Saturday 9 May 2015

In case you missed it, April on Planet Hugill - Mahoganny, Paris, Siria and the West Indes

Peter Hoare, Anne Sofie Von Otter and Willard W. White in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Royal Opera House, © ROH.Clive Barda 2015.
Peter Hoare, Anne Sofie Von Otter and Willard W. White in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Royal Opera House, © ROH.Clive Barda 2015.

Welcome to a busy April on Planet Hugill, where we managed to fit in visits to Mahagonny, Siria, the Science Museum, the West Indies and bohemian Paris, as well as spending the weekend in Tallinn.

Opera Rarities

Opera this month started in Mahagonny with Covent Garden's first ever production of Brecht and Weill's fascinating yet flawed only opera. Still with the unusual, Classical Opera revived JC Bach's Adriano in Siria. And an out of the usual opera in an unusual venue, Reich's Three Tales at the Science Museum Imax.

London Handel Festival

Our final two visits to the festival didn't include any Handel, but we heard Bach's St Matthew Passion on Good Friday with Nathan Vale as the Evangelist, and John Frederick Lampe's neglected comic gem The Dragon of Wantley.

Wigmore Hall and Milton Court

Ben Johnson and James Baillieu gave the latest Rosenblatt Recital, whilst at Milton Court Joyce DiDonato gave the UK premiere of Jake Heggie's new song cycle, and there was an evening of chamber music by Howard Blake.

Various Venues

Soprano Nelly Miricioiu demonstrated her artistry at St Johns Smith Square, the Catalan choir Orfeo Catala performed rare Granados at Cadogan Hall, I popped into a couple of concerts on the first day of the Royal Greenwich String Quartet Festival and Gillian Keith presented her staged version of Debussy's early Vasnier songs at Wilton's Music Hall.

Hilary's travels

Our contributor Hilary was in Hackney for ETO's The Wild Man of the West Indies, she explored post-minimalism with the Smith Quartet, went round Moondog with the Labeque Sisters, enjoyed ETO's new production of La Boheme and was impressed with O/Modernt Kammarorkester.

Planet Hugill in Estonia

I travelled to Tallinn for three days of contemporary music at the Estonian Music Days, you can read my reviews of Day One (including a concert with six premieres), Day Two (featuring Estonian/Polish collaboration) and Day Three (on the radio).


I chatted with Josef Spacek, concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist for their recent UK tour, reported on the ISM Conference, Making Music Work, had an interview with Henry Little from Orchestras Live to celebrate their 50th birthday, and chatted with the chief-executive of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra about its Encore project. Violinist Eric Silberger talked about his current plans and attitude to performing, and I went along to the International Opera Awards.

Articles here and elsewhere

Paying for your Entertainment looked at power, patronage and sponsorship. My article on classical music and opera in Turkey appeared on the Culture Trip website, and my article Who are we writing for? was published in issue 3 of the Institute of Composing's journal.

CD's listened to

Mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital in rock and roll Vivaldi, Steffani's Niobe, Regina di Tebe from Covent Garden finally on disc, Rossini's Guillaume Tell more than complete, Kiril Gerstein's recording of the striking new edition of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, Gillian Keith and Simon Lepper continued their exploration of Debussy's early songs, and chamber music by Thomas Ades, with the composer and the Calder Quartet.
Recitals included tenor Piotr Beczala in 19th century French opera arias, a young Kazakh pianist in a programme of mazurkas from Chopin to Ades, clarinettist Max Mausen in an imaginative disc, April Fredrick in songs by John Ireland, and the Stankov Ensemble in an enterprising programme of music for soprano, violin and piano including Rebecca Clarke and Gustav Holst.

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