He loved opera with a capital L and Thomas Arne’s hit work must have fuelled Mozart’s boyhood passion…

Soprano Malkin takes on motherhood

With her latest recording, This is Not a Lullaby, Dutch soprano, Channa Malkin, explores motherhood. On her album photograph, she perches on a high stool, in a beige baggy sweater, leaving her legs bare. Malkin, a new mother herself, is challenging the almost unshakeable image of the idealised mother and child, which requires women to…

Street Dance Has Come of Age

In January last year, I had the great pleasure of covering POPCityUK’s international Hip Hop and Popping 2020 competition in London. Hundreds of dancers descended on Shoreditch Town Hall. The artists ranged in age from 16 -30, and the variety of styles displayed that day, showed me that Hip Hop and Popping were more than…

Role players: Carolyn Sampson & Joseph Middleton, ‘Album für die Frau’

A great art song recital can be exactly that: top-notch performances of beautiful works. On this recording, we find Sampson in exquisite voice, Middleton’s playing as impeccable as ever, and the songs featured are a tribute to the duo’s ongoing flair for engaging, informative programming, live and on disc. However, this time round, the central…

Pastoral, personal, political: Sieben before, during and beyond lockdown

Matt Howden is a Sheffield-based singer, songwriter, composer, violinist, looping/sequencing technology expert, and teacher/practitioner of sound design and production. An independent, unstoppable musical force who somehow finds enough room under the radar to soar, he is always unpredictable, always reliable. One might have thought the restrictions imposed by the pandemic would slow him down a…

Piemontesi on record with Bach and Busoni

I first came across Francesco Piemontesi at the Wigmore Hall in 2016. The Swiss pianist, who was  thirty-three years old at the time, played Mozart with such precision and sensitivity that I was first in the queue to purchase his CD post-concert. The simply named, Mozart, probably gets the most play in my car. That Brendel had…