This is one of those rare occasions where I can’t let fandom win. Out of the many times I’ve seen Jonas Kaufmann perform on stage (be it at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera, or Barbican), this was probably the most disappointing performance I had ever seen. The Barbican concert, to perform Strauss lieder with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under maestro Jochen Rieder, was first meant to happen on February 2017. But based on recommendations from Kaufmann’s vocal coach, he was advised to cancel the event altogether.
Written by Thomas Joy
Daniel Kramer’s first season at the English National Opera (ENO) was always going to be bold, and it feels as though the ENO are a perfect fit for Kramer and his vision for the company.
At his introduction to the season on 1st May, Kramer came from a day of press interviews as enthusiastic and passionate about his debut season as ever, and what a season it promises to be. The newly announced 2018/19 season brings five new productions and four revivals to the stage of the London Coliseum, where the ENO are celebrating 50 years of residency this year.
Sir Henry Wood founded the Proms back in 1895 and what a great idea it was seeing as this year celebrates the 124th Prom, which shall include an 8-week long schedule of first-class orchestras, musicians, artists and performances yet to be announced, this week [Thursday 19th April]. Many die-hard Prommers are waiting with bated breath to know who will be performing this summer. That said, and as promised by its founder, the BBC Proms was made for everyone, and not just classical music aficionados and expert Prommers who know their way around the Royal Albert Hall’s pit.
It would be unfair to review Lipstick: A fairy tale in Modern Iran, after all, it is a scratch performance based on the experiences of Sarah Chew and her visit to Tehran during the Green Uprising in 2009. At the Omnibus Theatre, people got to see a theatrical work in its development stages. With script in hand, Laura Dos Santos read Sarah Chew’s words and reenacted a heavy and serious topic, which was up for discussion later on in the evening. Mark, bravely performed by Nathan Kiley, added cabaret and drag aesthetic to the episodic work. Together they ruled over my attention for the evening, and I was genuinely locked in and engaged.
Opera wouldn’t be influential if it wasn’t for the role of the ‘diva’ (Italian for ‘goddess’) or ‘prima donna’. Its voices, the magnificent sopranos, tender contraltos, and mellifluous mezzo-sopranos are huge driving forces that foster our love for opera.
Opera is the one of the few artistic genres that elevates the status of women. Since the time of Handel and Mozart, opera’s trouser-roles have also played an influential part. They were specifically made for women to cross-dress as men, manly fighters and despairing boy-like lovers.
To celebrate Women’s Day, I want to share my favourite women in opera from voice to characterisation.
The news just came in. Alexandra Burke and Elaine Paige hosted this year’s nominations this afternoon [March 6, 2018]. It was announced that Catherine Tate will host the 42nd annual awards on Sunday April 8 at the Royal Albert Hall. (It will be broadcasted on ITV on the evening of the Oliviers Awards from 10.20 pm.)
Looking at the long list of Olivier nominees, I’m pleased to see that a large majority of these shows are shows I’ve already seen. Some are still my to-do list. However, other shows (plays, operas, musicals, comedies) which I’ve originally put on the sideline are getting a second look now that their on the nominations list. If the Laurence Olivier judges are nominating them, it must mean something, right?
Do you like contemporary dance? How about an adaptation of a classic ballet revamped to the 21st century with a brand new score and an entirely different dance choreography? Would that be of interest to you? Then say no more. Akram Kham has provided the solution with his collaborative work with the English National Ballet’s (ENB) artistic director Tamara Rojo.
I’m reading this again and again, and I’m unsure what the fuss is all about. Having read through both Matt Trueman (read here) and Mark Shenton’s posts (read here) on ‘Stunt Casting’, I feel a deep urge to say something.
The news is that a Youtuber / famous vlogger has been cast in the play Confidence at the Southwark Playhouse. To Shenton it begs the question, ‘if anyone with a big Instagram and Twitter following can be thrown into the lead of a play, what’s the point of real actors learning and honing their craft?’ Fair enough, I can see where he’s coming from, but, now, I have to ask, is there a particular reason why the director Rob Drummer picked the vlogger to perform the lead role in the first place? Trueman notes it is to fill seats by those aged 15 to 25 who are more likely to be looking at Snapchat than checking out what’s going on in the theatre world. ‘It holds the key to theatre’s future.’
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