Kinan Azmeh

We like to think that chamber music is an acquired taste but what is chamber music but music played in a room by a few people for a few people or for thousands ? So it's not just the Mexico-  ...

The Queen of Spades

"Life is but a game" is a famous proverb in Russia, which derives from Tchaikovsky’s penultimate opera. It is a poignant message that subtly runs in the great Russian author Aleksandr Pushkin’s intricate storyline of love and gambling. That's until  ...

Carmen

Georges Bizet received hostile reviews of "Carmen" in 1875. Critics saw it as a radical opera that opposed the traditions of Paris and Opéra-Comique, where it was first performed, whilst the general public grew to love Carmen for its evocative  ...

The Pirates of Penzance

  Admittedly, Gilbert and Sullivan’s "The Pirates of Penzance" isn’t one of my favourite G & S operas, yet Mike Leigh’s new production manages to sustain the audience’s attention through brightly crisp staging, dynamic acting, dazzling singing and  Gilbert's  ...

Garrick Ohlsson, London

One hundred years to the day since the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, American pianist Garrick Ohlsson concluded his two-concert “Skryabin Focus” at London’s Wigmore Hall with a recital of works which spanned the final two decades of Scriabin’s  ...

The Marriage of Figaro, LA Opera

What is not to like about Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro"? Not much. When skillfully executed, the music is Mozart at his liveliest. The story is a convoluted farce with overtones of the conflict between the classes and the eternal battle  ...

The Barber of Seville, LA Opera

"The Barber of Seville" has been seen somewhere every year since its initial production almost 200 years ago. A light spirit and beautiful music that wafts through your mind long after you have left the theater make it easy to  ...

Garrick Ohlsson Scriabin Program, London

Talking to a reviewer colleague during the intermission of Garrick Ohlsson’s all-Scriabin recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, he commented that he just "couldn't get Scriabin." This was after we had heard the "White Mass" Piano Sonata (No. 7 in F-sharp),  ...

Florencia en el Amazonas, LA Opera

Reader beware. This is not a review for the opera cognoscenti whose weary ears may be seeking newer, less familiar fodder. You know who you are. This is a review for the reader who may be a touch tired of  ...

La Bohème, SF Opera

Some things never go out of style: basic black, young love, “La Bohème.” Reputed to be the most often performed opera in the canon, Puccini’s tale of the consumptive seamstress, the impoverished poet and their high-spirited, if equally penniless, friends  ...