In Opera Holland Park’s Amico Fritz, the love duets rule

In an age where maximum noise and drama seems to be a prerequisite to an opera’s success, Amico Fritz might be regarded as the cuckoo in the nest. Its pastoral, gentle story-line is likely to pass most opera goers by. Opera Holland Park on the other hand is championing Mascagni’s work in a new production – presenting…

Brahms Third Symphony – a well-kept secret

Brahms wrote his Symphony no.3 in F major in 1883, at the height of his career. Though it was a great hit with nineteenth-century audiences, very little is known about the sources of this mature work today. We do know that the notoriously secretive composer wrote it in Wiesbaden, a picturesque Rhine resort, and that…

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…

Yu Kosuge in her element with ‘Wind’ album

Yu Kosuge’s new album ‘Wind’, is the pianist’s third album devoted to the four elements of nature. Water (Volume 1) and Fire (Volume 2) preceded on the Orchid Classics label. This feels like a very personal project for 37-year-old Kosuge, who has a long, successful piano performing career behind her. It all started when she was…

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…

April Frederick and ESO Latest Recording Impresses

After performing Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with English Symphony Orchestra in March of last year, soprano, April Frederick, went down with Covid. For a month she was unable to sing due to numbing fatigue.  On the 26th July she returned to singing, recording Strauss’s magnificent songs on a new album called Visions of Childhood with ESO. This is an astonishingly…

César Franck’s Cello Sonata

  After the Paris Commune came to an end in 1871 and right up to the First World War, Paris enjoyed a period of frenzied reconstruction and renewal. Paris’s renaissance is referred to today as la Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Era). Most memorable were the universal exhibitions that took place during this period of great optimism,…

Divine Debussy and Messiaen

Photograph by Jasper Grijpink Regards Sur L’Infini was recorded by soprano, Katharine Dain, and pianist, Sam Armstrong, during the first lockdown of this year and is a remarkable tribute to Claude Debussy and Olivier Messiaen. In many respects this musical project is a quite a feat for Dain. Both Debussy’s and Messiaen’s vocal work is…

Tenor Dmytro Popov hitting high notes of his career

The Ukranian opera tenor Dmytro Popov might not be someone you will have heard of. Now entering his forth decade and therefore relatively young in opera years, he has spent much of his time outside the UK, singing lead roles in the world’s most prestigious opera houses. His stupendous vocal abilities were noticed very early…

Spired and emotional: the Oxford Lieder Festival 2020

On paper, the Oxford Lieder festival (wholly online this year, for contagious reasons) ended about a month ago. But not for me. Right up to the last minute, I’ve been extracting the maximum value I possibly can from my catch-up pass, viewing as many concerts as possible before the on-demand video archive finally vanishes from…