Insula Orchestra presents Fidelio at the Barbican on its European tour

In a special one-nighter, Paris-based orchestra, Insula, performed its new, semi-staged production of Fidelio at the Barbican this week. Insula’s stop-off in London was part of Insula’s European tour, which ends in a staged version of the opera in Paris’s new concert hall, La Seine Musicale on 14th, 16th and 18th May In opera, semi-staged can mean as little as a…

Fashioning Masculinities at the Victoria and Albert Museum

With its latest exhibition Fashioning Masculinities, the Victoria and Albert Museum traces the paths of masculinity through clothes (historical mostly) objects, film, and painting, from the 16th century to today. I admit to having been a little sceptical about the enterprise, fearing that it would be too much of a challenge to cover such a broad topic…

Kitchen-sink drama: Handel, ‘Theodora’, at the Royal Opera House

Handel’s ‘Theodora’ is an oratorio. In other (well, more) words, it’s a vocal/choral work that would normally have a plot at its core, but presented as a purely aural experience. Traditionally, oratorios would be sung in concert with no staging, movement, or action to speak of. The music must propel any narrative, drive every reaction,…

Hogarth and Europe. A rewarding show at Tate Britain

               Hogarth’s ‘Marriage-A-La-Mode 2 – The Tête à Tête 1743 I am always happy to revisit Hogarth’s work. His irreverent paintings and prints seem more alive today in our age of political correctness.  Hogarth and Europe at Tate Britain contains sixty Hogarth works, some of them new to the…

‘Historical Fiction’ Forshaw brings sax to the baroque.

Karine Hetherington from ArtMuseLondon caught up with composer and saxophonist, Christian Forshaw, and soprano Grace Davidson, shortly before the release of their latest album, Historical Fiction. Christian’s arrangement of Handel’s ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’ has already attracted 36,000 views on YouTube and was featured on Classic FM.  Christian and Grace, what are your earliest musical memories? C: Beatles and choral…

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…

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…

Soprano Katharina Konradi sings Schubert, Strauss and Mozart

You may be forgiven for not having heard of soprano, Katharina Konradi. Brought up in the mountainous republic of Kyrgyzstan, Konradi left her homeland in Central Asia in her teens, to go and live in Germany. Since then her star has been steadily rising, in Europe mostly. Her successes in singing competitions has earned her…