We tend to take a wide range of things for granted and immutable, as we never saw them being done on another way. However, things change. Who could imagine that in the 21st century we would be flying and using the internet? Ok, maybe Bartolomeu de Gusmao with his “Passarola” but he was a bit alone on that. Therefore, let me share with you five things that have changed with time, be it by a matter of taste or practicality.Read More
Opera might have emerged as a form of art to entertain the rich and powerful, but it soon became used as a way to express political and social discontent. You might think such liberties are only a product of the 20th century, but the fact is kings and governments throughout history have trembled and even fallen because of Opera.Read More
We all have our favourite operas (if you are into opera, of course). And frequently an intense debate among opera fanatics can arise over who is the best composer. After two hundred years we still debate about Wagner and Verdi, two amazing composers that changed opera forever. With this in mind, I have recently been asked the following: “Daniel, if you had to nominate five (and only five) operas that everyone must see before they die, what would they be?”Read More
This week, Communications Intern Pep Gorgori tells us his Current Distractions. Pep is a musicologist and journalist from Barcelona who, after working some years in Spain, is now studying an MA at Goldsmiths College, to improve his knowledge in Arts Administration and Cultural Policies.Read More
Here’s a little video diary from our trip to Paris back in January, when we took a supersized OAE there for a concert of Wagner, Liszt and Mahler with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly. We armed Communications Director William Norris with a video camera, and here are the results:
We’ve had a bit of a backlog of videos here, so these audience vox pops have been somewhat delayed. But they’re here now. After our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt at the Royal Festival Hall back on 21 January we asked audience members what they had made of the performance (with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and soloist Sarah Connolly). Here’s what they said:Read More
Regular readers of this blog or our Facebook Page will know we were due to interview Vladimir Jurowski back in December. Well, that didn’t happen as he wasn’t too well, and about to embark on a big tour. We did however catch up with him last week, when he was with us conducting the Symphonic Enlightenment programme. We’d like to say a big thank you to him for giving up some of his hectic schedule to speak to us – particularly given that a) He still wasn’t 100% well, as evidenced by the tissue clutched in his hand and b) his schedule really is super-packed – he didn’t even have any time off over Christmas!Read More
We’re back from Paris and a second performance of our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt. First reviews from Friday’s performance are now in too – mainly from bloggers and online. Hopefully the Nationals will follow tomorrow. Thanks so much for the comments posted on our blog, You Tube video and also for the many Tweets we’re had as well. It’s always great to get such instant feedback!
Radio 3 recorded Friday’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall and you can listen to it at 7pm tonight, or online here for 7 days after.
Also coming up on the blog – a video interview with conductor Vladimir Jurowski, a round up of Night Shift news, pictures from Paris and a Parisien tour diary. Plus a parting shot from our intern Ingrid.
Tonight we play our Symphonic Enlightenment programme at the Royal Festival Hall – a late romantic programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt with 90 players on stage. For us, a huge undertaking. Parts of the programme had their first airing on Wednesday at our (Sold out) Night Shift, but tonight will be the first time that Sarah Connolly joins us to sing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (well, not quite first, we have obviously rehearsed it!). We caught up with her earlier this week to ask her about the piece:
In our latest video ahead of our concerts of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt this week we speak to our Principal Flute, Lis Beznosiuk. She talks about which flutes she is using for the concert, a task made difficult by the quite wide period of time (and hence flute-evolution) that the music spans, and also about why she loves Mahler so much.Read More
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly who sings with us in London and Paris next week, talks to journalist Andrew Mellor about her work with later romantic repertoire such as Mahler and Wagner:
You seem to be moving in a new direction with all this Wagner and Mahler…
Yes – thank goodness I had a lot of superb training at Glyndebourne, which prepared me very well. I didn’t realise I had that dramatic sound in my voice until Vladimir Jurowski offered me a concert performance of Tristan a while ago. He seemed to think I could do it and I appreciated that leap of faith. I had sung Das Lied von der Erde with the Concertgebouw and many other orchestral lieder by Mahler so despite performing Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the same time, Brangäne’s music felt very natural. I will confess though that her extreme outbursts initially made me want to apologize to the rest of the room! I felt slightly uncomfortable with Wagnerian hysteria.
You seemed very suited to the character at your Prom performance with Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment this summer…
Actually Simon came to that rehearsal of Tristan with the LPO and Vladimir and that’s how the Prom came about. Simon was offering different ways of doing things, giving me more space than I’d been used to. He’s a wonderful accompanist; he invites the orchestra to accompany and never dominates, but at the same time he is also able to take the lead.
Next week at our Symphonic Enlightenment concert at the Royal Festival Hall, the horns of the OAE take centre stage. Martin Lawrence, from our Horn Section, here explains the difference between Natural and Valve horns, talks about how they are used in the music of Liszt and Wagner and how Mahler wants the best of both worlds…Read More
Next month, our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski returns to us to conduct a boundary pushing (for a period instrument orchestra) Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt. There’s a performance in the Royal Festival Hall on 21 Jan, a Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 19 Jan, and should you live in Paris, a performance there on 22 Jan.
On Monday, our intrepid Digital Content Officer, Zen, will be catching up with Vladimir to interview him in advance of his concerts with us. We want to know your burning questions to put to him, so add them here as comments or over on our Facebook page. We promise to ask a selection of them, and we’ll get the video up before Christmas. You might want to ask about the programme, his career, why he works with the OAE or even why he likes the Moomins…(that will be explained in a forthcoming Speed Interview actually).
The full line up for concerts on 21 and 22 Jan is below, with the pieces included in The Night Shift indicated by a seasonal snow flake (*). (ok, it’s an asterisk…)
Wagner Prelude to Parsifal
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a wayfarer), with soloist Sarah Connolly.
Liszt Les Preludes*
Well, our Prom on Sunday was a bit of an event. It’s not every day you get the OAE playing Berlioz and Wagner, and also not often that you get over 85 OAE players on stage! Plus, the Royal Albert Hall was packed to the rafters. If you couldn’t be there then you can still listen to the performance online, until this coming Sunday. Listen to it here.
The critics were out in force and here’s what they said
Tom Service Guardian Blog
Classical SourceRead More
Here’s a few pics we took while in rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall for our BBC Proms performance last Sunday. In the last couple you can see our Melgaard OAE Young Conductor Eduardo Portal on the podium – he probably took over for a bit so that Sir Simon could check the balance further back in the hall. On the night Eduardo conducted the off stage horns in Tristan and Isolde.Read More