Thrilling Staging of Puccini’s Le Villi at Opera Holland Park

Every year Opera Holland Park presents a new double bill of short opera. It’s a neat endeavour as it introduces audiences to opera that might not otherwise have seen the light of performance. In the hands of new creatives, singers and musicians, the bite-size works, lasting no more than forty-five minutes, give interesting insights into…

Picture This : Featuring Artist Oliver Merrington

The original idea for this painting, which is part of a series, started with images of polluted skies and landscapes blacked by industrial waste. The bright colours of chemicals being poured into rivers and streams for example.   When I start painting, I have these images in my head, that evolve very quickly and become something…

Get ‘Carta’: Xuefei Yang, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Clark Rundell perform the works of John Brunning

This is an elegant, ravishing album. On first encounter, it might place you firmly in a ‘traditional’ British orchestral soundworld, and lovers of that heritage should investigate this without hesitation. However, there are mysteries and idiosyncrasies waiting to be discovered on further listens – and no wonder, given Xuefei Yang’s distinctive brilliance and composer John…

The Cutty Sark hosts Elgar and Vaughan Williams

The Cutty Sark has always captured the public imagination and one can see why. For one, it is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper. It still is an impressive sight at its dry dock in Greenwich, with its three raking masts, intricate rigging, and elegant, stream-lined hull, which, in its time, cut through the waves…

Apart songs: Carolyn Sampson & Kristian Bezuidenhout, ‘Trennung’

Given the musicians involved, it should come as no surprise to learn that ‘Trennung’ is an immaculately crafted and beautifully performed album. But it’s also an unusual record, turning up at the party dressed as a recital disc, but as time goes on, revealing more and more of its unique character. It’s a considerable sonic…

Every Good Boy Does Fine – A Love Story, in Music Lessons

Every Good Boy Does Fine, the title of pianist Jeremy Denk’s recently-published memoir, will be familiar to anyone who had piano lessons as a child. It’s a mnemonic of the notes e, g, b, d and f which sit on the lines of the treble clef – other variants include Every Good Boy Deserves Favour…

Stephen Hough plays Schubert

Piano Sonatas D664, 769a & 894 – Stephen Hough (piano). Hyperion, 2022 Schubert’s  “heavenly length”, a term coined by Schumann specifically in relation to Schubert’s ‘Great’ C major Symphony,  is also very much in evidence in the late piano sonatas, whose first movements can last as long as an entire Beethoven sonata.  There is a…

Young Artists provide a compelling Onegin at Opera Holland Park

Opera Holland Park has been mentoring young singers and conductors for a decade now and its efforts to nurture burgeoning talent continue to bear fruit.  Young Artists performing Tchaikovsky’s Onegin impressed this week, the principal singers providing intriguing insights into the roles of Tatiana, Olga, Lensky and Onegin. Rory Musgrave’s Onegin in particular drew attention. For his…